Tagged: biking

First question: What is an alleycat? The first time I saw a poster announcing an alleycat, it was clear it was a bike event, but I didn’t see where the alleys and the cats fit in. DC’s most recent alleycat was the “Presidential Inauguration Alleycat.” Like a good party, alleycats always have a theme. Costumes aren’t required, but it’s nice to see at least one of the participants dressed up for the ocassion.

Pants on Display
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Inaugurating a New Alleycat

Sunday was made more fabulous by the hundreds of stylish cyclists who participated in the 2012 Tweed Ride. The streets were home to a parade of retro fashions and vintage accessories. Even some of the bikes were handsome antiques. The starting point was Franklin Square, which looked like a costume party, recreating a splendid autumn afternoon in 1912. Downtown D.C. is quiet on weekends, meaning less traffic for the gentle riders to compete with. A few photos from this leisurely event:


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Taking to Tweed, Then the Streets

The critical mass bike ride turned 20 last week. My first exposure to it was about 10 years ago in San Francisco, the city of its birth. It was my first big bike ride, and a sight to behold. There were hundreds of cyclists, too many for me to see the group’s beginning or end. The ride started in Chinatown, on a one-lane road that we overwhelmed. Later we merged onto larger roads, where I was exposed to a mixture of angry honks and supportive honks from the cars. At times it felt risky, but overall the experience was exhilarating. There was a palpable camaraderie with the other cyclists, and even with many of the drivers who cheered us on. At times, it felt like being in a parade.

Years later, I began joining the monthly critical mass bike ride in Washington, DC. This city has a much smaller attendance, ranging from a handful in the colder months, to a couple dozen on a typical night, and the rare large outing of over 50 cyclists. There are a few regulars, and I’ve seen others who check it out once, never to return.

Gathered in Georgetown » Continue Reading…

Looking Back at the Critical Mass

It’s great to see a vast underground multi-level parking garage put to a creative new use. The Diamond Derby returned to Crystal City, landing in a garage a few blocks from their debut in March. Crystal City doesn’t have many exciting venues, so this bike race was a good fit. Biking in the D.C. region isn’t normally a spectator sport; the derby was a fun opportunity to watch folks hustling around the underground space, many in costume. The final race added a haystack obstacle, with the top-level cyclists practically flying over and smashing through. Here are some photos from the event.

Around the Ramp » Continue Reading…

One of the best bike rides from Washington is riding along the Potomac River to Great Falls. Reaching the Virginia side of Great Falls can be a challenge for cyclists from DC, but the Great Falls Tavern Visitor Center on the Maryland side offers the same views and is a straightforward journey. The Visitor Center lies smack in the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park. The C&O Canal starts in Georgetown, taking you from the city to the countryside. My teenage nephew Greg was in town, so with his help I’ve documented our bike trip, taken on a Monday in late July (mixing in some shots from other days).

Start of the C&O Canal » Continue Reading…

No one puts as much charm and creativity into a group bike ride as BicycleSpace, the little bike shop by the convention center on 7th St. Last year they started a series of full-moon bike rides, encouraging folks to dress in white, and treating everyone to a warm summer ride through the city. July’s full moon ride was given a theme of fireflies; everyone was given a yellow glow stick at the starting point in Mount Vernon Square. Around 800 cyclists participated, making quite the sight. Midway through the ride, it started to rain, but not heavily enough to discourage the hardy cyclists. We were treated to a few beautiful bolts of lightning. Arriving at Lincoln Park in Capitol Hill, volunteers laid out a wonderful picnic, with the rain soon coming to an end. Here are a few photos from the ride.

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I dipped into DC’s data catalog and extracted the bike theft data. They have five years of crime stats posted. However, the most recent year, 2011, has only 5 bike thefts reported. That’s after 629 in 2007, 729 in 2008, 551 in 2009, and 545 in 2010.

The crimes are recorded in the city’s database as crime = theft and method = bicycle. I’m baffled why this is recorded in a “method” field; this sounds like the crime was committed by someone on a bike. The city’s Crime Incidents page defines their usage thus: » Continue Reading…

Wednesday night offered a chance to “rub wheels with internet royalty.” Bicycle Space organized a tour of Washington, DC, to welcome the blogger behind Bike Snob NYC. The tour hit all the highlights: from Mount Vernon Square to the White House, to the Lincoln Memorial, to the baseball stadium, and more. A large group enjoyed the warm spring evening, and we were treated to popsicles atop the Nationals parking garage.

Set to Tour
Gathering at the convention center

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An Evening with BikeSnobNYC

Cyclists converged in Arlington, Virginia this weekend for the Crystal City Diamond Derby. An underground parking garage was transformed into a race course, with cyclists of all levels taking the challenge to get in as many laps as they could in 20-minute races. An outdoor lot was used for exhibition DC Bike Polo games. Dandies & Quaintrelles brought hundreds of bike riders from Washington to the event via their “River Ride.” The garage had food booths that filled the space with the welcome smell of barbeque, around an artsy “Diamond Lounge” curated by Corehaus DC.

This was a great event, and a smart promotion for the Crystal City Business Improvement District. I was impressed to see a parking garage transformed into such a creative space, a space that would otherwise sit vacant on a weekend. This event will surely get better each year. As a favor to everyone with a camera, I hope they add more lighting to the race course. Surely some Dan Flavin-inspired colored fluorescent light bulbs would add a festive touch as well.

Battle of the Blurs » Continue Reading…

The Bike Shops and Beyond map was created just over 4 weeks ago, but was already due for an update. Bicycle Space has moved to a new location, 8 Capital Bikeshare stations have been added, and I added a bunch of shops that had been missing. Though the map purports to represent only Washington, D.C. and Arlington, Virginia, I added more places around the region’s perimeter. (See Mapping Bike Shops, and Beyond.)

To support the map’s bike-friendly theme, I used a bike-oriented map. This was done by using the Layers feature of the Google Maps JavaScript API. The Bicycling Layer is drawn on top of the traditional Google map types (including the satellite view), and displays bike lanes and suggested bike routes. I do not have a bike layer for the OpenStreetMaps view. » Continue Reading…