Day 1

Saturday, 10 October 2009
  Millersville, MD to Alexandria, VA
56.4 miles, 4h54m, 11.5 mph
Elapsed Time: 5h50m, Max speed: 36.0mph
Total Climbing: 2870ft, Max elevation: 273ft
Total mileage: 56.4

Copyright 2002 DeLorme. Topo USA. Data copyright of content owner.

We aimed to start late Saturday morning because both of us were scrambling right up to the last minute getting ready. Amazingly we rolled out right at 10am like we planned. It was a cloudy and windy, with light rain from time to time.

The beginning of our attempt to become the first riders to claim to be the first riders to
circumnavigate the District of Columbia.

But this ride was not a mere quest for glory. I also planned to use the ride to try out some new gear. Mainly I wanted to try out my new camera, which is somewhat smaller than my old one. I wanted to try whipping the new camera out while moving to see whether I could take a photo without dropping the camera or pushing the wrong buttons. On my first attempt I fumbled the camera, juggled it a bit, and then caught it. In my fumbling, however, I somehow ripped off the binder clip that I use as a map holder. After restoring the binder clip I noticed that I had shattered my bike computer. I must have spiked the camera into it.

This was not the tragedy it appears. The ol' Vetta 100A has been balky for a while, and never recorded a single turn of the wheel on this trip. It's days were numbered anyway, and the camera simply administered the coup de grace.

My shattered Vetta 100A was useless long before this happened.

We picked our way south on the familiar roads of Anne Arundel County.  Eventually we crossed the Patuxent River and climbed a long and unpleasant hill into Upper Marlboro. We could tell we were near the county courthouse when we came to an intersection where the businesses on all four corners were purveyors of fine bail bonds. We ate lunch at a nearby Subway. When we came out it was raining the hardest it rained all day, which was just barely hard enough to put on rain gear.

Post-lunch donning of rain gear in Upper Marlboro

I kept my rain gear on for about 3 miles, Balint for longer. Then there were miles of riding through suburban Prince Georges County. A brief stop in Clinton. Woodyard Road was signed as a bike route, but it didn't look like the SHA put any real effort to make the road appealing to cyclists--other than putting up the signs, that is.

Eventually we reached the Henson Creek Trail and turned on to the bike path through the scrubby woods near the creek.

A busy Saturday on the Henson Creek Trail.

Balint shows his disrespect for traffic control devices by picking on this lonely cone.

At the end of the trail we turned north on Oxon Hill Road to reach the National Harbor complex. The Harbor includes a brand new bike path that took us to the Wilson Bridge bike path.

This peaceful scene is actually on an I-95 overpass at the east end of the Wilson Bridge.

I fumbled my camera for the third time while on the I-95 overpass. This time I dropped it. I watched helplessly as it bounced along the bricks within inches of my spinning wheels. For some reason it stayed alongside and did not dive under my back wheel as one would expect. The camera was unhurt.

The new Wilson Bridge bike path.

Looking north toward DC.

Balint, checking out his knees.

At some point on the bridge we passed directly over a piece of river bottom that belongs to DC. This is not the closest we would get to DC on this trip. That will come tomorrow.

Once we crossed the bridge it was less than a mile to the Hampton Inn by bike path. We took a hotel shuttle into old town Alexandria for a fine Italian dinner. It was a bit cool, so we were almost the only idiots walking around in shorts.


"'Round DC 2009" Copyright © 2009 By Bob Clemons. All rights reserved.