Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Down from the ledge

Despite Monday's pessimism, there is a personal ray of light. I upgraded my bike tires and brake pads yesterday and started commuting by bike. This is roughly a nine mile trek from the sprawling part of Alexandria to northwest DC (near the White House).

It took me 2 hours to get home last night due to the nearly illegible bridge traffic over the Potomac. The Key Bridge connecting Rosslyn and Georgetown allows for pedestrian and bike traffic, but getting out of Rosslyn requires riding either on the GW Parkway, US 29, or I-66, which I think would be dangerous, if not illegal. Thus, I had to take the Mt. Vernon Trail past the airport, then ride from one side of Alexandria to the other. The Roosevelt Bridge and the Memorial Bridge didn't seem to allow bike traffic (or even access).

This morning, however, was a different story. After starting from home, I steeled my nerves and sped down US 29 for about 3 miles, then headed over the Key Bridge into Georgetown. Not much danger and no horn honks on 29. The best part was that it took exactly the same amount of time as my bus/train commute. I can bike 9 miles as fast as I can Metro -- 52 minutes. I can't believe how easy this was, except for one bastard of a hill in Alexandria on Walter Reed. Fortunately, my building has a fitness facility with a locker room and shower; this initiative should yield improvements in fitness and attitude while I bike in the remainder of my stay in DC.

UPDATE: 61 minutes home and 62 minutes in 7-7-05

UPDATE 2: Using this sweet site, I calculated my morning route to be 10.1 miles.


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