From Willis Shawver. Follow him on Twitter at @WShawver or email him at Willis[AT]borderstan.com.
After living in a city for a while, you start to pick up on some of the unwritten rules that apply to that particular city. I’ve definitely learned a few unwritten rules while living here in the District.
Keep your commute under 30 minutes. Stand on the right, walk on the left. Parking on Connecticut Ave after 7:30 am on a weekday will get you a $100 ticket. Okay, maybe that’s a written rule, but you get the idea.
And what it is the most important rule I’ve learned while living here? The Metro Rule.
I haven’t always lived in the District. When I first moved to the area more than 10 years ago, I lived in a far off place called Fair-A-Fax. It’s a magical place full of things called CostCo, Applebees and McMansions. People do this thing they call “driving.” It’s all very strange. While I might have lived out in the suburbs, I worked in downtown DC. Right across from Camelot. Great lunch buffet, by the way.
To get to work every day, I would drive 15 minutes to the nearest Metro station, park, ride the Metro for 35 minutes and then walk 10 minutes to my office. Then I would do it all again in reverse later that same day. Practically two hours of my day lost to the commute.
Like any good 20-something with a job in the city, I attended my fair share of happy hours and social events after work. Sometimes those social events included drinking. Okay, a lot of those social events included drinking. And the one constant after every event, was the long Metro ride home.
And do you know what Metro stations and Metro cars don’t have? Bathrooms. Henceforth, the Metro Rule was born.
Met·ro Rule (metrō ro͞ol) noun
Definition: The idea that an individual should visit the lavatory before leaving their current location.
Example of Metro Rule: Brian decided it was a good idea to apply the Metro Rule after closing out his tab at the bar.
I truly believe that Metro turnstiles are cursed. As soon as you walk through… BOOM! You’ve got to go. And what’s that? A 15-minute wait for the next Red Line train, AND you’ve got to transfer at Chinatown? This is not looking good my friend. You should have Metro Ruled. Yes, it’s a verb too.
You might say to yourself, “I don’t have to go. I just went!” (Sigh) Your body is lying to you. You do have to go. Or maybe you’re not even taking the Metro. That’s why the rule applies to all modes of transportation. Bus. Bike. Cab. Walking. It doesn’t matter, the rule applies!
There are NO exceptions to the Metro Rule. None. Well, maybe a couple. Long bathroom lines can be a deterrent to the Metro Rule. Proximity to your next destination is also a factor. Are you literally walking next store or just a few blocks away? Ok, fine. Hold it, but you’ve been warned.
Ultimately, the Metro Rule is infallible. When applied consistently and correctly, the rule will bring peace of mind and … relief to those who believe in the power of preemptive peeing.
From Aparna Krishnamoorthy. Email her at aparna[AT]borderstan.com. Follow her on Twitter @aparnakris.
Food trucks and their regulations be damned. Restored vintage tricycles filled with gourmet ice cream sandwiches are the way to go! Perfect for this hot summer weather, CreamCycle DC brings these delicious frozen treats in a variety of unique flavor pairings to the masses.
With awesome combinations like peanut strawberry, cereal milk, bacon and olive, and corn brown sugar — there is something for everyone to enjoy.
I tried the chocolate-jalapeno sandwich — a chocolate butter cookie with spicy jalapeno ice cream and it was delicious. The cookie is nice and chewy, and the ice cream, while creamy, has a nice kick to it from the jalapeno.
I couldn’t stop at one, so I also picked the peach-vanilla to enjoy later. The peach ice cream is light and refreshing and the vanilla cookie complements it well.
Heading the CreamCycle movement is Chef Carlos Delgado, the executive chef at Boveda. According to their website, “The idea for a fleet of ice cream bicycles in DC came from the streets of chef Carlos Delgado’s native country – Peru”
A fine concept, with a delicious product! Some of their other combinations sound equally delicious, and I can’t wait to try some more of these sandwiches through the summer!
Where Can You Find Them?
The locations of the cycles are announced via Facebook and Twitter, but if you don’t want to wait, head on over to Smucker Farms on 14th Street or Bean and Bite to make a purchase. CreamCycle also offers catering services for events!
Have you tried CreamCycle yet? Let us know in the comments if you have a favorite!
From Mathew Harkins. Email him at mharkins[AT]borderstan.com.
Watch your toes, pedestrians! Not only are we in the middle of National Bike Month, we are in Bike to Work Week — and tomorrow, May 17, is Bike to Work Day.
So not only will you need to be on the lookout for the usual drivers and bikers looking to run you over, you’ll also be contending with an few extra thousand bicyclists.
Borderstan Bike Culture
Bike to Work Day began in 2001 with just a few hundred riders and has grown so much since then that in 2012, there were an estimated 12,700 bicyclists taking part. That makes for a lot of people unfamiliar with where they’re biking and how to operate around others.
Here in Borderstan, we love bicyclists because so many of us are bicyclists. We have numerous Capital Bikeshare locations, a nice collection of old and new bike lanes, and some great bike shops in The Bike Rack and Rollin Cycles.
That said, we all still need to look out for one another. So a few recommendations for our biking friends:
- Remember to stop at all red lights and stop signs you come across. I know you’re not in a car and the rules don’t always seem to apply to you, but it’s in everyone’s best interest.
- Be mindful of the vehicles around you. You may be a new rider and expect that cars will joyfully get out of your way. They won’t. There’s a good chance they won’t even notice you’re there (like the flies that buzz around elephants). And when those cars do come a little too close, you probably don’t need to slap the hood, the trunk, the door, etc. Probably.
- Be patient and cautious with pedestrians. There are many of us that, if there’s no car approaching, won’t hesitate to cross against the light. It’s a habit we should all work on but it won’t magically disappear by tomorrow. So be mindful of your neighbors still beating feet to work. And use your bell — we’ll all try to hear them through our headphones.
Bike to Work Day is pretty exciting. It’s great for exercise and as a way to do something nice for our environment. Just remember that we all still need to get along come rush hour on Monday.
For more information on Bike to Work Day, check out the official website.
Metro’s ‘Aggressive’ Stance on the Red Line
Red Line single tracking is set to begin EVERY WEEKNIGHT at 8 pm between Dupont Circle and Van Ness, reports the Washington Examiner. The rational commuter in me understands that track work is necessary to improve safety and efficiency. The rider in me is pretty ticked off that this ‘improvement’ will take “until the spring” and is on top of other planned single tracking on weekends. But since I would like to stay alive on my travels, and track work is to replace the circuits that failed in the Fort Totten crash, I will just grumble into my crossword puzzle. Plan accordingly, people!
So Bike and Park at a Pretty Rack Instead
Have you noticed the new and improved bike racks around the city? I am partial to the one on M Street NW by the National Geographic building. But as DCist notes, artistic bike racks are popping up all over the district. The racks often tend to be reflective of their neighborhoods (see the dragon in Chinatown) and overall provide some interesting aesthetics for pedestrians and cyclists alike. What’s your favorite?
High Pressure Gas Leak Near Cosmos Club
Insert your own off-color joke here ( ). There, now that we are past that bit of humor, this was pretty serious stuff on Monday. A HazMat unit was deployed and Washington Gas turned off the leak, but it still closed down parts of Massachusetts Avenue, Florida Avenue, 21st, R and Q Streets NW. We Love DC has the recap, but no one seems to know why this happened. Sort of scary!
Reel Fest DC, CapitolBop Partner Up on 11/13
CapitalBop’s Jazz Lofts are unique events, which feature well-known artists performing sets followed by an all-out jam session at the end. This month, the event is paired with radical film festival, Reel Fest DC, with the event serving as the festival’s after-party. Jazz, film and jams — what’s not to like on a Sunday night?
Who Wrote Here?
New blog, DCwriters.org, is here to provide a guide to DC writers’ homes. Washington City Paper tipped me off to the story, and we can claim Sinclar Lewis as a Borderstan resident from his time on Logan Circle. There are many others — John Dos Passos, Langston Hughes and Julia Child to name a few. It’s worth checking out the variety of names and the pictures of their residences, as used in present day.
Little Serow Opens By Komi
Little Serow is not only by Komi, as in near to, but is also literally by Johnny Monis, the owner of Komi. And now it is open (shh, don’t tell)! Washingtonian gives a peek into the space, its vision and the menu. The reservations may be tough to come by, but they’ll text you while you down some drinks around the corner.
Urban Etiquette runs biweekly with Borderstan contributor Mike Kohn writing about some common-sense rules of etiquette with an urban twist. We welcome your ideas for future columns.
One of the best parts about living in Borderstan is that it’s so easy to walk everywhere. Don’t want to walk, or think it’ll be too far? Hope on a bike and ride. With Capital Bikeshare setups all around the ‘hood, you don’t even have to own a bike to do that. The city went out of it’s way to create bike lanes for all of the people who want to ride, which makes it so much safer for bikes to get around places.
So why the hell are all of these bikers nearly running me over on the sidewalk?*
Let me just pause for a second to say this: cyclists get a bad rep. There are a whole lot of people who ride bicycles well, observing traffic laws, being courteous to both car drivers and pedestrians and not interfering with anyone else trying to get places.
That being said, there are a few cyclists who really ruin it for the rest of them by being general pains in the ass. So keep in mind that this article is directed at those people on bicycles, not the large majority, who I do think do a great job (read: don’t attack me by telling me that you’re a good bicyclist — I get it).
Okay, now that that’s out there, here’s what I’m recommending for bikers:
- Bike in the street. There are bike lanes all over the city (including 15th Street NW, among other places) that you can use. When you can’t use a dedicated lane, stick to the road — just don’t be in the sidewalk interfering with the pedestrian pathways, if you can help it.
- Obey the traffic signals. That includes lights and stop signs. True story from a reader of mine: “I’ve been hit by a bike in the crosswalk. Bike zoomed through the cars, stopped at the red light and nailed me.” Come on! Don’t be running people down!
- OK, so that one’s impractical for you? If you’re in so much of a hurry that you really can’t wait 25 seconds for the light to change, be sure you actually look both ways and into the crosswalk ahead when you cross against the signal so you’re not crashing into people because you’re so unobservant.
- Stop or lock your bikes in a way that doesn’t block everyone else’s path. For example, don’t lock your bike at a staircase so no one can climb the stairs. And don’t stop in front of a building entrance where people have to wait for you to move before getting in and out. Annoying.
- Use common sense when riding metro and elevators. That sounds dumb, but it would be really helpful. Sense whether it’s too crowded and you should wait for the next one. Don’t knock everyone over to squeeze your bike on. Things like that would be nice.
- This isn’t etiquette so much as safety, but wear a helmet. Don’t care if you’re riding for 5 seconds or 5 hours, but be safe and put it on.
What else would be helpful for our two-wheeled friends? And any cyclists out there have any comments about some of this stuff?
* DC law allows for bicycles on sidewalks in our neighborhood. The cutoff is Massachusetts Avenue NW, with bikes allowed on sidewalks north of Massachusetts.
The DC government has joined with the Arlington County government to create a new regional bike-sharing program. Later this year you will be able to pick up a bike in DC, ride to Arlington and leave it there–and vice versa.
DC Department of Transportation (DDoT) says, “This expanded, regional system follows the success of SmartBike DC, launched in 2008. The new system will launch later this year with roughly 1,100 bikes at 114 stations and will be largest of its kind in the US.”
SmartBike, the DC bicycle sharing program currently has 10 stations and 100 bicycles. Three of the 10 stations are in the Dupont-Logan-U Street area:
- Logan Circle: 14th and Rhode Island NW (southwest corner by 7-11 store)
- Dupont Circle: Massachusetts Avenue and Dupont Circle NW (west of Dupont Circle)
- Reeves Center: 14th and U NW (northwest corner of intersection)
There is also a station in Shaw at the northwest corner of 7th and T Streets NW.
Friday is Bike to Work Day in the DC Metro area. The day’s events are sponsored by the Washington Area Bicyclist Association and Washington Commuter Connections.
What’s planned? WABA says, there will be 35 regional pit stops and opportunities for riding to work with experienced commuter convoys if you are a novice. The closest of the three pit stops in DC is at Freedom Plaza. WABA asks participants to register to be eligible for giveaways.
If you don’t regularly ride to work, check out the city map showing bike routes. In Borderstan, bike routes are on portions of 12th, 14th, 15th, Q, R, T, V and W Streets NW as well as Vermont and New Hampshire Avenues NW.
Also, The Washington Post has an article today, “Road Wars,” that examines “the challenge of merging bikes and cars on highways.”