On Sunday, my brother and I rode the length of the W&OD Bicycle Trail from west to east. It took us about 5 1/2 hours with stops. Needless to say, we are hurting after cycling 44.5 miles in one day.
I had wanted to ride the whole thing at once for quite some time, so I was really happy to have pulled this off. Thanks go out to Mom for driving us out to Purcellville and picking us up in Shirlington.
Some observations about the trip:
If you have ever been at the Shrlington end of the trail, you know that it ends with little fanfare adjacent to the industrial Four Mile Run Drive corridor. A small sign indicates that the trail ends.
At the Purcellville end, there is not even a sign, which is pretty anticlimactic. There is a nice set up though with a park and the Trail’s End bicycle shop.
Photo by Barbara Yurasko
Purcellville seems to be a nice town that is balancing history with suburbanization fairly well.
The western part of the trail is very narrow at times, making it a little too close for comfort if you are passing someone.
There was an enormous fire just west of the big rock quarry between Leesburg and Ashburn. It had to have started mere minutes after we passed.
Joe’s Dog House in Herndon (just past the halfway mark on the trail) makes a decent chili dog, which as we all know is an essential foodstuff for this kind of exercise.
The town itself is quite nice too, having built a town square around the railroad, and kept it up.
Seen on and around the trail: 2 snakes, 5 deer (near Vienna), 3 dead voles, one rabbit.
The amount of bridges and underpasses built for the trail in the last 15 years is amazing. Reston is now much easier and safer to get through. An underpass is being built for the trail at Church Road in Sterling as well.
In the Vienna area, between Hunter Mill Road and Cedar Lane, we had to ride through a swarm of gnats.
We crossed VA 7 four times.
We crossed two interstate highways (I-495 and I-66) and two other superhighways (VA 7 and VA 267).
The steepest hills are at Buckhorn Drive between Reston and Vienna. The worst are the approaches to the Virginia Lane overpass at I-66.
There are three cabooses on the trail; Herndon, Vienna, Arlington (Bluemont Jct.)
Three old train stations (Purcellville, Herndon, and Vienna) are in good condition and still active. Another one (near Leesburg; I cannot remember which one) is still standing, but could use some restoration.
The last eight miles are the easiest.
All told, we rode through 3 counties (Loudon, Fairfax, Arlington) 1 city (Falls Church) and 4 towns (Purcellville, Leesburg, Herndon, and Vienna).
Photo by Erica Yurasko