Biking on the Highway

I recently found out that my fear of driving on the highway is a far, far, far, distant second to biking on the highway.  (Unless it’s during BikeDC, that’s awesome.)  The 14th St. Bridge is bikable, but apparently you need to know HOW to bike it.

If you just bike down 14th St, you’ll start to notice that cars are going very fast.  You’ll look around and wonder if there’s a bike lane.  Then you’ll realize that you just biked onto I-395.  At this point, your eyes will go very wide, and you’ll pull over onto the shoulder.

The shoulder at this point is about 6 inches wide.  You’ll wait until there are no cars in the right lane, and you’ll quickly turn your bike around.  Very slowly, walk back the way you came.  Peer over the bridge to your left; nope, still too tall to jump.  At some point, you’ll come to a tunnel which goes under the US Financial Management Service building.  There will be cars coming very fast out of this tunnel.  You don’t want to go in there.

Looking down, you’ll see that there’s only about a 20 foot drop into the garden outside of the US Financial Management Service building.  Wait for a lull in traffic, swing you bike over the ledge, and drop it as carefully as you can.  Jump down.  Go home, celebrate, you’re alive.

See the map above?  Follow those directions.  There’s a sidewalk path that does go over the 14th St. Bridge, but you need to make a turn off of 14th to get onto that.  Do that.

That red circle is where you should jump into, if you get yourself into a situation as stupid as mine.

Weird Saddle Malfunction

I did BikeDC again this year, and it was again excellent.  There were definitely some issues; because they included the Rock Creek Parkway, they had to start early, but the metro doesn’t open early, so it made the beginning a little stressful.

This year I got a team together, “Team Will is Awesome and you can be too” (and as a team organizer, it was cheaper, and I got a free jersey!) so I had to wait around and make sure everyone got their tags, etc.  Nonetheless, I managed to do the whole ride, yay!

Approaching one of the rest stops, we were going really slowly up a hill.  I managed to make it fine, but at the very stop, when there were tons of people, my pace slowed too much and I needed to dismount.  I’m still getting used to my new bike a little bit, including the clip-in shoes…

I fell.  Cut myself up a little, but not too bad.  When I got back on the bike shortly, something felt weird.  I was off balance.  Did I bend the seat post or something; it wasn’t a hard fall, just standing in place and fell straight over.

As you can see, the seat is a little off balance.  If you take a look at the bottom:

One of those metal bars somehow came out of the saddle.  Tried to brute force it back in, obviously with no luck.  Took it back to Revolution Cycles, and they had never seen such a thing.  Luckily the bike is still under a full warranty and they talked to Trek and got it replaced for free.

They even got me a better saddle than this one.  I had them explain it to me, but I’m still not entirely sure what makes a saddle better and more expensive, but whatever, I’ll take it.

Bikeshare god mode


I’ve thought up a brilliant idea for bikeshare: god mode.  Only bikeshare gods would be allowed to take the last bike from a rack, or fill in the last slot.

I volunteer myself to be the only user with this power.

Biking the W&OD Trail


Adding to my list of trails biked around DC; the Washington and Old Dominion Bike trail.

Ray and I set out early Wednesday morning (starting at 6am, since I had to get back for group meeting…) from Gravelly Point, headed briefly on the Mt. Vernon Trail, connected to Four Mile Trail, and then set off on the 45 mile long W&OD Trail.

Aside from the length, it’s a pretty easy trail.  It was built over the old W&OD Railroad, so it can’t support much elevation change.  The difference between the highest and lowest points is only about 150 meters.

I’ve now set new records for the most biked in one stretch, and in one day, at 103.2 and 111 miles respectively.  Definitely a major contributor to 500 Mile May, which I’m doing again this year.  It had been about 2 months since I bought the new bike, and now it feels nice and broken in.

I definitely want to do this again this summer.  We only stopped for five minute breaks here and there, we wanted to do it all in one bang.  I hear there’s a good BBQ place in Purcellville (the end of the trail) and stuffing myself with tons of rich heavy food before biking another 50 miles sounds like a terrible idea which I should probably try.

Good times.  Except for the extremely well-defined sunburn as a result of tight pants/jersey and forgetting sunblock.


New Bike

After doing so much biking, I decided I deserve a new bike. Also, my old frame was too small for me, and even with the seat well above the safety line, it was killing my knees. Here she is!


After trying out a few different bikes at Revolution Cycles, I decided to go with the Trek 7.3 FX. I’ve only logged 57 miles on it, but it’s been fantastic so far.

So much lighter than my old one, and I splurged (even more) and got clip-in pedals/shoes. After only one harmless mild fall, I’ve got it down pretty well in terms of getting in and out of the pedals. Looking forward to many miles.

Sadly, my old bike didn’t have a name. That was silly, and should be remedied this time. I’m tentatively going with Aura, the Titan of the breeze. I can’t finalize that until I read into her background, so into Dionysiaca I go!


New bike is so fast!
Racking up miles I go zoom!
I’m fast like the breeze


2011: So Much Biking

So much biking! After 500 Mile May, I decided to start tracking all of my biking. I just kept a big Google doc full of all of the miles I did; it was actually pretty easy.

Most of the biking I do on my own bike is the same route back and forth from home to the metro station, then most of my biking within DC is on Capital Bikeshare, and they made it very easy to monitor how much I bike. I just had to stay on top of mapping my routes shortly after, so I’d remember and could log the miles.

How many miles? At least 1733 miles, probably about 2000. I only started tracking in May, so I can’t say with any certainty about January through April, but based on the rest of my months, 2000 is probably accurate:


Obviously with my goal of 500 miles for May, that was the big month. After that, DC summer got disgusting, so I didn’t make it quite as much. I also kept track of what how many miles I did on each bike; my own bike, CaBi, and any other bike lumped into ‘other’.

1187.5: My bike
395: CaBi
150.5: Other
1733: Total


So many miles! Lots of fun; I’m keeping track again this year, and hopefully will make it even more miles!

Obsessive tracking
Is clearly my kinda thing
Makes such pretty graphs


Bikeshare Tracking


Bikeshare has started keeping track of more stats from their rides. I’m not sure how accurate it is, but they explain how they get the numbers:

Here’s how all these statistics were calculated:

For miles traveled, we determine distance by drawing a straight line from your start and stop stations.

For carbon offset calculations, we use the goDCgo‘s Carbon Calculator to determine your CO2 output, using 7.456 mph as an average cycling speed. Next, we determine the CO2 output of a midsized car traveling at 21 mph for the same distance as your trip. Subtracting your output from the car’s gives us your carbon offset.

For calories burned, we start with base equation of averages where a 180 lb person traveling at 7.456 mph burns 43 calories per mile. Your calories burned are equal to 43 calories multiplied by your miles traveled.

Lastly, for the Advanced Calorie Calculator we use the number of minutes (converted into hours) then multiplied by 7 calories per kilogram (0.4536 per pound) per hour.

I probably go faster than that, but weigh less than that, so maybe it averages out? Anyhow, it’s a rough estimate, and cool to see numbers.

That top ride is my standard Rosslyn to Georgetown trip to avoid having to take the shuttle in the mornings. It’s quicker too.

Tracking things is fun
Glad Bikeshare will give aid to
My obsessiveness


Flat Tire

Along my trip this morning, my back tire picked up a screw. I learned from last time, and had a spare tire with me at least.


That sucked, but I had the tools with me to fix it: spare tube, tube changy thing (apparently called tire levers, makes sense), and a hand/CO2 pump. It was on the rear tire, which is more of a pain, but it was doable.

The annoying part is that 5 different cyclists passed me as I was fixing this along the bike path, and not one asked if I needed help. I didn’t this time, and I wasn’t actively waving anyone down, but frustrating nonetheless. Biker etiquette anyone?

A screw in the tube
Had the tools, didn’t need help
They’re jerks nonetheless