Thursday, December 18, 2008

65°F in December!

It was so nice on monday that I had to get out and go for a quick 17 mile ride around the District.  Headed out west towrds East Potomac Park, got a littl lost on the way looking for access to the bridge from L'Enfant Plaza Rd SW

Found the bridge and headed over to East Potomac Park to watch some planes take off from Regan

The park is a really nice one way loop going clockwise. Mostly empty during the day

Briefly stopped to appreciate the view of the monument

and continued on up the path to Georgetown, over the Key Bridge, and back down the bike paths, crossing at Arlington Memorial Bridge. It was a nice ride, but the first time is always the roughest. I might skip the part that took me through SW over to Maine st. not so bike friendly there.

Friday, December 12, 2008

WABA Holiday Party

Went to the WABA Holiday party, which I helped decorate for last week at the volunteer night.   We got there around 7:30 and it was crowded and hot, but there was still beer, wine, cheese, and wraps, so we got to eat, drink, and meet a few new people as well as see some I'd met from previous weeks.  I bumped in to a new friend that had bought a $5 raffle ticket for the drawing at 8pm.  At the last minute I dashed out and dropped $5 on a ticket, thinking it would go to a good cause.  The first drawing was for a WABA t-shirt, which was cool, the second was for a 1 year membership, which I won!  The third was for a rad WABA Bike Jersey.  So we got some free stuff, talked to some good people, and I won a membership.  Happy Holidays!  Pics are here on the WABA Flickr Pool.  and a few others here.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Taking the W&OD back home to DC

I got the great idea in my head last week to bike home from falls church, va.  I knew there were bke trails that went most of the way, but I ended up with a longer ride than I had planned.  I got on the trail, knowing it was called the W&OD (Washington & Old Dominion) and started cranking away, keeping up a nice pace.  What I didn't realize was that I went off course about a mile and a half into the ride.  When I arrived at mile 5, I knew I had messed up, but I had come downhill for the past four miles and wasn't ready to track back.  I knew I was still heading east, so I forged on.  Shirlington Rd is NOT fun to bike on, and when I hit Glebe Rd, I knew I was a bit hosed. 

 Luckily there was a motel on the corner that had Arlington Bike Maps.  I quickly got my bearings and forged on, realizing that I'd have to take a small detour around Regan National Airport.  The ride ended up being about 15 miles, and my toes were mighty cold.  It started snowing right as I began to pass the airport, and I almomst got blown off the  George Mason Memorial Bridge.  But not so bad for getting lost.

Just yesterday I attempted to make the trip again, this time following the correct path.  It's a nice ride, and took me less than an hour to get home.  The sun was out and I only needed one layer underneath my windbreaker.  
I think next time though, I'll try to cross the Potomac a little farther south, at the Arlington Memorial Bridge to avoid all the traffic on Virginia Ave, and the unfortunate wrong way merge into Constitution.  

Here's the two maps superimposed on each other so you can get an idea of how far out of my way I went.  The top route is the proper way.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Green Festival comes to DC

When I heard that the Green Festival was coming to town, and that I could get a $5 discount on the $15 admission for riding my bike, along with free valet bike parking, I printed out a couple copies of my resume (just a few, trying to conserve paper), threw on my helmet and sped up Mass Ave to the Convention Center. Valet bike parking had NO signs at the main entrance, but after locking it up on the street, going inside and finding a volunteer, i got directions to go around the building, and saw a two by six foot sign at the bottom of the window between buildings. So i left my bike, waited in line, got my discount ticket and rode the escalators up to the main floor.
I was anticipating a world changing event since Obama's rise to power is imminent. A Green sea of change coming to Washington. Tons of Green companies and Green (as well as "Mint") Collar jobs, looking for bright individuals such as myself to take the reigns of a burgeoning sector and bring it to the mainstream.
What I got was a bunch of crunchy granola salespeople hawking their "Green" wares. A guy looking for people to jump aboard his "Green Amway" product line. Empowering people with green products? My Ass. It's still door-to-door sales and tupperware parties. Conning people into things they don't need that are manufactured overseas somewhere and your still a slave to the bottom line. There were at least 20 vendors selling organic dog food, all the natural fiber t-shirts you could ever want, and 17 varieties of baby clothes made out of hemp.
My optimism about real change in everyday life was squashed by the juggernaut of Capitalism. Even the organic beer and wine was $5 to sample, so I drowned my sorrows in free samples of acai juice, organic valley milk, Annie's cheese crackers and a few shots of wheatgrass. The weekend wasn't an entire bust.
I met Jim, the founder of Elysian Energy and talked about his energy audit company, and debated trying that out as a new career path. Lots of grimy work though, and I still haven't heard back from him. I also met one of the volunteers at Phoenix Bikes, a youth-at-risk bicycle shop program over in Arlington similar to Pedal Revolution in San Francisco. Talking with the guy there was enough to get me inspired to volunteer, as soon as I have a regular schedule that is. There were also some folks that were interested in changing the way we commute to work, but again, putting my name out there and not hearing anything. Other good points were getting an extra ticket for free from some radio station, and the snacks that kept me fed for free. There were also free yoga classes that would have been worth it, had they been advertised at all. I also enjoyed seeing the wrap up speech with Dr. Kevin Danaher. He's a great speaker but he embodies SF a bit much for some of the East Coasters I think.
Overall a bit of a disappointment, the commercialism was more than I could bear, but I did get some good ideas going in my head. I didn't bother to take pictures, since it looked amazingly like any other trade fair. Hoping I'll be surprised by the next big event like that I decide to attend.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

DC 50 States Ride

The "50 States Ride" happened nearly a month ago, but it was a great introduction to DC, and I've been surprised that many more people don't know about it. I had been checking out the DC area bike coalitions and found WABA. The 50 States ride which ends up being about a 70 mile bike ride through DC riding on all of the state streets, covering all eight wards of DC. (Map) WABA claimed that the ride was "unsupported" meaning that there would be no vehicles, but they did offer a lunch option and promised two stations along the way to get water and refreshments.

We met up at the start of the ride in Adams Morgan where they had registration, coffee, bananas, shot bloks,mini clif bars, free water bottles, and cue sheets. There was quite a crowd here, more than I expected for an "unsupported" ride. A little after 8:30am we rolled out and I was reminded of Critical Mass rides in SF, the euphoric feeling of owning the road with a group of cyclists, blocking traffic and drawing the attention of everyone on the sidewalk. Most of the bikers were really friendly and we spent the first two or three miles letting others navigate and following the pack. Once we hit Florida, the leaders of our group got a bit confused, and that's when the real ride began.

From Vermont Street on, the pack started thinning out, dropping a few more riders here and there as we passed the White House through an unmarked detour since the WTO meeting was in town and they were expecting protests on the order of the Seattle (??) riots from years gone by.

After passing through downtown, we headed past Eastern Market, a few blocks from my house, and over the bridge to Anacostia where the ride through the park was nice, but some of the neighborhoods got really depressing. We reached the halfway point for lunch at about 11:15 and were told that lunch (which we opted out of) wasn't coming until 12:30pm, so we found a few other riders that wanted to continue a left in a small pack of four. We kept up a pretty good pace and caught up with three other riders around West Virginia Ave passing Trinidad and Galludet. By the time we cam near Fort Totten and Catholic U of A, were were down to four, and a mile or two later, as we approaced Green Circle, we were at three. We managed to stick together with a guy that was head to toe spandex racing gear, but he was a really good climber, dropped us pretty bad coming up out of Rock Creek Park.
The only water stop we found was hosted by the Cycling Team of American University. They had tons of stuff for us, were taking photos and had great energy, much thanks to them for being there 12 miles before the ride was done. We screamed through the rest of the ride, ending up at the start around 2:15pm. Roughly two hours before the post ride happy hour was to begin. So we biked a bt further, downtown to get some Five Guys, and called it a day.
The ride was a great intro to the neighborhoods of DC, I'd recommend it to anyone who has ridden 30 miles or more on a bike, and if you haven't, you should at least do the 13 colonies, or break up the 50 states ride into two or three smaller chunks. I'll be going again next year, hopefully with a larger group.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Biking for free stuff

It was almost in the 70's today, and I saw a VCR on freecycle up near Tenleytown. Instead of taking two metro lines, since I think they're both under construction, I biked up there and got in nice 14mile ride in the sun today. Here's a link to the route I took. Stopped in at 9th and E for a bagel sandwich at Brueggers in DC!

Also heading to the Green Festival this weekend... website has been pretty shoddy all day, through too many hits, or bad web design, i don't know.

Friday, October 24, 2008

20 miles in....

After shipping all my stuff out here and having it live in a few guestrooms, garages, and basements (thanks to all!) The one thing I was really excited about was getting back on my bike again. I'm sure I bored you to tears about it before I left SF, and there are pics on FB if you want to see them, but I did my bike ride around the bay, felt pretty inspired, and wanted to make sure that biking wasn't something I just did in California. Selling my car before i left helped a lot.
When I finally unpacked my bike, i found that i was missing a pedal, my brand new allen wrench set, and the bolt that keeps your handlebars on your frame. After replacing these from the local branch of performance bikes, just before closing, i rode my bike to the metro, and once again had my own personal city transportation. It was about 20 miles in to biking in DC that I really felt a sense of freedom and belonging. I have always felt free on my bike. It never fails to put a smile on my face, and running some errands up in Columbia Heights, through the twilight of rush hour traffic I felt the exhilaration that comes with the freedom and danger of urban cycling that I have come to love over the years.

New Beginnings

Dear Diary,
A week or so before i left the bay, i was hanging out with some capoeiristas and one remarked that i should make a list of the things i knew about the bay. I don't know everything, not even close, but I had seen some things in my nine years between the ocean and the sierras. I had a decent list of places going over on but i knew not everyone would be so keen to join yelp, and i have no idea if they do RSS (yelp, or the people that might be reading this) and later on another friend mentioned that i should blog about the bay area(s) since i guess DC is near the Chesapeake Bay. I had a few name ideas to work on, and if you're reading this, i must have found one i could be happy with. Being unemployed is a great reason to blog, since so many people were doing it six or seven years ago after the crash. Let me tie this up before i begin writing other posts within this one. Look for things I miss about the SF Bay Area, things I'm discovering about DC, and if you're lucky, I might even do a compare and contrast. I'm sure I'll be throwing a bit of biking chatter in here as well, but i promise, no serious gear-head talk. Hi MOM!