Showing posts with label Washington DC. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Washington DC. Show all posts

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Bike to Work Day 2018

Bike to Work Day Shirlington, Arlington VA
6:30 in the morning at the Shirlington "pit stop" for Bike to Work Day in Arlington, VA

I was surprised to read in the Wikipedia entry on Bike to Work Day that it was created by the League of American Bicyclists in 1956. I would have guessed much more recently.

Bike to Work Day, 2011
From BTWD ride in 2011 - it doesn't always rain on BTWD

I have a somewhat ambiguous relationship with BTWD - I commute almost religiously; that is, I hardly get to and from work any other way than by bicycle. In theory I want more people to ride because it is the logical thing to want, but I have found in fact that so far for my commute, increasing use of the Mount Vernon Trail in particular has not led to significant improvements in the trail's usability. Most of the asphalt is the same as it was 20+ years ago - and this isn't because it is aging well or that there is enough of it (in terms of the width of the trail in particular).

Also, my sense is that the DC area BTWD has had amazingly bad luck in terms of weather - that is, more often than not, it rains. And in fact it rained yesterday for BTWD 2018 and it was fairly steady and heavy enough to keep many from riding. I had signed up and stopped at the local "pit stop" in Shirlington to get a free BTWD 2018 t-shirt (as I did last year, when the weather was better) as a way of showing interest and support (I suppose). It is inspiring (or something along those lines) to see the volunteers there, even at 6:30 am when it started. I was amused to see a small "convoy" of riders there right as they opened. A few seemed underdressed to me, given that it was wet and not really May warmth. (This turned out to be a ride where at the start the rain was light, but over the 10 or so miles it got more and more heavy, to the point that upon arrival at work I was pretty well soaked. Fortunately I have my own office and it is fine to have a clothes line, more or less. Well - fine with me, anyway.)

Bike to Work Day Shirlington, Arlington VA 2018
Another slightly out-of-focus shot

I was glad to get my yellow BTWD 2018 t-shirt. During the past year I have been amused how many times I have seen people wearing the lavender colored BTWD 2017 t-shirt - amused that I recognized it, as much as anything. I suppose eventually they will give away the 2018 t-shirts somehow but I assume most were not picked up by riders on the way to work, because I think many people took a pass on riding yesterday. Still, a good souvenir of what was not a bad ride - it was just another ride. The rides - they're all good.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

"Bicycle Riding in the District Runs Back Quite a Number of Years"

"High Wheels Launched Bicycle Riding in the District - Stories of Early Experts are Recalled by Washingtonians Who Admired Their Skill, Century Runs, Hill-Climbing and Rough-Riding Contests Between Popular Events for Young People"

Newspaper article from the Washington Evening Star Newspaper from 1929. Article starts on this page, filling the entire page, and continues to the next page, also taking up the entire page.

1881 DC high wheeler cyclist
Illustration with article showing an early member of the Capital Bicycle Club with a "high wheel" bicycle

From the article:
Credit is given to Charles G. W. Krauskopf for introducing the modern bicycle in Washington in 1878 This machine was known as the “Ariels," and had double spokes and 46-inch wheels. With a desire to learn something more about this pioneer rider, the City Directory was consulted, and the only per son of this name found was Charles G. Krauskopf, who kept a hotel and restaurant at the corner of Tenth and E streets northwest, over which he resided. He had obtained the machine from the British vice consul stationed at Baltimore.

Naturally Krauskopf was kidded and guyed as he rode the “new steed” through the streets. But the bicycle had come to stay, and .it was not long before William C. Scribner ceased managing the Gazette, at 931 D street northwest. and opened a bicycle store around the corner at 1108 E street, and if he was not the first one in the city to engage in this business, he at least was one of the earliest.

Though Krauskopf was the subject of much chaffing and joking, yet it was not long before he had company, and soon other Washingtonians became infatuated with the vehicle which was to become so immensely popular in such a brief space of time.

Soon Frank G. Wood, Max Hansmann, Fred D. Owen. L. P. Einolf, Herbert S. Owen and Louis N. Jesungofsky were proudly riding the silent steed, and it was these gentlemen, with Mr. Krauskopf. who organized the Capital Bicycle Club on January 31, 1879.

So the first "modern" (that is, high wheel, or penny farthing, type of bicycle appeared in Washington 140 years ago. And the first DC bicycle club the following year.

Six Seat Bike Washington DC
Another illustration from the same page, from 1897 - showing DC cycling history



Saturday, March 17, 2018

Powered Scooters Are Not a New Idea

Or for that matter, a good one. If it was good idea, it might have gone somewhere in the last hundred or so years.

POST OFFICE. POSTMEN ON SCOOTERS. (191x)
Title-POST OFFICE. POSTMEN ON SCOOTERS
Contributor Names-Harris & Ewing, photographer
Created / Published-[between 1911 and 1917]
Format Headings-Glass negatives.
Repository-Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
www.loc.gov/item/2016853758/
It is unclear where there the above news photograph was taken, other than that it was in a city in the United States. It provides evidence that the idea of commercial uses for powered scooters (here, a small gasoline or perhaps electric motor) is not a new idea.

With LimeBike introducing eScooter dockless app-driven rentals, one wonders why powered scooters have not been commonly used before. As we now know, scooter-enabled postal delivery did not catch on.

Segways!
The Segway experiment never went very far, but they are expensive and heavy (clunky) despite a cleverness in design

When Segways appeared more than fifteen years ago, I wondered if they were going to compete with bicycles for traffic space. Their cost and other factors seemed to prevent them from becoming popular with individuals - I see a few being used for city tours in Washington but that is about it. There was one (1!) fellow who I saw for a while using one to commute on the Mt Vernon trail but as an entirely motorized vehicle, it was not legal. The two wheels abreast profile was also not good on this trail that isn't that wide - Segways aren't that fast and getting around him was annoying, and probably stressful for the Segway operator since I don't think putting one wheel off the trail suddenly would be pleasant.

Now we have the LimeBike e-scooters that can be rented for riding around in Washington DC. The LimeBike e-scooters have a substantial 250 watt motor and claim a top steep of just under 15 miles per hour (with the motor alone) which is a pretty good clip for a vehicle that has your feet only five-six inches off the ground and wheels only eight inches in diameter. LimeBike's site refers to the wheels as "solid, stable 8" wheels" but a typical folding bike will have 16 inch wheels (that are real tires, too). The problem with an 8 inch wheel is that a significant pothole or a misjudged curb cut would result in a very sudden stop. While not necessarily a problem if being pushed along with foot power, the results could be a lot more interesting when riding a motorized version.

There is also legal ambiguity, at least for now, as to what rules (if any) a rider of an e-scooter is to follow. The sense one has from LimeBike is that their e-scooters are the same as a bike or e-bike, but isn't obvious why that would be true. Riding one of these on a city street in Washington seems almost crazy by definition, but I can't imagine they are good to have on sidewalks, either. Washington DC in particular has a "no bikes on sidewalks" law for its central business district - https://ddot.dc.gov/publication/dc-central-business-district-no-bike-riding-map-sidewalks-downtown.

If every tenth, or twentieth, person walking in downtown DC was to move to an e-scooter, how would that work?

A separate but related issue is that LimeBike displays a casual attitude towards their vehicles themselves, as things. I can't seem to find a creative commons licences photo of piles of bikeshare bikes in China, but LimeBike and the other dockless bikeshare operators all seem less than concerned about whether some of their bikes end up in effect as random trash (which works for them since they are very cheap bikes). Society, not the operator, will pay for the disposal of a stream of these "vehicles" that may have some convenience for their user-customers but not so much for the rest of us.

Perhaps I am a curmudgeon.




Sunday, March 11, 2018

Hertz "Rent-a-Bike" in Washington DC (1971)

1971 DC Hertz Bike Rental
Photograph title: Bike story [Bicycle rental store, District Hardware]
Creator(s): Leffler, Warren K., photographer
Date Created/Published: 1971.
Medium: 1 photograph : negative; film width 35mm (roll format)
Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/pp.print
Forms part of: U.S. News & World Report Magazine Photograph Collection.
www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2017646391/
The Library of Congress has a collection of older photographs from the US News & World Report, including many that never appeared in the magazine. These are occasionally being digitized and put online, which is nice since they are in the public domain.

The photographs sometimes have discernible context but often not - here, it isn't clear why this photograph was taken - what news story would have been supported by such a photograph.

A store called "District Hardware" still exists in Washington DC. I confirmed by email with the grandson of the man pushing the bike out the door that this was an earlier location for the same store in Washington. And that Hertz really was in the rent-a-bike business in the 1960s-70s. Crazy.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Bicycles on DC Streets 1907 (Compared to 1903)


Washington, D.C. clip of Pennsylvania Avenue in 1907 from GhostOfDC

In two different earlier blog posts, first this one and then this one I looked at bicycles that appeared in two short videos of DC streets in the summer of 1903. I have now found the above video of Pennsylvania Avenue in DC, with the U.S. Capitol in the background, from 1907. One can see a lot of change in the four years!!

Pennsylvania Avenue 1907 #1
At about 25 seconds in, a cyclist first appears riding from right to left

The main impression of change is WOW there are a lot more cars carrying passengers on a main thoroughfare in Washington DC in 1907 than there were in 1903, and far fewer horse-drawn carriages. The fellow with a hat facing the Capitol is apparently a traffic policeman who casually directs traffic and to some limited extent, pedestrians.

Pennsylvania Avenue 1907 #2
This is the same cyclists as above, having made a left turn in the intersection and now proceeding away from the Capitol

The cyclist proceeds as any other vehicle, motorized or horse-drawn, riding in the main part of the street.

Pennsylvania Avenue 1907 #3
Another cyclist appears

There are some small breaks in the film - it isn't clear how this cyclist got to the middle of this intersection, but probably he was riding away from the camera and towards the Capitol, then stops or slows to turn to the left.

Pennsylvania Avenue 1907 #4
Because of heavy traffic, the cyclist starts to ride away from the Capitol but then turns to his right

The cyclist makes his left turn in two stages - first, he makes a U-turn, then once he is established heading in the reverse direction and traffic clears to his right, he makes a right turn to complete his original left turn. The traffic policeman plays no role in this maneuver. Note that cyclists in this intersection would have had to navigate safely tram rail tracks in two directions, crossing those at as close to a 90 degree angle as possible.

Pennsylvania Avenue 1907 #5
One of several vehicles spewing vast amounts of exhaust, which can't have been too pleasant

Pennsylvania Avenue 1907 #6
One of only five horse-drawn carriages in the short video

Cars carrying passengers have skyrocketed and horse-drawn carriages, all appearing commercial in nature, have dropped off in number from 1903 to 1907. There are still many streetcars in this urban setting. And there are still bicycles, but the ease with which they can be navigated is much changed for the worse, which probably meant fewer were riding as shown here (although these short videos are of course a very small sample).




Saturday, February 3, 2018

More Bicycles on DC Streets 1903

In an earlier blog post I looked at a short film available as a video via the Internet meant to show US Post Office operations from 1903 in Washington, DC. I found another.


The version on YouTube is so poorly rendered as to be almost useless

The default viewing version is poorly rendered here but the downloadable mp4 file is acceptable.

In this film, meant to show Post Office operations, you can see a certain amount street traffic as well. (The video is apparently meant to show how bags of mail are transferred between a street car and a Post Office horse-drawn wagon.) There is less than a minute and half shown of a major street in Washington DC. Whatever time of day this was, filmed in July 30 1903 (a Thursday), there wasn't much traffic generally, however I am struck by the number of bicycles. It isn't a vast number, but they are clearly being used for transportation by adults.

Washington DC street 1903-1
Cyclist appears suddenly at left, proceeds at measured pace out of view

Washington DC street 1903-2
Next cyclist appears at right, again riding at a measured pace

Washington DC street 1903-3
Due to low resolution, it isn't obvious but a cyclist is proceeding right to left on the next cross street in the distance and is just visible in the space been the streetcar and the Post Office wagon.

Washington DC street 1903-4
Cyclist rides into view, apparently against the flow of traffic on this side of the street

Street mail car, U.S.P.O.
Summary-The first scene appears to have been taken on a main thoroughfare of large city. In the immediate foreground is a horse-drawn U.S. mail vehicle waiting at the side of a streetcar track. Soon a streetcar approaches the camera position. It stops beside the mail vehicle and the driver unloads mail sacks from the streetcar. He then puts some sacks from his wagon onto the streetcar. As the film ends, both the streetcar and the horse-drawn mail delivery wagon leave the scene.
Contributor Names-Weed, A. E., camera.; American Mutoscope and Biograph Company.
Paper Print Collection (Library of Congress)
Created / Published-United States : American Mutoscope & Biograph Company, 1903.
Notes
- H34992 U.S Copyright Office
- Copyright: American Mutoscope & Biograph Company; 22Aug03; H34992.
- Cameraman, A. E. Weed.
- Cameraman credit from Niver's, Early motion pictures, p. 314.
- Filmed July 30, 1903 in Washington, D.C.
- Source used: Niver, Kemp R., Early motion pictures, 1985.
- Available also through the Library of Congress Web site as digital files.
- Received: 2/2000 from LC lab; ref print and dupe neg; preservation; Paper Print Collection.
Repository-Library of Congress Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA dcu
Digital Id-http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.mbrsmi/awal.1878
LCCN Permalink-https://lccn.loc.gov/00564571

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Bicycles on DC Streets 1903


"Collecting mail, U.S. Post Office"-digitized short film shows a few bikes in street traffic

This short movie from the collections of the Library of Congress shows two post office boxes on a street corner and was apparently intended to show how the Post Office employees serviced them. Separately the video shows something of what street traffic was like, including persons on bicycles, which from my perspective is far more interesting. (The video is not identified with any tags or other access points suggesting cyclists are part of this. Typical.)

Collecting mail, U.S.P.O. single image from video (1)
First cyclist enters screen from left at around 15 seconds, riding parallel to a streetcar

The first bicycle rider shown looks to be an adult man riding at a moderate pace, likely to get from one place to another - bicycle as transportation that is faster than walking and less elaborate than using a horse-drawn carriage.

Collecting mail, U.S.P.O. single image from video (2)
At about 20 seconds, second cyclist appears in upper middle of screen as traffic clears, riding across intersection from cross street

Much like the first bicycle rider, bicycle as transportation. I was amused by the man walking across the street in another direction, who ambles rather casually.

Collecting mail, U.S.P.O. single image from video (3)
At 28 seconds, third cyclist appears from left, who has a boy sitting on the handlebars as a passenger

All the cyclists shown are traveling at a moderate pace. If you look closely, you can see the rider here pedaling steadily. It is almost certainly a single-speed bike.

Collecting mail, U.S.P.O. single image from video (4)
At 32 seconds, fourth and last cyclist appears from right, cutting through the intersection

A little hard to tell, but this appears to be a younger rider, moving at a faster (but not that much) pace. He seems to ride in front of two women who are going to cross the street. He has a bag of some kind in his hand held to the handlebars.

Collecting mail, U.S.P.O. single image from video (5)
No bicycle shown here, but you can see four different horse-drawn carriages at once near this Washington DC intersection in 1903

Most of the "traffic" shown during the video consists of horse-drawn carriages. Two different streetcars pass, one in either direction. There are a moderate number of pedestrians, and then the four cyclists, one with passenger. All the traffic is moving at a moderate pace - the horse-drawn carriages in particular. Most of the pedestrians are shown walking briskly and enter the intersection without pause - one suspects that absent many cars, concern about entering intersections was much more casual.

One assumes that this was shot during the middle of the day and that the various traffic elements are representative. The use of bicycles looks pretty high. Interesting.



Thursday, January 18, 2018

LimeBike Parking is Difficult in DC

How not to park your LimeBike
LimeBike dockless bikeshare bikes "parked" on National Park Service land near the Jefferson Memorial

In yesterday's blog post I had a video about how to park a dockless bikeshare bike produced by LimeBike for its users.

Over the last three days, during which there was some snowfall, I have seen these same three LimeBikes parked in a row near the Jefferson Memorial in Washington DC. First they were parked on the sidewalk, all standing up. Then after the snowfall they were all laying on the sidewalk where they had previously been standing. This morning someone had stood them back up but then on the way home someone else (one assumes) had tossed them over the chain-fence so that they were lined up as shown on the grass, laying there in a row. I suspect the National Park Service would not approve.

Poorly parked Limebikes

This parking arrangement of course does't follow the advice in the video, where they are particularly critical of laying bicycles on the ground. Because so far there are far more of these bikes than available bike rack slots at the locations where people seem to want to take them, I would say I have never seen so many bikes laying on the ground before the introduction of dockless bikeshare bikes.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Dockless Bikeshare Parking Example

MoBike in front of Library of Congress Madison building
MoBike in front of Library of Congress Madison building

The most recent rider left it near the front door. The nearest bike rack is about 100 feet away, just barely visible in this photograph (if you click on it and zoom in). As it happens, the nearest bike racks were all full, but a plaza like this isn't intended for bike parking on a random basis like this.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Perceptions of Bicycle Safety Have Changed (Since 1991)

Man and boy on bike in DC
Man and boy riding a bike with a dog perched on the man's shoulder near the U.S. Capitol Reflecting Pool

This photograph from the Library of Congress collection taken in near the Capitol reflecting pool in Washington DC suggests that in the 25 years since 1991 safety in cycling has changed a little bit.

Contributor Names - Patterson, Laura, active approximately 1989-2000, photographer
Created / Published - [Sept. 1991]
Subject Headings
- Reflecting pools--Washington (D.C.)--1990-2000
- Cycling--Washington (D.C.)--1990-2000
- Dogs--Washington (D.C.)--1990-2000
Format Headings - Film negatives--1990-2000.
Notes
- Title devised by Library staff.
- Date from caption information for contact sheet ROLL CALL-1991-507 or corresponding negative sleeve.
- Contact sheet available for reference purposes: ROLL CALL-1991-507, frame 20/20A.
- Contact sheet or negative sleeve caption: "Reflecting pool."
- Forms part of: CQ Roll Call Photograph Collection.
Medium - 1 photograph : negative ; film width 35mm (roll format)
Source Collection - Roll Call portion of CQ Roll Call Photograph Collection (Library of Congress)
Repository - Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/pp.print
Digital Id - ppmsca 38847 //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.38847
Library of Congress Control Number - 2015646966
Reproduction Number - LC-DIG-ppmsca-38847 (digital file from original item)
Rights Advisory - No known restrictions on publication.
Description - 1 photograph : negative ; film width 35mm (roll format)
LCCN Permalink - https://lccn.loc.gov/2015646966

LimeBikes on the Mall (Dockless Bikeshare Arrives in DC)

LimeBikes on National Mall
While jogging during lunch Friday September 22 I came across these two LimeBikes

I almost wonder if the LimeBike people put these here like this, or if some users actually left them aligned with this bike rack. I have yet to see a MoBike bicycle around, but two days after these were announced as being available (I think that's right) here these are at lunch time on Friday September 22.

When I rode home hours later, I saw another one parked on a sidewalk along Independence. It was not near a rack, just standing on the sidewalk held upright by its kickstand. Because people here are used to bicycles being locked to something, these bikes seem odd just standing with a lock merely disabling the back wheel (using a Dutch bike approach). In the above case, the bikes are nicely placed near bike racks, which I suppose keeps them more likely to remain upright but also makes it harder for anyone else to use the rack as intended. Hmm.

I loaded the MoBike and LimeBike Android apps. The MoBike app was a lot more intrusive, more or less asking if it could have access to everything on the phone. Really? Why? I declined to give access to anything other than location, so perhaps that it why the map labels displayed in Chinese - a map of Washington DC, but still. The MoBike app was also in a big hurry to have me "top up" an account with some $ from a credit card. Whoo, let's see where these bikes are, first! The LimeBike app seems to be tailored for the US, which is a better approach I would say, and only wanted to know my location, which makes sense. It noted that the first ride is free and didn't start hitting me up for $. So aside from the fact that I have seen LimeBikes near where I work in DC (and not a MoBike) I already like LimeBike better than MoBike.

I'm curious to see if dockless bikeshare can work in Washington DC that already has a successful "regular" bikeshare system. My doubts include whether people will really park them properly (whatever that might mean, which isn't clear to me, except that certain kinds of bike parking will not work well) and whether a system that only locks the bike wheel and not the bike to a fixed object can work. Among other doubts . . .

I might give one a try. We'll see. First ride is free, after all.

As an aside, I did manage easily enough not to use a car on "Car Free" day (9/22/2017) but it was pretty much business as usual, commuting to/from work on a bike and not going anywhere in the evening requiring a car. So I'm not thinking I should give myself too much credit for that one . . .



Saturday, September 9, 2017

My 2,000 Character Response to WaPo Article on Bicycle Commuting

The Washington Post has an article, "Cycling to work means better health and a longer life. Here’s how to get started." that I made a comment on (that will be lost in the sea of comments, which is probably just fine). I have reproduced it here. You only get 2,000 characters for a comment!

Bike to Work Day, 2011
Line of bicycle commuters on Mt Vernon trail several years ago on "bike to work" day

"Cycling to work means better health and a longer life. Here’s how to get started." The first part of this title is surprising since typical headlines for stories like this include the word "may" - as in, it MAY mean better health and a longer life - or it may not. I guess that the author (and editor) felt OK with leaving that out is encouraging.

I'm not sure that the approach provided that much useful "here's how to start" guidance but as a selection of somewhat inspiring stories with some selected suggestions it is fine.

About the e-bike commuter, it says, "And she gets to work without sweating, traveling nearly as fast as a car." Since we are talking about pedal assist bike, and since this is Washington DC, this seems unlikely on hot days. Simply standing around outside is enough to start sweating in much of July-August, and although the self-generated breeze from riding does carry away some perspiration, you can't get away from some sweating. And the "traveling nearly as fast as car" suggests a high rate of speed but it is really more the slow-and-steady-wins-the-raise over automobiles that kill a lot of time in traffic jams. Those e-bike commuters I see who want a high rate of speed, which is certainly possible with some of them (over 25 mph on some pedal assist bikes) often create hazards for themselves and others, particularly when on multiuse trails that were intended for around 15 mph max.

The article doesn't include the suggestion that seems most useful to me - anyone thinking about this is likely to have seen a neighbor who is a bike commuter - the thing to do is to ask that person their advice. A lot of getting started is overcoming certain seeming obstacles specific to a location that a neighbor can likely help with. And this ties in with a pleasing aspect of bicycle commuting, which is that most of us eagerly help each other. It's a community you get as part of being a bike commuter.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Bike Parking at Nationals Ball Park & Clothing Options

Nats bike parking lot as changing station
Bikes can serve as a drying rack, but leaving this much stuff in a public parking area is an interesting notion

Also, the part where he changed his clothes made an impression on the folks managing the parking area - I asked. They of course have no guidance on what to tell such people. "Hey mister, change your clothes in privacy!" I do give him credit for having arrived even earlier than I did (this was the only bike there when I got to the park) and he tucked it back out of sight of the street at least.

The saying that when you go to a baseball game you never know what you will see is usually understood to pertain to the play on the field. Ha ha - small joke, sure.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Bicycle Messengers of 100+ Years Ago

The Fast Flying Bike Messenger

From http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045462/1908-08-23/ed-1/seq-43/
Evening Star newspaper. (Washington, D.C.), 23 Aug. 1908. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Library of Congress.
In Washington, a city of few hills and with asphalt streets and but little congestion, the messenger boy prefers to ride a bicycle to the more ancient but slower method of walking. The bicycle boy, if he is working by the "piece," of course, makes more money than his rival on foot, so that the spirit of emulation drives many messengers to save enough money to purchase wheels, so consequently they have no money to spend on novels.
From an odd article about what messengers in Washington DC read.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Hertz Rent-A-Bike? (1971)

Bike story [Bicycle rental store, District Hardware]
A "Hertz rent-a-bike" in Washington DC in 1971

The Library of Congress has a collection that was given to the Library for which rights were also given, the U.S. News & World Report Magazine Photograph Collection. This includes photographs from the 1960s and 1970s.

This odd example apparently was a possibility to go with a magazine story about cycling. I was surprised to see the "Hertz Rent-a-Bike" sign on the door. I had never heard of such a thing. It does not appear as convenient as Capital Bikeshare!

Title-Bike story [Bicycle rental store, District Hardware]
Contributor Names Leffler, Warren K., photographer
Created / Published-1971.
Format Headings-Film negatives--1970-1980.
Genre-Film negatives--1970-1980
Notes
- Title and date from log book.
- Contact sheet available for reference purposes: USN&WR COLL
- Job no. 25159-A, frame 17/17A.
- Forms part of: U.S. News & World Report Magazine Photograph Collection. Medium 1 photograph : negative; film width 35mm (roll format)
Call Number/Physical Location LC-U9-25159-A- 17/17A [P&P]
Source Collection U.S. News & World Report magazine photograph collection (Library of Congress)
Repository Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
Rights Advisory No known restrictions on LCCN Permalink lccn.loc.gov/2017646391

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.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Women's March by Bike?

The Women's March on Washington information about bicycle parking still a work in progress.
Local Transportation - By Bike

Q: Can I bike to the march?
A: You are welcome to ride your bike as transportation to the march. However, bikes are not allowed in the rally area or the march route. We are currently identifying a place for bike parking. We will update people over the next week with more details.

According to the what to bring page (which really should be titled, "please don't bring anything!") it seems you are only to have a relatively small, absolutely clear bag if you have any sort of bag at all. I guess I can put a sandwich in my pocket, and an apple. And my phone, which (thanks T-Mobile!) probably won't work but no worries, life proceeded before there were mobile phones.

While it is clear where the March starts, it isn't clear where they are planning to march to, but since it is stated it will be a March of only one and a half miles, it seems like down Independence Avenue to the Washington monument or something like that. Probably best to try to park towards the destination end and walk back to the march start.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Robots to Deliver DC Packages on Bike-Free Sidewalks



The above video isn't specific to DC



Apparently the delivery bots are a little late in arriving since it is November and they have not yet appeared

This article from a transportation think-tank suggests deliveries will start later this year.

By the end of this year, Washington, D.C. will be the inaugural testbed for a new type of delivery service: last-mile ground deliveries, performed by robots, for the low cost of $1.

Starship Technologies, a European company, is working with the D.C. City Council to establish a first-of-its-kind pilot program that will allow the company’s robots to conduct package, grocery, and food deliveries within city limits.

The company’s robots are a couple of feet tall and take up the same amount of space on the sidewalk as a pedestrian. Weighing in at 30-35 pounds, the inexpensive robots are equipped with nine cameras, two-way audio capabilities, and a lockbox for its cargo.

“They’re social robots,” explains Henry Harris-Burland, Starship’s marketing and communications manager. “The robot acts like a pedestrian and it knows it’s at the bottom of the food chain.”

From a cyclist's point of view, it is interesting and perhaps amusing that DC's central business district legal ban on riding a bike on the sidewalk is suggested as a plus - "Another advantage to testing in D.C., in addition to its low-density development, is that cyclists are banned from riding on sidewalks within its perimeter." The article has a map of the DC "no riding on the sidewalk!" area, which I suspect would be news to many who ride bikes in DC, based on my observations. Hopefully the robots won't be too surprised when it turns out there are some bicycles on the sidewalk being ridden after all.

Per this article the droid-delivery-bot operates autonomously unless it gets into trouble, in which case the remote operator would take over.

One wonders what if any cues the robot takes from pedestrians walking along with it - DC pedestrians are not known for being law abiding, I would say. (When I travel to Seattle I always have to remind myself of this local trait that I have acquired.)

What may have worked in Estonia to deliver pizzas may be more challenged by the US capital city. I guess we'll see. I can't say I'm looking forward to having short bots to watch for in addition to all the rest of it.

Of course there is the other aspect of it - didn't people on bicycles used to deliver stuff? Oh, sometimes they still do! Well, for the moment.

Special delivery messenger, U.S.P.O.
DC postman speedy delivery by bike (from a while ago . . . )




Monday, October 24, 2016

Washington Boy Shows Joy of Cycling

Boy on Bicycle (in Washington DC, 1890s)

Digitized image from a glass plate negative that shows some degradation. It was likely taken at a studio in the late 1890s. The descriptive record does not have an exact date. Studios sometimes had a bicycle and subjects would be posed sitting on a bike that belonged to the studio, but this I think this may have been the boy's bike - you wouldn't think a studio bike would have a headlight, and the front tire is quite dirty. But that's just a guess. He looks quite happy!

www.loc.gov/item/2016713286/

Title-Boy on bicycle
Contributor Names-C.M. Bell (Firm : Washington, D.C.), photographer
Created / Published-[between 1873 and ca. 1916]
Format Headings
Glass negatives.
Portrait photographs.
Genre
Portrait photographs
Glass negatives
Notes
- Title is unverified name of sitter or person who ordered the photograph, from handwritten label on negative sleeve or negative.
- Date based on span of years of C.M. Bell Collection.
- Negative number assigned by Library.
- Gift; American Genetic Association, 1975.
- General information about the C.M. Bell Collection is available at hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/pp.bellcm
- Temp note: Batch 55.
Medium-1 negative : glass ; 5 x 7 in.
Source Collection-C.M. Bell Studio Collection (Library of Congress)
Repository-Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA