#coffeeneuring 5&6: God in a Cup

#5: Potter’s House, Washington, DC (26 miles): Counter Culture Kenyan Thiriku Cooperative pourover

#6: Vigilante Stand, DCCX (11.2 miles), Washington, DC: Brazilian Santa Ines pourover/Acme hazelnut nutella pie—Will Race for Nutella.

IMG_2916It’s been a noisy week in Washington, my hometown, out on the Anacostia.

A DDOT meeting on bike lanes turned into a well-publicised shouting match in Shaw. Churchgoers vs. cyclists, long-time residents vs. newcomers, suburbs vs. the new DC, black vs. white, cars vs. bikes…pick your side of the battle lines and start cursing at one another. Continue reading

#coffeeneuring the GAP (3&4)

3: Joe Greens, Meyersdale, PA; 62.3 miles (Cumberland, MD—Confluence, PA); house coffee with cream (& Turkey/Bacon/Swiss/[unlisted avocado] sandwich with locally made plum lemonade)

4: Ohiopyle Bakery, Ohiopyle, PA; 54.7 miles (Confluence—West Newton, PA); hot chocolate (& pumpkin cookie & apple dumpling & Roast Beast sandwich)

Not Coffee/Not Visited this time: Queen City Creamery, Cumberland, MD (butter pecan peanut butter sundae in homemade waffle bowl); Mountain City Coffeehouse and Creamery, Frostburg, MD (hey, it was good two years ago!); Milroy Farms, Salsbury, PA (Maple Deliciousness!); Sweetie’s Bakery and Cafe, Confluence, PA (sure, pizza, but local maple/walnut ice cream, pumpkin bars that are actually made with actual pumpkin, and Other Sorts of Pastries…); Trailside Restaurant, West Newton, PA (Megalodon fish sandwich and local English IPA…oh, and pierogi pizza); OTB Bicycle Cafe, Pittsburgh (Buck Snort Stout, good hummus, and enough bike puns on their menu to last you a while); Burgatory, Homestead (hey, they’ll grind bacon INTO the burger—and their local draft selection’s pretty good, especially that Blackstrap Stout)

IMG_3091So a three-day trek may be a tad long to ride for a couple cups of coffee and a can of beer, but if I can bike to Annapolis for my Amsterdam fix, then trekking to the Forks of the Ohio for a stout makes total sense.

Plus, I have this totally awesome ‘cross bike that needs to be ridden, and fall foliage is cool.

Continue reading

#coffeeneuring 2: Slipstream

2: Slipstream, Logan Circle, Washington, DC; 15.2 miles: washed process Reko (espresso)

The last time I was at Slipstream, it was sleeting. “Shinola Detroit: Coming Summer 2015” said the sign on 14th NW. Didn’t believe it for a moment. Oh, they’d be there in June, to be sure; I just didn’t believe in summer. That may have been the worst day of that neverending winter (cracked my helmet later after slipping on an icy expansion joint on 9th NW, which may have been the Single Worst Moment of Freezing Saddles for me), but end it did. Continue reading

#coffeeneuring 1: Ceremony

1: Ceremony Coffee Roasters, Annapolis, MD; 64.8 miles: natural process Wazzala

The first time I tried to head out to Annapolis was with Ben and Dustin. I’d spent the night before nervous and not sleeping (this happens a lot before big rides), almost didn’t show up at Proteus, and, when we did get going, had to bail along Springfield Road—just couldn’t keep up on the rollers. Sure, I made it back to the start of the Goose Loop by the time the morning farms ride showed up, but it wasn’t exactly my best showing.

IMG_2429Time two was with Eric and Laurie for BikeMaryland Day; we followed Eric’s supersecretspecialrandoroute. Yeah, um…there’s no way I’m ever going to be able to follow all those cuts we took through Bowie back streets and over metal grate bridges again. I get lost.

Time to screw my courage to the sticking place and take the nutcaseroute. Between highways, geography, and poor planning, there are no good ways between DC and Annapolis, just picking evils.

To summarize: 1/3 is great, 1/3 isn’t too bad, and 1/3 is Bowie.* Continue reading

Case Study 2: Hyattsville

In my last post, I went on quite a bit about connections between communities and effective wayfinding networks. There’s a really great illustration of these points just south of the UMCP campus in the City of Hyattsville.

IMG_2394The wayfinding network is great. In many ways, it’s an exemplar of what these networks should be in suburban environments. Intersections are signposted to eliminate navigational confusion; signs lead naturally to other signs like bread crumbs; routes take the path of least stress around hills and busy streets; signs note linkages to other major routes; directions to transit links, like Metro stations, include their unique logotypes; signs are visible and frequent enough to clearly communicate the message that, if you are walking or riding, these streets and sidewalks are for you and that cars should expect your presence. Continue reading

Case Study 1: The University of Maryland, College Park

“The barriers formed…may indeed keep out extraneous people with sufficient effectiveness. If so, the price will be hostility from the surrounding city and an ever more beleaguered feeling within the fort.”
—Jane Jacobs, describing the University of Chicago, in 
The Death and Life of Great American Cities

Screen Shot 2015-09-15 at 10.38.19 AMIn many ways, the University of Maryland (UMCP) functions as a city in its own right, rather than simply a part of the City of College Park. From a transit perspective, it runs one of the most extensive bus networks in northern Prince George’s County, hosts events that can disrupt traffic on state, federal, and interstate highways, and occupies a crucial place near the intersection of several major commuter bike routes. Within the limits of the main university campus, the Department of Transportation Services (DOTS) manages infrastructure for private autos (and their parking), bus and shuttle networks, pedestrians, and cyclists. Continue reading

Velointerlude: Can You Bike There? Beyond Suburban Sprawl

IMG_2185So, the $360,000 question is this: can you make car-dependent sprawlcities and suburbs like Oklahoma City bikeable? If so, why bother?

No, really. If a car-dependent infrastructure has already developed, why try to radically disrupt it for the sake of something that’s foreign to the local way of thinking? Continue reading

Velointerlude: Can You Bike There? Urban Progress Goes “Boink”

Oklahoma City: Capitol of the New Century. Boomtown. One of the best places to move if you’re looking for a job. Home of new skyscrapers and corporate headquarters. Thief of basketball teams. Nice place to live, but…well, actually, you might want to visit there.

In the decade or so since I left town for school (then more school, then publishing, then…whatever it is I do now), the city’s changed. Money does that to cities. Perfect and combine a couple nifty tricks that open up new oil and gas formations, and it’s like 1972 all over again. People are moving in, and parts of the city I never knew existed in the 19 years I lived there are now Places. Walkable, bikeable, sustainable, and urban Places, I’ve been told—and great Places to score Professorcoats dating from the last oil boom. Continue reading

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

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