This past weekend, the Arlington Fun Ride drew more than 150 people out to enjoy a beautiful Saturday morning riding the Arlington Loop. The ride — in its third year — is put on a by a group of volunteers to demonstrate that Arlington's trails are a great place for all Arlingtonians to have fun and get fit. The idea is that by providing a supportive and safe environment to see how to tie all of our the trails together, participants will discover just how easy it is to enjoy those trails. (Disclosure: I'm on the organizing committee.)
The Arlington Loop is a 17-mile trail tying together of the Mount Vernon, Custis, Washington & Old Dominion, and Four Mile Run trails. Participants started behind Phoenix Bikes in Barcroft Park, and wound their way along the trails through Arlington.
It's a mostly flat and super easy ride — you know, if you ignore the part where you climb from the Potomac River up to Ballston. Some of the newer riders reminded me of my own first attempts at that hill, wondering how in the world I was going to make it up there. But the ride had multiple stops with water and food, and by all accounts, everyone left the Ballston rest stop in smiles.
But really? This is a story better told in pictures. Click on the photos above and see Arlingtonians of all kinds out for a morning full of simple pleasures. And then put this ride on your calendar for next year.
Speaking of community rides, there's a great ride happening in Montgomery County this coming weekend. It links together the miles and miles of mountain bike trails in Montgomery County parks and is called the MoCo Epic. It's probably the best opportunity in the Washington area for a long mountain bike ride. Check it out.
While Arlington will never be able to match Montgomery County's natural capacity for mountain bike trails, we're sadly lacking in singletrack or other mountain bike opportunities around here. It sure would be nice if the Arlington Department of Parks and Recreation could take some lessons from other area jurisdictions and think about something like the fantastic Rockburn Skills Park. It just takes a small bit of land and a big vision.
Mark Blacknell is a member of the Arlington Bicycle Advisory Committee, president of the Washington Area Bicyclist Association board of directors, and a League Cycling Instructor.