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DC AIDS Ride 4: Ride 7: A jaunt through Alexandria


Ride 7: A jaunt through Alexandria Sunday, April 18 Distance: 20ish miles

I planned on biking to Mount Vernon today. I figured I'd get an early start and go down all the way there and stop by my brother's place at the barbecue he was organizing.

At 9 AM or so I got a call from my brother telling me the grilling got moved to his friend Julie's house for later in the PM. I figured I'd bike to Mt. Vernon, get back home and make it to the barbecue.

As usual, I underestimated the temperature outside. As usual, I thought about it right outside my door and opted not to pick up the windbreaker--a big mistake. I headed on the Custis trail on to join the Four Mile Run trail towards Shirlington and Alexandria.

Like many of the other trails in the area, the Four Mile Run trail is a combination of old railroad rights-of-way and paved paths along wooded areas. The Four Mile Run trail is actually the beginning portion of the W&OD trail. The trail is a haven of sorts within the built-up confines of Arlington. There's this one particular stretch very near Columbia Pike (otherwise known by me as El Barrio--I can get some very good pupusas and char-broiled chicken in the area) where the path does a sudden twist directly into Four Mile Creek and, for a brief interval all one can see are trees, rocks and the flowing creek on its way to the Potomac. The sounds of traffic on the bridge just ahead seem mute and distant, while the warble of the occasional pigeon and the chirp of a cricket or two ring as true as a finely tuned bell. In fact, all throughout the FMR trail there these small foresty nooks that could easily be great for taking a couple of sandwiches and a good book.

The FMR trail leads into Shirlington of Ride 2 fame. I stopped at the bike store there to see if I could get something long-sleeved to replace the soggy t-shirt I was wearing, but I found nothing even remotely close to reasonably priced, so I decided to tough it through. The ride down the Four Mile Run trail to Alexandria was uneventful, although I did discover a cool-looking remnant of the past just across the creek from Shirlington. I didn't see any waitresses on roller skates or trays on the premises, but I did make a mental note to return to this place to try something out when eating a slider won't cause a potential bikerly mishap. Perhaps Erica will want to join me--she's my oh-so-good-food-that's-bad-for-you buddy.

Reaching Alexandria, behind the building where the barbecue would no longer be I headed towards Mount Vernon. I didn't make it past the Torpedo Factory, though. I don't know if I decided to turn there just because I stopped to use the restroom and just lost focus, or if I just didn't feel the same kind of good pressure that I get when I'm biking with other people.