Posted by: The Bike Lane | July 25, 2013

If you have ever dreamed of working for

If you have ever dreamed of working for an exciting and fun bike shop, here is your chance. The Bike Lane has a few job opportunities for awesome people who are passionate about bikes. We are hiring for a full time Service Technician and Sales Associates. http://ow.ly/nk7Re http://ow.ly/i/2HPns

Posted by: The Bike Lane | July 16, 2013

We are looking forward to tomorrow’s We

We are looking forward to tomorrow’s Wednesday @ Wakefield! It’s the best and longest running grassroots mountain bike race in the region! And it benefits @trailsforyouth, one of the best youth programs in the region! http://ow.ly/n0BZm Come race with us! http://ow.ly/i/2CDhE

Posted by: emilybybike | November 1, 2011

Newest Old Way to Commute

This morning peddling through Rock Creek I noticed a rather unusual mode of transportation parked in one of the lots….

image

 

So let’s go by wagon! Just makes you wonder where the horses are…

Posted by: emilybybike | October 27, 2011

Results are in!

Well, better late than never – here are the results from my little “experiment” last week.

Day 1: Ride to and from work via bicycle (the road bike).

Total Distance: 26.3 miles

Total Time: 1:57:33

Average Speed: 13.4mph

Calories Burned:  982

Money Spent: $0 (yay for free bike parking at work)

Day 2: Drive to and from work … yes … I had my heart rate monitor on and the GPS running in the cup-holder next to my coffee :-)

image

Total Distance: 25.05 miles

Total Time: 1:25:56

Calories Burned: 171

Average Speed: 16.9 mph

Money Spent: $4 parking; estimate about $4.60 in gas (25 miles ~ my car gets about 19 mi/gallon and with gas costing about $3.50/gallon = $4.60 to go 25 miles) for a grand total of $8.60

Winner: Going By Bike (as if there was even contention for the car…)

Not so surprisingly – I burned more calories riding to work as opposed to driving. A lot more. Almost six times more. What is a little interesting – is that while riding my bike was about 1.25 miles farther than driving – it was still only 32 minutes faster going by car versus going by bike. And sure, half an hour can be a lot of time – when you’re going by bike you’re doing double duty and commuting and getting a work-out in. However – you take that to a round-trip commute, and it’s only 15-minutes faster by car each way. Plus – when you look at it – my average speed on the bike wasn’t that much slower than my average speed in the car (3.5mph faster in the car). When you see it by the numbers – and in terms of being healthy (burning calories) and saving money (almost $9/day!) going by bike is the way to go!

Posted by: emilybybike | October 24, 2011

Going by Elliptigo?

In the course of commuting by bike – I’ll often compare stories with friends of mine who go by bike as well, recently, one of my good friends, Damon decided to change up his commute and try a new form of momentum for getting to work. It’s a neat idea and seems to work for him.

So enjoy and check out guest Bloggger, Damon Taaffe, who is now Elliptigoin’ places!

Remembering Jaron: I’m Elliptigoin’ places:

For the last couple of years, I’ve been commuting to work by bike come hell or high water, and we’ve had a little of both.  It’s about 7 miles each way, mostly downhill in the mornings on the way to work, and mostly uphill on the way back.  It’s gotten to the point where I just don’t even think about traffic anymore, because it doesn’t affect me; in fact, I can tune into my favorite podcasts and enjoy the outdoors, and it’s one of my favorite parts of the day.

The only issue I’ve found is that it can be a bit tricky to integrate the commute with the rest of my training schedule, which often has me cranking out high-intensity intervals after I get home.  Rolling downhill to work in the mornings is fast, but it doesn’t do much for my fitness.  The uphill slog home does more for me fitness-wise, but almost too much so, as it’s tough to hike up steep hills for miles on the bike, wearing a loaded backpack, only to hop on the trainer right afterward and hit my target wattages.
I’ve also found myself wishing that I could integrate more of a running workout into my commutes, because that’s been my limiter, historically speaking.  The challenge is that running 7 miles each way turns into a pretty bloody hard day, especially when you mix it in with swimming, yoga, lifting, normal running workouts, and my cycling routine.  Do it every day, and you’re suddenly at 70 miles a week of running before you’ve even done a real workout, which is patently untenable.  All things considered, I’ve wanted to get a moderate running-type workout without actually running quite so far, and without the impact stress.
Enter the Elliptigo, which I bought last Saturday at Revolution Cycles, and which I’ve been using to commute every day this week.  It’s probably not quite like anything you’ve seen before — think of it as a running bike, or an elliptical on wheels.  Here’s a picture of the fanciful beast:
My green Elliptigo 8s.  No, it doesn’t get strange looks.  Why?
It’s a pretty ingenious design: a fully-adjustable elliptical bike that was designed by two Ironman triathletes specifically to mimic a proper running motion.  It’s nothing like the looping effect you get on some commercial ellipticals; rather, you really pull almost directly back with your glutes and hamstrings, much the same way efficient runners do when they “claw” the ground for horizontal propulsion.  Here’s a video of what it looks like in practice, except I look far more suave and certainly don’t grin like a dope:
It’s gotten some endorsements from pretty well-regarded athletes who are serious about what they do, including the Ultramarathon Man himself, Dean Karnazes:
My interest having been piqued by reading countless glowing reviews, I decided to give it a try on a Saturday afternoon when I was recovering from illness and didn’t want to risk an actual long run.  I checked one out of a local bike shop and rode it around the neighborhood for 10 minutes, and instantly knew I’d found what I was looking for.  I bought it, rode it 20 miles that day (from Clarendon to Bethesda and then home), and I’ve commuted on it every day this week.
Here’s what I think.  First, it is absolutely, positively, ridiculous looking.  But I think it’s ridiculous in an endearingly nerdy, environmentalist sort of way — it’s the perfect thing to ride to a Star Trek convention in Berkeley.  (Fittingly, it’s the ride of choice for Sergey Brin, one of the founders of Google.)  And man does it get looks.  I’ve had my picture taken by at least one person every day this week, and when I’m stopped at lights, people can’t stop asking about it.  I’m sure that the some of the preening roadies who see me on the trails are quietly disdainful, but heck if I care; I’m not insecure about my ability to ride with those guys when the time comes.  The thing is, I don’t actually do my cycling workout until after my commute.  During my commute, I’m training to run.
The Elliptigo itself is a joy to ride, plain and simple.  It can go faster than you’d think, up to 20-25 mph on flat ground, although comfortable cruising speed is probably 15-17 mph.  Its small wheels allow it to accelerate quickly, and it’s much more nimble than I expected.  Riding around cars is also quite different from riding on a bike, because you’re up much higher.  In fact, I can see straight over the top of even the biggest SUV’s, and the upright posture makes it much simpler to swivel around to check for cars doing stupid things.  The shifting on the model I got is 8-speed internally geared, so it withstands the elements well and has the ability to climb any hill that Arlington can throw at it.  The disc brakes are clearly preferable to my road bike’s Dura Ace calipers.

One thing I didn’t quite count on is how much work this thing is.  It’s a 45-pound mantis of hurt.  The leg motion is almost entirely forward and back, and with the toe cages I have on it, it’s hip flexors and glutes.  My commutes, which used to be just moseying along on my road bike, are now very serious cross-training.  Even in the relatively cool 60s and 70s, I get home dripping with sweat.  But, because it targets the running muscles, I’m able to get in a quality bike workout afterward without much interference at all, as that’s quad-intensive.  The weight-bearing nature of the activity also makes it a much more efficient calorie burn than a normal bike.

Aside from the price — $2400 or so, although there’s a 3-speed model in the $1800 range — the other potential downside I’d mention is that, due to its 45-pound weight and somewhat awkward shape, it’s not much fun to carry.  If someone lives at the top of several flights of stairs and has to carry his bike up or down each day, the Elliptigo may be frustrating.

In all, in case it’s not clear, I’m pretty darn impressed.  Every now and then someone comes up with a product that just works, and this is such a product.  People have ridden these things in RAGBRAI, as well as in very difficult century rides, including the nortorious Death Ride:
Elliptigos are, in short, the real deal.  I’ve only been on mine for about a week, but I’ve retired my road bike from commuting, and I’m very optimistic about what this will do for my running and general fitness.
Posted by: emilybybike | October 20, 2011

The Laughing Truth

My friend sent me a link this morning to a diagram about bike commuting  … pretty amusing but also pretty true about bike commuting…. we suffer through the summer and winter for a few brief glorious days (intermixed with downpours) in the spring and fall …

 

 

And if you’re curious about my little “experiment” – results will be forthcoming :-)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by: emilybybike | October 18, 2011

Experiment in Progress

With cooler temperatures and shortening daylight hours – the bike commute is now starting to double for me as commuting/training. I tell myself that while the paths and backpack makes me slower – in the long run – it helps. I hope :-) That said – I finally remembered and was prepared enough this morning to start a “going by bike” experiment that I’ve had on my mind for quite some time. And while I can’t exactly call it an experiment, since I’m 90% sure what the results will be – so perhaps we’ll call this a “truthing” exercise. So what is this experiment pray tell? A comparative study between riding to work and driving to work. And yes – while it’s almost a known that on any given day driving is slightly faster, while riding most likely is healthier (burns more calories) I thought I’d do it by the numbers and see just exactly what the differences are. How so? Simple. Today – instead of just jumping on my road bike (the e-bike is still in need of some serious repair) and heading off on my way, I took the extra minute to put on my GPS and heart-rate monitor before I leave. Dorky? Perhaps. But I’m a scientist by training anyway. I let the GPS run from the time I left my apartment in Arlington, until I hit the parking garage at my Silver Spring office. Just a rough look, even before I downloaded all the fancy data, and one-way to work, which ended up being about 13.45 miles took me one hour and 32-seconds. Okay – not a land-speed record by any means, but again, not awful considering some stop-lights, bike-trail traffic and of course carrying a back-pack full of clothes, lunch and other necessities for the day at work.

So the next step – get the total time to and from work, and then tomorrow, when it’s supposed to be rainy and nasty, drive to work, and be a real big dork and wear my heart-rate monitor and put my GPS on my dash-board. Then stay tuned for the results!!

Posted by: emilybybike | September 15, 2011

Car Free Day!

So while I’ve been a little MIA here – I’ve still been rolling around on 2-wheels as much as possible. With this being the first September since moving to DC that I’m actually in town – I’ve discovered how many fun outdoors things there are to do here in the fall! And did I mention cyclocross? Amazing sport and a great way to have fun on the bike.

Okay – anyway …

Next Thursday, September 22, is CAR FREE DAY! And also the 1-year birthday of DC’s Capitol Bike Share (an awesome program if you haven’t already checked them out!) So here’s another great opportunity to give going by bike a try – and not just to work! Take your bike to the store, to the gym, anywhere you typically take a car and see and feel the difference!

Posted by: emilybybike | August 30, 2011

The Other Side of the Coin

As a cyclist – it’s almost nature to always assume that cars (vans, taxis, scooters, busses, etc…) are typically in the wrong when it comes to vehicle – cyclist interactions. We sometimes forget that as a cyclist, we also have to be observant, responsible and smart when it comes to sharing the roadways with other forms of transportation. I like to think of myself as a safe and observant cyclist, and also when I do drive, a cyclist-friendly driver. On the bike, I’ll stop at lights and signs (okay fine, I stop when there’s traffic or a cop), I warn other cyclists when I’m passing and even though it can be slower and more crowded with other users – I’ll take the bike path when one is available or the traffic is really heavy (i.e. Beach Drive near the National Zoo). When I drive, I pass cyclists with care, and use caution at lights and stop signs when cyclists are present.

What does sometimes confuse and irritate me, in addition to those drivers who are rude and disrespectful of cyclists (my good “friend” in the blue BMW who passes me at mach-10 every morning on Beach Drive) are the cyclists who put themselves in dangerous situations, almost looking to get into a tussle with a car.  I experienced this the other evening, as my friend Rachel and I were heading into Georgetown.

It was a nice evening, and my friend Rachel (another fellow cyclist) and I were headed down to Georgetown (there was a really good sale at Banana Republic and I had coupons…) Initially I was going to ride, but Rachel had recently hurt her back and is off the bike for a while, so she offered to drive. At least we were carpooling – right? The traffic leaving Arlington on 66 wasn’t bad at all, however we ran into a bit of a jam heading into the city over Key Bridge (6pm….) All three lanes going into DC were at a standstill – but that’s pretty standard for this time of day.  As we inched over the bridge, there was an opening in one of the lanes due to a car trying to merge out of it and into a blocked one (genius). So both Rachel and I checked, and double checked before she slowly pulled into the other lane. Then all of a sudden, out of no where, a cyclist whacked her trunk with his fist and started shouting incoherently at us. I was confused. Neither of us had seen him, and we had both checked due to the heavy traffic. Plus, we were in the middle traffic lane on Key Bridge – not exactly a place you’d expect to see cyclists, especially since there are TWO wide pedestrian / bike path, one on either side of the bridge.

The cyclist rode by and flipped us off, shouting more incoherent babble. I was again confused and slightly irritated at the cyclist. I commute over Key Bridge every day too – and sure, while the pedestrian and bike traffic on the sidewalks is heavy, it’s definitely much safer and responsible to take the sidewalks instead of playing Frogger through the 6 consistently bustling lanes of traffic, where people do frequently change lanes to either go into Georgetown or down Canal Road. I did feel a little bad for the cyclist – in his defense it’s not fun to be cut-off by a car, but again, we weren’t speeding, it was stop and go heavy traffic, and there is definitely an alternative option to riding in the traffic lanes across Key Bridge. Here’s one of those situations where, as a cyclist, I get very frustrated with other cyclists for putting themselves in a potentially adversarial position when a much safer alternative is available. So what if it costs you a few minutes getting to or from work – you’re not going to win any cash or prizes for getting there the fastest.

As cyclists, we frequently use the phrase Share the road – and I’d like to emphasize the share part. It’s not “give the entire road to cyclists” and it’s also not “drive like a jerk and ignore cyclists” it’s SHARE the road. Sharing is something we all were supposed to have learned in Kindergarten – right?

So in the end – as cyclists, when we’re riding out on the roads and bike paths – we do have to be defensive cyclists – alert and ready for cars not paying attention, but we also have to be smart cyclists and not put ourselves in dangerous situations, especially when a much safer alternative is available. And as drivers – we do need to be cautious and watchful for cyclists, especially in urban and suburban areas.

Not trying to be up on a soap-box here – just interesting to see the other side of driver / cyclist interactions, and realize that it takes an effort from both cyclists and drivers to keep everyone safe out there!

Happy riding!

Posted by: emilybybike | August 19, 2011

That Pesky 10%

As I headed out the door last night to ride to my kickboxing class, I again pulled up the weather map on my computer to double-check that I’d be able to get to class, and back before the forecasted storms of the evening hit. 5:30pm 10% Chance of Rain; 6pm 10% Chance of Rain; 6:30pm 20% Chance of Rain. 7pm 65% Chance of Storms. Which in my mind equates to a 90% chance of it NOT raining until that goes down to a 35% chance of it NOT raining at 7pm. I’m okay with those odds.

So it looked like I would be in the clear, although I’d have to ride quick once my class ended at 6:20pm to avoid the approaching storms. Even the radar wasn’t showing much activity at this time. I did make sure to pack a tiny head light and tail light – just in case, then I grabbed my gloves and pedaled off to class.

It’s a quick 15-minute ride to the studio – and thankfully most of the way is on several of Arlington’s many bike lanes, but just as I was cruising down Clarendon Blvd passed the Whole Foods, I felt something drip on me. Rain?! No… the sun was out! But then another, and another. Sure enough, it was lightly sprinkling. So much for that 90% chance of it not raining. But thankfully it was just a sprinkle and before I even locked my bike up, it had stopped.

A few times during class, I noticed cars driving by with lights and windshield wipers on, I hoped the rain would pass quickly and live up to its mere 10% chance. Not such was my luck. As I packed up my wraps and gloves and headed out, there was a light rain coming down. And then I heard a huge crack of thunder. Time to ride and ride fast! I made sure I had a front and rear light blinking, and took off up the bike lane on Wilson Boulevard toward home. While it definitely was more than a sprinkle, thankfully it wasn’t drenching and I got home just before the big storm hit. So much for a 10% chance of rain…. but by

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