Saturday, October 18, 2014

Coffeeneuring Ride 4: The Arlington Loop

October 18, 2014

The wind, my God, the wind. For the last 7 miles I felt like I was in one of those endless pools where you swim and swim and don’t get anywhere. I was pedaling and pedaling and had to keep downshifting to make progress. But let’s back up.

I knew that Saturday would be a lovely autumn bike day and decided to ride the “Arlington loop” – a 17-mile circular route that has the best of all worlds. I live in the Westover neighborhood (see the black line to the left of the loop, below), less than a mile from three great bike paths: the Custis, the Four Mile Run, and the W&OD. To ride the loop, I start with the Custis and go clockwise. This allows me to ride the more downhill portion of the Custis and return on the flat W&OD. Also, I can ride the first 12 miles and stop in Shirlington (about 6 o'clock on the map) for a snack – or a hot beverage if I’m coffeeneuring. Busboys and Poets was to be my destination.

Thumbnail image: Going places on the Arlington Loop infographic 

I called my friend Gayle in the morning and she was up for riding with me; we arranged to meet by the Big Wheel Bikes just off the Custis Trail. But so much for plans. She called and said the brand new tire on her bike was flat and wouldn’t hold air, but she was still up for meeting at BB&P.

The Mt. Vernon Trail was pretty crowded, but I managed to make good time. Once I joined up with the Four Mile Run Trail I just barely missed a black snake that was slithering off the path toward the grass. This was when the wind began, but I had the motivation of lunch, so I forged ahead.

Gayle and I had a lovely leisurely lunch, which I capped off with a soy chai latte – sweet and tasty enough to qualify as desert, with lots of cinnamon. Even though the end of the loop is then just 5 miles to home, the wind was fierce and I had to ride directly into it.

 But I felt well exercised, well fed, and happy to have caught up with my friend. Tomorrow morning I fly to the West Coast for vacation/business. I have already scoped out some options for Cali-coffeeneuring – so stay tuned!

Total distance: 17 miles

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