WASHINGTON, D.C. – On what was practically a whim, I registered for the Saturday, September 28 2021 DC Bike Ride the Tuesday before. A morning free of kids sports obligations and clear weather motivated me to drop about $70 on this event.
I am glad I did!
Starting in West Potomac Park, the ride is 20 miles of car free travel through the streets, parkways and freeways of the District.
Thousands of people lined up with their bicycles before 8 a.m. Many were in groups or their respective cycling clubs. I was solo, but I think I need to change that for next time – I want my family and friends to join in on this fun ride.
We started in West Potomac Park along Ohio Drive between the Arlington Memorial and 14th Street bridges. Looping around Hains Point, the ride was crowded at times, but started opening up as we approached Maine Ave, followed by Independence Ave. The first trip across the Potomac River was via Memorial Bridge going the opposite direction of normal operation. At Memorial Circle, we looped around and went back across the bridge completing the first third of the race.
Back on the DC side, it was up the Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway past the Kenendy Center. After looping back, we transitioned to the Potomac Freeway, the official name of Interstate 66 in DC. Through the tunnels, a loop of whood and maybe even a YAH-HOO-HOO-HOO-HOOEY were emitted by joyful riders.
Next up, it was the Whitehurst Freeway (US 29) for it’s brief journey through Georgetown. Circling back with some narrow course in sports, it was back on I-66 and then the E Street Expressway and its tunnel. Whoo, whoo.
Independence Ave. was next all the way to 14th Street and past the Washington Monument. Down 14th Street and back over the Potomac on the express lanes into Arlington until the Eads Street interchange. The course turned around there and left Northern Virginia after a brief stay.
The last portion of the ride was up 14th, back down 15th and Maine, paralleling the Southwest Freeway (I-395) before heading up to Independence again and finally briefly up Maryland Ave past the National Museum of the American Indian for the finish with the west side of the Capitol in view.
What’s fun about it
I had some reluctance about registering. It’s a bit of coin and 20 miles isn’t that far a ride for me – I have rides that long fairly often. The confluence of favorable factors mentioned above got me to commit and I’m so glad I did.
I really felt the general happiness of my fellow participants through the event. It’s just good being around people who are enjoying themselves. At the finish line, lots of smiles and people getting their photos taken having accomplished something.
The scenery of the nation’s capital from a different perspective is always welcome. I’ll confess that I wasn’t necessarily soaking it all in because I was pretty focused on my ride. It’s also a lot of fun biking on closed freeways and bridges. Perhaps the most fun was having 20 consecutive miles of grade separated, traffic signal free path with no cross-traffic. I could just bike without conflict!
I completed the course in about 77 minutes (I didn’t turn off the stopwatch until I had pulled away from the finish line) which comes out to over 15.5 MPH. I’m pretty happy with that rate given the distance from my last tuneup and well, birth.
Now, I want to go again and see if I can improve upon it. That’s how hey get you hooked!
The next DC Bike Ride
The next ride is scheduled for May 2022. I’ll post more about it when it comes up.