Health

See How Four Washingtonians Bike to Work

What their commutes are like, what bikes they ride, and the one thing they can't ride without.

Meet Seth Pollack, the 40-mile-a-day man, who bikes from Rockville to DC, and back. Photograph by Andrew Propp.

1. Seth Pollack

bike to workEditor at the sports website SB Nation, rides 19 miles daily from Rockville to downtown DC—and back.

Why do you ride so far? When I moved here from Phoenix in 2012, I said, well, I’ll ride this old bike to Metro. Then I started riding a bit more, bought a newer bike, and eventually hooked up with Bike to Work Day [an annual event promoting bike commuting, this year on May 15].

How long does it take? An hour-15, hour-30. If I take Metro, it’s an hour. I drove in once. It took me just as long, and I hated it.

You go in any weather? My record is one degree [above zero]. My neighbors think I’m crazy, but you get used to it. I once rode through some snow I shouldn’t have, but they plow the Capital Crescent Trail now.

What do you ride? In January I built my own bike. It’s a generic touring frame, Shimano components, disc brakes. I’ve got the rack in back, bags, really bright lights, two front headlights, blinky lights in back and on the side. Riding in the dark is the absolute worst.

Do you go to the gym? No. I’ve lost 30 pounds since I started and lowered my cholesterol, blood pressure. This is what I do.

bike to work
The bike routes Elisa Poteat (2), Richard Albores (3), and Alan Thompson (4) take to get to work in DC.

2. Elisa Poteat

Lawyer

Commute: Capitol Hill to Dupont Circle, four miles.

Ride: Pashley Princess Sovereign.

Can’t ride without: A very loud bell. “You have to have one that somebody in a car can hear.”

Route: Through the Capitol grounds to the Pennsylvania Avenue bike lane to 15th Street, around the White House, back on Pennsylvania, then north on 20th Street to M Street. On a “particularly bad day in the world,” Poteat says, “I can see the White House grounds and Capitol Hill—and know that, despite our dysfunction, things work here.”

3. Richard Albores

Acting deputy director EPA Federal Facilities Enforcement Office

Commute: Silver Spring to Federal Triangle, about 13½ miles.

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Ride: Van Dessel Country Road Bob.

Can’t ride without: ContourRoam2 camera, which “captures great images of my rides.”

Route: Georgetown Branch Trail to Bethesda, then the Capital Crescent Trail to K Street in Georgetown, Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House to the 15th Street cycle track, and back on Pennsylvania. Says Albores: “I love the views and historic landmarks around the area and the fact that I can stop to appreciate them.”

4. Alan Thompson

I.T. Director for an anti-poverty nonprofit

Commute: Del Ray to Metro Center, about seven miles.

Ride: Bianchi Alfana. “It’s not a great commuter because it doesn’t have mud guards.”

Can’t ride without: A backpack with a rain cover.

Route: Commonwealth Avenue to the Four Mile Run Trail, loop around at Route 1 to pick up the Mount Vernon Trail, then the 14th Street Bridge and cruise up 15th Street.

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