Velointerlude: Can You Bike There? A Visit to Suburban OKC

And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out that all in the world would return to their own cities, up out of Washington and into the City of Oklahoma City. And so it was, being a bikegeek on a visit, that Your Humble Authorre couldn’t give it a rest for the sake of the poor long-suffering family (hey, they kinda encouraged it in the first place, y’know?), but instead subjected them to his desires to look at bike paths and rant about sharrows.

Maybe it was finishing up Death and Life during final approach into Will Rogers. Maybe it’s the fact that I can’t go much of anywhere whenever I visit without some degree of planning out who gets which cars for how long, which gets old. Maybe its the disconcerting feeling of seeing so much open space from parking lots, large setbacks from streets (but without sidewalks), and vacant lots in stable neighborhoods—things I’d rarely see in College Park or DC. Continue reading

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Velointerlude: You Can Bike There

Inspired by a Peteproject for DC neighborhoods, it’s time for a few places you can bike to in College Park—some well-known, others just off the beaten path. One of the best things about College Park is how bike-friendly it is—yes, there’s room for improvement (always is), but it really is the fastest, simplest, and easiest way to get around town, and it keeps getting better.

We should go for a bike ride. Continue reading

Velointerlude: True Confessions of a Transit Racer

Paul Proteus forgive me, for I have raced…and worse still, liked it.

Wait, what? What’s wrong with bike racing?

And the answer, if I’m being absolutely honest, is “nothing.” There are lots of our friends at the shop who race—cyclocross, road, mountain, you name it—but not me. Never me. I’m a transit cyclist. An unracer. I’m not one of those people who shave their legs and follow The Rules for being a jerk roadie. Continue reading

Velointerlude: Fear

There’s the fear of the unknown, of course, the fear that holds you back: the fear you won’t be good enough, that what you’re trying will be too hard, that you’re too old, young, fat, thin, weak, stupid, clumsy—too anything—to try something. And of course you’re good enough to do whatever you want to do with some practice and knowledge, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise—but if you’ve never tried it, how do you know? They’ll keep you up the night before whatever it is you’re planning on doing, especially if it’s going to be an early morning—there’s been more than once that my fear that my alarm wasn’t set right, or that I would sleep through it, or that I’d be too groggy at 6 AM to make it out on time has caused me to stay awake until 3—but, when you go out and do whatever it was you were planning on doing, you find out it was hard, but you were up to it. Continue reading

Velointerlude: A Cyclist’s Calendar

As I write this (14 November), we’re in the midst of our first good, hard cold snap of the year. It’s my first day wearing a real coat on the bike, and I know I’ll be needing full gloves when I lead tomorrow’s ride into DC. For some, it’s time to hang up the bike, or at least spend the next few months in the basement on the trainer listening to NPR. That’s what the sane people will be doing, anyway.

There are many awful things I’ve been accused of. Sanity is not one of them.

Every month, every season has its charms, its unique sights and events. Some are better known than others, of course, but… Continue reading

Velointerlude: A Cyclist’s Guide to Navigation

Of the many not-completely-bike-related skills that will save your tucus time and time again on the bike—and generally make your rides more enjoyable—knowing how to plan and navigate a route to get where you’re going may be one of the most important, yet most overlooked. It’s not like car route planning, where you can ignore terrain and a wrong turn means “nothing” more than wasted time and gas; bad bike navigation can leave you fighting 60 MPH traffic while going uphill into a construction zone…only to have to turn around because it was the wrong way. Conversely, good navigation can lead you to little-known, scenic, or easier bypaths that can add to your ride, and sometimes be worth taking on their own merit. Continue reading

Velointerlude: DC’s Essential Bike Rides

So, my anonymous sources tell me that articles are out, and lists are in. Okay. A list it shall be. The same anonymous sources tell me that lists of local places—”10 Essential DC Eats,” or “13 Best Brunches on 14th Street,” or “11 Places to Get Your Dog’s Toenails Painted in Shaw”—are especially in. Uh, sure, I guess?

Some of these are the “touchstone” rides of DC biking—the things that people on the ever-helpful Washington Area Bike Forum will reference, or that are a unique part of biking in DC. Some of them are just my own personal favorites, hidden gems that most people skip past or don’t even know exist. One or two of them are things that I’ve been meaning to try, and am putting them on a public list so that I now have to do them.

And, this being me, I’m including my favorite places to stop for coffee/ice cream/cool stuff along the way. Continue reading

Velointerlude: On Names

Back in August and September (mostly), I wrote a few things for a project that never quite got off the ground. Call it my own vanity—I will, even if you won’t—but a couple of those things might want to see the light of day. And so, for those of you who like bikewriting, or just want to know what my excuse was for neglecting philosobabble for so long, here you go.

Cyclists can be divided into two, not necessarily exclusive, groups:

a) those who name their bikes
b) those who think group a) is nuts

As a standard bearer for the nuts, and a habitual namer, I’d like to explain the (il)logic behind Kermit, Karl, van Pelt, Junior, Shiny, Battleship Stupid, Igor, Rosie, Templar, Sophia, Wilberforce, Phaedrus, Valentine, and Marianne Kate to those who Just Don’t Get It. Not that I think I’ll win any converts, not that I think I’ll get any fewer funny looks, not that I’d even want to win converts or receive fewer funny looks—but, just maybe, I would like to understand the Crazy Things We Do, and what it says about us. Continue reading