Thursday, April 14, 2005

Living in Shaw with no car: Biking

Part 2 of the Living in Shaw with no car series. See Part 1, walking for the begining.
One step up from walking is biking. Still requires human power to get around, but a whole lot faster. With a bike, I can get to more places, and places further away that I wouldn't go to if I had to walk.
I bike to Dupont, U Street, Chinatown and recently Foggy Bottom. This is all on the crappy 3 speed. I have a mountain bike but I want to trade it in for a decent hybrid or road bike for part of my commute this summer.
Most of the time I run errands on the bike. A trip to Giant here, pick up a weeks worth of groceries. A trip to Rice or other spots along 14th like the Garden District, pick up more stuff. Trip downtown for research. And unlike a car, I can find someplace to park it in neighborhoods like Dupont or Adams Morgan, where finding a parking spot is difficult.
Not that finding a bike parking spot is a breeze. I don't lock the bike to sign posts as they are not always in the sidewalk properly. I lock the bike to parking meters and lately, more parking meters have been popping up in Shaw. I've noticed parking meters near the Shaw metro station, when a few years back there were very few. Places where there are no parking meters one has to think creatively as to what public structure can be used as bike parking.
There is one place that I think makes having a bike easier in Shaw and that is the non-profit Chain Reaction bike shop. I bought the ugly bike (it was not pretty when I bought it and I've just made it uglier) from them for less than $50. They have been there when I needed new tires, when some jerk bent my rear wheel, flats, new brakes, everything. Yes, it is not a big shop, and it is very cramped but it is close enough from the house that I can drag my busted bike to them and get it fixed so I'm back on the road again.
Other cool things I've noticed pop up in the greater Shaw region are bike lanes. There is a bike lane on R St starting at 7th going until 14th? I'd love to see some on Q Street, and 7th & 9th Sts. There is enough space between the parked cars and the car traffic to ride between the two on those streets, but I really like the clearly marked bike lanes.
Next time, Living in Shaw with no car:Metro
Washington Area Bicyclists Association
Kryponite Locks- They are recalling some of their locks


At 4/14/2005 10:45 AM, Anonymous Sam said...

I'm a biker and a big fan of Chain Reaction as well.

There is a master bike lane plan for the city, don't have the time to look it up now, but I know it includes M st.


At 4/14/2005 11:01 AM, Anonymous Doug said...

Q St. does have a bike lane. It may not go as far East as you, but I know it's there in the Logan Circle area. R goes farther than 14, at least to 16, and Q goes at least that far as well.

As for the master bike plan:

The map is at:
(and is linked from the previous page)

It looks like Q goes from 13th to 18th and R runs from Mass ave (the westeren end of R before Rock Creek Parkway) to 7th.

At 4/14/2005 11:02 AM, Anonymous Doug said...

Ooops. Sorry. Didn't see that you can use html tags. :(

At 4/14/2005 2:48 PM, Blogger Urban Pioneer said...


Is Chain Reaction a place to take your bike for a tune up? I want to put street tires on my bike and tune up the bike...

I always thought it was a clubhouse for the neighborhood kids and a retail store for kids bikes...


At 4/14/2005 3:16 PM, Anonymous Sam said...

I've taken my bike to Chain Reaction before for a tune up and intend on doing so again in the next month or so.

Its a fully functional bike shop but all the work is done by kids who get experience of working during their youth.



At 4/14/2005 3:41 PM, Blogger Mari said...

I never take my bike anywhere for a tune up. But I do take it to Chain Reaction for tires and bike accessories (cuz you know girls like to accessorize). But tune ups? No. I just run my bikes into the ground.

At 4/15/2005 8:58 AM, Blogger Urban Pioneer said...

Wrong word...I mean replace my brakes and tires and make sure that things are okay with the bike.


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