Washington & Old Dominion Trail

As I described here, my biggest worry with the long public transport ride out to the Dulles region is unreliability leading to connection mismatches. If I miss one part of the linkage, I could be out at least an extra hour.

So, you might understand if I panic if the 5A breaks down.

When I boarded the 5A at L'Enfant this morning, I was impressed because it was obviously a fairly new bus. Not only was it clean, but the bus driver's seat was on shock absorbers. As we bounced along the highway, the digital stop display and recorded messages about remembering your things nearly made me feel like I'm on rail instead of road. However, about halfway between Rosslyn and Herndon, the idyllic journey was interrupted by an annoying beeping alarm. The driver looked down to his dashboard to see a flashing red indicator and whipped out his mobile phone for assistance.

But the phone didn't make the beeping go away. When we limped into the Herndon/Monroe Park & Ride, he pulled the bus over to the curb and announced that the bus was not going to make it to Dulles Airport. The next bus was scheduled for an hour later and if it didn't connect well with the Loudoun bus at IAD, it's likely I would have been two hours late and freaking out.

Well, I'd have freaked out if I cared. Today, I brought my bicycle.

In order to avoid the Loudoun bus, I've tried a couple of mornings bringing the bike to this park & ride and hopping up to the Washington & Old Dominion (W&OD) trail for a short six or seven mile ride to work. Not only do I avoid the connection fears, I generally beat the Loudoun bus's scheduled arrival, and I get some exercise, to boot.

This has been my first experience with taking the bike on the bus. The racks on front are terribly convenient and easy to use. It's quicker to put the bike on the bus rack than on the rack at the back of my car, to be honest. In fact, the bike on bus is nicer than rail because you don't have to stand there holding the bike and you don't have to worry about whether it is rush hour or not. (Bikes aren't allowed on rail during rush hour, and even if they were, you wouldn't want to do it.)

So, I'm feeling pretty chuffed. The bus broke down on the way to work, but I wasn't late. Nope, I was ten minutes too early to even get in the building.

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