Bike parking in the city can be a tricky business. Many parts of the city (at least the ones I visit in the District) do not have enough racks to accommodate all the bikes of those who want to park in the area.
Bikes get crowded onto racks or, if those are not available, we seek out other alternatives such as locking to a parking sign pole or other pieces of metal that look sturdy and theft-proof.
Lately I’ve been on a mission to ride all of my bikes more often. This is partially due to needing to clean the Surly LHT as well as change out a tube, but also because if I’m going to own multiple bikes I feel should make the effort to ride them all.
The past couple weeks, I’ve commuted almost exclusively on my Velo Orange Mixte, built up from a frame set I purchased over two years ago.
The Velo Orange is a great town bike. Reasonably priced and built up primarily with existing parts in the Dining Room Bike Shop (most of them coming off of my old commuter, a Novara Randonnee), I’m happy to be riding it again.
As I wrote last week, I’m bringing back the BikeDC Speaks series to highlight some of the questions and issues it raised. This time, I’m also asking you to share your ideas and suggestions.
Last week’s post asked about the best advice anyone ever gave you about cycling. This week’s question is:
What could the District do to make it an even better city for cyclists?
Back in the fall, I put together a series that explored D.C.-area cyclists’ views and experiences about riding in the city.
#BikeDC Speaks featured 8 local cyclists– six women and two men. Some contributors began commuting regularly within the last year or two while others have commuted for several years. Thanks again to all the people who made this series come to life!
I initially featured each post by contributor. I am now presenting the series to highlight some of the questions and ideas shared.
This time I’m also asking you, dear readers and fellow riders, what are your answers to these questions?
OK, first question:
What is one of the best pieces of advice anyone has given you about bicycling?
I recently began a new job, and my lovely setup of parking my bike in my office is no more. I now work in a cube and have no space to park a bike. I could use my Tikit or Dahon folder, but I have not put the time in to make either of them what I would consider “commute ready.”
Instead, I continue to ride my Surly LHT and park my bike in one of two places at my building:
- The underground parking garage that has inverted U-shaped racks to accommodate about 20 bikes.
- A prison bar-style outdoor bike rack that is mostly covered (depending on what direction the wind blows), and can theoretically fit 50 bikes, but from my point of view is basically worthless for those of us that use fenders and a U-lock with the exception of the end spaces.
During the winter months, I have made regular use of the garage. It reduces the time I need to spend in the cold locking and unlocking my bike and it keeps my bike decently warm so my hands do not immediately turn to ice when I put them on the handlebars.
However, I will still occasionally park outside and lock to what I consider the substandard prison bar-style rack.
Through commuting regularly to my job in this shared parking environment, I have begun to notice funny things about us bike commuters.
I tend to have an overall preference for diamond frames, and never considered myself a mixte sort of person. However, a couple of years ago Velo Orange was selling off a batch of their mixte frames at the attractive price of $300 so I mixed up the bike stable by adding a mixte to it.
Velo Orange Mixte, acquitting herself well after climbing a steep hill
Over the next year Felkerino and I (okay, mostly Felkerino) built it up with a variety of parts from the Dining Room Bike Shop, including the front Rivendell Mark’s rack by Nitto, Nitto S83 seatpost, gearing, pedals, Tektro brakes, handlebars, and the bags.
Run Commute by the Smithsonian
Because I have a fall running event coming up, I’ve inserted a couple of run commutes into my weekly commute diet. While cycling is my primary mode of commuting, mixing it up with run commuting has proven quite pleasant.
Not surprisingly, my running route to and from the office varies from my bike routine. First, I don’t run in the streets. HA! Second, I don’t run in the 15th Street bike lane. HA HA!
I’ve figured out a quiet, low-traffic, point-to-point run commute route. It takes me through one of the Smithsonian gardens and across the National Mall, both of which I find to be particularly peaceful in the morning.
Like other cities, the Washington, D.C., area has been seized by an obsession with cupcakes. That suits me perfectly because I love sweets. A few months ago, my friend and I rode to lunch in Ye Olde Towne, Alexandria. After our meal, we decided to pop by Lavender Moon Cupcakery and get a treat for the road. Their flourless chocolate cupcakes with sea salt are the best! Continue reading
Winter CaBi Bikeshare Panda
In my efforts to avoid Metro and breathe in the fresh Washington, D.C., air as much as possible, I’ve started riding Capital Bikeshare more frequently. Bikeshare is awesome! I just run over to the station nearest me, plug in my key to get a bike, yank the bike out as hard as I can, and off I go. All rides 30 minutes or less are included in my $75 annual membership. Continue reading
I wasn’t going to post today, but the weather was so gorgeous in Washington, DC that it demanded some blog lines. Coming on the heels of a rainy and humid week, I’m certain this Friday was appreciated by many commuters.
Sunset by the Capitol