Tuesday, April 09, 2013
Last Sunday afternoon, since the weather was pretty nice out, I decided to ride and check out the streets that the East Coast Greenway route takes. There are signs for it along the route I used to ride to work, but I've never seen where the route goes. I wondered if it would lead to the Metropolitan Branch Trail. The Metropolitan Branch Trail is part on-road, and part-dedicated bike trail. Some of the trail parallels the tracks for the subway. During my recovery period from the bike accident, I've been taking the subway to work and I look out the windows and see the various bikers gliding happily along. I knew in my heart I would join them as soon as I was physically able. Fortunately for me, the timing of my return to bike commuting coincided with the arrival of Spring.
The route zigzagged along quiet suburban streets as I followed the small white and green tree route signs. It was a little hillier than my other commute route, but I'll take that over busier roads. :) After a few miles, I then saw the sign for the Metropolitan Branch Trail and I hopped on. It felt good to be on a dedicated bike path, knowing that no cars would bother me there. I took it down to the L Street exit, and wandered around, wondering how I could make my way over to my office. Unfortunately, unless I backtracked, none of the streets really headed in that direction - I just saw "Do Not Enter" signs, which I think were dead-end roads. There were other roads that I could try, but they were busy roads. I'd rather not deal with any busy roads.
So I went back up on the trail and headed back and got off on an earlier exit, at R Street. Heading on R Street for a couple of blocks, you then come to a one-way road aimed right at you along with a "Do Not Enter" sign...but right below it was another sign saying "Except Bicycles". :) There were cars parked to the left along the designated bike route - so it was a little weird. Riding up the wrong way on a one-way street, but safely on a clearly marked bike route between the curb and the parked cars. It brought me in a few blocks to First Street. I realized if I turned left, I would then continue along my old route - - minus the busier roads, because the route skirted south of that area.
So today, I decided to ride to work. I had told a couple of people over the weekend and yesterday that I was thinking of going back to biking. They were surprised and wondered if I would be okay. About a month ago, my physical therapist said that I was cleared to ride, and that it would be good for me and strengthen my muscles. So I was mainly waiting for the weather to warm up (which took FOREVER this year!).
The ride went good - I took it easy and was very watchful and careful. I was a little tired and my legs were weak from not exercising, but the fresh air and movement was invigorating. After turning onto First Street, I rode the familiar route toward my office. I arrived in plenty of time to change clothes and clock in on time. I made it!! :)
It was nice to get back to biking instead of taking the subway. The subway is handy, but it kind of grates on you. Especially during Cherry Blossom season, when the trains are bulging with tourists. Cramming onto the subway trains and moving like a school of fish when transferring at stations is just not a lot of fun...not to mention the daily cost of taking the train. The subway helped me when I needed it, and now my bike will take it from here. :)
Yesterday at the office, I won free tickets to a Washington Nationals baseball game! The tickets usually go lightning fast, so I was surprised that I was the first email to make it in to get the tickets! :) So after work, a biking friend of mine is meeting down at the Jefferson Memorial so she can see the famous Cherry Blossoms, and then we will ride to the stadium for the game. There is free bike valet parking in a garage across the street from the stadium, which is very nice. I heard the seats that we have are right behind the home plate, so that will be great! :) I'm not a big baseball fan, but it will be a nice change to do something different. :)