Cycling in the city is one thing. You have (frequently blocked) bike lanes, often heavy but relatively slow moving traffic and lots of other cyclists around, at least in DC. Suburban cycling can be very different, based on the types of roads, traffic density and speed, and the presence or absence of cycling infrastructure. I think the density cycling traffic makes a difference, too. When I see more cyclists around, it feels like we all are more visible and less vulnerable, though that might just be wishful thinking. Dan Reed, Silver Spring’s Just Up the Pike blogger, posted recently with his thoughts on the suburban cycling experience. His photos vividly illustrate what many suburban cyclists deal with.
I related to Kate C’s post about inadequate bike parking in DC in her A Girl and Her Bike blog. I ride a more compact bike than she does and even swapped out it’s handlebars to make it more urban friendly. Even so, at times it’s tough fitting it into the tight parking spots I often use. Like Kate,I’ve spent some time thinking lately about events of the previous year, and envisioning what I’ll be doing by bike for 2012. She wrote a Year in Review post capturing her thoughts about life, and cycling, as the new year begins.
Tales from the Sharrows DC blogger Brian McEntee has more thoughts on city cycling. There’s been a notable decline in DC’s building out of bike infrastructure since Mayor Gray’s election. I don’t know all the reasons for it, economic, political, whatever. I do know that the city’s traffic is insanely congested, and sadly, that Metro is failing miserably these days. I also realize that as funding declines, tensions over how best to use available dollars climb. Having used the 15th St NW cycle track and ridden in DC’s streets with and without bike lanes, I will say I have mixed feelings about them. Even with having to dodge double-parked cars and watch out for dooring to the left as passengers jump out of cars, as well as to the right,as drivers exit parked cars, I think bike lanes help cyclists and drivers, too. I think the city could develop a larger vision for bikes as transportation, one that would benefit all residents and communities. That said, as Brian contemplates, maybe economic and political conditions force a trade-off between expanding Capital Bikeshare and expansion/maintenance of DC’s bike lanes. It’s an interesting perspective. But do we really have to choose between the two? I’d like to think that investments can be made in both.
Some New Year’s inspiration and more thoughts on the value of Capital Bikeshare are voiced in this interview in DC blogger’s Kate Ryan’s Lane Change. If I lived in DC I’d use CaBi a lot for quick errands. As a commuter who needs to get from point A to point B on time, with no worries of being unable to find or dock a bike, CaBi didn’t work well for me. I get it’s virtues though. It’s inexpensive, maintenance-free, and so long as you find an open dock where you need it, worry-free too. As Tom Bridge comments in this interview, CaBi can get people on bikes who don’t want to or aren’t ready to own a bike, and that’s a good thing.
If you’re looking for some more New Year’s inspiration, check out this reflective post on physical, and metaphysical, resolutions by Shannon Brescher Shea (Will Bike for Pie or Change). Whether your goals for the New Year are physical or metaphysical, concrete or visionary, new for 2012 or the previous years’ repeats, I wish you the best in reaching for them. Have a year of doing good and being well in 2012.