Friday, September 12, 2008

Green Day

I was green today. Oh yeah. This morning I went to the furthest outlying SmartBike rack, the one at Dupont Circle, to check out its actual location and to simulate a "bike commute" to work.

When I arrived in Dupont Circle, I checked out both entrances to the Metro Station but couldn't locate a SmartBike rack. So I asked a nearby downtown Hospitality Ambassador, standing around in her distinctive black and gold clothing (an "ask me" person), where the SmartBike rack was. She had never heard of the SmartBike program but she got on her radio and in minutes had the answer. As a matter of fact she chased me down with the information because by then I was wandering around asking other clueless persons. (Right: These Golden Triangle Ambassadors will get you answers in downtown DC.)

Mass Avenue on Dupont Circle. Sure enough, there was the bike rack, out of sight of either entranceway but loaded with the distinctive red and white bikes.

Rush hour traffic in DC is nuts. I decided the safest route over to the Union Station area where I work didn't lie in following the hypotenuse down Mass Avenue to Union Station, but rather going along the two legs of the triangle. So I gained Rock Creek Park, where there is a bike path, by going a few blocks down P Street, almost getting run over by a swiftly moving Metro bus in the process. After my traverse down Rock Creek Park, I hung a left and rode up the Mall to near Judiciary Square, whereupon I rode a few blocks on city streets to the drop-off bike rack.

Lo and behold, there was a SmartBike guy there, dressed in red and white clothing, unloading several bikes from that full rack to transport them in his red and white van to less full racks at other locations. I helpfully wheeled a couple of bikes over to his van to help him out.

Twenty-nine minutes on a bike. My legs were on fire. But this is a program that works. I have a stable of 100 bikes being kept downtown for my personal use anytime (between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.), all being serviced by a legion of mechanics and drivers, for $40 a year. Nah-nah, do you?

11 comments:

jeanne said...

awesomeness! i'm still worried about the helmet, but if you are not wearing one don't tell me i don't want to know.

i'm still terrified to ride in traffic, but i do have some tips if you'd like me to pass them on!

Rainmaker said...

So how does that helmet work?

Btw...slowly but surely, you are coming over to the dark side...

Susan said...

This program does sound awesome!

Just12Finish said...

Kudos to you!

ShirleyPerly said...

Cool! Sounds like this program is working out well for you. A little running after the biking and you're a duathlete :-)

Races In Places said...

Hey there,

Came across your blog via She Do Run Run and must say we love hearing about your DC routes! I myself lived many years in Fredericksburg so naturally spent much time up in DC. This biking program sounds great. Wonder if they'll ever branch out to NYC...

Anyway, just stopping by to say hello and thanks for the DC memories!

Dori said...

Glad you're enjoying the bike program. It does sound good. I'm happy to get off the beaten path in the interest of safety. Live to ride again!

Sunshine said...

Who ever heard of canceling a marathon race in progess... except maybe in Chicago? Well, guess what; we did it again... at the Lewis & Clark Marathon in St. Charles, Missouri, on Sunday.

Nice work on making the bike program work... Glad it works for you... And using it will help it to be a success, too. Happy riding.

CewTwo said...

There is something very cool about riding a bike. It is a feeling of freedom greater than running gives you. I think that is because of the distance that you can travel!

Enjoy it and take advantage of it!

Anne said...

Would be nice if the program really took off so you might not have as many scary encounters with cars and Metro buses, but I guess that's life in D.C. I'm a little jealous, actually.

Jade Lady said...

Wow. DC really knows how to go green! What a great program. Thanks for enlightening us about this program.