Bike to Work Day, scheduled for Friday, is an annual event that helps commuters cross the mental and emotional threshold into a new way of commuting. The threshold may be lower this year as commuters figure out what to do during Metrorail’s maintenance surge, which will disrupt many thousands of trips.
I’m not suggesting this is for everybody. If you commute from Gaithersburg to Reston, or Reston to Rockville, you’re probably not going to switch to a bike. But for those with a more compact route who are looking at Metro station shutdowns and extended single-tracking, Friday is a good time to test the potential.
And your employers may be especially receptive this year to providing support, such as changing rooms and secure bike racks, in exchange for you showing up on time.
The key attraction about Bike to Work Day is that thousands of people participate. You can ride in a convoy, led by someone who is used to bicycle commuting. There are convoys all across the D.C. region. Many of them will get you into the big employment centers. You don’t have to sign up to be part of a convoy, and you could join in along the route rather than meeting up with the convoy at the start point. See a list of the convoys, along with a map.
This is typical: A convoy is set to leave from Discovery Plaza in downtown Silver Spring at 7 a.m. and ends up at Freedom Plaza on Pennsylvania Avenue NW, where there’s a big rally. But these are not all suburb-to-city routes. There’s one, for example, that goes from Laurel to the Suitland Federal Center.
This is a rain or shine event, but the early forecast from the Capital Weather Gang is very promising. We have the potential for a partly sunny day with a high temperature of about 70, although your early morning ride would likely be much cooler.
Some of the tips from veterans to starters: Be sure your bike is in good condition, wear a helmet, and dress in bright clothing or don a reflective vest. Although the convoys have leaders and plenty of participants, there’s no designated support system to help repair your bike if it breaks down. The event sponsors suggest you bring an extra inner tube, an air pump and a repair kit.
You don’t have to, but you can register for this event. (There’s the potential for a free T-shirt.) Use this link to the online registration form. You will be asked to select a gathering point, or “pit stop,” where you will meet up with other participants. This is where the first 15,000 participants can pick up T-shirts.