Category Archives: Bicycles

Roosevelt Island in the #DMV

For all you who ride the Mt Vernon Trail as a commuter, or as recreational cyclists – what do you think about the mulch and repaving scenario going on the Roosevelt Island parking lot?

If the mulch is dry, the route is doable. But in the spring, as it is now, the mulch gets VERY wet, basically unsafe and thus requires the cyclist to walk his or her bicycle through that section sometimes. I find this a bit troublesome because nobody ever asks drivers to push their cars around construction zones. This act is only demanded of cyclists.

But, in the flip-side, there are some decent, albeit more challenging in terms of hills and climbing, routes that are perfectly fine to ride to get around this section. Either up or down Wilson Blvd and around the cemetery ; or up or down the road by the Arlington courthouse and around the cemetery. This second route involves a very serious climb if moving away from the cemetery toward Clarendon.

Are there any cyclists out there who use these routes to get around the mulchy section at Roosevelt Island? Oh, I must add that this whole section is getting repaved – both the parking lot AND the bike trail segments. So it will be nice after the work is done.

Let me know your thoughts.

Thank you.

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Filed under Bicycles, Commuting

#Cycling at Night #bikedc

Who wants to go on long exploratory bike rides at night through the DC Metro area?

Please contact Jesse (@jlibraryist)

Also, e-mail: jesse@meta21st.com

Thank you.

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Filed under Bicycles, trail use

E-Bikes are Motorized vehicles…

All the e-bikes I have seen in use are quite rapid. In fact, they are faster than many bicycle peddlers (those who pedal) can move their bikes.

The reason for is is the machine pedal-assist that sends the rider to speeds faster than many casual cyclists, but slower than the speed of a scooter or moped.

Has anyone asked the question about whether these are motorized vehicles?

I am leaning toward “yes” on this question.

The result would be that e-bikes would have NO place on recreational trails. In fact, these electric bicycles go so fast, I think they should go out to the streets with traffic.

Thoughts, rants, considerations?

Thanks for reading.

Jesse

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Filed under Bicycles, trail use

Fixed Gear on the Roads

Yes, I ride a fixed gear in the DMV.

But I ride it with a break.

I do not blast through intersections with a feeling of self-entitlement.

But I do believe that I am entitled to ride on every road (except for those few that are set aside as high-speed transportation zones for motorized vehicles.

Don’t speed by me exhibiting your own entitlement because this is reckless, illegal, unethical and scary.

Don’t role down your window and scream at me because I have the right to use the same roads (except where otherwise noted) as you to go to the exact same destinations.

If you, drivers want to be left alone, we cyclists want to be left alone at least as much.

In all situations, the pedestrian is given the highest safety priority, the bicyclist comes next (who is really just as vulnerable as peds) – the car comes last. Sorry, But drivers are just not as vulnerable as pedestrians and cyclists. Fender benders are a hassle and expensive. But any bump to a pedestrian can easily become harmful or fatal to this vulnerable population.

Respect that.

I am sure we can work it out on the roads together in a truly civil fashion.

Thank you for reading.

Jesse L.

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Left-Bike Lanes in Washington, DC.

I must admit I don’t really understand the left bike lanes in DC

They don’t jive with how cycling is done in every other place ridden (the rules change for bikes and for cars which cannot be safe).

Plus, they cross over left-turn lanes into which cars routinely pull into and then sit so far away from the curb that they are in the bike lanes. This is not safe either.

Please, someone tell me all the justifications for the left-justified cycle tracks in DC.

Thank you for reading.

Jesse L.

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Following Bike Laws for Safety

Check out @BikeArlington’s Tweet: https://twitter.com/BikeArlington/status/398887843000365056

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Filed under bicycle safety, Bicycles, Commuting

Cars, Get off the Road!

We who ride our bikes every day to work, to coffee and to meetings have had experiences and close-calls along a spectrum of “danger ranges.”

Not every encounter is life threatening, some are simply stressful.

The most common of these stressful experiences involves the phrase “Get off the road” or “Get on the Sidewalk.”

I don’t know if everyone thinks that just because a bike lane or trail is nearby that the cyclist must use it. There is no law in the DC Metro Area stating cyclists must use bike lanes. In most cases, the cyclist WILL use them because they are at least some space set aside. But the times I don’t are when my line of travel is taking me in a different direction than the trail “trails” and I must be ready for narrow roads or some kind of obstacle I must negotiate up ahead – an obstacle most drivers take for granted as a non-problem.

There are a hundred case-specific arguments in favor of not using the trail or sidewalk while on a bike. The most important one is that sidewalks are narrow and MUST be given over to pedestrians for their safety. Just think when the trails are ridden, say the Mt Vernon Trail, the Capitol Crescent or the W & OD, the walkers and joggers move so much more slowly than cyclists and prove to be a little challenge to negotiate from time-to-time. It’s even more dramatically different on sidewalks. It is simply safer for pedestrians and children on bicycles to be able to “own” the sidewalks. That being said, it is perfectly legal for a bicycle to ride on the sidewalk in some places even while it is illegal in others.

I much prefer to think of bicycles as machines designed for roadways (except certain highways and interstates). There should be some places that cars can also expect to get up to full speed over distance.

It is also perfectly legal for bicycles to ride on the road – either toward the right of the lane or taking the whole lane. Each scenario determines what is most safe. That is what matters mostly – safety – not impatience or perceived right-of-way by motorized vehicles just because hey are motorized. The truth is drivers of motorized vehicles HAVE NO RIGHT to yell at bicyclists to get off the road or to get on the sidewalk. They don’t even have the right to arbitrarily honk behind them as they speed by (though many drivers do choose this option). Honking creates more of a problem than just passing safely with three-feet separating the vehicle from the bicycle. Bicyclists ALREADY know there are drivers all around them. Honking does not help the cyclist.

It also does not help if the driver opens their window and screams “Get off the road” or “Get on the sidewalk.” The bicyclist may choose to ride on the sidewalk, but it is the cyclists choice. What if the cyclist yelled those same words at each car they passed or that passed them? Might this be an absurdity? In fact, with the status of bicycles in contemporary culture and their legal status as a transportation mode, it is just as absurd to yell them at bicyclists.

Thank you for reading.

Jesse L.

Twitter: @jlibraryist

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Filed under bicycle safety, Bicycles, Commuting