This year's Bike to Work observation finds me in Washington, D.C., where it's mostly confined to one day, Friday, which I guess is the officially-designated Big Day. That, of course, puts all the chips on one day's weather, which in mid-spring is decidedly a gamble. As reported last year (see below), Friday in Cedar Rapids was wretched and not even your humble blogger was biking to work in that slop. This year in Washington, Bike to Work Day fell on a wet day--the sixth day in a row of measurable precipitation, as it happened--which held crowds down but not completely.
Bike to Work Day in Washington has mobile and stationary features. On the move were nineteen bicycle convoys through various parts of the metropolitan area. Nearly all started in suburban locations. Eight of them ended at Freedom Plaza in Washington's business district, but others ended in suburban areas. Start times ranged from 5:30 to 8:00 a.m. with routes described as secondary roads, trails, and bike lanes. The "experienced riders" who led the convoys surely know how to navigate all the perils of commuter cycling.
There were also 100 pit stops throughout the region, 28 in the city, with refreshments, prize drawings, and--for those who pre-registered online--t-shirts.
I volunteered at the Eastern Market Station pit stop near my apartment, which was hosted by the Capitol Hill Business Improvement District. I was there to help the folks from Washington Area Bicyclist Association, which was encouraging signups and renewals with $5 off the regular fee ($30 instead of $35). Our captain, Ursula Sandstrom, was hoping for 30 signups after getting 20 last year--we got 15, which we decided was pretty good considering the weather.
The stream of visitors was steady from before 7 til after 9. Lines didn't compare to last year's, experienced pit stop staff told me, again attributable to the weather, but our business was constant, and even included some children on their ways to school.
Visitors got helpful handouts along with fruit from Harris Teeter...
...bagels from Bullfrog...
...doughnut holes from District Doughnut and coffee from Peregrine Espresso. City Bikes was there to do checkups.
Washington is a gold-level Bike Friendly Community, and bicyclists are everywhere a presence here. There is much to be negotiated yet in the competition for space on streets and sidewalks, but the desire is manifest even on a rainy day for safe, viable choices in commuting, and that has me feeling optimistic.
"Bike to Work Week Diary," 15 May 2017