Exploration Calls

What do you do when it’s 70 degrees out in the middle of December?

You go for a bike ride of course!

It started out as a picnic ride and a way to test out a different route in case of future bridge closures. Our bike infrastructure varies widely in signage so I like to scout out new routes before I need to use them to get somewhere on time.

We rode over the Memorial Bridge and down by the Jefferson, then tried to go across the 14th street bridge back to Virginia. It took two tries, but we got there! The road becomes a one-way street just before the bridge entrance & there’s no signage directing you to ride on the sidewalk. The path is also a different material (asphalt vs. aggregate concrete), which limited the visual cues even more.

The bridge is quite nice & well maintained. It was wide enough to squeeze in 3 abreast & had tall guardrails (unlike the Roosevelt!) that separate you from traffic. The lead up on each side is relatively narrow, with no good place to stop, especially on the DC side.

Once we crossed the river we turned right onto the Mount Vernon Trail & stopped for a snack at Gravelly Point. There’s always so many people out watching planes & playing football, not to mention people riding and running, so the park is very crowded.

We decided to check out Yards Park in Alexandria. I had ridden on the new trail once while I was lost, and it was dark, so I wanted to check it out in the daytime.

Again, there was no signage to let us know where to turn off from Four Mile Run. We had a sneaking suspicion it was a new looking switchback but we kept riding because we weren’t sure. We ended up hopping off the trail Route 1 & East Glebe after consulting with a fellow rider who hadn’t yet heard of the new trail.

We crossed Route 1 & then rode along the trail next to the shopping center. It’s a heavy traffic area but the trail is wide, flat, and set back from traffic. We turned left by the Giant, went two blocks & then ran right into the park. We made a right and rode on some gloriously smooth asphalt. It was a dream.

Screen Shot 2015-12-14 at 7.13.43 PM

The park is long and skinny with the bike path fronting the street and various playground, basketball, and tennis facilities on the inside. It has a partially segregated bike path, at other times the brick sidewalk disappears & it becomes a shared space. It was a beautiful day but there weren’t too many people out. We rode down to the Braddock Rd metro & then headed back.

We rode until we got to the end of the path (back where we started), and then we had to cross the street to remain on a different path. This led us directly to the switchback connection to Four Mile Run. I wouldn’t recommend riding up or down this section. I found it difficult to make the hairpin turns, especially while riding Creme with her coaster brakes, and would probably find it impossible to do with my cargo bike. With heavy cargo this route could be a no-go.

We headed back up FMR & onto the MVT where we stopped for more snacks at Gravelly Point again. We still felt great so we decided to do a lap around Hains Point to prep for the Hains Point 100 next weekend.

Back over the 14th street bridge & left at the sign found us tailgated and harassed, followed by a close pass, from our first problem driver of the day. It’s even more upsetting when this happens at a place like Hains Point, where the whole street is:

  1. 25 mph
  2. not wide enough to pass safely where it’s one lane
  3. A PARK. It’s a park!

The street is a park! In my opinion it should be closed to any motor-vehicle traffic past the golf course so people can actually enjoy the space. I very much dislike poads (park-roads) where the entire point of the park is just to pave a strip for people to drive down & “experience nature” from their climate controlled boxes.

Overall though, we had a fantastic day & I have a new route I feel comfortable riding (especially at night) to 2 different places that I like to go to. So YAY!

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