Alexandria, VA

A year-and-a-half after a devastating six-alarm fire affected numerous businesses at the Belle View Shopping Center, bike shop Spokes Etc. has finally reopened.

Spokes Etc. reopened at 1506 Belle View Blvd. last Tuesday, making it their sixth open location in Northern Virginia. It has been in Belle View for more than 20 years.

“We really are trying to emphasize helping out the customer,” store manager Ryan Maurer told ALXnow. “First and foremost, we really want to have that really personal relationship. We’re not just here to sell bikes, and 99% of people who work with Spokes ride bikes, they live bikes, and we really pass on our experience to the customers.”

Spokes Etc. is a full-service bike shop where customers can buy new or get old models repaired.

The fire completely gutted the business.

“After further inspection of our unit, we’ve realized that the extent of damage is beyond our initial findings, including some structural issues that need to be dealt with,” the company wrote on Oct. 21, 2019 on Facebook. “We appreciate your patience as we work through the process of re-opening, and we will be re-opening, with a clean, new store to serve the Belle View community!”

The shop is open Tuesday-Friday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. They are closed Monday.

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Update at 4:50 p.m. — A spokesperson for the City of Alexandria said the city is not “proposing” bike lanes, but that bike lanes are one of several options being considered for North Beauregard Street.

T&ES feels the article is still misleading and not providing accurate information. We request you change the headline to reflect the actual input we are asking from the community.

To clarify, at T&ES we conduct feedback for several streets on the repaving list every year to adhere to the City’s Complete Streets Policy and Beauregard is no exception. Beauregard is scheduled for repaving this year and we are soliciting feedback on ways to make the stretch of road safe for all users, including people that drive, ride transit, walk, and bike. Bike lanes are not being considered or proposed here because the Beauregard Trail CIP project will provide a shared-use path adjacent to Beauregard with bicycle and pedestrian connections to other areas of the City. Further, staff has not developed any design nor proposed potential improvements for the street thus far. Safety improvements will be based on the feedback we’ll receive from the community and safety best practices.

Earlier: Buckle up, here we go again.

The City of Alexandria is looking for public feedback on a plan to repave North Beauregard Street and — potentially — add new bike lanes, along with curb ramps, upgrade crosswalks, and more.

The planned repaving would run along North Beauregard Street from Seminary Road to King Street near Northern Virginia Community College. The street is primarily two lanes in each direction for most of that .8 mile stretch.

Part of the Complete Streets policy adopted by Alexandria in 2011 requires improved accessibility of city streets that, along with other plans like Vision Zero, means added infrastructure for pedestrian and cyclists.

The rollout of that plan has been occasionally contentious, to say the least. A political faction of civic activists arose out of a Facebook page that started with opposition to bike lanes installed on Seminary Road as its rallying cry, though the bike lanes had their fair share of ardent defenders as well.

Proposed changes to the street, according to the city, include:

  • Add or upgrade curb ramps
  • Add or upgrade pedestrian crosswalks
  • Improve roadway signage
  • Add bicycle facilities, such as bike lanes or shared-lane markings
  • Additional pedestrian crossing treatments
  • Minor signal timing changes

Locals are encouraged to submit their feedback online by Friday, March 26th.

Image via Google Maps

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Morning Notes

Northam Remarks on a Year of Coronavirus — “For far too many people, life will never be the same again. It has been a hard year, but I have been encouraged by the strength of Virginians in every corner of our Commonwealth.” [Patch]

Beyer Remarks on a Year of Coronavirus — “A year ago today Virginia’s first case of coronavirus was confirmed at Ft. Belvoir in Fairfax County. I remember it like it was yesterday, a frightening time. We’ve lost so many people since then, as the country endured misery and hardship. But we are going to beat this virus.” [Twitter]

Plant-Based Cottage Bakery Coming to Del Ray — “Soon, Del Ray residents and visitors will be able to follow their noses to a new place for flaky croissants and more: Le Petit Grump. The cottage bakery is starting small – really small, in fact. Owner Mel Gumina’s 437-square-foot home in Del Ray is the place where the magic has been happening for months as Gumina perfects her pastries in anticipation of a springtime opening.” [Gazette]

Capital Bikeshare Comes to West End — “West End: Another @bikeshare station has been installed…on Taney Ave., near Howard St. More stations on the way…” [Twitter]

Art Adorns Alexandria Trails in New Public Art Initiative — “Artist Cristina Fletcher spent Thursday moving ladders and hanging colorful birds from trees along Holmes Run Trail in Alexandria’s West End. She is one of three artists installing public art exhibitions on Alexandria park trails as part of a grant program from the Alexandria Commission on the Arts.” [Alexandria Living]

Today’s Weather — “Sunny skies. High 54F. Winds NW at 5 to 10 mph… Mostly clear skies. Low 37F. Winds light and variable.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Youth Soccer Coach — “Soccer Shots blends soccer, education, and fun into high energy 30-minute sessions to kids ages 2-8 throughout the DC/MD/VA area. You’ll laugh. You’ll break a sweat. And you’ll go home at the end of the day knowing that you made a difference.” [Indeed]

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Morning Notes

City Wants Feedback on Paving Schedule — “The City will be paving: *Braddock Road (from King Street to Russell Road) *Montrose Avenue (from East Raymond Avenue to Richmond Highway) *Richenbacher Avenue (from North Van Dorn Street to North Pickett Street) …and we would like your feedback!” [Twitter]

Collective Bargaining Ordinance Proposed In Alexandria — “Collective bargaining had existed in 19 Virginia localities, including Alexandria, until a 1977 Virginia Supreme Court ruling stopped local governments from collective bargaining with their employees. On May 1, 2021, A Virginia law will take effect allowing counties, cities and towns to adopt ordinances to recognize labor unions or employee associations as a bargaining unit and enter into collective bargaining.” [Patch]

Friday is Bike to Work Day — “GoAlex is excited to host Winter Bike to Work Day in Alexandria for the first time! Stop by this Fri., Feb. 12 to get 50% off a hot beverage at Swing’s Coffee from 7 a.m. – 9 a.m ” [Twitter]

Today’s Weather — “Cloudy skies early, followed by partial clearing. High 51F. Winds W at 5 to 10 mph… Partly cloudy early with increasing clouds overnight. Low near 30F. Winds NNW at 5 to 10 mph.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Professional Newborn Nanny — “Seeking candidates who are outgoing, energetic, self-motivated and passionate, service heart and actively engaging with the children’s activities and learning. Candidates must have 5+ years newborn care experience. (NCS Certificate preferred)” [Indeed]

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While holiday festivities like the Scottish Christmas Parade are being cancelled around town due to coronavirus concerns, the Alexandria Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee is still planning to go forward with the organization’s 10th annual Alexandria Holiday Lights Ride and Walk.

The annual ride takes cyclists and pedestrians on a tour of the best of Del Ray’s lights. The event is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 12, from 5:30-7 p.m.

“The residents of lovely Del Ray put on a great holiday light show every year, and we plan to see it on bike or on foot!” BPAC said in an event listing. “Please register on Eventbrite if you’re joining us.”

The tour will start at the south end of Main Line Blvd near the Potomac Yard trail. The route is around five miles through flat neighborhood streets.

“Small, socially-distanced groups of people biking will leave at 5:30, 6:30, and 7:30 p.m. each evening,” BPAC said. “Small, socially-distanced groups of people walking will leave at 6:00 and 7:00 p.m. each evening.”

All ages and abilities are welcome, the group said, but children under 10 years old must be accompanied by an adult. Participants over five must also have a face covering. For those biking, helmets and lights are required, with “bonus points” for decorating bikes with holiday lights.

Groups will be broken into no more than 10 people and participants should register in advance for a time slot.

Photo via BPAC/Facebook

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If you’re still looking to get your hands on a bicycle and you’re willing to put a little work into it, the Vélocity Bicycle Cooperative in Del Ray is hosting an as-is bike sale this weekend.

The Vélocity Bicycle Cooperative (1502 Mount Vernon Avenue) is a non-profit, volunteer-run workshop that specializes in teaching people how to properly repair and maintain their bicycles — which will be necessary for anyone looking to pick something up at the sale.

“This sale will be different from our normal sales as almost all of the bicycles will not be ride-able without a professional inspection and at the very least a tune-up,” the cooperative said on its website. “If you like working on bikes and always wanted to refurbish a bicycle, this sale is for you. We will have hundreds of bicycles to look through from kids bicycles, to 90s mountain bikes, to beach cruisers and vintage road bikes.”

The sale is scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 8, from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at the cooperative’s warehouse behind 1502 Mount Vernon Avenue.

Photo via Vélocity Bicycle Cooperative/Facebook

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Morning Notes

Beyer Calls Trump Most Corrupt President in History — “Congress has worked to stop their misconduct; I requested some of these Hatch Act investigations myself. But this administration’s abuses are so widespread that it’s hard to keep track of it all (hence this thread). Trump is the most openly corrupt President in history.” [Twitter]

Are You Eligible for the Grocery Store Gift Card Program? — “Individuals and families whose household incomes have been impacted by the pandemic may be eligible to receive grocery store gift cards in amounts ranging from $100-$400.” [Twitter]

African American Change-Makers Highlighted in New Alexandria Tours — “Alexandria is offering new tours, markers and more to lead residents and visitors through sites and stories highlighting African American change-makers that have shaped the history of Alexandria and the United States.” [Alexandria Living]

Former Delegate and Lawyer Bernie Cohen Dies — “Cohen, along with co-counsel Philip Hirschkop, argued before the U.S. Supreme Court in April 1967 that bans on interracial marriage were unconstitutional in the famous case ‘Loving v. Virginia.’ Two months later, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled in favor of Mildred and Richard Loving, striking down laws in 15 states that banned interracial marriage.” [Alex Times]

VeloCity Bike Co-op Celebrates 10th Anniversary —  “John Patterson and Christian Myers co-founded the community-based, volunteer-run bicycle shop in May 2010. The co-op is known for its community services including its Bicycle Scholarship Program, which helps low-income families obtain bicycles, and its “do it yourself” operations.” [Alex Times]

Today’s Weather— “Mostly cloudy skies early, then partly cloudy in the afternoon. Areas of patchy fog. High 76F. Winds SSE at 5 to 10 mph. Mostly clear skies (in the evening). Low around 60F. Winds light and variable.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Case Manager — “We are looking for a Case Manager to join our team working at a COVID-19 Isolation & Quarantine Shelter Site at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites! This is a a temporary position with the end date to be determined. The individual will work with clients who are quarantined or have the virus, though there will not be a lot of in person contact. This person will also spend some time at our shelter near Pentagon City Mall!” [Indeed]

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Virtual spin classes don’t work too well for Del Ray’s Ascend Cycle. Owner Kathryn Zajac says that her six-year-old indoor cycling and strength training studio is all about making an in-person connection, and that her expanded garage space in a former auto repair shop helps fit the bill.

“We have 11 bikes under cover, and any day it isn’t going to rain we have an additional four bikes,” Zajac told ALXnow. “There’s a lot of competition in the virtual space, so we opened in the garage to make people feel safe during this time and a part of a community.”

Ascend Cycle moved from her small studio at 2413 Mount Vernon Avenue in July to the 1,800 square foot building at 2903 Mount Vernon Avenue. The former home to Anthony’s Auto Center was built in the 1940s, and currently holds 11 socially distanced exercise bikes in an outdoor studio. If it’s not raining, Ascend has four additional bikes that can be put in the parking lot.

Zajac opened the studio as a pop-up, but the property owner abandoned redeveloping the site and Zajac expects to be there for at least a year.

“We used to pack in 25 people in an 800 square foot space,” Zajac said. “My commitment to the garage is really trying to evolve where I think fitness might have to go with more space between people.”

The 45-minute workouts have music playlists curated by the instructor, and riders can go upward of 15 miles.

“I find that riding hard on the bike and just turning up the music helps you deal with stress in a healthy way,” Zajac said. “You have to monitor how many social interactions you have, and there’s a lot of frustration anxiety. Exercise helps to combat those things.”

Zajac said that community support keeps Ascend Cycle spinning.

“I think there’s so much going on with the pandemic, with the political scene, with everything, that there are still these strong small businesses struggling to survive every day,” she said. “I tell them folks all the time when I’m teaching, thank you for being here. You guys are keeping the business alive.”

https://www.facebook.com/ascendcycle/posts/1457134461148833?__xts__[0]=68.ARAXW3gkzr62YsB_aBwgSGT1lzR7S9Gryil80ALxn85KAnsPhoXBUAmIxVmeVc4gXhK-2BHNqikeobXJje42GIOwOytosGR1njCRPwXvFL9V4aMDQG5Keg8XRwLk1D781WbsHaElbmPEiXgZ9HIxjHfrS5jSN7NCngljvGcC0nPc5Vgd1vL9jjB_6BaRBPMFfM_5XWCZwAJJp–cl_c6yGUybJO8zHE7oOZVe37kMxEg-wrNFV6Y5tSOjI7EgBRFDU8O4JClZUZPVmr7xyhWykcNPt_3SZVYKbLPcIym9gv-J0ju3NLEa3nzB_p1foP5p-zrwqOUNpPR1FvEOykxVq82LQ&__tn__=-R

Courtesy photos

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Todd Ketch has had a busy summer at his Pedego Electric Bikes shop in Old Town. Six months ago, he was worried that the pandemic was driving away too many locals and tourists, but that business has steadily gained speed as fewer of his customers are commuting to the office and want to get around town fast without parking issues.

“It’s been a busy summer, and I believe it will continue right into the fall,” Ketch told ALXnow. “It’s exhilarating, and fires off
those good endorphins in the brain. It’s addictive.”

Other stores, like Big Wheel Bikes, have seen demand increase so much over the last few months that there’s a waitlist for new bicycles.

Three models are available to buy and rent at Pedego, ranging in price and amenities. Prices range from $1,995 to $5,495 for bikes that can go up to 60 miles on a single charge (without pedaling) and travel at 20 miles per hour. One model can even be retrofitted to travel 28 miles per hour. A single rentals will cost $100 for the entire day, $70 for four hours or $40 for two hours.

Ketch, who is a licensed Pedego dealer and not a franchisee, has been in business at 210 N. Lee Street for two years. He’s a former lobbyist and government affairs executive who left the world of politics behind after getting back surgery and trying out a Pedego bike. He’s married with four children, lives in Woodbridge, and one day wants to move to Alexandria so that he can commute to work on one of his bikes.

“The dream is to open up additional locations in the not-to-distant future,” he said. “I’m very happy to have started here in Alexandria. It was the very right place to be and it’s got the right mix of residents and the proximity to Washington, D.C., and the trails and everything else that you want to have for this kind of a shop.”

Photo via Pedego/Facebook

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Morning Notes

Alexandria Woman Finds Missing $100K Lottery Ticket — “Four months ago she purchased a ticket using some of her favorite numbers, 2-14-15-17-21, and matched all five winning numbers on March 1, but she only just discovered that fact when she cleaned out her purse recently.” [Zebra]

Beyer Says Economic Warning Signs Troublesome — “It’s been a month since Senate Republicans cruelly allowed Americans’ enhanced unemployment benefits to expire amid a pandemic and economic crisis. Don’t be fooled by the stock market: millions of families are experiencing deep hardship. Warning signs for the economy abound.” [Twitter]

Mayor Gets Sneak Peek at ‘The Spire’ Affordable Housing Complex — “Great opportunity to check out AHC Affordable Housing’s latest housing project in the City under construction and arriving early next year. ‘The Spire’ will be 113 units serving 40% – 60% of Area Median Income.” [Facebook]

Ascend Cycle Wins Northern Virginia Magazine Award — “Did you hear?? We won the Best of NOVA: Cycling Studio 2020  ​We are SO excited to win this honor for a 3rd year in a row!” [Facebook]

Firefighters Raising Funds With Virtual Boot — “Ordinarily at this time of year, the men and women of Alexandria Firefighters, Inc. IAFF Local 2141 would be out around our community working to ‘Fill the Boot’ in support of Muscular Dystrophy Association. Join me in helping them Fill the ‘Virtual’ Boot this year!” [Facebook]

Volunteer Alexandria and Senior Services of Alexandria Need Help — “To meet the increased need due to COVID-19, Senior Services of Alexandria urgently needs 10 more volunteers to help deliver meals to local seniors. Volunteers are asked to commit to delivering meals once a week for three months.” [Facebook]

Today’s Weather — During the day, “Mainly sunny. High 88F. Winds WNW at 5 to 10 mph.” At night, “Partly cloudy. Low 73F. Winds SW at 5 to 10 mph.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Virginia Quality Mental Health Specialist — “ACPS serves as a Local Coordinator for the City of Alexandria and is a part of the VQ Northern region. The VQ Mental Health Specialist will increase caregivers/teachers/directors use of strategies and practices to promote the social emotional development of infants, toddlers, and preschool-aged children.” [TopSchoolJobs.com]

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