It all started on Saturday, when my wife said she didn’t want to spend the weekend fixing the gradually-clogging sink drain. Hearing a fantastic forecast for the remainder of the weekend, we pulled out the bike map and outlined a two-day route out the W&OD, leaving the next morning. Destination: coffee in downtown Leesburg, wine from Sunset Hills Vineyard, and the Norris Inn bed & breakfast, only 2 blocks from the trail.
To shorten the distance a little, we packed up and took our bikes on Metro to East Falls Church, where the W&OD trail passes right nearby. This was my new bike Clyde’s first long-distance ride with two full panniers. The first 20 miles or so were relatively slow, as there were a lot of people on the trail (and passes to call), and road crossings. We took a mid-afternoon snack in Herndon, and struck out west again. We rode past the planes floating distantly in and out of Dulles airport, and the suburbs began to give way to rural houses adjacent to cow pastures. The shining sun kept us company the whole way, keeping things warm but not too hot. As we crossed into Loudoun County, traffic thinned out, and yellow and orange leaves got more commonplace.
We finally rolled into Leesburg, and after dropping off some gear at the inn, we needed a caffeine boost. So, true to a #coffeenueuring ride, we stopped by King Street Coffee for sustenance to make it the last 10 miles to the vineyard. Iced coffee with milk and sugar, and a blueberry scone – yum.
Picking up the W&OD again, the stretch from Leesburg to Purcellville is some of the prettiest scenery on the whole trail – we passed farms, deer, and only a few cyclists before turning off at the Berlin Turnpike towards the vineyard. Here’s our route from East Falls Church to Sunset Hills Vineyard.
Sunset Hills was pouring 7 different kinds of wine, the stainless steel Chardonnay and the Cab Franc being our favorites. We munched on cheese, crackers, and wine in the afternoon sun. We decided then it would be good idea to call it a #wineneuring ride too. But, as it turns out, I think I just made up that word, and I’m not entirely sure it’s a real thing. Anyway, two bottles of wine made it into the panniers to take home. Then, back to Leesburg.
Over breakfast the next day we met a group pedaling on the C&O towpath all the way from Pittsburgh to DC. They had ridden through three days of rain, and were happy to be arriving in DC under sunny skies, and riding their last day on pavement rather than the bumpy towpath. Back on the trail early, we made good time and snacked in the center of Vienna. This time, we passed the Custis and rode all the way down to Mile 0, picked up the Shirlington Connector to National Airport, then back home to Capitol Hill via the Mount Vernon Trail.
99 miles over 2 days, coffee, 2 bottles of wine transported back to DC, a beautiful trail, and a great ride!
P.S. I’m not sure if this actually counts as a coffeeneuring ride under the Official Rules, since it might violate #7, but hey, I have no idea what a populaire or brevet is.