An Unplanned Ride

Ah Labor Day Weekend! A time when everyone leaves the city to have one last summer hurrah in the wilderness. At least, that’s where we assume everyone went since no one is here!

Saturday was a beautiful day: 80’s with a nice breeze and enough clouds to take away the worst of the sun. We decided to ride down to Old Town Alexandria, an 8 mile or so ride on a paved, off-road, multi-use trail. The Mount Vernon Trail is a heavily used route with both commuters and recreational riders, as well as runners and families with small children.

Look how gorgeous these trees are!
Look how gorgeous these trees are!

Needless to say, with the gorgeous weather, we were expecting heavy traffic. To our very pleasant surprise we practically had the trail to ourselves! There were even significant stretches where we could ride side-by-side comfortably with no one attempting to pass.

We stopped off at Gravelly Point to watch the planes take-off. Snagging a coveted picnic table (this never happens) we settled in to people watch and munch on some snacks.

Who gets the last carrot?!
Who gets the last carrot?!

We then rode on to Old Town and remembered why we don’t often ride to Old Town. The area is always full of people and life, but also full of cars and severely lacking bike parking. The only on-street corral was beyond full so we locked up to a no-parking sign on a side-street. If you’re considering riding here you should bring a flexi lock instead of/in addition to a u-lock. We only had our u-locks so our parking choices were limited. Many of the sign posts here are square and thick (maybe to prevent bike parking?).

There were bikes locked to everything: benches, poles, signs, trash cans, flower bed fences. The sidewalks are also very narrow with numerous cafes and large tree boxes taking up even more space. If you go further up King Street (5-6 blocks) there’s more parking, but it’s inconvenient to trek all the way up there when you could be shopping and dining closer to the waterfront.

We ate a nice lunch outside on the patio of a Thai place while watching people stream by. We then headed over to Lotus Pedal, a new women-friendly bike shop run by BicycleSpace in DC. The space is beautiful and it really showcases all of the lovely bikes! They also gave me some pointers about coaster brakes so I have some new tricks to try while riding Creme.

Overall we had a nice day – we even caught the metro back home right on time, which is a miracle since trains were only running every 26 minutes. We biked home from the metro to round out our 10 miles of riding at a nice, leisurely pace.

Also I was having a great hair day so I have to share!

So many secrets in there!

How was your long weekend?

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