Mount Vernon Trail Bike Ride

[confirmation]Experience level: 3/5 | BYO H20![/confirmation]

About the Trip

Before we had even returned home from our trip to Wolf Trap on Saturday, we were already talking about how we were going to spend our Sunday.  So I (Lindsay) blurted out, “Let’s go on a bike ride….let’s ride on the Mount Vernon trail!”  And that is just what we did.

The next day we woke up, ate a hearty breakfast and prepared for the bike ride.  Note: We have ridden our bikes on the trail many times before, but never attempted to actually bike the entire trail….until today.  The Mount Vernon trail starts at Roosevelt Island and runs parallel to the Potomac River for 18 miles.

We left our house at 11:30 AM and rode our bikes 2 miles down to the Mount Vernon trail.  We rode our bikes together to Gravelly Point and watched the planes take off and fly into the Reagan National Airport.  Then we split up to enjoy the trail in our own special ways.  Dave wanted to get a cardio workout out of the trip and I wanted to spend time photographing.  I rode through the beautiful town of Alexandria and after riding underneath the Woodrow Wilson (WW) bridge, I caught up with Dave again.  He had ridden up to the Woodrow Wilson Bridge observation deck and was so excited about his discovery that he wanted to show it to me on the way back.    At this point in our day trip, we made the executive decision to “go the distance” and bike the entire trail.  Now, I could totally lie right now and say that I finished the whole trail…….but by mile 15, my water supply was low and my stamina was declining exponentially, so I swallowed my pride and turned around.  Dave was determined to complete the journey, so he continued onward and we decided to meet back at the WW Bridge.  While he was biking to the finish line, I continued to take photographs and leisurely made my way back to our meeting spot.  When I got there, I sat underneath of the bridge and took a break to eat my snacks and cool down.

During this time period, Dave and I had a slight miscommunication mishap.  You see, while I leisurely rested in the shade, Dave was sitting in the blazing sun waiting for me.  Haha!  He ended up finding me lounging underneath the bridge and then we rode our bikes up onto the top of the WW bridge and looked through the free binocular stands that overlooked the entire city.  The views were amazing!   After hanging out for a bit, we resigned ourselves to the fact that we had to ride all the way back home…and wished that we had brought our metro cards so that we could take the bus home instead….so we, or I rather, limped over to my bicycle to start the journey home.  The ride back home was tough.  I never did buy those biking shorts, (see Biking the C&O towpath entry) which made for a very uncomfortable ride home.

On the way home, we stopped in Alexandria and got ice cream at Ben & Jerry’s.  It was so delicious.   And then after that little break, we took another one, haha, right before we got to Roosevelt Island.  We laid in the grass in the shade and watched the boats sail by before making the final leg home.  We arrived home at around 5:30 pm.

Our grand total in mileage:

Lindsay =34 miles

Dave=40 miles

What a wonderful day!

[warning]On super hot days, make sure to bring extra water to prevent heat exhaustion/stroke.  Be mindful of the symptoms as well![/warning]


Our bicycles and helmets, CanonSD Powershot 1000, (Dave used an old shoelace to fashion a lanyard so that I could access the camera quickly and conveniently,) one Camelbak, 2 extra bottles of water, sunscreen, IDs, insurance cards, credit card, breathable clothing, sneakers, snacks (trail mix, pretzels, and an apple).


At the top of the WW bridge, a policeman was talking to an old lady who was walking across the bridge, but was not walking in the designated walkway for pedestrians.  She was literally walking a foot away from speeding cars.   From what Dave and I could see, it looked as though he was instructing her to climb over the ledge into the pedestrian walkway.  I’m not sure if she was able to even climb over it.

The views at the top of the WW bridge were incredible.


People, cranes, herons, foliage, great views, airplanes…lots of good stuff.


Seriously, I am going to buy bike shorts…and riding gloves as well.  I am going to bike the whole thing one of these days.  If we had more time, and a big enough bike lock, we would have stopped at Roosevelt Island and/or the National Harbor.  It’s hard to cram everything into one day!

Show me the dough

Ben and Jerry’s ice cream: $4.89