Sunday, December 28, 2014

2014: A Good Year In Cycling.

2014 was a bad year for NBA players and Valdamir Putin (trying to care here, really).  But it was a great year for cycling.  Because cyclists are generally better people than NBA players and Vladmir, they . . . we deserved a banner year.

The biggest transit stories of 2014 included the expansion of bike lanes into Southwest, DC, where there is increasing development of apartment buildings and decent restaurants.  The 4th Street lanes connect that quarter to the Mall and Northwest.  That means that you can ride from midtown to the ballpark, valet park your bike, watch the game, have a decent dinner, and ride back home.  This is a good thing.

In 2014, DC accomplished having 69 miles of bike lanes, including lanes in very ward of the city.  Now no one will be left out of the cycling movement.

In 2014, "Park-Its," those rubber stoppers you see in parking lots, were added to a portion of Pennsylvania Avenue between 9th and 10th Street, a place where taxis and commuters negotiate illegal u-turns each day, and where I have personally witnessed an offending taxi driver hit a cyclist.  If these work, they could be added to other bike lanes and prevent people from parking in them.  Cheers.

Although Capitol Bikeshare's supplier Alta was purchased in 2014, the system still expanded drastically into the suburbs.  Bike share also set up special docks during the Concert for Valor honoring wounded veterans, making bike share the best way to get to the show.  I was nearly run down by a couple on bike share bikes who could hear Metallica opening the show.  They became unglued over being tardy and began to ride like Lance Armstrong after an injection of performance enhancing drugs.  It was a gift that they were not behind the wheel of a 3000 pound car as they crossed in front of Pashley. Thanks to bike share.

And cycling's appeal was restored in the South in 2014, proving the South can rise again without all the icky features that made it so unappealing for a century or two.  Former DDOT Director, Gabe Klein, authored a study for the City of Charleston that encouraged expansion of bike lanes and a trolley system.

Of course there were cycling tragedies in 2014.  No, I do not refer to the cyclists who were killed by cars this year.  That is terrible as I have blogged in the past.  But among the saddest stories of the year was the closure of Adeline Adeline in Tribeca.  Adeline had been the most elegant of bike stores in the entire country, catering mostly to female city commuters like me.  There wasn't a speck of spandex in the place.  Mecca in Tribecca.  Sort of.  I mourn it even now.

Here are five things you can do to make it easier on yourself to bike commute in 2015.
Locate where you will store your bike, and get a u-lock.
Scout out your shower options near work if your commute is long or uphill.
Get decent panniers.
Make sure you have fenders.
Ride your bike to work everyday unless there is driving rain.

With that in mind, if I see you in the bike lanes in 2015, let's be smug.
Elisa P.

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