Monday, April 30, 2012

Paul's Ride for Life & Cyclefest

This past Saturday was the fourth annual Paul's Ride for Life and sixth annual Cyclefest Expo in Reston, VA. Since we were riding the twenty mile route, we took our time getting ready and hit the trail just before 8:30am for the five mile ride to Reston Town Center via the W&OD. The skies were sunny when we left the house, but the clouds rolled in and the temperature dropped significantly before we even got to Herndon. Check-in at the RTC pavilion was smooth and as we snapped photos of each other, two members of the Bike Me DC club joined us and we hit the trail.

This was the least blurry photo.
Yes, we dress to match our bikes.

The ride itself was pretty easy -- I mean, a third of the route was my usual commute and we've both traveled the entire route many, many times -- and everybody from volunteers to ride participants were enthused and high-spirited despite the chilly temperature. Most people alerted a pass with a "Good morning!" rather than the standard "On your left!" Lots of families joined the ride with kids on trail-a-bikes, in baby seats, or in trailers. One man even had a chihuahua in his front basket. Poor little guy looked chilly despite his fluffy jacket.  The rest stops were nicely appointed, but some hot cocoa would have been a nice touch. I was so cold when we left the second rest stop and headed back towards Reston that I suggested we stop by our house and get some warmer clothes. Mother Nature must've been listening, though, because the temperature shot up a few degrees and the wind dropped enough that I actually had a good sweat going by the time we got to our jumping-off spot. We decided to continue without stopping.

Rest stop #2 at W&OD and Claiborne Parkway.
When we got back to Reston Town Center, the Ride for Life volunteers were in celebration mode and the Cyclefest Expo was in full swing. We visited for a long while with a couple of women representing Tri Team Z. Scott's interested in triathlons and this looked like a great group with whom to get involved. He signed up for more information and will probably attend one of their next meetings.

I chatted with a representative of Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling a bit. They've organized a ride from a Reston Park-n-Ride to the Udvar-Hazy center this coming Saturday (available to WABA members only for insurance reasons). I'd love to participate, but I've already committed to another ride out to Purcellville. The rep said that this was the first of what will hopefully become a regular ride; I hope he's right because it sounds like fun. We also discussed the issues that we suburban cyclists have which differ from our urban counterparts such as faster-moving traffic, limited access roadways, and scarcity of cyclists which means that drivers aren't as aware that we're on the roads. I also stopped by the Friends of the W&OD tent and asked how one becomes a friend of the trail. Seeing as how I use it for business and pleasure, I feel like I should give back, you know?

By this point, Scott's and my teeth were chattering and we decided it was time to head home. We'd been given coupons for a free water bottle from The Bike Lane and we swooped by the shop for swag before hitting the trail to go back home where there was hot showers, fluffy PJs, and lots of napping with warm cats.

According to an email sent out by the event organizers, 460 riders participated on Saturday and by all accounts, everyone had a pretty good time. I know that we enjoyed ourselves and will be back again next year. I may even feel comfortable enough riding one-handed on Circe that I can take some pics on the road.

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