Ride Your Bikes, People
I’m fond of my active commute routine. My regular commute to work is predictable, pleasant. Over the years I’ve devised a sweet route that minimizes high-volume car traffic, and I store a nice selection of seasonal work clothes in my office.
This week I’ve been thrust outside of my routine, which is pretty much a theme of 2016. Who needs routine? Routines are boring!
Due to training, I’ve been riding from Southwest D.C. essentially to Tenleytown. This has extended my commute from 4 miles to 8, and from a nice flat ride along the National Mall to a rather hilly route.
Once I arrive to my destination with my clothes and books in tow, I park my bike at a rack near my training, and rush inside to convert into my business casual I’m-here-to-learn training outfit. This outfit must be pannier-friendly, i.e., roll up into a ball and handle being stuffed inside a bag without wrinkling. Since I commute in Sidis, due to my SPD addiction, I’ve brought along minimalist shoes to wear with my dresses and other clothes.
I sure do miss my office, where I can change into an array of outfits depending on my mood, and even more critically, I don’t generally have to be ready to roll and presentable at a precise hour. (Can’t wait for next week!)
Nope, while at training, I park my bike on an outside rack. Every day, it’s been the only bike parked there.
I hurry into the restroom, pat myself dry as quickly as I can, and throw on the day’s outfit in a tiny stall where my funny bone seems to be constantly vulnerable. Oh funny bone, why?!
My commute to class is a reverse commute, which I find delightful. While everyone is driving themselves into town, I’m going contraflow. Good thing, since I’m on my single speed and pretty much climbing uphill out of the saddle at who knows how slowly for miles on end. (Seriously. One day, a passersby shouted, “You’re doing great!” What is this, a stage race?)
The return route has required some tweaking and dialing back of my overall resentment towards cars. Yes, cars. If you know Georgetown, you know the residents of Georgetown love their cars, even though it means driving your car from one four-way stop to the next.
The car drivers don’t seem to care. Some of these drivers are the same residents who protested the installation of Metro in their neighborhood way back when so what can you do?
Today I finally said enough, and instead of heading back through Georgetown, I took a long cut so that I would end up on the Capital Crescent Trail. It was totally worth it. I pedaled more uninterrupted segments, rather than the stop-sign every block while I simultaneously contemplated the absolute necessity for all these people to choose cars as primary transportation.
This sentiment – which I’ll call my anti-car sentiment just to be completely up-front and clear about it – has grown over time. I’m the only person riding a bicycle to training, and everyone else is either driving or taking Metro.
The professors hand us piles of paper and I don’t understand why they can’t put it in a .pdf and allow us the option to get our books on Kindle or other e-reader. We’d save so much weight, space, and paper!
I’m still shocked that so few people choose active transportation. Bike commuters are on the rise in the city, and yet I’m the only person riding to this training.
Even though I arrive to campus a hot mess in desperate need of a few minutes to cool down along with paper towels to dry off, it’s totally worth it. I start the day with a sense of accomplishment, having made it up that hill from Goergetown on only one gear. What’s not to love about the active commute? Now if I could just stop wacking my funnybone in the bathroom stall.