My friends who live and bike in DC are always riding about doing fun rides all over town, riding to baseball games, sipping espresso in sidewalk cafes and riding to craft beer places. I hate them.
I live in the boring suburbs. Yes, we have good schools and much less crime but I’d much rather be doing stuff in DC than, say, mowing the lawn. (I’ll get around to it. Get off my case already.)
Early in the morning Kristen tweeted that she was thinking of doing a ride with BicycleSpace, a bike shop in the heart of DC. Then Ted joined in. So I said, why not me?
And I was off to DC.
The Mount Vernon Trail was pretty congested. This did not slow me because I was taking my time and enjoying the perfect summer weather. The ducklings have fledged. The herons and egrets have finally returned. The skies are blue.
Once in DC I rolled past the folklife festival on the national mall. It was big on China folklife this year. I made my way up 7th Street diverting over toward the Capitol to scope out the location of a meeting I am going to for work tomorrow.
I arrived at BicycleSpace to find Kristen, Ted, and Brook hanging out together. The ride was announced as an 11:30 start but we didn’t get underway until noon. While we were waiting Chris appeared. Chris moved to San Francisco several months ago. We had a good talk. He seems to be pretty happy. Actually, that’s kind of a forgone conclusion. Chris always seems to be happy.
Once underway the 20 or so riders meandered east to the Metropolitan Branch Trail. We followed it past the Uline Arena, site of the first Beatles concert in America. (You could tell because of the huge black and white banner hanging from the side of the old hulk.)
We somehow rolled by Gaullaudet University and found the National Arboretum. This is a terrific destination and a nice place for a nearly traffic free bike ride. Unfortunately there wasn’t time to take in the herb garden and the display of bonsai trees. If you go, be sure to check them out.
We paused for a group picture near the Capitol columns. You can’t just throw out old columns. So you stick them on a hill in the middle of a park.
We went on a short hilly loop ride inside the Arboretum grounds. A BicycleSpace employee was leading us down a hill on his Brompton. He turned to warn us to be careful on the downhill and veered off the road into some rocks. Only his pride was hurt. (Pretty good controled crash if you ask me.)
Kristen needed to get back home as her two girls almost certainly were by now tying Dad up and pouring maple syrup on his head. (Actually, they are pretty cool kids and would never torture their father. Intentionally.) I decided to join her for the ride to her house. I promptly took us all over creation and we ended up riding on busy Florida Avenue to R Street. R and its bicycle lane took us all the way across town to Massachusetts Avenue. There we began a loooong steady climb up embassy row. Kristen does this everyday on her ride home from work. We crested the hill at the National Cathedral and rode Wisconsin Avenue to Tenleytown. From there. Kristen led me through a maze of side streets and down an alleyway where she mugged me and took all my money.
The alleyway led to her garage where she parked her bike. I hung out at her house chatting with her husband who looked remarkably unharmed and her girls who I swear had halos over their heads. She tried and tried to feed and water me cuz she’s a mom. I still had 18 miles to go to get home so I turned down her offer of a cold Shiner Bock. (Makes me tear up just thinking about it.)
After about a half hour I headed back by way of Meridian Hill Park. It’s usually a pretty festive place. The drum circle was doing its thing but there weren’t the usual hula hoopers and frisbee throwers and such. I hung out and listened to the drums and admired the view of the beautiful gardens and cascading water down below in the southern half of the park.
Back on the bike, I rode down 16th Street to the White House to the 15th Street cycletrack and into the tourist fray on the mall. As I passed the Washington Monument a minivan pulled over into a drop off zone behind me. I heard one of its tires blow. Bummer.
I could feel the temperature drop as I neared the river. The headwind on the way home didn’t bother me. The puffy clouds and blue skies would not allow me to be grumpy.
The ride ended up being 54 miles but it didn’t feel like it. Other than the Mass Ave hill, it was a pretty easy ride. The people on the BicycleSpace ride were friendly and well behaved. I think I’ll do another sometime.