It’s been a weekend of sharing the bike love, or at least trying to. We found unexpected love in Denmark, and didn’t find love during the Bike DC event.
Yesterday was the EU Open House Day in Washington, DC, a day when all the embassies invite the public to visit their grounds, and learn about their countries and the work each one does in the United States. I went last year, and the year before that I worked in the German Embassy for the German-American Heritage Museum. This year my goal was to hit embassies I hadn’t been to, and we prioritized the British, Belgian, Danish, Croatian, and Dutch embassies. We made it to all of them, plus an International Women’s Day festival at the Islamic Center of Washington! Given the amount of time we spent standing in line, this is actually pretty impressive.
We were quite happy to eat our way through the British and Belgian embassies – bangers and free whiskey at the first, chocolate, beer, and waffles at the second! The Danish embassy had some lovely cheeses as well, but it had the best exhibits of all of them – bikes!
There was an entire wall full of photos of people on bicycles around Copenhagen (not from Copenhagen CycleChic, however), plus some information about how Denmark has become one of the leading green nations. Imagine this – 90% of all waste is recycled or used as fuel in “combined heating and electricity plants.” And 36% of the population of Copenhagen bikes to work!
The best part, however, was the “Share the (Bike) Love” photo shoot!
It’s a promotion, of course, and a contest, to win a trip to Copenhagen, but I love that I ended up with a Share the Bike Love profile picture for Facebook and Twitter! It’s perfect.
Today, however, there was a bit less bike love going around. The Mechanic and I had signed up for the WABA Bike DC bike event, which was a 24-mile loop through DC and Arlington. Seemed like a good idea, except that it wasn’t…
I had heard that 7,000 people signed up for the event, and I don’t doubt the figures after seeing the crowds. There were the roadies, of course, and I was on Donner in my Bike Arlington jersey, so I too looked like a roadie. But it seemed like there were more recreational bikers out on the route, enjoying the beautiful weather, and having fun.
Here’s where the problem lay – there were so many people on bikes who were not paying attention, wobbling all over the roads, and doing clueless moves, that it made us more stressed to be around them. And there was no where to go! I was trying to be generous – after all, I WANT people to bike more, and this seems like a good way to encourage getting out on bikes. Tons of kids, even a mom and two daughters on a three-person bike (tri-dem?), and I think that is great, get kids riding at a young age. But when we got to the Iwo Jima part and had to get off and walk into a tight bottle neck (thanks to some unscheduled road work that cut off half the road, I heard), I gave up. My patience had worn thin, I wasn’t having fun, and the claustrophobia was setting in. We were happy to turn around and head back the way we saw other riders heading back.
It turns out that by turning back we not only ended up in a bigger, undirected mess, but we also missed the 4 miles up to and around the Air Force Memorial, which would have been nice. We ended up losing the route, and were on surface streets, with a dozen or so other riders, I might add, with cars, directed I don’t know where by a “helpful” DC cop, and found the finish line only by looking up the address on the map. I would have been disappointed if I’d been having more fun, but it was sadly just frustrating. We both were cranky afterwards, especially The Mechanic. An unplanned trip to my new local farmers market and a long nap when we got back helped. But there wasn’t much bike love going around this afternoon! It’s unfortunate, since there was so much love going on yesterday.
This week, however, is Bike to Work Week, culminating in Bike to Work Day, then The Mechanic and I are headed to West Virginia for the CASA River half-century! I’m excited but anxious that I’m not in good enough shape for it. Guess we’ll find out soon enough!