Riding my bike to work is one of my favorite parts of life. I used to work in Bethesda, so my ride was pretty boring – big houses in Chevy Chase, dodging speeders on Bradley, etc. Since January, my commute has changed to Capital City Public Charter school, in the Manor Park neighborhood (for those of us who are visual people, it’s between the Takoma and Fort Totten Metro stations). Still Northwest DC, but my ride takes me through such culturally different neighborhoods, I notice something new every day.
I start at my apartment in Forest Hills – the Albemarle – and head down busy Connecticut Avenue to Tilden, trying to dodge the L buses that love to pull in front of me and blast me with their fumes. Once on Tilden, I fly. What a joy to coast down such a long and beautiful hill – and with a bike lane!
I turn left onto Beach Drive and make a quick right onto Blagden. The long, slow climb gives me the chance to take in some of the beautiful homes, gardens and families on this gem of a street. At the end of Blagden, I head up 16th for a few blocks, past the serenity of Rock Creek Park and the amphitheater. Here, I see familiar faces almost every day- older people with their adorable pets who you know have been at the heart of DC for years.
I head east whenever I get a green traffic light and hit what feels like the real city. Georgia Avenue is full of life as early as 6:45 a.m.! I see businesses opening, smell bacon from corner diners, and hear parents singing to their children in Spanish as they push strollers towards daycare drop-off. I love waving to the kind crossing guards who take care of the students at the many schools along the route.
As I move east from Georgia, things slow down again. I make my way onto Peabody Street and see some of the beautiful city parks and smaller, stand-alone homes in pristine condition. I ride past some classic diners and comfort food favorites as well as newer gourmet, healthy/vegan restaurants. I arrive at my school parking lot, right off of First Street, and process all I’ve seen.
The transient nature of Connecticut Avenue and the basic red line commute can make you forget how much of DC is still out there. Even though the city is small, there is such beautiful diversity!
And at the end of the day, I head home, grateful for my safe ride but also glad to return to my home-base neighborhood.
Now if only someone could set up a bike-friendly pulley system to get me back up Tilden…