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We really didn’t think it would so nice. Ride Report.(24 posts)

We really didn’t think it would so nice. Ride Report.MB1
Jun 18, 2003 4:59 AM
The Washington Area Bicyclists Association (WABA) organizes fairly unique rides and does a lot of lobbying for DC area cyclists. Each year they run a huge "Bike DC" ride with closed streets, lots of traffic control and perhaps 30-50,000 riders (we did it once but it is not our style at all-too many people, too few miles).

Saturday WABA organized a 50 States ride. DC has a street or avenue named for all 50 states. The streets are scattered all over the city; lots of them in neighborhoods that you would not normally want to go without an armored car and a police escort. (After all, DC didn't earn the title of "Murder Capital" without a real broad based community involvement.)

Still Miss M and I really enjoy living and riding in DC so as soon as we learned about the ride we decided to do it. One problem was that the ride started at 8:30 and was only 62 miles long. We got up early and rode 30 miles to the ride start.

We were surprised at the size of the turnout-we know what riding in the city is like and figured it would be a very hard ride. Still there had to be at least 50 riders at the fog shrouded start-including the Mayor on a borrowed police bicycle.
Southeast DC.MB1
Jun 18, 2003 5:02 AM
Even though we started behind lots of folks it was easy to see that for the most part they were not experienced or strong riders. There was a rest stop at mile 9-we didn't feel the need to stop and we were pretty much on our own for the rest of the ride.

The ride took us into Southeast DC early on-this is the worst area of the city and we had never ridden there. Much to our amazement the streets were in great shape and there was very little traffic.

Here we are cruising down Martin Luther King Boulevard without any problems at all. Better yet, the sun came out for the first time in days.
worse?? this is my daily commute route nmcyclopathic
Jun 18, 2003 7:20 AM
This is the City?MB1
Jun 18, 2003 5:04 AM
In parts of Southeast it was hard to remember that you were riding on the meanest streets of DC.
Jun 18, 2003 5:07 AM
It just wouldn't be DC without a March somewhere on the route. We were still in Southeast when we passed this group of folks marching for more funds for AIDS prevention.
Along the Waterfront.MB1
Jun 18, 2003 5:10 AM
DC has lots of undeveloped waterfront. Nice riding here along the Anacostia River in Southeast.
Muddy Waters.MB1
Jun 18, 2003 5:13 AM
We crossed a lot of bridges over some really muddy rivers. Most of the bridges around DC have separate bike lanes-even if they don't get much use it is good to know they are there.
Back alleys and navigation issues.MB1
Jun 18, 2003 5:16 AM
The organizers had prepared a nice route sheet (7 pages full of directions and instructions). We didn't have any problems following in except in the areas of the city we were familiar with.

When we knew where we were we kept going off the route by not paying attention. Instead of carefully following the route slip one of us would say something like "Oh, I know where we are; lets go this way."

Sure enough we would get off the route and have to go up some back alley to get back on the correct street. Silly us.
Street Scenes.MB1
Jun 18, 2003 5:19 AM
For the most part traffic really wasn't much of a problem for us. There were a few places like this one in front of the very popular Eastern Market where there was some back-up but being on bikes we just slid through.
The 50th state street.MB1
Jun 18, 2003 5:23 AM
The route didn't do the states in any particular order, it just visited them all. I've got a certain fondness for Hawaii since I grew up there.
Rest stops and aid stations.MB1
Jun 18, 2003 5:26 AM
There were some places on the route slip designated as rest stops but they were too close together for us. Our only stop during the ride was at this market for water, Miss M said that she had never seen so many security cameras in one place before.
Jun 18, 2003 5:51 AM
that looks like a lot of fun but were you in the front or the back? I didn't see anyone else?
Other riders.MB1
Jun 18, 2003 5:29 AM
We are used to riding by ourselves or with just a few other riders who have skills and abilities similar to ours. We just ride steady all day at our own pace and try to stay out of other folks way.

Once in a while on the 50 States Ride we would get passed by a group of 4 riders. They would speed up and pass us then slow down and get in our way. Miss M was starting to get pretty annoyed with them so we stopped several times to get a ways behind them.

It didn't work as we kept catching up with them-it seemed that all they wanted to do was stay in front of us like it was a race or something. They were actually friendly enough but just didn't seem to know what they were doing or how to ride around other people.

With about 10 miles to go we decided to just stay behind them no matter how slow they were going-which was pretty slow. We were then treated to the sight of 4 riders taking up the entire road no matter how many lanes it had. It was really the only problem we had with traffic all day.

They finally took a wrong turn and we sped off by ourselves to the finish. Just a reminder to us of why we rarely do organized rides any more.
LOL. That one guy is waving at you as you took the pic nmFez
Jun 18, 2003 6:07 AM
from the expressions on their faces...velocity
Jun 18, 2003 6:32 AM
they're blissfully unaware of the annoyance they caused you.

Thanks for another excellent ride report!
yep, oblivious (nm)JS Haiku Shop
Jun 18, 2003 6:33 AM
They actually seemed like fairly nice folks.MB1
Jun 18, 2003 4:34 PM
Their riding style just didn't mesh well with ours. That happens a lot on group rides-think about how often people refer to such rides as races.

We don't much care about how other riders are doing we just want to ride at our own pace. They only seemed to care about staying in front of us.

So it goes.
Final thoughts.MB1
Jun 18, 2003 5:34 AM
Much to our amazement we enjoyed the ride-a lot.

We have always enjoyed exploring and riding in DC. Doing the ride we got to visit a lot of areas that we had never been. We never felt like we were riding in a dangerous area (except when we passed that pink Caddy with the bullet holes). I don't know if I would dare lead or organize a ride through so many intersections, traffic circles and city streets but we have the route slip and are already thinking about doing the ride again.

We were very pleased and surprised at how quickly we finished (probably faster than a car could have done the same route) so we rode off to get in a few miles before stopping for a nice lunch.
Final thoughts.t0adman
Jun 18, 2003 5:02 PM
That really sounds like a fun ride. I'm headed to DC in the next 6 months to visit my brother who just started at George Washington. Where can I get a copy of the ride route?
Check with me when you get to town.MB1
Jun 18, 2003 5:42 PM
Nice ride report, there is always that window of opportunitybigrider
Jun 18, 2003 5:46 AM
in rough neighborhoods. It is usually 6am to 1 pm. The time is bracketed by when the whores get off the streets and when the drunks and jobless roll out of bed. It is amazingly quiet during the morning hours. Too bad that sun is just not going to stay out for us for a decent number of days.
re: We really didn’t think it would so nice. Ride Report.aliensporebomb
Jun 18, 2003 6:05 AM
Another great ride report! Cool.
re: We really didn’t think it would so nice. Ride Report.Mazinger
Jun 18, 2003 11:46 AM
Your pictures inspired me. I think I'll go ride through SE DC tonight. ;)
another great pic reportzooog
Jun 19, 2003 6:12 AM
Again always enjoy your reports. I never do group rides anymore. Too many hassles for me. Once in awhile I will hook with another rider that can manage the same pace as I can...which is SLOW.