Thursday, February 02, 2012

Impromptu Mid-Winter Bike Ride, part deux

When last we saw our intrepid heroine, she had departed company with her social ride group and snacked before heading back to her vehicle and real life.

I rode more slowly on the return trip, which wound up still being above the trail's speed limit in a few places. We must've been hauling on the outbound trip. I took in the beauty of the deeply wooded areas, the swampy areas, and the open-to-the-Potomac areas. Despite my camera being non-functional, I remembered my cellphone camera and stopped along the way to snap a few photos.

I noticed a structure on the Maryland side and had to take a look. After a little Googling, I discovered that it is Fort Washington and the adorable little Fort Washington Light.

Fort Washington

 There's a much better picture over here on Wikipedia. My phone can do only so much.

As I neared Alexandria, I noticed little white buoys just off the waterfront of a small park. I went off-road to the edge of the water see what they were marking and realized they were actually gulls. It may be time for an eye exam... The ducks were enjoying  the beautiful weather as well.

Potomac ducks & gulls.
At that point, I was across the river from National Harbor.

Tell me those gulls don't look like buoys.
And I had a pretty good view of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge.

No jumpers today. (Was that tacky? Probably.)
Eventually, I made it back to Alexandria and used the handy compass to find my way.

Pick a direction, any direction.
As far as I can tell, the MVT sort of disappears through Alexandria. I was mostly on roads with bike lanes or sharrows and that was pretty cool. Well, mostly cool. Bike lanes that are in the door zone give me the willies and I wind up riding on the far left or in the actual traffic lane. Riding on the actual streets of Old Town was damn cool, though. People and cars and other cyclists in a bustling area. Not great big swaths of far off inaccessible strip malls or MUP nothingness. This country mouse found it exhilarating.

I wound my way back to the Marina and called the hubs to let him know I was on my way home. He was disappointed that he hadn't been able to join us, but wants to train up so that we can ride to Mount Vernon together. We both thought that riding from Sterling to Mt Vernon and back would be decent century training; although, by the time we're ready for that it'll most likely be summer and the trails will be too clogged to safely ride. But, we'll see what happens.


  1. Don't you envy me my bike commute? The MVT is the best (but on summer weekends, you're right, it's insanely overcrowded).

    The signage through Old Town could be better, no?

    Did you go through the Wilkes Street tunnel in Old Town?

    On your next excursion you might want to ride over to National Harbor. The views from the bridge are nice and there's ice cream and the statue of the Awakening in NL.

  2. Your commute is definitely more interesting than mine. I get a couple of car dealerships, fields, a golf course, and the back of an office park. Whoo.

    I agree that the signage could be better. Luckily, there were lots of other cyclists out and I followed them until them until trail signs popped back up. I don't remember a tunnel... Checking the map, it looks like I was on Union Street except for exploring a few side streets.

    The Awakening is the giant rising out of the ground? If so, I've wanted to see that for several years. I didn't realize there was a trail going across the river. That's so cool!

  3. What beautiful pictures! I used to work at a bike rental shop on the Alexandria waterfront, and I had to direct umpteen million tourists to Mount Vernon (and have led some groups there)....and yes, the signage sucks, especially since there's a detour (still?) around Jones Point, so we had to hand out maps. Once you find it, though, it's a great route! So much more fun when it's slightly cooler outside, though.

    1. Thanks. :) My phone camera usually will do in a pinch.

      Had I not ridden through Old Town with the original pack of cyclists, I probably wouldn't have been able to find my way. :/