The Summer of the Shared Bicycle

bikeshare dcAugust 10, 2013, Washington, DC: I am a saner person on a bicycle. There are strong arguments to be made for bicycling as a money saver, a time saver and a healthy choice, but the bottom line is that my blood boils less when I’m biking rather than driving and I actually enjoy getting from Point A to Point B. This summer more than ever before, it’s apparent there are a lot of us out there.

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Places That Shape Us: Biking Home

Potomac River, Washington, DC, January 2013

January 8, 2013, Washington, DC: I snapped these photos this evening on my bike ride home. It was the first time I’d gotten out and exercised in awhile and I took my sweet time, pausing to balance my bike against a street lamp or curb while removing a glove and taking my camera phone out my coat pocket to capture the sunset. I live in a beautiful city. It’s easy to remember that while biking through the areas of town occupied predominately by tourists. Every one of them is smiling. It’s refreshing to see the city as they see it, through the eyes of someone who’s never lived here and is moving through it for the very first time.

Movement itself, I’ve decided, makes me a particular type of nomad. Despite my best efforts, I’m not a traveler who can sit still at the beach or a homebody capable of spending a day on the couch. I am someone who appreciates my surroundings most profoundly by moving through them — one step, one pedal, one stroke at a time. For some, it’s predominately music or food that draws them in; while both compel me, I’m typically hooked by opportunities for physical activity. Outdoor recreation allows me to live well in a space, inhaling its air, taking it in at a manageable pace, appreciating its health. A run in a foreign city, a paddle around Teddy Roosevelt Island, or a bike ride home from the office are the best ways I know to carefully observe the landscape.

That’s why I’ve recently organized all of my posts focused on recreation, athletics, health and wellness into a new category here on Neighborhood Nomads called Places That Shape Us. You can find it in the drop down menu on the righthand side of the home page. Check it out and come back to visit for upcoming posts about moving and exercising throughout this fine city.

Georgetown and Potomac River, Washington, DC, January 2013

Lincoln Memorial, Washington, DC, January 2013

Washington DC, January 2013

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How Far Away is Work and How Do You Get There?

November 10, 2012, Washington, DC: My one-way commute to the office recently shrank from 35 miles down to six. While the work itself is similar in the new job, the lifestyle change is dramatic. I no longer spend the morning racing down the highway out of the city. I fill my gas tank once a month now rather than once a week.

It’s not necessarily hours I’ve gained — sometimes venturing six miles across D.C. can take the same amount of time as driving forty miles against traffic — but I have newfound options and flexibility. Mostly I take Metro and connect to a bus up the hill. Often I bike home on Bikeshare rather than returning to the Metro. Once in awhile, I drive. And I’ve made it a goal to run/walk home once a week — down Embassy Row, past the White House, and along the National Mall towards the Capitol. It’s the choices I enjoy. I appreciate spending less on gas and I appreciate how easy it is to incorporate city life into my day on the way home when I don’t have to worry about parking the car. I enjoy the flexibility that comes with living and working in places accessible to transportation alternatives, even if it means renting a smaller apartment in a great location.

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