Today was the first DC Bike Ride. This closed streets ride is the successor to Bike DC, an event I did several times in the past. They changed the name because Bike DC had a weather hex on it. The ruse did not work.
The course meanders through the erstwhile swampy bits of DC before heading over toward the Pentagon on the HOV lanes on I 395. The ride costs about 50 bucks for 17 miles so if you were looking for a bargain, this wasn’t it. But it was an opportunity to show people in this area that you support bicycling in DC, even if it means pruney hands.
With temperatures in the 50s and a steady light rain, 8,000 folks gathered on Pennsylvania Avenue. I spotted the #bikeMVT contingent consisting of Linel, Amber, Ed, and Reba. We were later joined by Sam and her mom, Joanne.
Cathy Plume stopped by. Sam, Cathy, and I participated in the protest that completed the installation of u-turn barriers on the Pennsylvania cycletrack last summer.
An announcer came on to give us useful information about all the iconic things we would see on the iconic streets in this iconic city. Somebody shut this guy’s iconic piehole, please!
Soon the announcements were over and the 14 mph group waddle to the starting line. One waddler fell over and his shoe stayed stuck to his pedal. It looked embarrassing and utterly pathetic.
Off we rode. At a brisk 10 mph. We rode into Southwest wear we could see iconic rain. We rode with great enthusiasm (which made up for our lack of speed). Over to Foggy Bottom which seemed aptly named. We made our way to the iconic Whitehurst Freeway. The route seemed to fold back on itself. It also seemed to avoid National Park Service roads, simplifying the clearances needed to put on the ride.
We turned around at the Key Bridge and retraced our route until we crossed the Mall at 14th Street. Just past D Street we could see a minor problem. The early wave of riders were on hold as the last wave of riders cleared the ramp to Maine Ave.
Continuing on 14th, we rode across the iconic Potomac River, near the site of the iconic Air Florida crash. Onward past the iconic Pentagon until we did an iconic U-turn and headed back to DC. On the way, I spotted Nelle (now there’s an icon!) from WABA waving like a maniac. Or perhaps she was pointing out an iconic jersey barrier. I also saw Ultrarunnergirl who fortunately seemed not to be water soluble. Ultrarunnergirl was finishing being best bike buddy of the Big Bike Weekend. I saw her on Bike to Work Day riding south on the Mount Vernon Trail. She rode to Huntington, probably 12 miles past her office, to escort her friend Yolanda on Yolanda’s first bike commute. After the ride, I chatted with them. Yes, she also rode with Yolanda during today’s ride.
We continued on, finally riding around 14 mph. Wheee. Then we turned on to Pennsylvania Avenue. Kathy Lewis waved us in to the finish line.
I rode to the after party which had no signage for bike parking. Erp.
There I hung out with Chris, who volunteered like a maniac all weekend. I met Chris on the first Cider Ride in 2013. I talked to a whole bunch of people, the decided to head back to my car which I had parked at Gravelly Point in Virginia.
WABA walked off with $38,000 from this event. And raised tons of awareness about Vision Zero. Not bad for a truly crummy day of weather.
All things considered DC Bike Ride seemed to be a smashing success. Perhaps next year it will even be iconic.
I stashed a whole bunch of Flickr pix here.
Thanks to the staff people at WABA and the volunteers for all the work you did on this event. Also, thanks to the EMTs and police that stood out in the rain to get us through the event safely.