The Mount Vernon Trail – From the Sublime to the Rediculous

The Sublime

Today was just another ride on the MVT. I rode south of home to check out the replacement bridge near Fort Hunt Park. It has only been open for a day or two. The old trail was narrow and bumpy and the approach to the bridge had steep switchbacks with no shoulders. (Who’d have thought this was a good idea in the first place?) It was one of the highest crash locations on the trail. Mrs. Rootchopper was one such victim.

The replacement includes a wide trail with new pavement on both ends from street intersections on Waynewood Boulevard and the Fort Hunt Park access road. The new bridge is higher and wider than the old one and switchbacks are no longer a feature of the approach.

This project has been in the works for a long time. Unfortunately, the southern end of this section of trail connects to a narrow winding trail with washboard root heaves and another, similar dangerous bridge on which I crashed 30+ years ago. This second bridge was itself a replacement for a bridge that was even worse. Funding for the improvements in this area came about after a US senator’s wife was seriously injured.

New bridge on the Mount Vernon Trail
New Bridge on the Mount Vernon Trail

The Ridiculous

After checking out the bridge I rode north through Old Town Alexandria. At Canal Center just to the north of Old Town the trail splits into two: the left side goes around the old power plant along the GW Parkway while the right goes around the plant along the river. I was planning on going left when I came upon three young men and a shiny white Toyota. The car was parked directly on the trail. Apparently the men were photographing it. (The only reason I could think of doing this on the trail was to ensure that no other cars were in the picture. Ironic, no?)

I told them to move the car off the trail. They blew me off. I said you can laugh when the police come.

I rode a mile north and turned around using the river route. The three photographers were now shooting a blue sedan on the trail. I lost it. Words were used. One of them called me a racist. (They were POCs; I am white.) After more words that advanced the cause of bike trails not at all, I took a picture for posterity then rode off. I called the Alexandria police but I have no idea if they sent someone out to roust the rapscallions.

Just for context three weeks ago I was passed by a couple on a gas powered motor scooter on the trail near National Airport. I guess they were afraid to ride it on the Parkway. About a week ago, I saw a photo of a car stopped on the trail north of the power plant. The driver had to jump a curb to pull this off so it showed remarkable disregard for trail users. And let’s not even talk about me getting hit by a car on the trail a few years ago. (No right on red? You can’t be serious. This is only a 3,000 pound SUV.)

Three knuckleheads using the Mount Vernon Trail for a auto photo shoot
They clearly weren’t interested in good lighting.

8 thoughts on “The Mount Vernon Trail – From the Sublime to the Rediculous

  1. Hello John
    This is Greg weaver ,we finished in Astoria when you Cory and mark did .
    Cory mentioned he bought Trek e bikes for himself and his wife .Do you know what series they are thank you Greg

    1. Here’s the word from Corey: ” We bought Specialized Turbo Vado SL. They weight about 35 pounds each. They are most suitable for flatish areas. If they have to cling long hills, then a more powerful e-bike would be more appropriate.” FWIW Corey lives and rides near Grand Rapids MI. Cheers.

    1. We had a fatality on our beloved American River Parkway in Sacramento earlier this year when an inebriated asshole drove onto the bike trail and drove headlong into a pack of retired cyclists at 10 am. Driver was caught and in jail now, the one cyclist who was hit head on survived in a coma for only a couple of days.

    2. They weren’t really driving so much as posing the cars on the trail to take pictures of them. Oddly, a few days later I saw some other people who had parked their car along the Rock Creek Parkway near the Lincoln Memorial and they were doing the same thing. Must be a cult.

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