For those of you who like to get from Point A to Point B faster than your feet can take you then you might be ready to get your bike out of storage and pedal your way around Northern Virginia. Though not as bike friendly for commuters as other cities, the recreational rider can cover a lot of territory with a variety of trials and places to stop along the way
Back in the mid 90's my son and I cycled 300 miles through the Loire Valley in France for 6 days and you can get a bit spoiled by pedaling for a few hours taking in a Chateau or two and ending your evening at French café. You won't get Chateau's in Northern Virginia but you can get national monuments, wonderful parks and a water views. If you plan it right you can also get a nice evening in a Bed and Breakfast at the end of one of the trails as well.
For those of you who just want to take a short ride you might want to head over to Burke Lake Park just off of Route 123 in Burke VA and ride around the 4.7 mile dirt path.
If you are a bit more ambitious and want to enjoy a view of the Potomac River and National Monuments in DC then consider heading to the Mount Vernon Trail which runs 18 miles (one way) from Mount Vernon to Teddy Roosevelt Island just across the River from DC.
Once you have explored Teddy Roosevelt Island you might want to use this as the starting point for your next ride. When you are ready you can head out on the W&OD trail that runs run north to Whites Ferry in Loudoun County. This 75 mile (one way) trip is all on paved paths that make up both the longest and skinniest park in Virginia. Maintained by the Northern Virginia Park Authority the trail runs along the old rail tracks from the Washington and Old Dominion train system which was created in 1859. Once you get to the end of the trail you might want to spend the night at the Norris House voted the best B&B in Loudoun County.
Finally for those with true grit and gel seats there is the 184 mile Chesapeake and Ohio Canal path that starts in Washington DC and ends in Cumberland Maryland. The towpath is rough made primarily of crushed stone and this is not a trail to tackle if you aren't in shape. You can take shorter trips along the trail if you just want to enjoy some of the local sites and I recommend that if your are just out for the day that you stop by and take a look at Glen Echo Park.
So park your car and enjoy a ride around Northern Virginia. You can be as ambitious as you want to be and if you want to pretend you are in France then chill a bottle of nice bottle of Champagne before you go.
Enjoy Earth Day!
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