I’m officially a bike commuter! Last week, I looked at the DC bike map with Salsa Verde Mike (who is an avid bicyclist) and found a route that would work for me as a newbie. We’re talking less than two miles here, so really, I could handle it; although last year’s Bike to Work Day scared me with commuter traffic flying off the 14th street bridge. I was a bit hesitant.
The next morning, which was last Thursday, Salsa came by my house to lead the way to work! It was so fast and so easy with bike lanes along most of the route. I love it. Thank you Jim Sebastian, DDOT and DCOP for providing bike lanes! The cars on these streets are more local traffic than angry and bitchy commuters which makes it very pleasant. And don’t worry, I’m constantly on the lookout for people opening the doors of parked cars – that’s the fastest way to get pretty jacked up. Oh, and the other day, there were two different cars on the same block that were temporarily parked in the bike lane. I got very sincere apologies from both drivers. Salsa said I should have yelled at them. I didn’t.
Because my new house is centrally located in the city, it is a quick ride anywhere that I want to go (transportation and land use connection, you see?). For example, last night after work I had improv practice at Lizzie’s house on 11th Street. It took me less time to bike from work to our meet up restaurant than if I had taken the metro (which is hot and sticky and full of angry people and clueless tourists this time of year). Then, I beat a car driver from the restaurant to Lizzie’s house, and they left before me! And to top it off, it only took me seven minutes to get home…instead of waiting for the metro to ride one stop. A tad too far to walk, a tad too awkward to wait for the metro. The bike is perfect.
One of the things that I love when I bike to work (other than Salsa’s voice in my head yelling at me to “Stay Alert!” which makes me laugh) is the number of people in the neighborhood who are also biking with me. At most stoplights, I’m waiting with at least one or two other people biking. This morning, I was following a Dad and his five year old daughter and they were discussing what they had on their oatmeal that morning. It was adorable. I also like that it’s faster, less exposure to the sun, less hot because of the breeze, and it reminds me of riding my bike growing up. Oh, and pretty cheap, too.
Before biking, I was walking about 30 minutes to work, which is not a bad commute if you can get it. But biking has opened up a new alternative…and it’s all about having options. I can walk for 30 minutes, bike for 20 minutes, metro for 30 minutes, bus for 15 to 30 minutes or drive for 20. I love this city that gives me so many transportation options.