Coffeeneuring to Big Bear Cafe

For my second coffeeneuring adventure, I biked to Big Bear Cafe in Bloomingdale. Reminder: the idea behind coffeeneuring is to bike to seven different coffee shops by November 17.

Like most bike people, I have more than one bike. I’ve limited my addiction to just to two cycles – a Specialized Sirrus and Breezer Zig 7, a folding bike that I bought off Craigslist. Small enough to fit in the trunk of a car, I’ve taken this bike everywhere, from the cobblestoned streets of Savannah to mile-high trails in Colorado.

But I had a problem.

This city is hell on bikes
This could be a problem.

I can fix a flat tire. But I could not loosen the nut that held the tire to the frame, even after employing bike tools, WD-40 and even a hammer. So I took it to The Bike Rack at 14th and Q.

The Bike Rack
The Bike Rack at 14th and Q NW.

It’s a great store with honest mechanics who quickly and cheaply fixed my problem. Within minutes, I was back on the road.

Taking the Q Street bike lane, I biked east across the city to Big Bear Cafe¬†at 1st and R Street NW. Ten years ago, this was ratty corner store adjacent to an open-air drug market. Now it’s home to strong coffee and bearded baristas. With its second-hand furniture and vine-covered patio, it would be a great place for a meet-cute romantic comedy. But this is Washington, so everyone was engrossed in their laptops.

#coffeeneuring in hipsterville (Big Bear Cafe)
Strong coffee on a warm October day at Big Bear Cafe.

I continued east on R Street to the Metropolitan Branch Trail. Eventually, this trail will stretch from Union Station to Silver Spring, following the route of the Red Line. At the moment, it exists in bits and pieces and some of those bits are under construction.

Metropolitan Branch Trail
Metropolitan Branch Trail.

After following the trail to Union Station, I biked up to the Capitol, where our legislators can’t make up their mind about how to fund the government – their indecision why I have time to coffeeneur on a Tuesday. Unfortunately, this time is unpaid, since I’m a government contractor.

The solution to all our problems - a foldy bike! #bikedc
The solution to all our problems – a foldy bike!

Going around the Capitol, I cruised down the Pennsylvania Avenue bike lane, which offers glorious vistas of the city, before making my way up 15th St and to home.

Me on Penn Av
My giant head enjoys the Pennsylvania Avenue bike lane.

Here’s the route I took.

Coffeeneuring to Big Bear
Coffeeneuring to Big Bear. Tracked in Moves, an iPhone app.

One thing I realized during this cross-town journey: if local government builds bike lanes and trails, people will use them. Everywhere I went, people of all kinds were out riding. And not just for relaxation – from college students to commuters, a sizable chunk of this city uses bikes for everyday transportation. The city of Washington built this community. While our federal government may be dysfunctional, we can still make progress on a local level. Bike DC!

Author: Joe Flood

Joe Flood is the author of The Swamp, a funny new novel that mocks the city America has come to hate.

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