Showing posts with label Virginia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Virginia. Show all posts

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Four Mile Run Renewal

Four Mile Run new asphalt
This "intersection" has been widened

This can be a complicated spot for cyclists and pedestrians to negotiate when several come together at once going in several directions. As part of a project to improve the area along the nearby stream, the asphalt was completely redone here.

I was glad to see that a segment of fence was moved so that it was no longer aligned with the concrete walkway. Previously when riding towards the concrete walkway from the asphalt while turning to the right the end of the steel fence could be something a rider could end up crashing into if anything went wrong. That risk is now reduced - good!

Four Mile Run new asphalt
Fence has been moved away from concrete walkway

Oddly though gentle curve of the asphalt edge along the right is straightened out for about the last two feet. A reasonable principle of road design is that the curve of the roadway should be consistent and predictable - it seems neither of those that it straightens out. Now of course this is in plain sight, but when riding and paying attention an oncoming bicycle and possibly walkers or runners, it is better if the edge of the path is laid out predictably, not oddly.

It almost certainly looks like a small thing, but over almost twenty years of commuting and other riding, it is just this kind of thing that I have negotiated poorly, leading to dumb falling accidents. Now the asphalt part of the intersection is much wider, but when turning to the right the concrete walkway is just the same relatively narrow width as it was before and a rider will naturally gravitate as far as possible to the right while making the turn when there is an oncoming bicycle.

FourMileRunDetail
Asphalt curves to right but straightens last two feet or so for no obvious (good) reason

It's great that there is more asphalt to help reduce some of the difficulty navigating this intersection and that the fence was moved, but the one detail could have been better. Well, in my view anyway.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

What One Sees While Commuting

Crew training on Four Mile Run
Unusually warm February day brings crew team to Four Mile Run for training

Not much room for crew on this stream, really
I guess they came up from the Potomac

Untitled
There were in fact two racing shell and a motorboat

Normally my commute is on the other side of Four Mile Run, where the Arlington water treatment plant is, but at the moment cyclists are supposed to use a detour while some work is done along the north bank.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

To the Women's March on Washington by Bike

Bike Valet at Women's March on Washington
Bike valet parking at L'Enfant Plaza SW & Independence Avenue

It is about nine miles from my house to where the bike valet parking was set up for the Women's March on Washington - I decided to take my ancient 1973 three-speed Raleigh Sports bike that is indestructible and also not a bike that would be a loss if something bad did happen to it (like it disappeared).

According to the Women's March on Washington web site, there were 1,500 parking spots at this bike valet service for bicycles, which they seemed to suggest would not be enough, but alas the bike valet service was not much used. The above photo was taken at around 9:30, about 30 minutes before the rally started, and there were maybe a few dozen bikes parked total. Hmm. When I left the area around 2:15, heavy crowds extended down Independence Avenue further than this - far too crowded to try to walk a bicycle in that direction - I was able to leave the area by going south, away from Independence, crossing over the railroad tracks and SW freeway on L'Enfant Plaza, then down to Maine Ave and the usual bike route from the Jefferson Memorial area onward across the 14th St Bridge and into Arlington. So for me at least the bike valet parking was well situated.

Given the huge number of people who attended and the stories of how Metro was overwhelmed, it appears bicycle was a good solution, but apparently not an obvious one, although I understand many people came in groups and a group bike ride to something like this probably isn't the first idea one has. Still, the bike valet must have been one of the more over-provided (or under-utilized) resources connected with this event.

Both on the way to the March and on the ride home, I saw more attendees riding Capital Bikeshare bikes than their own bikes.

Women's March on Washington
Listening to speakers at the March

It was an uplifting experience in many ways, even if the historical fact that drove the organizers to create it isn't a positive one in my view. I was glad to be there. Who knows how many people were really there, but Lord that was a lot of people.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Moscow Extreme Weekend Cycling Event

It was a bit chilly for Washington today, but I wanted to test out some different cold weather gear and went for about a 7-8 mile ride in the middle of the day. It was around 18 F or about -8 C - my winter stuff worked OK to keep me warm, but riding back I was a little slowed by a steady cold wind. Ugh.

But this weekend in Moscow there was a winter "Velo-Parade" that was held despite unusually cold conditions there (even for Moscow) with a ride-time temperature of -27 C, or about -17 F. Yikes! I guess I have nothing to complain about.

SecondMoscowVeloParade
Poster available to print and post from one of the event organizers, http://i-bike-msk.ru/

There is this story in Russian, from the Russian News Agency TASS. There is a shorter version in English. It says in English, in an example of less than great translation, that the participants were "recommended to be accurate" which in Russian was really something like they were told be careful. Perhaps a machine translation. There were about 500 participants. The "Ministry of Extreme Situations" (which is a Russia national agency for emergency response; basically some EMTs) was at the start and finish, but apparently no one needed assistance. This was the second such "winter bicycle parade;" the first one in 2016 had about 3,000 riders but the weather was more seasonal (again, for Moscow) although of course still below freezing. More seasonally appropriate "bicycle parades" have been organized in May in Moscow for several years, as well as in a few other cities. These events are in support of (Russian) public awareness of cycling and advocacy for more cycling infrastructure. The events are not races but more of a fun ride, although in this case, in rather extreme (for most) conditions. This winter ride seems to have been about 6 kilometers each way, along the embankment of the Moscow river, or (coincidentally) about 7.5 miles, just about what I rode today in (by comparison) almost tropical conditions.


News video from MetroNews.ru (in Russian) of this winter event


Московский Велопарад 2016 from Let's bike it! on Vimeo.

Organizer produced video of the 2016 spring Velo-Parade in Moscow, in late May

The spring ride in 2016 claimed more than 30,000 participants.


Winter Riding

Lucky Run Trail Arlington VA
Lucky Run Trail in Arlington VA that was given advance treatment to slow development of ice

This is the bike trail near my house, which is treated to slow development of ice, largely for cyclists I suppose but also helpful for people on foot. (Alas, as a dog owner I am less enthusiastic about this.)

I took this while riding a bike with studded tires, however, so while it is nice, I prefer that extra insurance against falling down. Today is Sunday and I'm not riding, but I am thinking about whether to ride the bike with studded tires or my regular commuter bike tomorrow. The Mt Vernon Trail will almost certainly have some icy spots.

I don't much like falling down. I guess I said that.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Four Mile Run Trail Detour

Four Mile Run Detour
Sign posted along trail

There is (lots) more information on the Arlington County web site.
Construction at Four Mile Run will begin on Sept. 20, lasting through the Fall season. There is a detour associated with the project.
The signs may have appeared last Friday I guess but there were no signs Thursday last week; supposedly construction starts tomorrow? But maybe not the detour.
Here is a PDF of the map I have a photo of, above.

Not surprisingly I am not crazy about the detour. I get the need for the project I just don't like the route of the detour, and that there is no sensible alternative. This detour is two miles into a 9.5 mile commute, but there is no alternative route via trails. The trail network is great except it is not very dense as a network. Phooey.

It is amusing (or something) to see the tacit admission that the present trails are not very good when it says, "As part of the construction, the Arlington trail will be completely rebuilt to current standards, including a new sub-base and asphalt surface." Of course they are just referring to the less than half mile of trail to be upgraded with this project; the remainder of this trail (and others) will remain sub-standard.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Thanks National Park Service! New Water Fountain on Mt Vernon Trail

New drinking fountain on Mt Vernon Trail
New water fountain along the Mount Vernon Trail near National Airport

There has been some construction work ongoing since (it seems) the end of last summer to improve small parts of the Mount Vernon Trail where it was routed down right next to the parkway (roadway). These improvements took longer than one would have imagined - part of it took longer than six months - but are good improvements.

At the same time, this new water fountain was installed. For a long time it was surrounded by yellow construction tape, but it didn't matter much since it was cooler weather. Now that hot hot weather has really arrived, it is great for this to be there.

Thursday afternoon it was up around 95 degrees (Fahrenheit, or around 35 Celcius) during ~ten mile (16 km) commute home. I have my bottle of water filled before I leave work, but getting through the DC traffic out of the city was hot work it seemed so when I got to this water fountain, I was glad to be able to stop and get a little refreshed.

The photo was taken Friday morning on the way in, around 6:30 - Fridays are a day a lot of people telework so not too much traffic, bikes or cars.

The fountain post has a metal bowl at the bottom that can be filled with water for dogs. Nice touch.

Thanks National Park Service! Happy 100th birthday!

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Predictable-Alert-Lawful on Your Trail, in Your Neighborhood

The "be a PAL" bike trailer of Arlington VA
The PAL campaign mobile unit-the bike trailer has a 20 inch wheel on each side

On my way home Thursday, it was surprisingly windy given that weather.com suggested a SSW wind of 10 mph. I was surprised to find the young woman above walking her bike that has a PAL - predictable, alert, lawful - billboard-trailer. Apparently despite the holes cut in the fabric to let the wind through, it doesn't do well in a crosswind. If the thing blows over, she would get pulled over too, so she was walking. I guess she does this as a volunteer? Or someone pays her to ride around Arlington trails with this thing? This isn't the first time I have seen her, just the first time I have seen her walking. One odd aspect is that when riding along and seeing her coming the other way, or passing her, there is no time as a cyclist to read her trailer-billboard. So I sort of don't understand it.

I don't know if other jurisdictions have this PAL slogan and campaign or not. Somehow to me it comes across as a little too focused on illegal cyclist behavior or that assumption that if only cyclists would clean up their act everything would be fine. They endorse the following PSAs.


Makes the point that cyclists are the ones who die so they should avoid breaking laws

The problem I have with this logic is that the parallel would be that since motorists have pretty good protective metal boxes around them, it's OK to be a little free and easy with the obeying the traffic code.


Illustrates the classic "right hook" threat to cyclists from motorists

It's interesting that even the demonstration of how it should be done, turning behind the cyclist, results in the car rushing up directly behind the cyclist in a way that would not be great to experience. Better than being cut in front of, yes, but not great.


Motorists in cars should look before opening the driver's side door

These PSAs make good points, but for me there is usually something off about them. In the last one about avoiding getting doored, the third scenario suggests that in the end you should ride in a bike lane well away from the parked cars, presumably because the motorists may well not check before opening a door. In other words, in the end it is all on you Mr. or Ms. Cyclist.

And for whatever reason I end up grinding my teeth a bit whenever I see reference to this PAL campaign (which fortunately isn't often - they seem to have taken the ads for it off the County transit buses). "Predictable" is fine as advice, although it is clearly more about cyclists than motorists. (In fact, most of the predictable motorist behaviors are the ones we don't want, like opening doors without looking or cutting off cyclists with right turns.) "Alert" seems to be because they needed a vowel. Because otherwise, duh. Alert. Yeah. But it is the "lawful" that annoys me most, but I suppose as much as anything because it makes no grammatical sense. What they mean is "law abiding" but I guess that is two words.

Hmmm.

ADDENDUM: BikeArlington read this and says: I also saw your latest post on the PAL trailer. While [the PAL trailer-bike and rider] does ride on the trails, her primary focus is to connect with motorists. She’s frequently camped out along the Mount Vernon trail to interface with traffic moving slowly on the GW Parkway.

The idea behind the PAL campaign is that it’s designed to be targeted towards all mode of travel. We recognize that pedestrians jaywalk, that people on bikes will run red lights, and that motorists will speed and text. We don’t assign blame to anyone in particular, but rather just point out that if everyone travels in a manner that is predictable, alert and lawful, that we would have much less conflict on the streets.


OK.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Arlington Makes the Trails Smoooooth

Untitled
Looking towards the south end of National Airport along Four Mile Run

Concrete trail areas and where such trails meet asphalt can have problems - a typical quick response is to fill in with asphalt. Often the results do not make the situation better and may make it worse. In this area where several bridges cross over the concrete trail along Four Mile Run, there were several such asphalt repairs that were not very well executed. There were also several places where concrete blocks did not meet evenly (but were not filled in with asphalt). Today Arlington County had these problem repaired by grinding down the concrete to create smooth concrete! Yay! Well done!

The example shown in the photograph above was dangerous for inexperienced riders - the raised concrete running in the direction a rider was heading could easily result in a crash if someone tried to go across the imperfection when passing someone, for example. This is a lot safer and better. There were about a dozen spots along here where such fixes were made today. Really nice.



Monday, March 7, 2016

"Bicycles Are Prohibited Off the Mount Vernon Trail"

Bicycles are prohibited off the Mount Vernon Trail
This sign, and another pointing the opposite direction, appeared Friday

In the past year or so, it has become popular for cyclocross type cyclists to ride along near the trail, but not on the trail, near Gravelly Point. (This sign is stuck in the ground right next to it.) The regular riders have created a kind of dedicated rut-trail that winds around under the railway bridge away from the asphalt trail. The people look like they are having fun. Apparently with the onset of better cycling weather, the National Park Service has decided to put a stop to it. I am not going to look up the Code of Federal Regulations 4.30, but really? It covers this situation? Hmmm.

What surprised me most today was that the two signs were still there! No one pulled them out of the ground and tossed them into the Potomac (or elsewhere).

I would be a little more sympathetic if the Park Service had done even a little trail maintenance in the last five years or so. Or did anything during snow.

BikeArlington read this and wrote me: . . . last fall, a group of cyclocross racers met with NPS who were concerned about the trail sections that came dangerously close to the GW Parkway (literally cornering at speed just a few feet from traffic). And while NPS is open to the idea of using that space, because it is federal parkland, an environmental study needs to be conducted before the NPS can officially condone such use. Unfortunately, that study . . . takes quite some time. . .

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Pre-treating Trails in Arlington VA

Untitled
Trail along Four Mile Run near where I live

Tonight snowy weather of some sort is promised and Arlington has pre-treated the trails with some sort of fluid. That is what the parallel dark lines are. Pretty nice!

I confess I am not sure how much this pre-treatment helps. I live down the street from a high school in Arlington and they do it on our street assiduously before every storm, but once the snow starts to fall - hmm. Still, it is great to see the county government providing good service for trail users (including but not only cyclists), and they have done a good job with plowing trails too.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

1896 Bicycle Map for DC and Area

Roberts' [bicycle] road map of the District of Columbia and adjoining portions of Maryland and Virginia.

Cover title: Bicycle road map : Roberts' road map of the District of Columbia and adjoining portions of Maryland and Virginia : with tables of distances ... character of roads.
Created / Published - Washington : W.F. Roberts, c1896
Library of Congress, Geography & Map Division
http://lccn.loc.gov/88693356

Roberts Bicycle Map Washington DC and area 1896
Click here for zoom view of this 1896 map

Roberts Bicycle Map Washington DC and area 1896 - detail
Detail showing Washington DC and then-Alexandria (not Arlington) County

Roberts Bicycle Map Washington DC and area 1896 - road quality
Indicators for quality of roads (for use by cyclists)

Roberts Bicycle Map Washington DC and area 1896 - Rides in VA
Runs (ie, rides) into Virginia from downtown Washington

Distances are from the U.S. Treasury Department building and not the U.S. Capitol.

I found a similar, but not the same, map from 1896 published in the Washington Times that I blogged about.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

"Charmless" Signage in Arlington (VA)

I was reading a story in the Washington Post about changes coming to Arlington County council in the new year.

There is this, with a quote from Council member Libby Garvey: Garvey warned that local government should not “overstep our role and risk stifling innovation,” particularly in regulations such as the sign ordinance, which took more than a year to revise. “Part of the charm of Arlington,” she said, “. . . is how not standard everything is.”

I am not sure what "sign ordinance" is being referred to, but I don't much care for non-standard, inconsistent application of signage to traffic control affecting cyclists - but I don't have to go far to find some, given a recent change to the trail near my house.

Down the street from my house on South Dinwiddie Street, there is a trail that is an offshoot of the WO&D trail, that is parallel to the Lucky Run (stream).

Dinwiddie_WReed

The trail is shown in the image above, with the red line. Somewhat unusual I would say, there is a standard sidewalk and crosswalk at the intersection, then 40 or so feet back on S Dinwiddie, there is the crossing for the trail. It is not painted as a crosswalk with zebra stripes, but there are some dashed lines to show it is there to drivers. There are yellow yield signs controlling pedestrians and cyclists on the trail who would cross S Dinwiddie St.

Meanwhile, just a quarter mile away, the trail crosses S Wakefield St in a similar way but the traffic control is completely different.

Untitled

These stop sign appeared about a month ago - previously there was not signage here controlling pedestrians and cyclists on the trail where it crosses S Wakefield St. (Yes, the stop sign are not full size, but sort of toy size for some reason.) And the crosswalk is painted with full zebra stripes.

Wakefield_WReed

Here you can see the situation, much like at S Dinwiddie St, with the trail crossing set about 40 feet back of the crosswalk that is the intersection.

I don't understand how it is that Arlington County thinks these intersections are supposed to work successfully. In general, if a motorist sees me in the "not quite a crosswalk" for the trail crossing, they stop - but I can't count on it. And apparently at one of the intersections (Dinwiddie) I am merely to yield, but the other (with full zebra stripes!) requires a full stop! WTF, to use the vernacular (or vulgar - whichever).

Consistency in these matters could be a good thing, even in quaint Arlington County. This is a real safety issue, after all.



Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Per Arlington VA Police, Cyclist=Scofflaw but Motorists are OK

Untitled
Cyclists need to obey those darn laws

Untitled
Motorists? They just need to be careful

This is of course absurd. It makes sense only if cyclists are presumed to be scofflaws and motorists are law abiding folks who probably would be well advised to be careful of those scofflaw cyclists. In fact there is no evidence at all that cyclists are more (or less) law abiding than people driving cars. There is considerable evidence of course that when cyclists or motorists do dumb things and have accidents involving cyclists and cars, the cyclist suffers much greater consequences.

This is particularly ironic given the location, which is right where a major bike trail crosses a busy street. Under VA law, if the cyclist is required at this location to walk his bike and not ride in the crosswalk then this needs to be specifically posted, otherwise the cyclist is free to cross the street on his bicycle in the crosswalk. The obvious for accidents with the bike trail+crosswalk across Walter Reed is with left-hook and right-hook turn accidents from cars turning from S Four Mile Run Drive where the driver doesn't see the cyclist in the crosswalk because the motorist failed to exercise due care.

Ugh!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Studded Tire Performance in Icy Weather


Photo from several years ago, but bike and tires look same now

I have a 15+ year old heavy ChroMoly Giant mountain bike with studded mountain bike tires - they were sold under the NashBar brand, but were made by Kenda (I think). 1.95 (or really 2) inches wide. There are two rows of studs, kind of alternating in position relative to one another looking across the tire. They are far enough out from the center of the tire that one can significantly influence how many studs may be in contact with the ground by changes in the tire pressure.

Three days ago it was snow, not ice, and I had the tires at 55 pounds per square inch. I made pretty good time but the studs were not really necessary. Two days ago the conditions were much more icy for about half the ride, in other words, the part that is NOT MAINTAINED BY THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE (unlike Arlington County, which pretreats its bike trails, God help us). I rode to and from work with the tires inflated only to 40 pounds per square inch and clearly that improved the studly-stickiness of the tires - very little sliding around. On the other hand, on bare pavement, the road resistance is pretty noticeable (and unpleasant). A compromise.


Typical Mount Vernon Trail conditions - thanks for nothing, NPS

This morning I increased the pressure to 50 pounds per square inch since I was hopeful that the trails would be more clear today, but there were still significant areas that were covered from one side of the trail to the other. 50 pounds per square inch was too much to have the same kind of good traction that 40 provides, but I chose to ride along the edges of the trails where there was less bare ice or in a few cases off on the frozen ground along the trail. The improvement in rolling resistance by having more air in the tires made up for a small amount of slow riding in the few really bad spots.

I have now had these studded tires for something like eight years - maybe more. Of course there was at least one year where I didn't use them at all, but I don't ride them much. Originally I thought that if I rode what must be cheap metal studs on lots of bare pavement that I would pound them flat (ruin them) in no time, but in fact they seem to show little wear at all.

Last year I realized that I had lost several on each tire - they are kind of like short thick nails, with a head at the opposite end from what sticks out of the tire. Nashbar sells replacement studs with a tool for installing them and that works fine. I am now riding with a full complement of studs.

I see that there are road tires with studs - the rows of studs are of course much closer to each other. I assume that overall in most urban conditions these would be faster but for now I will stick with the mountain bike approach.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Arlington Trail Snow Removal ROCKS

Untitled
At long last, parity (if only in Arlington)

Clear roads and clear trails, on the same day. Thanks County government!!


Where Arlington County trail clearing ends

I stopped on my way home to take this photo. This is where Arlington County's trail clearing efforts came to an end - the Mount Vernon Trail maintained by the National Park Service has had nothing done and tomorrow will be an icy mess.

My photo doesn't show it clearly, but it is pretty funny (to me) how Arlington's mini-plow went in a nice little circle clearing the trail before heading back into Arlington.

I suppose the National Park Service will do something when hell freezes over.

Arlington County Plows Bike Trails Early


Arlington Country bike trail along Four Mile Run - plowed at 6:45 am

The DC streets I saw, however, were not plowed at all. Crazy.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Arlington County Pre-Treats Bike Trails

Tomorrow we may have and inch or two of snow, starting around 4-5 am. Maybe.

There had been discussion of more allocation of resources to clear snow from "mixed use" (that is, bike) trails, but I had not realized this could include pre-treatment before the snow. On my way home today, turning off the Mount Vernon Trail onto the trail along Four Mile Run, I noticed the tell-tale lines on the pavement indicating some kind of vehicle had come through and applied some kind of treatment in advance of the snow's arrival.


Looking away from Shirlington, you can see the application of some sort of liquid treatement both coming and going

Apparently this is where the vehicle turned around since a fair amount was spilled.

Untitled
Looking towards Shirlington, you can see that the narrower trail means just one direction of application

I have no idea how helpful this will be. Find out tomorrow, most likely.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Arlington County (VA) and Trail Plowing

March 9 I sent the following as an email to the Arlington Bike Coordinator; later I submitted a revised version to the County Board on their website.

It appears that over the winter the County decided to switch from salting trails to plowing. (I leave near Rt 7 and Walter Reed and ride down the trail along Walter Reed, then down the trail along Four Mile Run to the Mt Vernon trail and then in to DC that way.)

I am surprised by the timeliness of some of the plowing that happened - in particular, the that runs parallel to Walter Reed between Rt 7 and Arlington Mill Drive was plowed recently very quickly after the snow - this makes a lot of sense since if you are going to plow trails (and not salt), it should happen fast before the snow turns into ice from people walking on it.

The different this past week was very noticeable between the trails I use in Arlington and the Mt Vernon Trail, which was untreated and unplowed. The main thing was that the trails that were plowed become clear and useable by a regular bike quickly and the Mt Vernon trail was only rideable until Thursday either by riding very carefully or by having a bike with studded tires (which I have).

Plowing isn't a perfect solution - Tuesday in particular some trails had been plowed before my morning ride but the result was that the asphalt (with the 15 degree weather) was coated with a thin sheet of ice instead of a thicker layer of ice and snow so that a regular bike would not have traction - it would have been impossible to ride without studded tires. But by that afternoon the situation was already better, and Wednesday morning the Arlington trails were rideable (with care) while the Mt Vernon trail was not. Still, I think plowing is better than treating with salt etc.

The plowing is good. Thank you.
Untitled
Plowed trail near my house - makes a big difference!

This kind of systematic effort to clear trails used by cyclists (and others, of course) following snow storms is new this year in Arlington, and there was enough snowy weather for some experimentation. The first round was to use salt/road treatment type applications on the trails, which isn't great if you want to walk a dog using the trail and also is hard on the bicycle and the surrounding environment since the salt/chemicals aren't confined to the trail (asphalt). Plowing is a lot better, and the County shifted to that, which is great.

Better still would be to have a little less snow.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Limits of Cold Weather Commuting

As in, my limits. Well, my limits and the limits of my cycling equipment.


My ice commuter, for better or worse

Today was the second day I rode back and forth the ten miles between my house and Capitol Hill with the trails pretty icy and in reasonably cold weather, particularly in the morning. In my years of commuting in more or less all weather, it is fairly unusual to have sustained cold such that the trail conditions didn't change that much between two days. In a few places some salt had cleared areas, but it was not like the second day was a huge improvement. (Mostly the trails are not treated.)

This morning it was cold, for here at least, at around 12-14 F - around -10 C. It was colder than yesterday and since it took me over an hour to get to work, my fingers were starting to get cold on one hand - but overall my cold weather biking clothes work OK at least down to this temp. But I need to keep moving, spinning, to maintain my warmth.

The bigger problem is with my bike and my fitness (my "fitness" in the broader sense of being physically ready for such an endeavor). The bike is an old Giant that I have only ridden in the last few years when I want to take advantage of the studded tires I have mounted on it, and that's it. The bike could use some adjustments. The rear brakes in particular don't work well in these conditions and of course when it is slick the front brake can't be used (much) without instantly causing a crash so the poor rear brake performance isn't helpful at all. (I should fix that!) The 1.95 inch wide tires with the studs are lovely for traction when the surface is mostly flat/smooth but if there is accumulated snow or snow+ice they have a terrific amount of road (or I guess snow) resistance - the width isn't helpful.

But it does work. Two days running I rode back and forth on a lot of slick surfaces and didn't fall once. And I got back and forth.


The Gravelly Point area of the Mount Vernon Trail; another riding north as I head south

I don't see too many other riders on the trail on a day like this. Today I saw two riders coming the other way on my ride home (total) - one was a commuter and the other fellow just seemed to be out enjoying the fun to be had. The photo above shows the commuter I saw, chugging along. He did not, I think, have studded tires - he was riding a cyclocross sort of 700 size tire bike and was hugging the right edge of the trail. I am familiar with this approach - basically you stay away from where other riders have been riding and especially stay away from icy sections. The narrow tires cut through the snow OK and you have traction but it very tiring to maintain this kind of straight-ish line.

My approach with the wide mountain bike tires is to stick to the middle where the snow is pounded flat and where there is compacted snow on ice and try to skirt as much of the clear ice as I can. The studded tires will allow some riding on clear ice, but you can't brake or steer (much). And sometimes you hit a bump and the bike simple slides. The studs aren't a perfect solution.

It's an adventure (or something like one, for me) but I'm glad to have the weekend now to rest up. I don't know if I could do more than two days running of this. I was unhappy this morning to pass a guy walking his bike on the Mount Vernon Trail near the airport, on one of the bridges - he had a very nice bike, but apparently was having no luck staying upright. He didn't look like he was dressed as warmly as me, and walking . . . I didn't have anything to help him with this problem, so I just kept going.


A snow-bike patent for a set of attachments from 1900 - but my problem was ice, alas

I have a sort of cyclocross bike that is presently out of commission with disk brakes - I should get some studded tires for that thing when they are on sale so I have a bike to ride in this kind of weather with working brakes and have narrower tires to cut through snow. For next year. Yeah.