So, I thought I had planned pretty well. I was going to have a great time biking in DC.
However, by Friday night, I was already exhausted from the walking. When one has no car and depends on the Metro line 4 blocks away from the hotel for all transportation to the sites that require more walking, sore feet and legs will result. As I was walking over to the Washington Monument, I decided to skip the whole bike thing. It was going to cost too much anyway. However, while in line for tickets, I saw a family ride up to the line to meet the Dad who was just walking away with his four passes. They had matching mountain bikes, and they pedaled off looking like a commercial for the rental company. When I got back to the hotel, I called Better Bikes.
The voice on the machine said they would call back in five minutes. After 30, I gave my wife the instructions and set off with the kids to climb the monument (at least, climb into the elevator). We also made a quick visit to Lafayette Park and the White House. Returning two hours later, there was still no call. After lunch and a nap, I called back a couple of times, but still got the machine. I left my cell phone number and went out for a walk to Georgetown. I was actually inside one of the competing rental shops when the Better Bikes guy called. I found out later that this was a one man company, and the owner was having a very busy day. He was out of mountain bikes, but had a comfort bike in my size.
A comfort bike is apparently a skinny tired 18 speed with a spongy seat and upright-style handlebars – nothing like the Wright Brothers bike (pictured) on display at the Air and Space Museum at the Smithsonian. I felt pretty geeky riding it past all of the roadies out that morning, but I guess I would never see them again anyway.
I started out on the Rock Creek Trail, but I ended up heading south from P street instead of north (since the trail was described as being in bad shape). This took me down past some of the monuments and eventually over the Potomac to Arlington National Cemetery. It was still closed, so I headed into the city center. Then, I found a bike trail heading back south and went all the way to the Navy and Marine monument.
It was time for the Cemetery to open, so I headed back north, but I couldn’t find a way to get the entrance on the Memorial Bridge, so I hopped up onto the parallel street when I saw signs directing me to the Cemetery. It wasn’t 30 seconds later that I heard the loudspeaker on the police car ordering me “off the parkway.” Who knew it was a parkway and bikes weren’t allowed? Not me! He had me walk for 10 minutes to the next bike path that crossed the street and took me to the gates. That’s the first time I’ve ever been pulled over on a bicycle.
The Cemetery was already very crowded, so I just took a quick walk to the JFK eternal flame, and then headed back across the river. I found 14th street near the Washington Monument, and headed back to K street, ending at the hotel at 22nd and N streets.
In hindsight, I wish that I would have taken the trail north to see a different part of town, but I am glad I was able to visit Arlington. Next time I vacation, I will try to arrange the bike earlier in the trip so that I can get a good ride.
Miles Ridden: I rode for about 2 hours, not counting stops and walking, so let’s say 24 miles
Total This Year: I’m not going to count this in the total.