Every Memorial Day motorcyclists descend on DC as part of an event called Rolling Thunder. If you live in DC, you can plan on traffic tie ups and long waits at restaurants and crowded taverns. DC residents have learned to go with the flow when these sorts of things happen. (Except parents who are trying to get to day care before the overtime charges hit. The words “road rage” do not do it justice.)
With the Washington Nationals out of town and a hike already under my belt this weekend, it was time for a long ride. I decided to do a bikeabout on Big Nellie, my Tour Easy recumbent. A bikeabout has no destination. It’s just a meander during which I take a ton of pictures using my point and shoot camera.
I wanted to check out the renovations to the Rock Creek trail. So I headed to DC. The MVT was a zoo, as it always is on nice days on the weekend. I took my time. Near the beltway I saw Grace as she was headed the opposite way. I don’t know if she recognized me. (She’s never seen me on a recumbent before.)
The tourists had yet to meet critical mass in Old Town Alexandria. I paid close attention to the road ahead and managed to miss a tall ship docked at the southern end of harbor. (Thanks to Emilia who took an Instagram picture and brought it to my attention.)
I stopped at Gravelley Point park near National Airport. Typically, this place is packed on the weekends. Not today. I breezed through.
When I got into DC I was shocked that there were no crowds to contend with. The same cannot be said for the Rock Creek Trail. “Hey, let’s go down to the trail and stand in the middle and talk. We’re important people, you know.”
Must not kill.
The trail was mostly its old self. In parts it was so narrow and worn out that it would accommodate one way traffic only. When I did encounter sections that had been renovated, I was very impressed. Wider. Smoother. Straighter. With new wooden fencing. I can’t wait until it’s done.
Once clear of the trail I had a chance to enjoy Beach Drive which, for much of its length, is closed to cars on weekends and holidays. As I bombed up toward Chevy Chase, I was passed by Mike, a.k.a. @rattlingfender. Mike hosts the official Rootchopper pit stop at the 50 States Ride. I swear I do not pay him for this.
I stopped at the Rock Creek trestle because I like to ride my bike above the tree tops.
Time to head home. I took the Georgetown Branch Trail to Bethesda Row. Normally, I stop for lunch but today I just wanted to get home so I turned on to the Capital Crescent Trail. It was packed. Every time I see it like this I think: if you think a bike trail is a bad thing for your neighborhood, you’re nuts.
I never really had the chance to get any speed going. Every time I got Big Nellie up to cruising speed I had to slow to a crawl because of congestion.
The ride back home featured a strange yellow orb in the sky. What’s up with that?
Also, Gravelley Point Park had filled up. I think they only allow clueless people to use the park on the weekends. One cyclist simply stopped cold in the middle of the trail. No reason.
After the park, the trail squeezes between the Parkway and a secondary runway at the airport. As I approached the squeeze point, a bush was being blown all over the place. The wind was the backwash from a jet about to take off. Being on a recumbent kept me beneath the worst of the blast.
The ride through Old Town was just insane. Cars and bikes and people going every which way. Nobody following any kind of traffic rules. I remarked to another cyclist “This is like being in a video game.” He agreed.
After Old Town, there was nothing but sunny skies and tailwinds. Not a bad way to end a 50-mile holiday jaunt.
For the complete story check out my Flickr album.