The Friday Cyclotouriste

a geo-photoblog chronicling my "excursions velo"

Archive for the ‘Washington DC’ tag

DMV’s bicycling infrastructure, part 3

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The DMV region has a truly excellent network of dedicated bike paths, particularly Arlington.

Thank goodness. Because driving an automobile around the Northern Virginia suburbs reminds me of one of Dante Alighieri‘s hell realms.

But hidden in plain sight is a surprisingly robust matrix of bike lanes and pathways.

From Arlington to Falls Church (including the Metro stops from Rosalyn to West Falls Church) it is quite convenient to go by bicycle from point A to point B.

Many of the paths — like the Curtis Trail shown in these images — traverse wooded areas that are only yards from utterly congested roadways such as Interstate 66.

Above a pair of ducks are enjoying a hidden pond.

The paths are heavily used. In fact, they are busier than most bike paths and lanes I traveled on in California.

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December 17th, 2013 at 7:07 pm

DMV’s bicycling infrastructure, part 2

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Another big part of this region’s bicycling culture is the Capital Bikeshare system.

DC can boast that it had a bike share system in place before New York City and San Francisco. And I can boast that I once worked with the transportation design and planning firm (Alta Planning/Alta Bicycle Share) that built DC’s system.

To check out some of my earlier blog posts on Capital Bikeshare click here.


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December 17th, 2013 at 12:48 pm

DMV’s bicycling infrastructure, part 1

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The DC, Maryland, and Virgina (DMV) region has a pretty robust bicycling culture from what I’ve witnessed.

Urban planners have converted the middle of Pennsylvania Avenue into a rather complex set of bicycle lanes.

The view above is looking east toward the Capitol. The image below is looking west.


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December 15th, 2013 at 6:22 pm

Random Images……Old Schwinn on Georgetown Campus

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I was on the Georgetown University campus this past Friday to attend a talk on Sufism by Pir Zia Inayat Khan (if you’re curious check out his wonderful new book).

En route, this old Schwinn with a vintage Brooks saddle caught my eye. The saddle is disintegrating, but still serving its intended purpose — carrying its rider along life’s unfolding, luminous path.



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November 5th, 2013 at 7:44 pm

On the Road…The Eden Center, Falls Church, VA

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This tree — conveniently used as a bike rack — is in the parking lot behind the giant Vietnamese shopping mall known as the Eden Center. (See below for a view of the front of the mall right before an early evening thunderstorm.)

I ride over here regularly to get my banh mi or pho fix (here are some Yelp reviews if you’re curious).

And if you haven’t noticed, the front wheel you’re looking at in the picture above is super dreamy:

  • 700c x 32mm Grand Bois extra leger tires
  • wide body SON delux Schmidt front generator hub
  • PL23 Pacenti rims
  • Velo Orange porteur rack
  • Velo Orange 45mm hammered fenders

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August 18th, 2013 at 9:40 am


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On the Road……Dali and Vermeer @ National Gallery of Art, Wash DC

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Just outside the main entrance to the National Gallery of Art.

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It’s always worth a visit here if only to experience the museum’s four paintings by Vermeer and Salvador Dali’s “The Sacrament of the Last Supper”.

I’m not sure if it’s true, but I heard that Dali required this painting to be displayed alone, in it’s own viewing room.

The museum has honored the request to some degree, by putting it in a mezzanine, stairway-like area by itself…but I’m not sure this genuinely honors the spirit of Dalil’s wishes.


The Last Supper -- Salvador Dali

And the master of light, Vermeer, I’ve now learned used a camera obscura in his artistic process. When the reflected light of a scene was projected onto a viewing screen, the device would selectively blur certain areas (as does the human eye) and identify precise areas of bright or specular highlights (e.g. the pearl necklaces in the jewelry case below).

Vermeer probably analyzed the camera obscura results to help render his sublime paintings — thus, painting with light!

Woman Holding a Balance -- Johanne Vermeer

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October 17th, 2011 at 5:30 pm

On the Road……Capital Bikeshare @ the US Capitol – Washington, DC

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What a day for a bike ride around the National Mall.

It’s kind of a cliche, but I had to stop for the classic photo-op in front of the Capitol reflecting pool.

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October 12th, 2011 at 8:50 pm

On the Road……The Capitol and Mall with help from DC’s Bikeshare.

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The Capital Bikeshare scheme works like this:

  1. Swipe your credit card at a Bikeshare kiosk to initiate a membership (in my case a 24 hour membership at a cost of $5)
  2. Agree to 120 pages of contract terms by clicking “I agree”
  3. Collect the printed ticket (see above) and enter the code into the docking station to release the bike
  4. Return the bike to any of the 110 stations around the city (if you return the bike within 30 minutes it’s free)

Note: finding a nearby docking station is best accomplished on your smartphone with the remarkably practical Bixou App.


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October 11th, 2011 at 9:12 pm

On the Road……A very verdant Washington, DC

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I just returned from a quick trip to Washington, DC. There’s been lots of rain this summer and it shows! The images below were made (with an iPhone camera) around a residential neighborhood near the Tenleytown metro station.

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The neighborhood is about 1-2 miles from American University. One of the students living across the way from my friend (who hosted me for the day) no doubt uses this good looking mixte to commute to class.

It was fun to see my friend Tom (a developer and owner of the Blue Mash Golf course) and eat at one of the best traditional Neapolitan pizza joints on the east coast (2 Amy’s).

Once again, I tried out the Capital Bikeshare program.  I had a free hour the morning before I was set to return to AZ so I did some cruising around the National Mall. I have a few images I plan to post soon.

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October 6th, 2011 at 8:52 pm


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On the Road……DC, Captial Bikeshare…Part 2, the not-so-good

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I ran into two issues while using the system:

  • persistent shortages of open docks at the 21st and C St. station.

I would often snag the last remaining dock, then observe other riders pedaling away to look for another station to return their bike. I also observed an abandoned bike on the sidewalk because there were no spaces to dock it. Clearly, CaBi needs to add another docking module at this location.

  • the kiosk’s touch screen failed me when I needed it most.

It was critical to be at work by 9am Friday morning. I finished my breakfast at Le Pain Quotidien in Dupont Circle (oatmeal, with fresh berries, OJ, and a cappuccino). I left myself 15-20 minutes to get down to C Street. I was a bit worried about the destination (since the Bixou app was telling me there were no docks available). But when I attempted to check-out a bike, the touch screen at the Dupont kiosk would not respond. Nothing. I was locked out…….TAXI!

The upshot: A great system, with some implementation issues. I unnecessarily spent $9 on taxi fare — not a big deal — but it did raise the cost of relying on CaBi by more than 50% (a 5-day CaBi membership is $15).

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May 21st, 2011 at 8:11 am

On the Road……DC, Capital Bikeshare…Part 1, the good

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I spent five days using the CaBi system to make a simple, 3-mile, round trip commute while working in DC this past week. It was great. I loved not having to ride the metro or take the bus (or have to travel with my own bike).

As much as I enjoyed the system, I did experience a couple snafus that caused me to lose some confidence in the system (more on that in Part 2).

But I had no major complaints about the bike itself. I’m a big, big fan of the front rack and bungee cord. The system worked great for holding my satchel securely in place. The quibbles below are all relatively minor and somewhat subjective:

  • the fenders are too short (as Dave pointed out in the previous post’s comments);
  • the high gear (on the 3-speed hub) could be spaced a tad higher; and,
  • the shift lag — on the bikes I rode — was quite noticeable.

There’s also an amazing (and in my opinion, indispensable) mobile phone app, Bixou, which lets you locate nearby stations and display live updates of both the number of bicycles and the number of open docks at any location.

Example of Bixou's interface, with data from the Paris system.



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May 20th, 2011 at 4:07 pm

On the Road……The Nation’s Capital, Washington, DC

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This post is a bit of a non sequitar since (in my previous post) I was in the middle of describing my ride up Mt. Lemmon.  But I’ve been sent to DC for a week of work-related training giving me the opportunity to try out the Capital Bikeshare program and I thought I would post some images now, rather than wait.

How is the bike share program, you ask?

So far so good, although the persistent thunderstorms have made me keep a keen eye on the sky since I don’t have proper rain gear with me.

I’m staying in Dupont Circle (where I’ve been picking up a bike each morning) and riding to the Department of State (where the bike gets dropped off). The main streets along the way don’t have any designated bike lanes, but I’ve found some smaller, quieter streets that work well. Plus, drivers seem surprisingly tolerant of my existence — so far.


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May 17th, 2011 at 3:41 pm