Kat and I have traded in our bikes for better models, only a couple weeks after buying them. We both got really good deals from Performance Bike in Reston on the upgrades. The new bikes are 21- and 24- speed instead of 7-speed, have front shock absorbers, and higher quality shifters, gears, brakes, and other parts. The additional gears are essential for dealing with the long and steep hills on the Fairfax Parkway trail.
I also have a new iPhone, and downloaded a great free application that uses the GPS to record your bike rides and map them on Google Maps. Below shows the route that was recorded yesterday when Kat and I rode over 21 miles (round trip) to Leesburg and back on the W&OD trail. We kept our pace brisk, and it was a really good workout — almost 1,800 calories for me according to the bike computer. I’ve now ridden around 100 miles total, and Kat’s gone further since she’s done some biking trips while I’ve been at work. She’s been logging our efforts in an online document here.
I also rode to work last Monday, which was a lot of fun, but logistically complicated (backpack full of clothes, shower at work, etc.). It took me about 40 minutes to get to work, vs. the usual 15-20 when driving. But adding in all the prep time and shower time at work makes it more like 60, so 3-4 times as long. I’ll probably do it occasionally, but I don’t think it’ll become my primary way of getting to work.
I’m really enjoying biking, and am glad that we decided to get bikes this year. There are a lot of bike trails in Virginia, so we’ll probably find a way to start exploring more of them.
Kat and I bought bicycles last weekend, and are hoping to use them to get outdoors a bit more than we usually do. So far it’s been quite fun, and we’re looking forward to exploring lots of the W&OD trail and other areas. I took off work Thursday and we had our first test-ride with Scott, going around 12 miles on the trail, from the Rt 28 / AOL entrance, to the LuckStone Quarry overlook and back. Of course we had to finish it off with a chocolate malt and food at Cheeburger Cheeburger!
Today we left the car in the garage and rode from the house to my office in Herndon. I’d been toying with the idea of biking to work occasionally, but Kathie had the good idea of trying it together during a weekend first. It was 7.1 miles each way, and surprisingly almost all of it was on residential roads, the Fairfax County Parkway Trail (really just a wide sidewalk along the parkway), and the W&OD. There’s also a short jaunt through the woods at the end of our street, a 100-yard path that saves 1.5 miles and eliminates “roads you’d be crazy to bike on” like Seneca Road, Georgetown Pike, and Rt. 7.
The last mile of the trip, on Van Buren St. was more of a challenge, since we had to choose between the sidewalk or the road with no shoulder. We tried both, and while the road was fine on a Saturday morning at 9am, I’m not sure if I want to do that during rush hour on a weekday. Fortunately the speed limit on the road is 25mph and it’s aggressively enforced (don’t speed in Herndon!). Bicycles are allowed on sidewalks in Virginia (yield to pedestrians) so I’ll have to try both. It was a fun morning, and we’re both looking forward to a lot more biking!