Thursday, May 03, 2007

My Butt is Sore But My Beer Is Cold

“At least your beer is cold,” and what else can you really say? Alternatively entitled “A Fun Activity in the Washington D.C. Environs,” let me suggest a great excursion for those who enjoy bike riding.

Daingerfield Island/Washington Sailing Marina is just south of Reagan Washington National Airport off Highway 1 at the junction of the Potomac River and Four Mile Run. There you can rent bicycles and ride along the Mount Vernon Trail, following the Potomac River either north to Theodore Roosevelt Island or south to Mount Vernon, George Washington’s home. The paved trail is shared by bikers, runners, skaters, walkers, and casual strollers, so on sunny weekend days you have to be alert for others.Potomac River view from Mount Vernon TrailGravelly Point is a short bike ride north from Daingerfield Island and offers an up-close and personal view of landing aircraft into Reagan National. I mean up-close. Park your bike and reach out and touch the aircraft. Get an appreciation for all the variables that go into landing a big hunk of steel.

We didn’t do that this time. Instead, we opted for the path south, a 25-mile roundtrip excursion to Mount Vernon (hence, the sore butt). The pathway is picturesque and mostly flat, with a small portion following Union Street in downtown Alexandria. The path follows the Potomac, taking you through Belle Haven Park, Dyke Marsh Preserve, Collingwood Picnic Area, and Riverside Park. After a final up-hill stretch, you reach Mount Vernon (where you can relax amongst the tourists or at least buy a beverage).Mount Vernon Trail bike rideThe return trip fortunately ends at the sailing marina, where you can get a well-deserved cold beer, off-setting a bit the sore butt and stiff legs.

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