Friday, December 30, 2005


This is the bikes@vienna mission, as stated on our home page: “We want people to use a bike to have fun, to exercise for good health, to save money, and to protect the environment” In order to accomplish that mission, people need safe, convenient facilities where they can ride their bikes. We have joined with a group of people in Fairfax County to press for better bicycling conditions in the county. We call ourselves Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling (FABB), and we are affiliated with the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA).

FABB has been meeting with county supervisors and staff to discuss several specific measures that are needed to improve cycling conditions: 1) a bicycle coordinator position in the county; someone who is responsible for ensuring that all transportation projects accommodate cyclists. 2) a bicycle map; showing the locations of roads that are bicycle-friendly and showing paved trails, and 3) a network of on-road bike routes; either dedicated bike lanes or signed bike routes where roads have wide curb lanes or paved shoulders.

Our work is paying off. At the December 5 Board of Supervisors meeting “Chairman Connolly moved that the Board direct staff from the Department of Transportation and the Department of Planning and Zoning to report with a list of recommendations to better incorporate bicycle facilities as part of the transportation infrastructure”. You can read the summary of the motion on the county Web site (search for “bicycle”), or read the article in the Washington Post (Supervisors Seek Bike Policy Update, Cross County Trail to Open Dec. 17, By Jacqueline L. Salmon, Washington Post Staff Writer, Thursday, December 8, 2005; Page VA03).

During our meeting with Chairman Connolly, he invited FABB to attend the opening of the Cross County Trail on Dec. 17. Several FABB members were able to attend. John, Kerie Hitt, Hunter McCleary, and I rode from bikes@vienna. Douglas Stewart, the FABB chairman, and his family joined us there. John showed us a great route from Vienna on Cottage St. to right on Gallows Rd., past the Dunn Loring Metro station, down Gallows Rd. to right on Woodburn Rd. near the Beltway. We took Woodburn south then turned left on Guinevere Dr., then right on Saxony Dr. to Camelot Dr. where the trail head was located for the ribbon cutting. Gallows Rd. was not bad at 9:30 a.m. on a Saturday. I've heard that several cyclists use Gallows to ride north from the Springfield area.

I'm compiling a map of routes that cyclists use and will add some of those roads to the map. Three of the Board supervisors were present at the ribbon-cutting. Most of us were able to speak to one or more of them, to let them know we were there and to thank them for their support. All of the supervisors said that they appreciated the many the letters that cyclists had sent thanking them for their recent Board action.

This is a very optimistic time for cyclists in the county. However, our work is really just beginning. We’ll need to show up at budget hearings to ask for funds to implement the new policy, and we’ll need to work closely with the Board and with staff to ensure that the goals we’ve set are accomplished. If you want to help, let us know (b r u c e (at) b i k e s a t v i e n n a .com).

Monday, December 26, 2005

John, The Red Nosed?

JohnTheRedNosed, originally uploaded by bikes@vienna.

Rodney Dangerfield complained in his act that he could not get any respect. This is that kind of story.

I rode my bike to work last Friday morning. Ces bought some blinking, Rudolf noses and I thought it would be fun to wear one to see if anyone would notice. The nose had the proper effect with people smiling and waving or doing double takes.

Matt is back from college and working at bikes@vienna during his break. He has been painting up a storm. He is a darn good mechanic, but he just keeps working and before you know it he has covered a large area as a painter. He arrives in front of the store, walks across the parking lot, says good morning and acts like I'm not wearing this big red, blinking nose on my naturally large nose. We're wheeling bakes outside and we pass a couple of times. Matt says nothing about the nose, but he does ask why my glasses don't have any lenses.

He doesn't say a word about a blinking, big red nose, but he inquires about the missing lenses from my sunglasses? It tells me that Matt is used to me doing outlandish things, but he's still trying to figure out my small idiosyncrasies.

I like to wear a mirror on my sunglasses and sometimes I remove the dark lenses as I go out the door in the evening. I left the lenses at the store so that morning I was still without the lenses. The red nose......I wore it Saturday evening as we rode to see the wonderful display of luminaries in the neighborhood northeast of Westwood Country Club. As I'm sure you know, luminaries are objects that give off light. In this case it was thousands of medium sized paper sacks with sand in the bottom of the sack and a lit candle. The streets in that area were lined by the sacks. It was special to see.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

We wish you Good Yule!

foolish2, originally uploaded by bikes@vienna.

I have laughed and giggled and giggled and laughed since Ces came to get me this evening and show me this photo. You may recognize my grandson, Cyrus, but you won't be familiar with his accomplices, Daisy (elf) and Eidel (reindeer). I get extra laughs because I took care of those two last February when Jacob and Katie (my son and daughter-in-law) went to Seattle. Daisy is headstrong and Eidel is afraid of his shadow so getting them to do anything is a chore.

Jacob's note which accompanied the photo said it took an hour of "tickling, singing, and mugging plus a whole lot of dog biscuits". It was worth it. I hope it brings a smile to you. Good Yule to ever you celebrate this holiday season, I wish you good health and safe travel.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Look For bikes@vienna at NBC4 Expo

H&F06 logo, originally uploaded by bikes@vienna.

The new year is rushing towards me and just beyond the New Year is the NBC4 Health and Fitness Expo at the Washington Convention Center. You will find bikes@vienna in the Marketplace section and we'll be displaying bikes and raffling off a Dahon Boardwalk 7. Now the chance to win a new Dahon is an incentive to visit the expo, but there is so much more. There will be health screening, information sessions, demonstrations, and 80,000 other health conscious humans. Mark your calendar for Saturday and Sunday, January 14-15. Unless you can ride your bike there......The Metro is the best form of transportation. The hours are 9AM to 5 PM.

More details are available at

Friday, December 09, 2005

What happens when it snows?

Snowpeople, originally uploaded by bikes@vienna.

Snowguy, originally uploaded by bikes@vienna.

Many times people ask what we do during the winter months. We're open and many winters there are opportunities to ride a bike in Virginia's moderate winters. We also participate in exhibits like the NBC4 Health and Fitness Expo at the Washington Convention Center (January 14-15).

Yet there are mornings like today when there is snow and not much business. We are a creative lot so........we revert to our inner child and build snowpeople. Yes, we use bike components for eyes, nose, and mouth. We now have two sentries on the alley which will bring smiles to people we hope. Drive by and take a look.

Happy Holidays.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

A cyclist's view of his commute

This morning's Washington Post contained an item dealing with "Commuter Survival Skills". I sat up and read more carefully when I saw that one of the items was from John Pickett, a customer who purchased his Tour Easy from bikes@vienna. Here is the lead in to the item from the Post and then my favorite item, "Two-Wheeler":

Commuter Survival Skills

 Last month, we asked readers to submit tried and true methods for dealing with the headaches of their daily commutes. Wow, did you ever respond. Who knew there were so many survival strategies being employed? Maybe all that time stuck in traffic really gets the creative juices flowing.

From a highway poet and lottery fantasist to a masochistic traffic jam seeker, legions of bikers and even one woman who takes out her Beltway frustration at a Rockville shooting range, we heard some intriguing methods for coping with the commuting grind. Here are just some of our favorites:


Sixteen years ago, I moved to Mount Vernon fully aware of the 15 mile/30 minute car commute to my job at L'Enfant Plaza. Day after day, I sat in traffic; year after year, the traffic worsened. No more.

For the last 10 years I have ridden a bicycle to work along the Mount Vernon Trail. I started this rebellion with a small backpack and a road racing bike. The racer gave way to a commuter model, outfitted with fenders, generator light system and a rear rack. In 2003, I acquired a Tour Easy recumbent bicycle (with windshield no less).

In the last five years, I have averaged about 130 bicycle commutes per year. I don't save a dime in gas and parking since my wife, who works in the same office building, still drives. Why bother, you ask? I watch in fascination as the new Wilson Bridge rises from design concept to near completion in slow motion. I substitute egrets, herons, fish hawks, bald eagles, deer, turtles and bunnies for cars and buses. I smell the seasons instead of exhaust fumes. I hear the birds of spring instead of Idiot in the Morning on the radio.

-- John Pickett, Mount Vernon