Friday, March 23, 2012

Popularity of cycling in DC

As bike-riding population grows, D.C. tries to keep pace is the title of an article in the Metro section of today's Post.
By some indicators, it has never been a better time to travel by bike. Gas prices are soaring, spring has arrived, and the District is already one of the most active cities in the country, second in biking and walking only to Boston, according to the Alliance for Biking and Walking. But there’s a downside to the region’s cycling growth: Authorities and advocates are struggling to keep up with a crowd of riders whose skills range from expert to novice in an already congested city.
One way that WABA is trying to help is by providing bike education classes for these new riders. See their full calendar of upcoming classes, although none are available in Fairfax. I occasionally teach for WABA and so I attended a session for WABA instructors held last night at WABA's offices in Adams Morgan. To get there I rode my beater Metro bike to a nearby bus stop, parked and took the Connector bus to West Falls Church where I caught Metro to Foggy Bottom.

When not traveling with my own bike I prefer to use CaBi once in the District. The SpotCycle mobile app is a great way to find stations and check availability of bikes. Unfortunately the apps wasn't working while I was riding Metro in the city. After arriving at the station I quickly found that there were no bikes available at the CaBi station near Foggy Bottom. According to the app, almost all nearby stations were empty. The one station with bikes was near Farragut North, but after walking there I discovered that the one bike at the station wasn't working.

I continued walking toward Dupont Circle in hopes of finding a bike. At M and 18th St the station had two bikes and three people wanting to rent. It was a race to see who could check out a bike first. Fortunately two more bikes arrived and there were bikes for everyone.

It was impressive to see how many people were using bikes last night to get around. DC is making great strides by providing new bike facilities all over town. The ride to Adams Morgan on Columbia Rd is now a little easier where the center turn lane was recently replaced with two 5-foot bike lanes. At the CaBi station near the WABA office I had a different problem; that station was full so I rode on to find an empty stall at a nearby station. Needless to say I was late for the meeting. I'll try to remember to check SpotCycle earlier next time.

See the GreaterGreaterWashington article What's better: More CaBi stations or bigger ones? on the challenges of making bikes available to everyone.

See another recent article on CaBi District homeless get help renting bikes.

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