Two Fort Ride

The weather here in DC could not have been better. 70 degrees. Light winds. Sunny skies. Low humidity. I could practically hear my bikes calling me. Ride me!!! Ride me!!!

Little Nellie won the draw, but that was probably not the best choice. I started by riding to the dry cleaning place on US 1, because nothing says bicycling fun like a few moments on the WORST cycling road in America. Actually, I cheated death by riding through the drive through at a Walgreens thus allowing me to stay on the side access road. One of the items I took to the dry cleaner was the holey sweater. I have to tell the lady behind the counter that I know it has holes in it but that’s okay. Taking the holey sweater to the dry cleaner is my humble way of saying that WINTER IS OFFICIALLY OVER!!!!

I headed back home because I forgot to take an antihistamine and the tree pollen count is off the charts. You know it’s bad when the cars are all yellow.

I took the Mount Vernon Trail to the Woodrow Wilson Bridge. The bridge was a bit of a climb and so was the mile long slog to the appropriately named Oxon Hill Road. I took a right on OHR which sucks for bicycling on a good day. Today, however, was not a good day. Today was a shitty day. OHR is being rebuilt or widened. The construction will hopefully make things better for cyclists but, in the mean time, I rode next to half mile of Jersey barriers with cars buzzing past me.The potholed and patched road surface would have made this a difficult ride without my motorized friends. To their credit most of the drivers who passed me gave me enough room to ride so I can’t complain.

I got off OHR and onto Fort Foote Road. Ahhhh!!!  I decided to check out Fort Foote, one of 60 forts built on the perimeter of the capital during the civil war. Fort Foote, was it turned out, saw the same amount of activity in the war as Augusta Maine. There’s not much to see. Most of the fort was dirt and timbers. It’s actually a nice place for a walk in the woods down to the river. I rode Little Nellie down one trail until it became a windy narrow corduroy-ed mess of tree routes.

As I continued on my little trek, I took every side street that looked like it didn’t come to a dead end. It was actually a nice little suburban neighborhood. There were the usual split levels, ranches and colonials but, every so often, I’d see as house of stunning architectural hideousness.

I eventually popped out back on OHR for another half mile of bumpy car dancing before I turned off toward Fort Washington. Soon after making the turn I spotted three bike tourists. Two were on a recumbent tandem pulling a Bob trailer. I swear the side of the trailer said Burlington Northern. The third tourist was on what looked like a Tour Easy, the same bike as Big Nellie.

Laid Back Touring

I turned into Tantallon, a residential development with a golf course. I didn’t realize this until I saw three golfers on a green next to the road. The course is strange in that the houses are practically in the rough along the fairways. If I played here I’d take out a couple of windows each round. (“Excuse me., ma’am. I believe that’s my Titleist in your spinach dip.”) I had an occasional mean slice. By occasional, I mean that I sliced the ball when I wasn’t hooking the crap out of it.

The last mile into Fort Washington is surprisingly hilly. I managed the climbs with a  huff and a puff and was rewarded by the fact that entry to the park was free. Thank you Congress for putting the fee collector out of a job. The park was beautiful. A runner was having a field day cruising up and down the park roads. I envied her.

I have previously toured the fort itself.. Unlike Fort Foote, this one is actually more or less intact. It’s sort of an unknown treasure in the DC area and well worth a visit.

After checking my map app, I decided to return on Old Fort Road. This road has some truly gorgeous stretches. I especially enjoyed two curving lanes of smooth asphalt alongside a long stretch of woods. You’d think you were miles and miles away from the hustle and bustle. Of course, crossing six lanes of Indian Head Highway snapped me out of that. All the climbing I did to get to Fort Washington was worth the effort because Old Fort Road has one hold-on-for-dear-life downhill that, sadly, ends at a traffic light back on Indian Head Highway where it becomes OHR.

And so it was time to head home. By the end of the ride, my windpipe was sore, from either the pollen or asthma, I can’t tell. I didn’t mind. I had just finished 50 miles of two wheeled discovery and a beautiful spring day. Next time, I will take either The Mule or Big Nellie. Little Nellie’s 20-inch wheels were not the best choice for the potholes and patches of PG County MD.

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