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Pedaling Past Traffic Jams

Bike to Work Day

Bethesda resident Jeff Baron loves his daily work commute. While many of his neighbors stew each day in morning traffic, Baron cruises on a recumbent bicycle down the Capital Crescent Trail en route to his job at the State Department.

“People think of bicycles as fun and recreation, and they have trouble connecting it to transportation,” said Baron. “This week on my way to work, I saw a bald eagle on the Potomac River eating a fish.”

“Like most of Washington, I have a desk job, and I spend my day in front of a computer,” said John Karlik, a Carderock Springs resident who works at the International Monetary Fund (IMF). “To me, [biking] is a great way to get going in the morning, and going home in the evening, it’s a great way to unwind if you had a bad day.”

THIS FRIDAY, Baron and Karlik are among the bike commuters who will encourage others to join them on Bike to Work Day. The event includes 15 pit stops and “commuter convoy” leaders in the greater Washington area will lead bicyclists downtown to Freedom Plaza as part of Bike to Work Day.

AS FOR FACILITIES, many downtown employers have accommodated their workers who bike.

Karlick said the IMF has been very helpful to him and his coworkers who commute by bike. He chairs an informal group of IMF bike commuters, and estimates their numbers have grown two- or threefold in the last 20 years.

“At the State Department, if I show up in sweaty bicycle shorts, I’m going to have a bad day,” said Baron, who brings a change of underwear and uses shower facilities at work. He doesn’t transport his suits on bike. “My wife has never seen most of my suits, because I buy them downtown, hang them up in the office and get them dry cleaned downtown.”