Sheepishly, I will admit I just became a member of Washington Area Bicyclist Association (@WABADC) for the first time. Yeah, the same guy who’s been riding and enjoying the work WABA’s been doing since 1996 finally paid his dues. But enough about me, WHAT ABOUT YOU?!
There’s only one day left (ends October 25th) during WABA’s annual week long membership drive. Yeah, you can become a member any time, but doing so now nets you TWO ADDITIONAL MONTHS OF SWEET MEMBERSHIPNICITY. Also, a notepad and a sticker.
So head on over to WABA.org and do what I didn’t do for nearly two decades but rectified just before de LAATSTE RONDE! And honestly, who doesn’t need a notepad and a sticker? Lastly, if you want one of those sweet SharrowsDC buttons, throw down an extra fiver when you join/renew and let Brian know.
I haz a proud. So much awesome happening in #BikeDC. Still a *long* way to go but plenty of momentum. And with the crew shown we’ll definitely get there.
As someone who’s been riding in DC at varying levels of intensity since way back in ’96, this city’s transformation continues to amaze me. We still have a long way to go, as evidenced by the recent M Street Cycletrack woes, but the momentum is definitely in our favor.
Green Lane Project writes: “Last year, the new estimates found, DC jumped past San Francisco and Seattle to become the nation’s No. 3 city for bike commuting. Since 2007, the District has added about 9,000 net new regular bike commuters, almost as many as there are in all of Minneapolis, the No. 2 city. And all this despite having only a “Silver” rating from the League of American Biyclists’ widely respected rating of cities’ bike-friendliness. DC is the only major U.S. city that has sold more than 3 percent of its population on bike commuting without at least a “Gold” rating from the League.”
This is definitely listed under: Things That Are Awesome. #BikeDC local Megan (@VegginMegabeth) will ride the Hains Point for 100 miles to raise awareness for the Washington Area Bicycling Association’s (@WABADC) Women & Bicycles program. Megan’s ride on December 23rd will gather at 9:30AM, then begin at 10AM. Everyone’s invited to join in for the full 100 or just a few.
For full details and how to donate to the ride, visit the Hains Point 100 official site.
I recently had the pleasure of meeting Chris during his DC trip. It surprised me just how much of himself he’s invested in bicycle advocacy. Take a moment to read Jeremy Dunn’s interview with Rapha’s NA Comms Director.
Note: I’d be remiss in not mentioning I’m mentioned in the post.
Post: CD/DC on Rapha.cc
Image credit: Rapha
As much as I ride in the #BikeDC area, you’d be surprised by how little of that is actually within the heart of the District. Mostly I’m just dipping my wheels into the city’s edge along the waterfront. It’s not that I don’t want to roam around the city on two wheels, I just haven’t had a need to.
I lived and rode in DC from ’96-’03 and, needless to say, things were different then. There were two bike lanes: the one you shared with cars, or the one you shared with car doors. Okay, maybe three if you count the lanes between cars stopped at lights. I did a majority of that riding on two bikes: a citified Bridgestone MTB and a GT track bike. What’s a track bike you ask? It’s what a fixie was before hipsters ruined everything. Also, during a majority of that riding, traffic signals/signs were completely ignored. It should be noted that said ignoring was done at top speed at all times. Finally, it should also be noted all ignoring at top speed was done sans helmet. Also, possibly drunk.
Since the April edition of #30DaysofBiking starts tomorrow, I’m going to try and keep this short. Otherwise I’ll be writing this until I’m 15 into my 30!
It’s a celebration, bitches! It’s celebrating bikes by riding them everyday for the entire month of April (and September). The official description states: “The only rule for 30 Days of Biking is that you bike every day for 30 days—around the block, 20 miles to work, whatever suits you—then share your adventures online. We believe biking enriches life, builds community, and preserves the Earth. This is the second year, and third round, of 30 Days of Biking!”
It’s everything stated above, but it’s the process that you go through during those 30 days that I find so intriguing. Sure, the holy grail for many is commuting to work. But that’s only one part of a “Want some carryout? Use your bike and pick it up yourself!”much larger picture. What was most revealing for me, was how I began looking for a multitude of opportunities to integrate the bike into my daily life. Need to pick something up from convenience store down the street? Use your bike. Want a cup of coffee a few miles away? Use your bike. Thinking of sightseeing or visiting a park or monument? Go by bike. Want some carryout? Use your bike and pick it up yourself! We’ve been conditioned so thoroughly to choose the car that it almost seems an impossibly herculean task to use anything but.
Once you start making those small trips by bike, you begin to notice how close everything actually is. Living in Arlington, VA we’re subjected to the traffic going in and out of DC on a daily basis. Some areas of Arlington are so impassable by car during both rush hours that you completely avoid them altogether. Yet with a bike, you’re able to dodge ALL of that congestion by accessing quiet, picturesque backstreets and bike paths. So where you might normally avoid travelling altogether, you’re more willing to make these trips regardless of the time of day. Now, to me, 3 or 4 miles for good coffee or food is a very short, enjoyable trip.
Next, as you become accustomed to riding everywhere on both long and short trips you start noticing your surroundings. You see things you might never have seen by car. You’ll take new routes where, new buildings, houses, and similar experiences flood your senses. You hear things otherwise impossible by car. You smell things (good and bad) that air conditioning would’ve filtered. Then best of all, you start interacting with people. You know those weirdos you see out running, or walking, or riding bikes when you’re speeding by? Now you’re one of them. Some say “Hi!” Some wave, “The disconnect caused by your steel barrier-box on wheels is gone when you’re street level.”some nod, and yes, some ignore you, but the odds of actually interacting with members of the human race increases exponentially. But for this to truly be a rewarding experience, you have to engage them. The moment you do, the world starts getting a little smaller and a little warmer. Think about your average emotion while driving a car when dealing with other people. It’s usually indifference, or irritation, or worse yet: rage. The disconnect caused by your steel barrier-box on wheels is gone when you’re street level.
Lastly, you’ll be subjecting yourself to physical exertion. You’ll be placing yourself in unknown situations. You’ll be challenging yourself on a daily basis, and you’ll come out stronger in the end. Your first trip down to the convenience store for a drink is an achievement. Then you’ll add in distance. Or it could be new roads with more traffic. Then you finally use your bike as a conveyance of cargo. The first time you bike carrying more than you ever thought possible is potentially the most liberating part of the 30 Days of Biking.
I was so amped upon completing my first #30DaysofBiking, that I wanted to continue the process of documenting my bike lifestyle. That’s where the #EverydayByBike series and hashtag came from. While I don’t need to be on my bike every single day (freelancer working from home), I make sure that when there’s an opportunity, I choose the bike over the car. I’ve been doing it so much that I actually feel defeated when forced for one reason or another to use the car. Below I’ve included the slideshows of my #30Days and #Everyday Flickr sets.
No loquacious setups, no wistful words of memories past, let’s just jump into the sheet.
Still partially buried from the first of the ’09/’10 winter dumpings, I made my way with the Revolution Cycles management team to the Dominican Republic for a little “R&R”. It turned out to be not completely restful, and in some cases not relaxing at all. But it made for a ton of stories. Out of everything that happened on that trip (24/7 rain, fire in airport terminal, moldy clothes), these two are the most memorable for two distinctly different reasons.
Bike Ride of Doooom: MTB ride down picturesque mountain roads and paths. Turned out it was during a downpour in 60˚ temps and we had no cold-weather gear. You know, because we’re in the TROPICS!! The ride tested the limits of our handling skills as sheets of rain obscured our vision while cars/trucks passed us on narrow blind corners. “…desperately stripping myself of soggy, clinging bibshorts moments before I produced my own torrential downpour.”Once we got off the roads and on the paths, they turned out to be brutal rock gardens covered in mud. Midway through our harrowing decent, the previous evening’s dinner decided that it had enough and wanted to escape my colon while I was riding my bike. Next thing I know, I’m in a shed behind a road-side fruit stand sitting on a wooden box desperately stripping myself of soggy, clinging bibshorts moments before I produced my own torrential downpour. Once I reigned in my innards, we continued down the mountain again, where I was promptly shelled off the back due to my lack of fitness. Then I flatted. Yeah, it was THAT fun. Luckily we had a sag-wagon that scooped me up and dropped me off with the others for an amazing Dominican feast under a thatched-roof canopy. But not before I hit the baño a few more times… One of the most amazing experiences of my life!
Earthquake in Haiti: Definitely not a highlight whatsoever. While eating dinner we all suddenly felt off-balance and queasy. At first we all thought we were having a simultaneous outbreak of Monty’s Revenge, but it turned out we were feeling the ripples from the massive earthquake in Haiti. We made our way home through yet another downpour and could the locals congregating around the glow of televisions, their gaze affixed attempting to glean some sense from the disaster. When we arrived back at our hotel, the entire area was under a cautionary tsunami alert. We all held our collective breath waiting for something that fortunately never materialized. Being so close to the disaster was painfully sobering. I could only think about being with my wife and daughter again.
February brought a unique opportunity in the form of the North American Handmade Bicycle Show (NAHBS). That it was being held in my “backyard” of Richmond, VA guaranteed that I’d be in attendance. I’ve been to Interbike a few times, and marveled at the quaint size of the NAHBS show. I say that because the entire show is the same size as the BMX pavilion in Vegas. But needless to say, the vendors/builders of handmade bikes are much more interesting people to talk to. I took a crapload of shots, and you can find them all on the Revolution Flickr page. Or below in the fantastic slideshow:
Mr. Fisher and the Lord of the Trek: In March I was part of something pretty revolutionary as Revolution Cycles opened the City Hub concept store in Crystal City, Virginia. It’s a mix of fixed-point localized bike-sharing, bike rentals, and traditional accessory sales and service. As we were putting the finishing touches on the space, the National Bike Summit was taking place just across the Potomac in DC. The summit brought us our very first customer, who was none other than Gary Fisher! Gary also sparked the first Tweet-ride from the City Hub location that evening. I had envisioned doing Tweet-rides beforehand and I couldn’t have asked for a better impetus than one of the founding fathers of mountain biking and Superman cycling ambassador. The City Hub business model was revolutionary and intriguing enough for Trek president and CEO, John Burke to pay us a visit the next day. Not too bad for the first 24 hours of being open!
Logos. Oh, and Brochures. Wait, Add Business Cards too. Also…: So other than looking pretty while mugging with Mr. Fisher, I had a relatively important job—the Hub needed a logo. It also needed a metric ****-ton of printed collateral! My partner in crime and I were flying by the seat of our pants as we were crafting both the conceptual and visual identities simultaneously.
I get to brag as well, since both John and Gary both commented on the design of the logo. Being cycling dignitaries they both copped a free City Hub diner mug as well. That’s a damn fine mug.
There’s also a damn fine shirt as well. I couldn’t have asked for a better outcome than how these shirts turned out. Logo on front, and my City Hub slogan/catch phrase , “Shares Well With Others” on the back. How much genius can be packed onto one garment? Don’t answer that. Instead, marvel as you gaze upon its visage.
If for some reason you’ve enjoyed my narcissistic indulgence, I have more coming. Topics include, a secret alternative Hub logo, a multitude of design, Hub Spins galore, and whatever else I can remember that I’ve obviously forgotten here. Stay tuned. Please.
I don’t have the energy to spend deciding what blogs, sites, bikes, races, etc., are my favorites in a descending numerical order. And from the sound of it, those lists are driving you crazy. But I do want to promote those I think that’ve captured my attention, for whatever the reason. I may try to categorize them, but don’t count on it.
Note: These are not in order. These are not all the sites I visit. If you have favorites that you think would be a good read, I’d love to hear it. Although if you frame that suggestion within the context that my list is complete **** because I must be out of my mind forgetting to add ________, then enjoy being a troll.
Velominati: One, no two words—The Rules. The “Keepers of the Cog” keep we adherents to the pro-life in line, or more adherenter.
Elcyclista: I discovered Connor Brady’s site through Flickr. His shots spoke volumes, so I had to see where they lead.
Cycling Tips: Another site that photography turned me onto. Big, beautiful shots.
CycleEXIF: A pattern is developing. Bike porn—nothing more, nothing less. And who doesn’t like a little pr0n?
BikeCrave: Jeff’s posts and Twitter feed shots are always full of the inspiration that drives us all to ride.
Ciclirati: Discovered his site through Twitter. Jeff’s (yeah, another) commentary is insightful and sharp.
Cyclocosm: Speaking of insightful and sharp, Cosmo generally hits pelotonal home runs. “How The Race Was Won” videos are fantastic if the UCI/ASO don’t pull a yank move.
BikeArlington: My local crew puttin’ in work, gettin’ it done. Arlington has a phenomenal bike infrastructure/culture due in large to BA, and it’s just getting started.
WashCycle: If it involves bikes in the DC Metro area, then the WashCycle has its teeth in it.
Copenhagenize: I may not agree completely on the helmet debate with Mikael, but I do agree with where Copenhagen is cycling-wise. And he documents it well. Creator of the term, “Cycle Chic.” And he guards it well.
Amsterdamize: Another helmet debater and “cycling integrated into everyday life” advocator/documenter. Just in Amsterdam.
EcoVelo: Just started visiting this site lately, and haven’t been disappointed yet. Great overall feel to the site. Fits its mission.
Bike Shop Girl: Arleigh’s getting back on her feet pedals after a wicked accident. BSG focuses on “helping women find their way in cycling”, but it’s written for anyone who wants to learn. Stop by and leave some words of encouragement!
Commute by Bike: Always helpful articles on getting there by bike.
Utility Cycling: Always helpful articles on getting it done by bike. See what I did there?
Rapha: I read it for the articles! In addition to their addictive clothing, I’m addicted to their overall brand and aesthetic. This includes their photo/video coverage of Continental rides and any of their promoted rides. The images are fantastic and moving. Moving enough to get me out and ride. Especially in their clothes. Effective.
Stefan Rohner’s Flickr: Stefan is the reason I take so many gratuitous cycling portraits of myself. Pandas, epic mountain scenes, bike porn, and other fantastic shots fill his stream.
TwoToneATL’s Flickr: A CRAPLOAD of bike shots. Track, tarck, road, and general life is covered. Some of my favorite are those with his son, Otto. Makes me realize I have to get off my ass and do more cycling with my daughter.
The Belle Velo’s Tumblr: Always a thoughtful reblog. Adds to/starts the conversation on choice image posts.
Jdub890′s Tumblr: Lots of bikes, all the time. No, seriously—LOTS of bikes.
Heidi Swift’s Tumblr: I have an unreasonable crush on Heidi. It’s from this Tumblr, so be careful.
What are some of your favorites? How do they contribute/enhance your cycling world?
I could pretty much fill every MWBASS (Ed. note: There’s only been 2, including this one. Sad.) post with complaints about red light/stop sign runners, and I just might. Today’s incident wasn’t dramatic, but I did manage to yell at someone for not stopping. Then when they continued seemingly unfazed through the next intersection, I offered up an, “Enjoy getting hit, dumb****.” I normally wouldn’t say something referencing my indifference in someones being struck by a vehicle, or a flightless pedestrian but this rider pissed me off. A few intersections before, I stopped the main intersection of King and N Union in Old Town, Alexandria to let a car with the right of way go. They appreciated that I didn’t blow through like everyone else and waved with appreciation. Half a second later this lady does just that; blows by me and into the intersection forcing the driver to jam on their brakes. In a span of 5 seconds, a driver’s opinion of cyclists changed for the positive, only to have it dragged back down by some asshat.
So that got me thinking. Actually I think about this all the time, it just sounds good to say, “…that got me thinking.” when you’re trying to sound all introspective blogster. I used to blow through stoplights and stop signs all the time while living in DC. Became skilled enough to match up with the fastest messengers doing their runs. I did this all while riding fixed and brakeless.
So why am I so ardently against it now? Part of it I imagine, has something to do with finally allowing myself to grow up. Or at least thinking of others rather than just myself all the time. Don’t know if it’s because of the web and the mass of info available to us, or that the negativity toward cyclists truly is on the rise. But it seems like we’re hearing nothing but stories of how everyone hates cyclists and bikers and how we have no regard for the law. More disturbingly, we’re also hearing accounts of motorists increasingly willing to play with our lives by using their vehicles to teach us a lesson.
Why do we as cyclists feel privileged to not stop for lights/signs, or traffic laws in general? We all know we’re breaking the law no matter how insignificant we think it is. We retort using examples of vehicles performing rolling stops and how dangerous a one ton moving object is versus a harmless little bike. There’s a million he said/she said scenarios we can come up with yet do nothing to cool the hostilities between cars and bikes. One way I keep myself honest is to imagine my blowing a light might possibly send a motorist into an anti-cyclist road rage mode, taking it out on the next unsuspecting innocent victim they see on a bike. If that’s not enough, imagine that the person they hit is your child, spouse, parent, friend or coworker. When (and if) they catch the motorist you recognize the vehicle as the one you yelled at and flipped off. Then you realize you were the catalyst. That’s not a nice thing to think about, but it’s possible.
Choose to be the catalyst for positive relations. Riding in a predictable manner doesn’t mean running signs at every chance. It means obeying traffic laws and behaving as a car would. As a side effect, I’m actually more relaxed during my commutes when I stop at lights in line with other vehicles. I’m no longer looking for those little intersection traffic gaps where I can shoot into, expecting the motorist to give me space. It’s also WAY more gratifying yelling at someone doing something ridiculous when you’re lawfully in the right. Ride in a manner promoting safety and respect for your children, and spouses, and parents, and everyone else out there who just want to ride their bikes.
And now for something completely different. Had to change my position on my Gunnar before the ride. Needed to shorten the cockpit a little bit which involved switching out seatposts. The Deda Black Stick is stupid light, but the layback puts my knees too far behind the pedal spindles. Pulled the Stick out and was horrified to find it covered in rust! Being that the Gunnar is steel, that is slightly alarming. I was under the assumption that all Gunnar/Waterford frames came pre-sprayed with Weigle’s Frame Saver. Guess I was wrong.