Washington DC — by bicycle

Washington DC is extremely bike-friendly. About 5 years ago I had my first cycling experience here while attending a bike advocacy event with Leo and David Anderson. On that trip, we used the city bike share bicycles to get around town. This time, we came on our own steads by way of the Mt Vernon Trail. The trail took us past the Reagan International Airport where we helped a cyclist get his bike’s chain unstuck. He was a filthy mess from his initial attempts at repair. Leo had him going again in no time and didn’t get at all dirty in the process!

We rode it right across the Potomac River and started the tour of the Capitol near the Jefferson Memorial. Leo led the way taking us to the fencing around the White House — that’s a close as we could get — and then on center bike lanes down to the National Mall and the surrounding monuments.

Again, mostly due to COVID-19, many attractions were temporarily closed. We tried to find a coffee shop for an afternoon pick-me-up and they were all ‘temporarily closed’ as well. There were a few folks on soap boxes (figuratively and literally!) but it was not the hustling and bustling city that I remember visiting in the past. There was a huge Secret Service and police presence — they might’ve out numbered the tourists in fact.

We rode down the National Mall and had lunch at the food trucks strategically parked near the Lincoln Memorial. From there we found the Anacostia River Trail and rode that on the west side until it ended and then hopped over to the east side and took it up to Blandensburg. We turned around at the Washington Rowing School. My jaw dropped when I saw how many rowing sculls they had. Most of them were for multiple rowers — and if all were in the water at once they would have easily needed a couple hundred rowers to fill them all! Not a single one was in the water however. It was breezy and I’m hoping that’s the reason. It would be a shame if the rowing was also ‘temporarily closed’.

I saw more turtles on the way back. Randy pointed out a snake to me (I’ll have more nightmares now!) as it slithered across the trail in front of us. I spotted a large turkey and a couple of small deer alongside the trail too. They were all very comfortable around us which means the trail is probably heavily used. Actually, I should mention that since we’ve been in Virginia we’ve seen a much higher level of physical activity as well as mask compliance! Refreshing to say the least!

An interesting twist at the end of our city tour was the bike path through the bridge construction area. No motorized vehicles could pass, but we could! Once across that bridge we retraced our route back to the Mt Vernon trail and back to Buster. Another great day on a bicycle — and a great way to experience the Capitol!