CycloFemme DC 2014

In my eventual transition from the DC to NYC area, I’ve taken upon a challenge—to myself anyway—to go on as many rides as possible in the DC area. This includes group rides, and friends’ goofy rides, and the usual “do everything you can possibly do by bike” rides.

Today: CycloFemme DC 2014 Mother’s Day edition.

This wasn’t part of any formal organization. It was one woman, organizing a ride and brought out over 40 ladies on bikes, and a few gents.

Click to enlarge images

I’m highly distracted as of this writing because in some bizarre turnout, only my left hand got sun burned during the ride… and the pinkish flesh is somewhat mesmerizing.

I did invite Michelle and Sarah to come out, but I didn’t realize until I saw their bike-stagrams that they did the Buff Betty Adventure Ride this weekend.

Which… looks like it’s very mega fun. Adding that to my list of bike shenanigans.

Anyway. Back to the CycloFemme ride.

It was a beautiful day. Scorching in the 80s with your usual DC mugginess.

It was already 70°F by 9 a.m., and I already felt hot and miserable before leaving the apartment.

But there were some nice breezy moments, especially as we were going along the Anacostia River. Any breeze is a welcome breeze, especially when your trail or route is in direct sunlight with no shade in sight. (Looking at you, Met Branch Trail.)

Also as I write this, I’m getting the sun coma…sleepy…

The ladies met at the Capitol, near the visitors center, and after a nice pep talk from Nelle about WABA and the Women and Bicycle Group, and the obligatory safety quip, we headed off, down 4th Street toward Yards Park. (I included the map from GPS so you can see exactly where we went. You, stalker you.)

The ride was a beginner-ish ride. If anything, it was not a “lycra pace,” which was great considering this was the first time many of the ladies have been in a group ride. The pace wasn’t too slow, but it wasn’t unbearably fast. It was very nice. Even for me, who has a tendency to want to go fast to maintain that pedaling rhythm. It was a nice way to kind of step back from my usual pedaling and just enjoy the sites of DC—something I don’t always get to do since I don’t live or work in the District.

There were minimal hills, but nothing crazy. Which is always good. No one likes hills.

The cue sheet was a bit confusing at first but in the end we all figured it out. Some of the ladies had internal GPS mapping in their brains so they helped us get back on track, especially when we had to do a little detour to get around a farmers’ market blocking one of the streets.

Anacostia River
For as much shit as the Anacostia area gets, the river trail is very beautiful. The scenery is just amazing (this blog’s banner image up top is from that trail, overlooking the river towards RFK stadium).

This is only the second time I’ve been on the Anacostia trail, but I enjoy it immensely. The trail way is wide enough to accommodate folks of various activities, but during the ride, our group of ladies kind of split off at the beginning.

While some kept to the trail way, some of us went on the road. There weren’t very many cars near the trail, so the road was actually nice. It was also cool to see various groups of people set up all along the grass field. One couple, it looked, were setting up a huge spread for some serious BBQ. They had an entire picnic table covered with BBQ-wares.

We were headed toward Kingman Island, which was our first, quick resting stop, if we followed our cue sheet, but as my group waited, it turns out that the group leader and her following ladies skipped the island entirely and headed towards C Street to catch the Met Branch Trail.

Metropolitan Branch Trail
I live on the Red Line, and have not once, ever biked the MBT. Horror stories notwithstanding, I just never had the opportunity to do so. Until the CycloFemme ride.

Part of the route for the day took us onto the MBT, and for the first time I experienced what I’ve always imagined biking on this trail in summer weather would be like.


(As I’m a glutton for pain, I ended up taking the MBT home after the ride from the White House. But this will be another post.)

I’m not going to lie. I don’t particularly hate the MBT. It’s actually quite a nice trail. There’s just no shade. Of course, we weren’t on it for too long. We only connected to it near the NoMA/Galludet metro station, and took it northward to R Street, toward our midday pit stop, The Bike Rack.

I’d imagine the MBT going southward is quite nice. I even had a near-collision with a little boy biking with his mom on the trail on my way home. He was a cutie, so I let the incident slide. But I’ll have to put the trail on my bike shenanigans list.

Sunburn on my hand is starting to tingle. It is now no longer mesmerizing, but annoying.

White House
After our quick stop at The Bike Rack (which is on Q street near 14th for those not in the know), we made our way—after an annoying number of stop-and-go lights—towards the White House, where, apparently, a professional photographer had been waiting for us.

Sorry dude. Bike rides aren’t quite rigid in timing.

But we got there. And it being Sunday, and Mother’s Day, and the White House, it was quite busy.

There was a group there with the “Bring Back Our Girls” banner, and some of the ladies from the CycloFemme ride jumped in with them and had a photo taken. Then we broke into our group to get a group photo with the CycloFemme ride poster.

The obligatory group photo in front of the White House.

The cue sheet had us continue on back towards the Reflecting Pool, but the ride just ended at the White House.

Those who wanted to go to the after-ride gathering, rode on towards Granville Moore’s for grub and pub.

I skipped out on the after-ride merriment due to other engagements, but I’m sure the grub and pub was a fine affair.

Thank you, Anna, for organizing such a beautiful ride. Thank you ladies who rode for making it such an enjoyable ride. It was great riding with all of you and having sporadic conversations on bikes.

And I have to give Nelle kudos. She invited her mom, who’s visiting from Colorado, on the ride, and they both did the whole 13-ish miles on CaBi bikes. Gold stars all around.

I’ll have another post up sometime soon about my return trip home from the White House. Because that experience deserves its own post.

Cycle on.


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