Tuesday, May 20, 2014

How Long, Lord, Must We Cry for Help?? Intersection of Doom Edition @Arlingtonva @VaDOTNOVA @NPSGWMP @Jim_Moran #bikedc

Answer: Decades.

This map from the National Park Service 1990 DC Trails Plan was recently posted to the local bike forum. It shows that by 1990, the Intersection of Doom was well established as a dangerous intersection.  I moved into Arlington in 1989 and I remember biking through the Intersection of Doom on the way into town.  The Intersection of Doom has been marked on the local bicycle map as a "dangerous intersection" for as long as I can remember.

I'll admit it.  A LOT of the identified problems on this map have been fixed.  Thank you NPS.  But it also indicates the situation.  Where NPS was the only jurisdiction involved in solving the problem, the problems have been generally addressed.  At the Intersection of Doom, we have five - make that four - jurisdictions (Arlington just bought out the private land owner) involved in solving the problem and nothing has gotten done.

Meanwhile, recently a woman hit by a car at the Intersection of Doom reportedly had insult added to injury when a NPS officer came to her hospital bed - not having witnessed the accident - and issued her a ticket for not being in the crosswalk.

Let's be clear where fault lies.  It doesnt lie with the cyclists.  It doesnt lie with the pedestrians.  It doesnt lie with the car drivers.  

It lies with the local governing authorities including Arlington County, VADOT, DC, and NPS who have identified this as a problem for decades, have been lobbied by cyclists to fix this for decades, and whose idea of a solution is to blame the victims.

Fix the Intersection of Doom! 

Do. It.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Biking to Work in bad Weather #bikedc #btwd #btwddc

Tomorrow's forecast is not promising. NOAA is calling for high winds, heavy rain, and lightning.

I have to admit.  I am pretty much a 100% bicycle commuter and I bike straight through the winter.  But it doesnt mean being stupid.  Here are some tips about biking in bad weather:
  • Weather services are wonderful - lots better than way back in the day.  Pull up the local weather radar and see where the storms are.  If a storm is coming, I will change my schedule to miss the storm: leave early; leave late; or shoot the gaps between the storm fronts.
  • Use good gear.  Wear clear eye protection to keep the rain out of your eyes.  Use good bags that keep your stuff dry.  Make sure your brakes are in good working order. Use fenders to reduce the spray on yourself and others.
  • Be visible.  If cars had difficulty seeing you before, they certainly will have trouble seeing you with rain messing up their windows.  Wear high viz colors and lights.
  • Surfaces may be slippery.  Some cyclists use different tires in different weather conditions. This may also increase your braking distance.  And heavy rains may wash debris onto your route.
  • Have an exit strategy:  Can you hop on the subway or a bus if it gets bad?  Can you lock up your bike and stop in a coffee shop to ride out the storm?  
  • Dont ride during lightning.
  • Be careful of flash floods.  Many trails in my area dip down next to creeks and are regularly flooded during strong storms.  Do not ride through floods.
  • Be careful that what looks like a puddle on the road might be a pothole.
Follow Rule #5: Dont be stupid.  If you feel uncomfortable with the weather conditions, either delay your trip or dont cycle that day.

Clean your bike off when you get to your destination to avoid rust.


10 tips for riding in the rain, Active.com

Cold Weather Biking Tips, Bike Arlington

Cycling in icy conditions and bad weather, Bikeradar

Bang! Avoiding Lightning on Your Bike Tour, Traveling Two

Saturday, May 3, 2014

KidicalMass Arlington Ride Schedule

Just in time for the ABCs of Family Biking (an excellent event put on by Kidical Mass DC and friends), Kidical Mass Arlington has a schedule for 2014!  Details, as usual, at our website: kidicalmassarl.blogspot.com ,

It's shaping up to be an exciting year: Taste of Arlington, Father's Day, Tour de France, Arlington County Fair, Clarendon Day and joint rides with Kidical Mass DC and the newly formed Kidical Mass Alexandria!

For the 2014 Spring-Summer-Fall season, we're generally riding on the third Sunday of the month, with some bonus rides thrown in, and some adjustments for some special events. Here's the plan, with the usual caveat that things happen, and you should check the website for details and confirmation.

Sunday, May 18 – Taste of Kidical (a ride to the Taste of Arlington)
Sunday, June 1 – Kidically Spring
Sunday, June 15 – Daddy Kidical (Father’s Day Ride)
Sunday, July 6 – Tour de Kidical (Ride to watch the Tour de France)
Sunday, July 20 – Kidically Arlandria – Joint ride with the newly formed Kidical Mass Alexandria
Sunday, August 10 – Fairly Kidical (a ride to the Arlington Fair)
Saturday, September 27 – Kidically Clarendon (a ride to Clarendon Day)
Saturday, October 4 – Arlington Fun Ride Family Ride

Don't forget to double check the website right before the ride to confirm details.