Well, I suspect that yesterday will be my last bicycle commute of the year. It was fully dark for the last half-hour of my ride; from inside the District along Rhode Island Avenue into Maryland and up the NorthEast Branch Trail, I depended on my lights to keep me safe.
The trail is adequate. It keeps me off the road, which really helps through Riverdale because the traffic lights/traffic really slow things down. However, it's a narrow trail in comparison to others and in the dark running into other users is an ever-present danger (I nearly ran down a pensioner walking home with groceries). It sure would be nice if they lit the trail.
Rhode Island brings its own dangers in the dark, of course. The section inside the District is worrisome because there's little room for maneuvering when people are getting in and out of cars, but at least the lane is mostly clear and it's very much down-hill! Across the line into Mount Ranier, the ride is nice, with a marked shoulder north of the circle. Still, I don't trust the drivers in the dark.
For a month now, I've been biking once or twice a week. Yesterday was my best time: 1 hour 35 minutes. I doubt I could beat that by much, I was pretty lucky with lights and there was little traffic backup to slow me down. Since I usually ride about 10 miles an hour, 14 miles in 1:35 is about right. My worst time was something like 2 hours 15 minutes. But that trip was full of stops and starts because I didn't know where I was going and because my bike kept falling apart. At any rate, I look forward to the spring when I can ride again.
Also, you can tell Thanksgiving is coming! My route takes me by Union Station and the bus terminal. Boy, was that a madhouse.