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Thread: Happy Anniversary!!

  1. #21
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    I started bike commuting to summer jobs downtown from the early 1980's, bike commuted in school and grad schools, then did regular commuting from Wheaton in the early 1990s. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

  2. #22
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    lordofthemark is offline I really need to log off the internet and go for a ride.
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    Apologies to those who have heard my story before, here goes:

    From 1981 to 2002, I probably rode a bike maybe a half dozen times - always rentals, always at the beach.

    From 2002 to 2009 or so I rode whatever bike we had around (some youth bike or other) around the neighborhood (in Fairfax County) maybe a dozen times.

    In 2010 we freed ourselves from any tie to Fairfax County Public Schools. We (the royal we - IE QOTM and I) decided that there was no obvious reason to live in Annandale. At this point I was mostly a transit commuter, occasionally driving in. Though I was getting increasingly frustrated with the walk to the express bus (in a ped unfriendly place). Also with my transit commute, which involved an express bus to the Pentagon, and two metros (to get to Navy Yard) QOTM loves walking and was interested in a more walkable lifestyle.

    Now QOTM and I met in Baltimore, still have some friends up there, and look with fondness on Charm City. We tossed around the idea of moving back. I figured the ride on MARC was not really longer than the transit trip from Annandale. But as i mentioned to a colleague at work, due to our Depts location in the Navy Yard area, this would mean taking the MARC train, and then STILL needing to take two metros (red plus green instead of Yellow plus green) to get there. Circulator bus a very slow choice. Or maybe walking from Union Station to Gallery Place to get the Green Line. As it happened the colleague I was talking to, lets call him Bruce (because that is his name), was the office bike nut. Rode on average more than 4 times a week, from some part of Silver Spring several miles beyond the beltway. Often seen in kit, talked about riding, etc, etc. You know the type. He says to me- - Ken, for 75 bucks you can get a CaBi membership. You could have an easy ride from Union Station to Navy Yard.

    Sounded like a good idea. So, this was in the spring of 2012. QOTM was out of town, I had the car. On a Sunday I drove the car to the office (no CaBi in Annandale) and went to the nearby CaBi station to get my day pass, to spend a day seeing how CaBi worked. Except about a month before I had lost my credit card and Wells Fargo had sent me a temporary one. Which did not work. After trying a few times, and calling customer service, we figured out that it was because the temp card was debit only, and CaBi needed credit. I was frustrated, but intent on riding a bike. So I went home, proceeded to the basement, where our old youth sized dept store mountain bike lived inside a closet. After wrestling it out and around the basement clutter, I found the tires were (naturally) flat. I walked it about a mile across Annandale to find a working gas station air pump. I pumped the tires and I rode. On sidewalks and service lanes, I rode. I decided I wanted to ride more. About this time I discovered this forum and began to learn stuff here. I took short recreational rides in different parts of the region (aided by the bike racks on buses) I learned the routes out of Annandale. With Bruce’s encouragement I made it my goal to commute on BTWD 2013. I test rode the commute (bus to Pentagon over the 14th street bridge to Jefferson to Maine to Water Street to 7th to Eye Street). On BTWD I met Bruce and a friend of his, at the Jefferson, and we rode together from there to Canal Park. It was a great day. Over the next few months I rode to work about a half dozen times. In summer of 2014 my wife and I moved – not to Baltimore, but to Alexandria. In part for the bikeability. I commuted the entire way to work by bike for the first time. I went to HDCC, and met people in this wonderful community. With encouragement and advice I have ridden more every year. Arlingtonrider strongly suggested signing up for Freezing Saddles which I did for BAFS 2015 – after almost never riding in winter, I rode a couple of hundred miles, and have ridden more each winter (to the point where January 2018 is my fifth best month in my whole life in terms of mileage). Biking has become part of who I am, and a big part of what I live for. I am thankful for biking, but especially for the wonderful people I have met in this community.


    One thing I am glad of - Bruce, retired these last 5 years, follows me on Strava, and seems to be glad I have joined the biking "lunatics". This coming BTWD will be the fifth anniversary of my commuting by bike (excluding one summer when I rode a bike to a job when I was 19)
    Last edited by lordofthemark; 01-31-2018 at 07:26 PM.

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by komorebi View Post

    Enter WABA's lunchtime seminar on bike commuting, which turned into a combination WABA presentation and skillshare with the existing bike commuters at my office. The WABA rep shared some useful tips, but the most inspiring thing for me was learning that my then-next-door office neighbor was a regular bike commuter. This woman is a grandmother, is in her sixties, and is as un-MAMIL-like as it is possible to be. "If she can do it," I thought, "so can I."

    I wasn't sure how long my commute would take the first time, so I biked to the office on a Sunday, left my bike there overnight, and then biked home on Monday.

    Although the bike commute quickly became my favorite part of the day, I was initially a fair-weather cyclist: I wouldn't commute if I had more than a 50% chance of getting rained on. In September, when it started getting dark on my rides home, I gave up commuting for the rest of the year -- or so I thought. But my Metro commute crosses over the MVT at several places, and every day I'd gaze wistfully at the bike commuters whizzing by with their headlights. I finally went to the local bike shop, bought a good set of lights, and resumed commuting. And then I found Freezing Saddles, which taught me how to ride through the winter.
    I thought I was the only person who did this.

  4. #24
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    Some of you know my story. I bought a mountain bike 20+ years ago. I saw it in a shop window for two-hundred bucks. The clincher was, it came with a free helmet! Back then I didn’t know what was meant by “mountain bike.” I would ride it occasionally, though normally I took Metro (I didn’t own a car…I grew up in Brooklyn).

    My children rode the buses and trains with me (starting when they were two days old)… often as many as eight a day. But as the kids grew, our transportation needs grew too, and included hard-to-reach places. So I’d pack the girls one on top of the other in an umbrella stroller and run 6 or 7 miles with them each day (in addition to taking several buses and trains) to cut down on the intermodal waiting time.

    Then I saw a picture of a bike pulling a trailer, and I was determined to find out more. I ended up purchasing a $500 double Burley and immediately I became a daily/year-round commuter with the kids. It was an amazing sense of liberation and freedom. Those first years, we would park the bike and trailer at the Arlington border when we went into DC, ‘cause I didn’t realize you could bike beyond the borders of the Arlington bike map. But one day I met a guy who knew how to cross into DC, and he showed me the ropes.

    The bike & Burley were our sole means of transportation for many years, ‘til a judge said I would not receive custody of my children if I dragged them around in this odd contraption hitched up to the back of my bicycle. I was informed that as a suburban mom I needed a car. I immediately bought a car -- I use it for nightly carpools, and most everything else is by bicycle.

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by lordofthemark View Post
    I thought I was the only person who did this.
    Are you kidding? Nearly everyone on this forum gazes wistfully at the cyclists we see when we have to travel by other means.

  6. #26
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    I did my 1st true ocommute on Bike to Work day 2016. Prior to that I took bus from Manassas to monument and rode Cabi the 2 miles to capitol hill.

    This 1st real commute I was hand-held by Shawn Gallagher who also worked at Library of Congress. Shawn is quite social so I think we stopped at every BTW meeting place.

    After this I started commuting by driving from manassas to train depot in Vienna and biking to capitol hill and back, a 17-20 mile trip. Then I moved start back to Stringfellow commute lot, a 35 mile trip. Then I wanted to remove car ftom equation entirely and just left from home for the 45 mile trip each way. This meant leaving about 4:30 am to get to CC and work on time, as well as beat horrible rush hour traffic getting out of manassas.

    No shower at work, I put my military expertise with sink (helmet) shower back in practice, along with some scented wipes.

    I went over 2 years not driving or even taking mass transit form Manassas to Capitol Hill. I loved almost every commuter ride.
    Last edited by Bob James; 01-31-2018 at 09:38 PM.

  7. #27
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    I had my first bike commute back in high school. During the summer, I would work at the pool snack bar, mini golf, and batting cage areas of Upton Hill Regional Park in Arlington.

    Since it was so close to my house (just 1 block south on Manchester St from Bluemont Park), I decided one day to try biking on my mountain bike up the multiple hills to get to work. I had traveled part of this route years before during summer camp two years as a 2nd/3rd grader when we would walk from Ashlawn ES to Upton Hill to go to the pool.

    It being summer in Virginia, of course I was drenched in sweat nearly the moment I started up one of the many hills (the hills seemed much bigger back then). I locked my bike up, changed in the pool changing area, and went to work in the snack bar. It probably took me about 10-15 minutes to bike to work, but only about 5 to get home (yay for downhills). Also, I know that as a teenager, personal hygiene was not a priority (I did not put deodorant on after biking to work, so I know I smelled, but I did at least wash my hands before handling the food!).

    While typing this, I decided to map out the route in Strava. It was 1 mile with 242 feet of climbing. Seriously, I thought that was a huge deal back then!

    Over the years, I would bike commute sometimes to my job at REI (the bike shop folks would tease me about my cheap $100 Hechinger’s (remember that place?) bike and tell me to get a “real” one) in Baileys Crossroads (about 15-20 minutes). Later, while at JMU, I’d bike to work from my on-campus dorm then off-campus apartment to various places on campus (Festival & Lakeside Express were the usual places, about 10-20 minutes). After moving back home, I would again bike to REI at Bailey’s Crossroads from my parents’ house, then Marymount University (30-35 minutes), and eventually E*TRADE in Ballston (about 15 minutes). My commute dropped to around 7 minutes when I moved near Ballston, and during that time I became involved in this forum. I remember feeling like I couldn’t relate to any of my fellow bike commuters because my commute was so easy and short (I had to go out of my way just to get a sleaze ride during my first year of BAFS!). My commute increased to 35-40 minutes when I moved to Alexandria. Now that I’m in Tukwila, my commute into Seattle takes around an hour and 15 minutes.

    From 1 mile in 10-15 minutes to 13.5 miles in an hour and 15 minutes, my bike commute has grown quite a bit, but so have my confidence, experience, and skills riding as a result.
    Last edited by bobco85; 02-01-2018 at 11:06 AM. Reason: Adding location to one workplace

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by komorebi View Post
    Although the bike commute quickly became my favorite part of the day, I was initially a fair-weather cyclist: I wouldn't commute if I had more than a 50% chance of getting rained on.
    I hear 'ya sister! I remember being totally obsessed with weather forecasts when I started bike commuting and then fretting ad nauseum over what I was going to wear.

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by reji View Post
    I hear 'ya sister! I remember being totally obsessed with weather forecasts when I started bike commuting and then fretting ad nauseum over what I was going to wear.
    Apparently, I need to HTFU like you. I actually obsess over the weather forecast more now. My decision tree used to be easy: if rain -> then no bike commute. But now I check the hourly and sometimes the minute-by-minute forecast -- not so that I know whether to ride, but so that I know what gear to use, whether I need to pack different clothes for the evening commute, whether I need to allow extra time for the headwind, and so on.

  10. #30
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    Wow these stories are awesome!
    As for me it’s been about 41/2 years...I started on a $99 k-mart bike that weighed a lot, and rode with a meet up group (NOVA Casual Bike Group). For about 6 months it was just weekend biking but it was easy since I’d already been doing back to back spinning classes at the gym. The CBG group dubbed me “Animal”. I started commuting to work and found that not paying for parking was pretty sweet...I started biking to meetings around town too. I took my bike with me when I’d have to take my daughter to softball practice for something to do...and now I either ride to my destination or tow my bike for something to do when I arrive (vacations, conferences) and to centuries on the eastern shore! What I haven’t done yet is bike touring (next on the bucket list!). When I began to use Strava I noticed Karen W would post rides called BAFS or Freezing Saddles #5 etc. I asked...went on my 1st really really cold ride and cried 1/2 way thru...but I was determined to learn...the next year I joined Freezing Saddles. Then Kathy L invited me to my first coffee club (HDCC) in Shirlington and now I’m hooked with a 1365 consecutive day riding streak! Gotta love it...off to Happy Hour!


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