Category Archives: DC Commute Scenes

Final Week of 30 Days of Biking (and Poetry) in Washington, D.C.

Over the past month, I engaged in a personal challenge to ride my bike each day, take at least one picture during my ride, and find a poem that somehow encapsulated the day.

Poetry has always held a special place for me, but over the years our relationship became distant. I saw it as extra, even pretentious, and my reading shifted to consist mostly of non-fiction prose.

As I’ve mentioned previously, I pledged to 30 Days of Biking this month because it reminds me to see the novelty in the familiar routes I travel in Washington, D.C. I’m not a photographer, but over the years I have enjoyed having a camera at the ready to capture moments by bike. The bicycle is a lovely muse, and the flowering city in April a spectacular backdrop. Continue reading Final Week of 30 Days of Biking (and Poetry) in Washington, D.C.

Week Three of 30 Days of Biking (and Poetry) in Washington, D.C.

Bicycling is one of the best ways to fully immerse yourself in a city. As riders, we easily exchange hellos with others on our route. We feel the bumps of the road, see flowers bloom and fall, and watch the waves of people (and buses, did I mention buses?) come and go through the District.

Thanks to everybody who has been following along with this year’s 30 Days of Biking photo and poetry project. April rides have been so rewarding, allowing me to seek out both new and familiar writers while also exploring my city.

Last year, 30 Days of Biking helped renew my interest in urban cycling, and that  carried through into this year. The city is such a dynamic place, changing under our noses if we pay any attention.

Day 15
Bells. A time to turn
for home. But now you
pretend to listen to a
piano in the window of
the music store. Songs
shine at the corners of
your eyes. Whether to
turn another corner is
the sadness.
–Donald W. Baker, Waiting
Day 16


Hoy viene a mi la damisela soledad
con pamela, impertinentes y botón
de amapola en el oleaje de sus vuelos.
Hoy la voluble señorita es amistad
y acaricia finalmente el corazón
con su más delgado pétalo de hielo.
Por eso hoy
gentilmente te convido a pasear
por el patio, hasta el florido pabellón
de aquel árbol que plantaron los abuelos.
Hoy el ensueño es como el musgo en el brocal
dibujando los abismos de un amor
melancólico, sutil, pálido cielo.
–Silvio Rodríguez, Oh Melancolía
Day 17


although he had no sense of being on a journey,
such memories made him realize how far he had
traveled, which, in turn, made him ask how he
would look back on the person he was now, this
person who seemed so substantial. These images, it
was like looking at a book of old photographs,
recognizing a forehead, the narrow chin, and
perhaps recalling the story of an older second
cousin, how he had left long ago to try his luck in
Argentina or Australia. And he saw that he was
becoming like such a person, that the day might
arrive when he would look back on his present self
as on a distant relative who had drifted off into
uncharted lands.
–Stephen Dobyns, [Over a cup of coffee]
Day 18
Slowly, slowly wisdom gathers:
Golden dust in the afternoon,
Somewhere between the sun and me,
Sometimes so near that I can see,
Yet never settling, late or soon.
Would that it did, and a rug of gold
Spread west of me a mile or more:
Not large, but so that I might lie
Face up, between the earth and sky,
And know what none has known before.
–Mark Van Doren, Slowly, Slowly Wisdom Gathers
Day 19


I am dying to be written about in your diary
and my self-involvement extends to endless
photographs of my eye makeup, which might be described
as “signature.” FYI I prefer a fine brush to a pen.
What can be said about slush, about the corners cut when cleaning
the fridge. What can be said about what is considered
to be ordinary. Crucially, love is a desire
to be a witness and be witnessed, how you might skate
past the provisional. If the house were burning down
I would rescue all the photographs
–Amy Key, Announcement and Next Steps
Day 20


The song is drink, is color. Come now, taste
what the world has to offer. When you eat
you will know that music comes in guises—
bold of crepe myrtle, sweet of daffodil—
beyond sound, guises they never told you
could be true. And they aren’t. Except they are
so real now, this spring, you know them, taste them.
–Camille T. Dungy, What to Eat, What to Drink, and What to Leave for Poison
Day 21


Did I say I was a creature
of habit?
I meant the opposite.
I meant behavior
is a pile of clothes
I might or might not wear.
Before all the sowing and reaping
could go on for centuries,
before the calendar,
I must have been convinced
that my movements
were both mandated
and blessed.
–Rae Armantrout, Life’s Work

Week Two of 30 Days of Biking (and Poetry) in Washington, D.C.

Day 8

Day 8 Capital Bikeshare

How it is fickle, leaving one alone to wander

the halls of the skull with the fluorescents
softly flickering. It rests on the head

like a bird nest, woven of twigs and tinsel
and awkward as soon as one stops to look.
That pile of fallen leaves drifting from

the brain to the fingertip burned on the stove,

to the grooves in that man’s voice
as he coos to his dog, blowing into the leaves

of books with moonlit opossums
and Chevrolets easing down the roads
of one’s bones.

–Joanie Mackowski, Consciousness Continue reading Week Two of 30 Days of Biking (and Poetry) in Washington, D.C.

Peak Blossom Days in Washington, D.C.

This weekend the cherry blossoms reached peak bloom in Washington, D.C. Knowing their fragile nature, people flooded the city to see them– cameras, cars, and all. Continue reading Peak Blossom Days in Washington, D.C.

Stillness in the Ruckus of Washington, D.C.

Buses align Ohio Drive, one after the other, and block my once-daily view of the Potomac.

Large chatty groups of tourists swarm the National Mall, oblivious to the bike commuters that weave around them. They start the day early, and I fail to wake up any earlier to avoid their field trips.

The sudden influx is an annual jolt. Continue reading Stillness in the Ruckus of Washington, D.C.

Birthday Week Bike Rides in BikeDC

Dear Washington, D.C., my current city of residence,

I discovered a better way to maneuver around you after too many years as a subterranean Metro passenger.

Monday Afternoon at the Monument
Monday Afternoon at the Monument

Your dense pinwheel layout and abundant side streets instilled a belief that I could pedal your roads without too much angst or trouble. Continue reading Birthday Week Bike Rides in BikeDC

Washington, D.C. Bike Commute Scrapbook

Morning ride to American University. Many nice plants here.
Morning ride to American University. Many nice plants here.

What a week. Four sparkling summer days, top notch training, and a ride along with a friend on a couple of days, too. I celebrated the end of my Bike Friday Tikit field trips to Northwest D.C. with a photo safari on today’s ride home, in part to stretch out my time in the afternoon sun and also to remind me why I should travel this way again soon. Continue reading Washington, D.C. Bike Commute Scrapbook

Alex Baca Farewell Tour #leftandleaving

Alex B. Farewell Tour

Over the past week I’ve been thinking about our #bikeDC friend, Alex Baca, who has left D.C. (for now, at least) for a new opportunity San Francisco.

As part of Alex’s farewell activities, of which there appeared to be several, some of us coordinated an “Alex Baca Farewell Tour.”  The weather even cooperated to bring us ideal temperatures and sun the day of the ride. Thanks, weather!

Continue reading Alex Baca Farewell Tour #leftandleaving