|Hello there, Miyata. Name suggestions welcome.|
Was sitting in my work cube two weeks ago when an email from Green America popped up inviting me to join the Climate Ride in September. I'd watched these cyclists bike into town from NYC for a few years but never thought to try the ride myself. The notion of biking 300 miles and raising $2400 sounded daunting, but I've found in the past that when I push through fears, life is richer on the other side. So I signed up.
My mom (visiting from Michigan) and housemate Audrey were my training buddies this week. Mom is a little obsessed with airplanes, so on Monday we biked 11 miles from my house in Tenleytown to Gravelly Point Park in Arlington, VA. This might be the best place to plane-spot in the country: it's situated on the Mt. Vernon Trail right next to Reagan Airport. Every few minutes, you feel like Carey Grant in Hitchcock's North by Northwest as planes dive in your direction before touching down on the runway a few hundred feet away. It's slightly terrifying. Mom was giddy and took lots of pictures:
I had gotten a new (old) road bike off Craigslist the week before: a lilac Miyata 712 from 1987, so I zipped ahead of mom riding my Diamondback hybrid, "Bertha", with the panniers loaded on it. Poor mom, forced to be the packhorse. We had lunch at the airport (they have bike parking!) and checked in for her flight the next day before riding back to the house.
(As a climate-related aside, my colleage Keya Chatterjee at WWF has slammed Congress and the Obama administration for pulling out of the EU's proposed policy to cut carbon emissions from airline travel.)
Today Audrey and I rode through the neighborhoods of upper Northwest DC to Woodley Park where we shared a giant burrito on the grass next to the stately Taft Bridge. The neighborhood was crammed with people enjoying the temperate sunny weather, some Boy Scout convention (kids with whistles), and a psychology association meeting (people with name tags).
|Woodley Park could use more bike parking. People resort to using parking signs and parking meters.|
We then wound south through Rock Creek Park and hopped on the Capital Crescent Trail which, true to its name, is shaped like a crescent (croissant?) hugging the city, and the Potomac River. This trail will actually constitute the final leg of the Climate Ride, passing 2 miles from my house! It's also a former rail line, like many of the bike paths around here, and a reason why I'm sending half of the funds I raise to the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy. You can find out if there's a rail-trail in your region from them here.
|Some of the "Cap Cres"|
|Audrey by the C&O Canal. You can take the gravel path bordering this canal nearly 200 miles to Cumberland, MD (which my friend Seth has done) or further on to Pittsburgh if you wanted!|
|Audrey riding Bertha through the neighborhood|