Bicycle Commute Traffic

I’d forgotten about the commuter traffic here in Northern VA/DC.  By that, I mean the bicycling traffic, not the vehicular traffic because there is almost no way you’ll find me driving to work for a normal day (especially right now since we do not currently have a car).  If I cannot/do not want to bike in, I’ll take the bus and subway, thank you, and let someone else deal with the crush of cars, inattentive drivers, and lanes that suddenly peel off and send you into the outer suburbs if you aren’t careful.

Anyway, back to bicycling.  To get to the Foggy Bottom area, all I need to do is hop on the Mount Vernon Trail, head north, and cross the Potomac at a convenient spot.  I picked up some bad habits while bicycling in Monrovia, such as not verbally announcing when I’m about to pass someone, and using as much of the road as I could get away with.  OK, on the first, it wouldn’t make much difference if I tried to tell cars that I was passing them, so it sort of makes sense that I’d stopped those passing announcements.  Taking up space was a survival mechanism, really, because it meant that I wasn’t riding through sand piles.  However, that makes for a bad combination on a heavily-trafficked bike path back here in the U.S., especially when you have the serious bikers out for training rides zooming by, other bicycle commuters moving at a range of paces and with a range of baggage on their bikes, as well as joggers, walkers, and assorted geese on the path.  I was a bit surprised by the congestion the first day I biked to work this past week.  I suppose I shouldn’t have been since it is still late summer and the days have been really nice, at least in the mornings.  I’m not sure why some people were complaining about humidity since it seemed a little on the dry side to me compared to Monrovia.  That must be why they call it relative humidity (sorry, a bad foreign service/weather joke).

By the end of the week, I was back in the groove of announcing an impending pass of another biker and not taking up more than my fair share of the pathway.  I’m still working on when to overtake someone, being a little hesitant for fear of a bicycle racer coming right at me around one of the blind curves.  Otherwise, it’s good to be back in the saddle and able to enjoy the views along the Potomac to and from work.

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