Monday, June 25, 2012

Summer Time Living

Blogging has been a little slack around here, I know. Truth is that I just haven't had the urge lately. I'd rather be out riding than talking about riding. I've actually got a few blog posts percolating in the background; its just a matter of sitting down and churning them out--which is the problem. Who wants to sit down when you have the outdoors calling your name?

So I can't and won't promise that blogging will be more regular from here on out until winter. Because it won't be.

Took my first trip on the W&OD trail 2 weekends ago. I set out to ride the entire thing (there & back again would have made about 100 miles total) but I started rather late in the day. When I got to the Ashburn area, I realized I would need to turn back or else I was going to get stuck in the dark. I don't mind riding in the dark, but I didn't have sufficient lights & the W&OD closes at dark. So, I turned back and still made it a decent 60-ish mile day. I will ride the whole thing soon, but I have to admit its not my favorite trail.  The trail runs along four-lane highways & major power lines for most of it. I wouldn't describe it as particularly scenic. It's pretty boring, actually. I do like the towns it passes through. I would love to take some time and explore some of the shops & restaurants I saw along the way. I even met up with a friend along the way-he lives in Herndon and runs along the trail. Still, I prefer the Mt. Vernon or canal towpath over the W&OD any day.

My favorite sight along the way--Herndon, VA.

The W&OD. It pretty much looks exactly like this the entire way. Power lines.
Last weekend I spent some time in Massachusetts. I even saw the Hubway bikes in Boston. I didn't have time to try them out though. They are the same model as BikeShare in DC, except the ones in Boston were corporate sponsored (they were sporting New Balance logos). I'm glad that ours aren't "decorated" with corporate crap. I also saw quite a few bike lanes, even in the smaller towns. Lots of beach cruisers, too. I was fairly multi-modal on my trip. Flew to Boston from BWI (never, ever using SouthWest again, by the way). Then took the commuter ferry from the Boston Harbor to Hingham (boats!) to meet up with The Boy's family. On the way back, we took the commuter rail from Cohasset back to Boston (trains!). It was fun, but I wish I had a chance to ride a bit.

That's Boston Harbor in the far background

I like being on boats.

It's maintenance time for most of my bikes. I've (stupidly) been putting it off so that now ALL of them need major tune-ups at the same time. Ugh. I took Kermit in to BicycleSpace because he not only needed a tune-up from all the riding I've been doing on him, but also because next weekend we will be riding the Total 200, so he needs to be in top shape. Also, the lights for the dynamo hub came in, so those needed to be installed too (testing them out tonight, in fact). Then, poor Betty was making all sorts of horrible creaking and groaning noises and I knew I had put off taking her in for a check-up for too long. I took her to the Daily Rider on H St. NE and dropped her off while I borrowed one of their Bobbins for the group ride to the outdoor movie (Goonies!) at Yards Park.  Thank goodness I had dropped Betty off when I did because her bottom bracket was in horrible shape. It's not good when bearings & metal shavings come pouring out when its opened up, yikes. But I knew she was in good hands. When I got back from the movie, Betty was looking & feeling brand-new again. She even got a free streamer fluffing ;-)

Calibrating the streamers for maximum fluffiness.

Goonies at Yards Park
Thank you to both the Daily Rider & BicycleSpace for the excellent and prompt service!

Now, I just need to get the Jamis & the Boy's bike in for tune-ups, and we'll be all set.

Why yes, I did mention that I am riding the Total 200, didn't I. It's this Saturday. Mir & I signed up last month after we got back from the Unity Tour. We were probably delusional from all that riding. We are doing the 200K option (125 miles). This should be interesting. I haven't done any serious training for it. I plan to do my best and enjoy the ride. We'll see....


  1. Thw W&OD is nicest on the western end, from Leesburg to Purcelville. And there's a nice restaurant right next to the trail at the end so you can refuel for the ride home. I did the out and back from my house once. It was over 110 miles.

    I freaked out when I heard you rode the ferry to Hingham. Long ago I dated a girl from Hingham and we joined her father for a couple of ferry commutes in the dead of winter. Dang, it was cold out on the water!

  2. KC. Twenty years ago, Ashburn was open and cornfields and just a few houses. Now it is suburbia/exurbia. East of Ashburn, the trail is more utilitarian - good for exercising and commuting but nor especially scenic. As Rootchopper noted, the best part of the W&OD starts west of Ashburn.

    After Belmost Ridge Road, you have Goose Creek and its unique bridge, the Luck quarry, the Twin Creeks nature area (and mountain bike trail), and the approach to Leesburg. The trail passes through Leesburg in a beautiful parklike setting, and then west of Leesburg you begin a gradual climb up to Clark's Gap. At Clark's Gap you have a unique stone underpass/bridge, well worth seeing, and then another ten or so miles through the country to Purcellville.

    You should really try to get out to the west of Ashburn. You won't regret it.

  3. Thank you for the W&OD suggestions! I will definitely make it my mission to ride the whole thing and see the rest of the trail.

    Rootchopper: I loved the ferry! But I can imagine it must be have been freezing in the winter. I liked that it had a bar ;-) I bet you could just take the commuter train in the winter if you don't want to freeze on the ferry!

  4. I'd like to do the Mount Vernon Trail some time all the way out to Mount Vernon itself, even though it would be a heck of a long day from my house in Montgomery County. I've been on the WO&D, but only into Crystal City for the sake of transportation.

    As for blogging, I find it's much easier to write in the summer because I have so much more to write about. I'm prone to my feet going numb in the winter on the bike with even the warmest socks (blood flow issues), so posts about actual cycling are pretty limited then.