Gear Prudence: Any tips for biking down to the inauguration and/or Women’s March? I know that driving down there will be impossible and taking Metro will probably suck, so I’m thinking that biking is the best option. —Consider Riding Or Walk, Drive, Subway?
Dear CROWDS: Both events are likely to draw lots of attendees, so you’re correct to be skeptical of either driving or taking Metro. When asked, “should I bike there?” GP’s response is always going to be “duh.” First, let’s consider the inauguration. Due to security concerns, there will be many more street closures, and you can’t ride or even bring your bike in certain areas around the Mall and by the Capitol. In fact, bikes—like drones, selfie sticks, and explosives—are on the list of banned items. If you ride your own bike, expect to lock up kind of far away and walk. Thankfully, Bikeshare will operate two corrals (17th and K NW and 4th and E NW), and this a great option, especially if you decide to get home via a different mode. And remember, no bikes on Metro.
For the march, fewer roads will be closed, so you’ll be able to lock up closer to the action. As of today, GP knows of no organized bike parking, so expect crowded racks and sign posts. If you’re marching, you might want to lock up closer to the end of the route than the beginning for a more expedient exit rather than fighting through the crowds to get back to your bike. As always, never try to ride through massive groups of pedestrians. That’ll frustrate everyone. —GP
Gear Prudence: I just moved into an apartment building with a big bike room, but in order to use it, they want me to put an ugly sticker on my bike. I don’t want it on my frame and I don’t want to advertise where I live when I’m biking around. Why do buildings do this? Is it for insurance? —Room Entry Necessitates Tacky Emblem, Registration
Dear RENTER: GP doubts this sticker insures anything. Most buildings explicitly state that use of bike rooms is at your own risk, and if your bike is stolen or damaged, it’s way more likely that the building manager will tell you to file a claim against your renter’s insurance than pay anything out. The sticker could serve a few purposes: proof of registration (if access to the bike room is contingent upon having a registered bike), verification of payment (if they charge you a fee to store the bike), or, most likely, a means of identifying the owner when it’s time to clean out the bike room. A lot of people forget/abandon bikes when they move out, so the number on the sticker is a good way to check if the bike belongs to a current resident or can be junked. —GP