35 Comment

  • Condo / apartment building doesn’t allow bikes inside the unit? Just a guess.

  • I live in the building across the street and they’re currently renovating the storage area where the bikes are normally stored.

  • Maybe this should’ve been the caption contest!

    If it had been, I would’ve tried something like:

    “D.C. bicycles obeying the command to be fruitful and multiply.”

    Or “Tired of being stolen, bicycles decide there’s safety in numbers.”

    Or “The Bikes await the arrival of the Jets, preparing to ring their bells in response to the Jets’ finger-snapping.”

    (I must have the last one on my mind because of Adam’s great comment from the “What Would You Have Done?” thread:

    “am i the only one who sees this as a perfect sharks v jets scenario? seriously, just lower your shoulders and melodically snap your way through the gauntlet. then throw up jazzhands at the last minute.”)

  • have they been renovating the storage room for 4 years? because ever since I’ve lived in DC there’s been this mountain of beater bikes there.

  • Latino working class struggling to have affordable housing in proximity to mimimum wage jobs. 5 or 6 income earners in a unit. Don’t own cars. Don’t have money for public transportation everyday. But a beater bike gets you to your dishwashing or drywall job. A smart BikeShare person would reach out to the Latino community. Might have to come up with a special rate (which was managed for living social), and might have to work in Spanish, but the working class has a proclivity to need bikes too.

    • crin is spot on. Being not so much of a Bleeding Heart, I was simply going to post that “young Latino men use bikes for transportation.” I suspect PoPs had already figured out that such scenes are a rough measure of Latino apartment occupancy.

    • Spot on, and a great idea about bike share.

      Cue wistful thoughts about affordable housing in DC…

    • Hmmm, I just don’t get further subsidizing bikeshare as an alternative for people who already own bikes….

      Bikeshare costs $75/year. A used beater bike probably goes for significantly less than that and is a one-time purchase. Why would anyone want to commit to an on-going payment when $50 will get at least several years of transport?

      And, I really don’t see any compelling social need to do so, either. Unless it’s just way too offensive and upsetting for people to see a pile of bikes on the sidewalk….

    • No offense, but WTF are you talking about? While it was probably true a couple of years ago, the vast majority of bike riders I see nowadays are white people, not “working class” Latinos.

      • I don’t know if the above commenters are correct or not, but for what it’s worth, I live near here and I see many, many Latinos on bikes. I also see many on bikes near the area that fortheshorties mentions between Mass and 11th up to N Street. There’s a large Latino population there.

        • +1. Not sure how SS doesn’t see all the Latino dudes on their bikes, but maybe he doesn’t live in an area with a lot of them? I’m pretty close to mt. p so maybe that’s why I see many of them daily…

      • Um, that is probably because the Latinos are riding their bikes to work at a time when you are not on the road, i.e. early, early in the morning, 2pm for afternoon shift, etc.

    • providing transit options to unbanked/underbanked customers is a huge problem- capital bike share is working on it: http://capitalbikeshare.com/news/?p=1140

  • logan circle bike gang

  • Hipster convention? Newest dive bar?

    Seriously, this happens outside of an apt building near Mass and 11th as well. Also at 11th between N and M on the West side.

  • This picture must make D.C.’s stellar city council salivate. I can only imagine what’s going through Kwame Brown’s head right now: “Bike tax?! Yes, a bike tax to fund my next Navigator!”

  • When people get snobbish about bike ownership (because they have to look at the bikes), I’d have to say they should move to Potomac and quit bothering the rest of us.

  • Mormons? College kids? Would love to know the answer

    • Interesting, thanks. And to respond to Annonny, $50/year for a working bike is way cheaper than being GIVEN a bike. I spent more than that yesterday on an innertube and a pump.

      • Air cost about $.50 cent at most gas stations and patching a tire might cost about $1 for the pack.

        That is a lot less than Bike Share…

        • Bikes kept outside need a ton of maintenance. Not all flats can be patched. At $50, Bikeshare costs 13.7 cents a day. Let’s agree that I am a spoiled 1% cyclist and that Bikeshare could be a great alternative for the working man.

          • You need a better understanding of the difference between “need” and “get.”

            Have you ever noticed how bikes ridden by the “working man” are generally not in good condition, but they do get people where they need to go? They may be in bad shape, but they work, and they’re not going to get preventative maintenance that costs money.

            Having grown up poor, I can tell you that most people would rather have their own crap bike than use a rental. There’s security in owning something, even if its on its last legs and needs a lot of repairs.

  • It’s an MPD bike theft sting.

  • This is a common scene all over Amsterdam and in many European cities…

    I think we could do better.


    • Europe gets bicycling, and urbanity, and building scale, and density, and health care… you get where I’m going with this.

      • …fiscal and monetary policy?

        • are you suggesting we are any better?

          • Not really, just pointing out that Europe doesn’t “get” everything – they have some very big issues of their own right now. Though I would say we’re doing at least some things better since we don’t have a real debt crisis and our currency isn’t looking like it might fragment.

            Europe is just fundamentally different than the U.S., and I don’t think that we’ll ever have their level of biking infrastructure and urban density. Part of that is just different cultural attitudes about transportation. Part of it is their relatively high gas tax. I don’t see a major change coming about here until fuel prices (taxes or market) force people to change, or people’s attitudes about wanting cars shift for whatever reason.

  • Not to nitpick but title should read “Why are there always so many bikes here?” not “What are there always so many bikes here?”

  • thebear

    FYI: When they put the bike racks in P Street during the Streetscape project, DPW told us at a community meeting in 2006 that public bike racks are only for short-term use, such as visiting friends, shopping or dining. Residents are not allowed to use public racks for regular parking or storage, and DPW does go around and tag bikes seen at the same location requiring the owner to identify themselves or it will be removed if it’s still there in 10 days. They asked people to report violators.


    Someone parked a bike in front of the Westpark before the Valentine’s Day snow storm in 2007. It remained there, undisturbed until May. Then, people started using the basket on the front as a wastebasket. I contacted DPW about it. A couple of weeks later (after it had been picked clean and nothing but the frame and lock remained), DPW showed up to put a “please contact us” tag on it. Fast forward to 2010. It was still there, despite multiple calls and confirmation numbers from the city. Finally, in May of 2011 they came and cut the bike off the chain…but the chain remains to this day. Repeated requests to DPW to remove the chain go nowhere, though they will show as closed out and then disappear from the system.


    Someone in the neighborhood has been using the post right next to abandoned bike for their personal space since the street reopened. DPW has put a few notices on the bike alerting the person they can’t keep it on the street. Followup calls have gotten nowhere, even though 311 acknowledged that they had noted the bike for “further enforcement action.” The DCgov-to-English translator says that means “We’ll do something about it if there is an Act of Congress or we decide we need some extra citation revenue to look good.”

    In any case, those bikes are technically a safety hazard. Call DPW for giggles and see what happens.

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