11 February 2010

A Symbol

Washington DC commuter bicycle
In the five days I just spent in Washington DC, this was the only bicycle that appeared to have moved anywhere in the snow. The experience of snow in DC was a terrible disappointment, and I will try to move the bitterness of my wasted time aside and just say that I think there should be some sort of metric that measures the number of bikes out in adverse conditions and awards power and responsibility to the people with the resourcefulness and initiative to use it.

Washinton DC commuter bike
Anyway, this is clearly a well-loved bike in the Jeep-aesthetic that I noticed last year in DC. The mountain bike is king there, despite very few big hills. This one is playful with the yellow polka dots and yellow fenders. I'm not sure what the water bottle is used for, but I'm 99% sure no person is drinking from it.

I wish I had more DC bikes to share this year.


Oldfool said...

Think of all the 4-wheel drive vehicles that are driven everyday because someday it might be needed but are at home because it's too snowy. This is the bike equivalent,
only the rider didn't wimp out but I imagine rather relished the chance to show of her ready for anything bike.
This is a great picture that did all kinds of things to my imagination. I said her because that is what I imagined.

Velouria said...

My sister lives in DC and she described to me the disaster that's happening there because of the snow. In her neighborhood, the heat and electricity went out for half a day, people were panicking, it was quite something.

DC is not one of my favourite cities, because I just don't find its layout inviting or comfortable. The vast distances, the lack of shade, that ugly 1950s concrete government building aesthetic everywhere. I get tired just remembering it. Georgetown is nice, but the rest of it not my cup of tea.

Were you cycling there?

Charlotte said...

Not this year!!!

Charlotte said...

I think you're right, I think that is a ladies' bike and you're totally right about the all-terrain vehicles which stayed home.

While we were there they called in the plows. They thought it was too slippery for the plows!

Mark said...

Bikes are totally reliable come rain or shine - and when there's a mass power blackout like has been reported in DC and the petrol pumps wont dispense fuel for your car anymore, cyclists like this one will be laughing all the way to town and back! So good to see this, thanks for sharing.

But my, it does look COLD in those pictures! Here in London, UK, we freaked about an inch of snow this week - this post kind of puts it into perspective. :o)

Charlotte said...

Mark, It was cold! "Snowpacalypse" dumped 18" (~45cm) and then "Snowverkill" came along with some more. I didn't stick around to see how much accumulation that brought but I did appreciate the whiteout conditions from my train. Most of the folks in my hotel were waiting for the airports to re-open, I think they're still waiting there.

Interestingly, it's never as cold when it's snowing as when it's "severe clear". It was balmy enough (relatively!) for me to walk around without as much bundling as I normally need for Boston.

Adam said...

I managed to ride just about every day in Baltimore, and we got over 10 more inches this week than D.C., although I did have to go out and buy snow tires.

The plows weren't called so much because of the slipperiness as it was the hurricane force winds and zero visibility on Wednesday. In my city even hospital workers were banned from the streets, under threat of arrest. The mayor actually told hospital workers that they had to stay home. Craziness.

2whls3spds said...

Looks like my "old faithful" MTB that came back home recently. I even have yellow fenders!

Bikes can get around better in the snow than most people realize, I suspect there is a point where the snow might be too deep to cycle in, then again maybe not.

To me any bike that is being ridden and enjoyed is a plus, regardless of style, brand or price.


Alexandra said...

It's interesting that you didn't see many bikes in DC. I live in DC and during all three snow storms and the immediate days after, bikes were the dominate form of transportation beyond walking. Metro ran sluggishly at best, cars were buried and best left at home - bikes were possible and used. I noticed more cyclists, doggedly getting around - and felt terrible and I was wimping out and taking the metro!!

Charlotte said...

Alexandra, for what it's worth - while I was there the Metro wasn't running at all, and no one was working. Everything was closed and it felt like some kind of apocalyptic movie, me and the snow were all that remained of America... I exaggerate, but barely.

In other news, I'd thought that Boston should loan some snowplows to DC, and eventually they did!

Anonymous said...

A fellow commuter saw me go by tonight and told me my bike was on this blog. Sure enough, it is my much-loved 1992 Specialized Rockhopper -- my first mountain bike and, for the last 14 years, my trusty commuter. I ride to work every day, rain, snow or shine(our intrepid five year old son hasn't missed a day of riding to kindergarten). When it isn't snowy, it has slicks. Paint job is a DYI job done by my now-husband. The water bottle? It is cruddy on the outside but fine on the inside; I do drink from it. Yes, I'm a female...

Charlotte said...

Anonymous - you are my hero.