Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Bike DC 2012

Starting line crush.
Aside from some unpleasantness before and during the Bike DC event, Scott and I enjoyed ourselves immensely. I'll start with the bad:

 - Waking at an ungodly hour so that we could get to Gravelly Point by 6am to meet our bike club and get registration materials. Seriously, I don't know how you early morning commuters do it. I'm unhappy if I have to get up before 7:30am.

- The choke points at 50/Meade, all of Marshall, and Washington Blvd/Columbia Pike. The mixture of speedsters and children as the full ride and family ride converged made all of those especially fun.

- And speaking of little kids: eleven miles up and down strenuous hills is really too much for a "family fun ride". If I were supreme ruler, I would have kept the little ones on a downtown course around the Mall or something. More fun, and safer, for everybody.

These guys planned to ride the entire 24-mile route.
- Food, or rather lack of choices in the food. There were apples, bananas, water, granola bars, and candy at the two rest stops. I didn't see any food at the beginning -- I would have maimed someone for a bagel with cream cheese -- and the food at the end was bananas, bags of chips, and Jolly Ranchers. I expected maybe something like a cookout atmosphere with burgers and hot dogs at the finish line. My expectations of supported tours has been completely ruined by the fantastic spread that the Backroads Century provides at rest stops and the end, but come on! I can't eat apples, Twizzlers, or Jolly Ranchers because of my braces. I've now eaten enough bananas that I'm sure I'll make a Geiger counter click.

That being said, we did have a good time on the full route. I got to go places and see things I haven't experienced before. I'd never personally seen the front of the White House before. I'd never been on a cycle track. I'd never ridden behind unicyclists.

Not as impressive as the back, but still pretty.

I've driven on Rock Creek Parkway less than a handful of times and traveling it via bike was one of the more amazing things I've done. What can I say, I lead a boring life.

 We rode on the GW Parkway of DEATH. I've now seen the Iwo Jima Memorial in person and the Air Force Memorial from the base. I'm still buzzing about riding through the K Street tunnel and up and down car-free DC streets. I do wish, though, that more of the ride had been in the actual DC boundaries. I mean, it was fun riding in Virginia, but DC, man. And now that I think about it, all of the congestion was in the Virginia half of the ride. Coincidence? I think not.

We got to ride our bikes on an INTERSTATE HIGHWAY, y'all. Mind, blown.

It's just another 25 miles west to home.

After crossing the finish line and not finding any suitable food, we snagged our T-shirts, purchased a couple of "vintage" ride shirts, and cruised across town back to Virginia on non-car-free streets. I wasn't entirely sure how to get where we needed to go, but I did know that once we hit Constitution, my bearings would return. We rode through the Mall and wound our way past the Vietnam Wall and on to the Lincoln Memorial which I haven't been up close and personal with since my family visited during Spring Break 1990.
All in all, and aside from the snafus, we had fun. Unless something more important or pressing comes up next year, we'll probably ride in Bike DC again. I do hope that my girlfriends become stronger and more confident cyclists by then so we can ride together.
I promise I did not photoshop our bikes onto a postcard.

Another fun point is that I got lots of compliments on the floral basket. So many in fact that Scott was disappointed no one commented on his Hula girl shirt. People eventually noticed his sartorial flair and we wound up about even on comments. One guy even suggested that Scott invest in a dashboard Hula girl to attach to his helmet for the next group ride. We're both pretty keen on that idea.


  1. Wow... sounds like quite a ride. I'm glad that the good outweighed the bad as well. I think with any organized event (even outside of riding), it's difficult to get everything right, but I enjoy the pictures and hearing your account of the day.

    I couldn't help but giggle when you said, "We got to ride our bikes on an INTERSTATE HIGHWAY, y'all. " It actually reminded me of when we ran our marathon in Las Vegas. Coming from California, Vegas was very familiar and a routine stop for us, but having the main drag blocked off and lacking the typical bumper-to-bumper traffic was an odd feeling. I suspect it would be similar to riding a bike on an interstate without traffic.

    Glad you enjoyed! :O)

    1. It was pretty amazing. Despite living so close to the District, we really don't go downtown all that often. I feel kind of like a tourist when we do go in and take in the sites. I can't even imagine the logistics involved in getting all the jurisdictions to cooperate for an event of this scale. That's not my idea of a dream job. ;)

      I'm just glad that we didn't wind up in the bumper-to-bumper traffic on the bridge like some people when Metro Police opened I-66 too early. We were lucky to have hung out at the Air Force Memorial rest stop long enough for that issue to have been resolved.

  2. That last picture is fabulous!

    1. Thank you! I was delighted to see that one when I uploaded the photos to my computer. :)