Bike Fest was wonderful & fun. I hope WABA was able to raise plenty of funds! I was a little nervous about riding to Crystal City & back at night. I'm glad I did though. I've ridden the Mt. Vernon trail plenty of times during the day, but I was a concerned about not being able to see at night. I needn't have worried. Betty's lights were adequate, and the moon & surrounding lights kept the trail visible. There was one section where I had to slow wayyyy down & pick my way along carefully because it was almost pitch-black because of trees. The weather was perfect. The temperature had dropped enough that it didn't feel like I was pedaling through soup anymore. Much cooler, if still a bit more humid than I would have liked.
Before leaving work, I managed to meet up with the Mt. Pleasant Cruiser Rider group to introduce myself. They were doing a convoy from Mt. Pleasant to Crystal City, but I wasn't going to be able to join them since I couldn't leave work until 8pm. I still stopped by say hello & met up with them again at Bike Fest. I can't wait to join them on one of their group rides (Tuesday nights). The fact that they end with beer is a bonus. Woo!
On my way to Crystal City (from Columbia Heights), I took the 15th St. cycle-track. This put me almost smack in the middle of the Capital Pride Parade, HA! There were so many people out and about, and rainbow paraphernalia littered the streets & sidewalks. I dinged my bell at all the happy celebrants, and carefully made my way around the tipsy crowds. It was an encouraging start to my night.
From 15th St. I made my way around the Tidal Basin and over to the bridge. I love riding over the Potomac and watching the Yachts roll by. After that, I was on the Mt. Vernon trail headed to Crystal City. Someone chalked directions on the trail to Bike Fest, which was very helpful especially towards the end. I definitely would have gotten lost otherwise. The trail was virtually empty (except at Gravelly Point) when I was on it. It was lovely. It was still twilight out, and at one point I rode through an area shaded by trees and there were fireflies everywhere! At the exit point for Crystal City, a group of tall-bike riders stood by to direct people to Bike Fest. Awesome! I stopped briefly to chat and we admired each other's bikes. Then I made my way to the Crystal City shops. Like I said, its a good thing someone chalked the directions on the road, because I would have gotten totally turned around. But at last, I made it.
I was a hot & sweaty mess, but I was ready to have a good time. The festival area was set up in a large room with a stage at the front, and booths all around the exterior. There were games & performers & a band & food & drink...it was a little overwhelming. Upon entry, I was given an envelope containing 10 "Bike Fest" dollars to use for the games & buying drinks. Food was free. (Hot dogs, popcorn, ice-cream....typical "carnival" fare). For each game that you won, you received a raffle ticket. You could also purchase additional Bike Fest dollars or raffle tickets as well.
|Bike Fest Buck|
Raffles went on periodically throughout the evening. I didn't win any of the raffles (I have the worst luck), but I did manage to win one of the silent auctions! (And by "win" I mean I hovered like a deadly hawk, ready to strike should someone outbid me). There were plenty of items up for grabs in the silent auction like unicycle lessons, a preview of the 50 States ride, an Allant Trek Bike, front row orchestra seats...but the one that caught my eye was the "Weekend on the Canal". A weekend getaway? At a lockhouse on the C&O Canal? This was just what the doctor ordered. So I bid. Higher than the retail price, but still worth it in my opinion. And I won. Wooo! Serenity....here I come. I can't wait.
The games were fun & entertaining, the performers were enchanting, the band (Second String Band) was amazing. Side note: I see they have an upcoming show at Solly's. You know where I'll be! My favorite showcase was Cranky Style. Jay Hudson is an amazing artist that actually does "cruiser styling". He had a couple of bikes that he made-over for BicyleSPACE on display and they looked amazing. I especially liked the houndstooth bike. Betty might be up for a make-over one day....be sure to check out the gallery on his website.
|houndstooth bike (and my blobby shadow)|
|People dancing to the Second String Band (notice how I stealthily hid behind a palm tree)|
The best part of the evening was meeting folks that I've only known via twitter. It was great to finally put 3D faces to the names.
When the evening came to an end, I was sad to leave. But happy to hop back on Betty ride back to DC. I love riding through DC at night. The Washington Monument was absolutely stunning. I love it when the tourists aren't around.
Overall, a wonderful evening of Biking DC.
Overall, a wonderful evening of Biking DC.