Nishiki Comes to DC

Normally I am not in the office  on Fridays but this week was an exception. Given that I had been planning to bring my Nishiki mixte in to DC, this seemed like a good day to do it.  My goal was to get the Nishiki to the Bike N Roll Bikestation. I have  rented a spot there so I can use the Nishiki for the Union Station-to-office end of my commute.

I figured I would drive to my office and then take a mid-afternoon break to ride the bike over to Bikestation. That allowed me to arrive at work on time for a late morning meeting, after spending the early morning on a conference call. The parking garage attendants were confused indeed when I pulled my bike out of the car and locked it to their bike rack (so cool that they have a bike rack, no charge). English was not their first language and it’s the only one I have much command of these days. I could tell that they didn’t understand my explanation and I probably just seemed slightly crazy to them!

Predictably enough the day was busy and it was late afternoon before I could do the ride. The previously sunny sky had turned gray  and in fact it started raining as I left the office. “Just so it doesn’t thunderstorm,”  I wished as I hopped onto the bike. I was taking my chances since the forecast was a 50% probability of that happening. I was lucky; the rain shower passed and no storms struck. We had an odd combination of gray sky but at the same time strong sun. I can’t quite explain how  that works but I was glad not to have a thunderstorm to deal with.

I started out with no particular route in mind, resulting in a bit of meandering. I went up 22nd to N, took N to New Hampshire and New Hampshire to L. I stayed on L, thinking to turn right at 13th or 12th to E. I changed my mind at 15th when I saw the separated two-way cycle track there.  I was curious to try it.  I rode it to H where 15th  stops and there is a barricaded driveway by some important government building. After puzzling for a bit as to how to pick up 15th again, I rode through the  neighboring parklet on a sidewalk (it was expedient if not the best way to go). Sure enough I was able to pick up 15th and the cycle track on the other side. Took 15th to Pennsylvania, rode past the White House (I always have the optical illusion that I can’t fit between those barrier things that keep vehicles out. Of course I can, but I have to see another cyclist go through before me in order to believe it).  

From there I think what I did is take Pennsylvania to 13th. It gets odd there because Pennsylvania separates into two streets at that point, each one way. I then picked up 13th, continued on it, using the center of the road 2-way bike track, and took a slight left to pick up E. Heading toward Massachussetts on E, which has a standard bike lane (on the right, complete with idling and parked cars) I came to a closed section of the road. I don’t have the best grasp of the neighborhood streets there but accomplished a detour without getting lost, though I did have to dismount to cross a busy intersection. Back on E, I made my way over to the Bike N Roll/Bikestation.

This was my first time in the Bikestation. There are two levels of bike racks. For me the upper racks would be hard to use, I think, but I had no problem finding a floor level space. I locked my bike to the rack and then looked around a bit. There’s a small changing room there, lockers you can rent and a tire pump  to use as needed. Next door, Bike N Roll runs a bike rental business and  sells things you might need or want. There’s a small selection of locks, helmets, bags, chain lube, grips and other accessories. The friendly staff answers questions enthusiastically and could do bike repair or maintenance if you wanted.

The ride over took me about 30 minutes, so it was slow going what with stops for traffic lights and pauses to get my bearings. But it was a fun 30 minutes.  Metro-ing back to get my car took about as long and was quite un-fun. The train kept stopping for minutes at a time due to another train in front of us. Nice job of highlighting  one of the many the benefits of cycling over Metro.  I am excited to have the Nishiki on hand for this part of my commute. It will add about 24 miles/week of cycling time and give me the freedom to take mid-day rides (if I ever have time!) or to run errands that I otherwise could not do.

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