By Jordan Williams
Friday, May 21 marked D.C.’s twentieth annual Bike to Work Day. Bikers throughout the DMV gathered to celebrate their shared passion for biking and promote it as an eco-friendly means of travel. College Park Here & Now interviewed four bike commuters: Joshua Fatzinger, Ashley Rodriguez, Max Skoglund and Brook Biddulph.
Fatzinger bikes 1 ½ mile on the Rhode Island Avenue Trolly Trail to work at the University of Maryland, largely because biking saves him time. By car, and factoring in delays and detours on Route 1, his commute is typically between 15 and 20 minutes. By bike, he shaves it down to seven.
Rodriguez commutes to downtown D.C. She routinely rides the trolly trail to the College Park Metro station but occasionally enjoys the long ride into the District. She rides an electric bicycle, citing its economic efficiency as a key consideration, as she does not pay for parking or gas. She recommends that everybody give bike commuting a try. “The distance isn’t as bad as most people think,” she said. Indeed, most of these commuters said that their commute by bike is the same or shorter than by car.
Skoglund also commutes to D.C. His most direct route is close to a 20-mile round trip, but he often takes the safer and more scenic route down the Anacostia River Trail, even as that doubles his time and distance. Skoglund sees commuting by car as purely utilitarian, whereas commuting on his bicycle is a much more enjoyable experience.
Biddulph said that she bikes to work, even as her commute doesn’t involve heading to an office. “My work is my kids,” she said. A stay-at-home mom, she tools around town with her kids on board — her three-year-old riding in a basket on the handlebars, her five-year-old on an outboard bike attached to her own, and her eight-year-old riding independently alongside. Biking around town is fun exercise for them all and turns routine errands into enjoyable outings. Biddolph bikes her kids to playdates, karate practice and other activities, too.
Skoglund suggests that aspiring bike commuters start with small trips to build their skills and stamina, and then map out good routes so that they can confidently bike to work. Bike commuting can be challenging, especially in traffic. But as these bicyclists confirm, once you build experience, commuting by bike is a uniquely rewarding experience and a great way to start the day.