Name: Adam Godet
City: Washington, DC
Occupation: Operations Officer; Woodworker
Company: U.S. Defense Department; Joint Base Anacostia Bolling; Godet Woodworking
Bike: Spot Champa
One-Way Commute: 6-7 miles (10-12 km)
Washington, DC – 7:00 am
On the steps of Capitol Hill, Adam Godet fits in nicely. Sharply dressed among the high-powered execs and suit-wearing bureaucrats. Adam has already had a morning strength training session and biked seven miles to the office — an impressive daily ritual. A system that has been ironed out. Something you might expect from a driven guy working in the U.S. Defense Department.
The Bike Commute to Work
Prior to 2009, Adam tormented himself with crowded subway rides and painful transit schedules.
“When you’re on public transit, you’re on someone else’s schedule; on the bus or train you may not even have a seat; something is likely going to happen that is going to wrinkle your plans. Delays, repairs, etc. Regular metro commuters in DC have come to expect issues.”
Fed up with it all, he took control of his commute and bought a bike in 2009.
“With a car, you’re going to deal with traffic. But with my bike, I come and go as I like. No schedules; no traffic.
In the first few rides, The logistics were a pain. Before I found the classic garment pannier, I would drive into the office on Sunday and drop off my suits. I would pack undershirts, socks, shoes, etc, in a backpack. At some point, I’d drag home the suits and shirts. Then take them to the cleaners. Then start the cycle over again.”
Not having a reliable way to bring a suit every day and having to take time on a Sunday to schlep clothes around was a major pain. This is the kind of thing that held him back from making it a regular routine at the start.
Adam’s reasons for biking are practical but the little things along the way are what make it special.
“I also really like that I can say hello—even visit with—my fellow commuters, or just people I encounter who are running, walking, etc.”
“Occasionally (but not often enough) there is a dude set up under the Capitol Street bridge with a drum set, rocking out. Part of the weirdness is that I’ve never seen a car or any other conveyance nearby…he seems to sort of appear there, out of nowhere, full of energy and enthusiasm and a full drum kit. I can only imagine that his significant other, doesn’t like him playing in the house and the dude just has to rock…” Adam laughs, “You don’t usually get that in your car.
“Driving makes me grumpy; biking (usually) makes me happy. Happy = productive”
Adam’s Commute to Capitol Hill
“I have several routes I take, depending on the day which is about a 7-mile ride. If I have a few extra minutes and the weather is nice, I extend the route by about a mile and ride on the Anacostia park trail.
I catch the trail behind RFK stadium. In a few years I suspect this trail will become like a superhighway for bike commuters, but right now, there are just a few of us and some runners. The trail runs along the Anacostia River… occasionally, I’ll see wildlife (most recently turkeys!).
With the exception of about a mile or so, this route keeps me off the road and away from traffic. It’s quiet and peaceful. With the exception of crossing the Sousa bridge, you don’t really even feel like you’re in DC (or any urban area).
If I’m rushed for time, I’ll go through the neighbourhood streets. I’ll either cross the Souza bridge (preferred), or the capitol street bridge (slightly faster). Both of these routes are completed mostly by taking bike lanes. Car volume can be heavy at various points in the day, but I take my time and avoid encountering too many vehicles.”
“Look Out!!!” – Practical Bike Advice
“In DC, bike commuting is relatively common and we still only make up about 5% of commuters. Drivers are just not trained/accustomed to seeing cyclists (yet). Expect them not to see you. Make every effort to be visible (which includes lots of lights and a dorky fluorescent vest)…that is the safest way to share the road with thousands of pounds of rolling steel.
Drivers are looking for other cars and maybe pedestrians. Pedestrians are mostly looking at their phones. So…who’s looking out for cyclists?
You could be wearing a gorilla suit and holding a flashing sign and drivers still may not see you. They will turn without signalling, right into you. They will cut you off. They will pull out in front of you. Don’t get mad; don’t yell; don’t take it personally.
Really, 99% of the time, they just didn’t see you.
When a driver does see you, give a friendly wave, or a thumb’s up…or a hang loose sign, if that’s your thing. 👋
“Take your time and enjoy the ride…get there safely and happily…let the car commuters race each other.”
It’s about safety and a positive attitude. Especially for new cyclists. You don’t need spandex gear or clipless pedals to commute. Shorts or jeans and sneakers work just fine.
I’ll reserve judgment on cyclists following the same rules as cars…”
Biking to meet a foreign dignitary (How to Pack for it)
Adam is a longtime customer of Two Wheel Gear. He bought his first bag in 2009. We started to get to know him in March 2015 when we had some delays shipping out the 2.0s (facepalm). He’s used the bags for years and knows as well as anyone how to get the most out of his Two Wheel Gear. Here are Adam’s tips.
“I like to lay the pannier flat on the ground and lay my clothes gently into it. Suit goes in first, then the dress shirt. I put my tie and belt on the same hanger as my shirt and that works for me. My shoes go in one of the outside pockets by themselves; undershirt, socks, and gym gear go in the other big pocket. I put my shower stuff in the top tube pocket.
I also work out before work, which means I need to pack clothes for my work out, a towel, stuff for the shower.
I like packing in the evening and then hanging the bag up by the front door…that way, you can just grab and go in the morning. Plus, if you lose motivation in the morning, you have one less excuse.
I’ve been using the garment pannier for so long, it’s hard to remember what it was like before. I will say that I rely on that bag, every day. I used to drive on days I had big presentations or meetings because I wanted to make sure my clothes were nice and fresh. With the Classic, I don’t worry about it. Everything is good to go when I get there—rain or shine. I would use it if I was biking to a wedding, photo shoot, or even to meet a foreign dignitary.”