In our last episode, your heroes were touring the nation’s capital, dining on worldly cuisine and feasting their eyes on monuments to our founding fathers. The next morning, Bobby Chui played the role of a most gracious host and cooked your brave heroes a breakfast of pumpkin pancakes.
We were set up for a great day of riding out of D.C. Bellies full of pumpkin pancakes. Decent weather. A dedicated bike trail into Mt. Vernon. We jumped onto our bikes and rode past the Lincoln Memorial once more. As Vanessa dismounted to snap a picture, something else snapped. One of the steel rails under her saddle snapped in half. We stared at the broken piece for a few minutes scratching our heads, wondering how the actual saddle could snap in two. Our spare parts bag is rather comprehensive, but we neglected to pack a spare saddle. But, we had the next best thing: duct tape! We taped up the seat well enough to get us to a bike shop that was only a couple of miles away.
After the pit stop, we rode the Mt. Vernon bike trail, which begins at Arlington National Cemetery and runs alongside the Potomac for some 20 miles. This was probably one of the best stretches of riding we’ve enjoyed thus far. The trail ran through green parks and fields, and seemed to be mostly downhill. At one point, we stopped to tighten up the spokes on my rear wheel just in time to see an overzealous rider wipe out as he tried to pass a couple of other cyclists and a woman pushing a stroller. This goes to show that there is no room for riding aggressively on a lazy bike trail.
Along the bike trail, there was a park that abuts a runway at Reagan International Airport. As we pedaled by, a plane passed not 50 feet over our heads! I felt like that we were in that scene in Wayne’s World (you know the scene). Later, my wheel got wobbly again, and we conveniently spied probably the best, and most properly targeted advertising on a bike trail. “Bike mechanic: 1 block to the right.” Ron at Wheel Nuts trued my wheels, and got us riding smooth.
The next day, we woke up to rain. We packed up the tent like two people possessed, and got on the road before 8. We made it approximately a half mile before the rain gods became angry again. We pulled into a little breakfast joint, where the waitress Lucy was thrilled that we were riding our bikes down the east coast. She gave us rosary beads, brownies for the road, and some free sodas. She told us that she had never gotten a post card from Key West. That, kind readers, shall change in roughly 3 weeks!