DC – A Bikeable City, Mostly

How best to get from my West End office to an early evening appointment in Cleveland Park? That was my commuting question last Thursday. I considered Metro but decided that, given the timing the 2.5 mile bike ride to followed by a 4.7 mile ride to Union Station would work best.

The weather was favorable and the route straightforward. I’d biked Connecticut before and thought it would be do-able to ride it around 4:30 p.m. to the appointment, and then after 6 coming back. As it turned out, not so much.

The first half mile or so was lovely, pedaling 22nd-Florida. Connecticut was far more congested than I’d expected. Maybe my prior ride home on Connecticut was during the summer, when there’s less traffic?

In the past year, most of my DC riding is below Dupont Circle to Union Station. DC has become increasingly bike friendly, noticeably so on the streets I frequent. That is to say, while there are still plenty of bike-unfriendly incidents and areas, drivers are used to road sharing with cyclists and increasingly the streets have cycling facilities. You see lots of other bikes on the road, creating a sense of safety in numbers.

On Connecticut north of Dupont Circle, it’s a different world. Heavy traffic, no bike facilities, and very few cyclists. I felt distinctly uncomfortable going both to and from Cleveland Park destination and doubt I will ride it again. Google Maps bike directions suggested going an indirect and intricate route using Rock Creek Park. I opted to avoid that, partly due to lack of time and partly due to Rock Creek bike trail’s poor condition. If I decide to make the trip again, I’ll see if the Massachusetts Ave route is more bikeable. I wonder what routes Cleveland and Woodley Park bike commuters prefer?

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