Newsletter: sensory route planning

Happy Friday! 

I went for a somewhat soggy bike ride through Rock Creek Park with a friend last weekend. Was it scenic? No, not really. Mostly just damp and green. But: acoustically, it was amazing. The blanket of rain muted everything. Puttering my way up Ross Drive, all I could hear was our tires on the road. No distant honking or sirens, no flatulent exhaust systems spewing fragile masculinity out into the atmosphere, no wub-wub-wub-wubbing from braking Metrobuses. I could feel tension releasing from my shoulders as I rode.

It got me thinking about the sensory experience of biking. When I plan a route, my primary considerations are comfort (how fast, dense and close is the car traffic?), and scenery (how much open space and nature do I get to see?). But there are other factors I could be considering and seeking out! Here’s an incomplete list:

  • The blast of crunchy white noise when the road turns to gravel.
  • That buttery way fresh asphalt feels in your handlebars.
  • The total cessation of noise when a section trail is covered in pine needles.
  • Echo-y tunnels and bridges.
  • A breeze coming off a body of water. 

Things to do:

Check out this heat map showing where people ride dockless bikes and scooters from Ride Report. If you think that’s cool and useful, it’s probably because Ride Report’s Head of Strategy is WABA alum Nelle Pierson.  

Meet Sarah Haedrich, our new Vision Zero Coordinator! 

Speak up for a walkable, bikeable Georgetown at the Georgetown Transportation Access & Circulation Workshop. (More familiar faces—Georgetown BID’s Transportation Director is WABA alum Greg Billing.) My vote is for making M Street a pedestrian plaza with a bus lane.

If you need to experience some teeth-grinding fury, read this piece in the Post about unpaid speeding tickets. One driver has $186,000 dollars in unpaid speeding tickets, but they’re still on the road. Our friends at DC Families for Safe Streets put together a letter demanding action from the District.  

Speak up for the Connecticut Avenue Protected Bike Lane.

Tell your friends to sign up for Bike to Work Day

And don’t miss the Alexandria E-bike showcase on May 20th!

Like wrenching? The Bike House is hosting a volunteer orientation this Saturday morning at the Petworth Ace. Once you attend, you can volunteer at their Saturday walk-up clinics at the Petworth Ace and Sundays at the Annie’s in Brookland. 

Call on the Montgomery County Council to make the safety improvements along the Little Falls Parkway permanent. 

Celebrate trails at the I-66 Trail ribbon cutting on May 17th 

Stop by the DC Trail Rangers’ monthly coffee hour on the Met Branch Trail on May 18th.

A fun route idea for the weekend:

Moms: Get out there for a ride on your own terms. Somewhere scenic, maybe with a pastry shop along the way. Go as fast or slow as you feel. Don’t rush, you’ll get home whenever you’re darn well ready and not a minute before. 

Everyone else: Let mom go for a bike ride. She’ll be back when she’s done.  

Have a great weekend.