Posted by: jdantos | October 23, 2012

Ride Report: a Washington Classic, plus Wine

Potomac River

On Sunday, K and I struck out for a day-long bike ride to do a Washington classic – the loop to Leesburg, Virginia via White’s Ferry and the W&OD trail. With a small detour planned for a winery.

  • The weather was amazing; we couldn’t have asked for much better. Mid-60s, and hardly a cloud in the sky. This was October weather at its finest.
  • Route: MacArthur Blvd. was flat and quiet on a Sunday morning, and then we switched to the C&O towpath at Falls Road to avoid some of the trafficky segments of River Road near Potomac, MD. I was nervous about riding the unpaved towpath on skinny road tires, but we took it slow, and were rewarded with 10 car-free peaceful miles with spectacular views along the banks of of the Potomac River. As an added bonus, we were now fully awake and could ride side-by-side and chat. We slogged back up to River Road after Blockhouse Point, and took that all the way around the White’s Ferry. On the Virginia side, we rode through Leesburg to pick up the W&OD trail.
  • Food: Had great sandwiches and coffee at West Loudoun St. Cafe in Leesburg.
  • Wine: After lunch, we made a stop at Dry Mill winery, just a quick jaunt off the W&OD. We had wanted to go to Fabbioli, but the biking conditions on Route 15 north of White’s Ferry looked pretty bike-unfriendly. After a tasting, we lazed on their sun-drenched back porch, sipped Chambourcin (just a little bit!), listened to a guitarist, looked at photos from the incredible scenery on the Maryland side, and relaxed. It was a great spot – we hardly wanted to leave! But we still had 45 easy miles on the trail to go, so we bought two bottles for the panniers for dinner.
  • Foliage: the leaves are just about to peak here inside the Beltway, but outside the city, the colors were amazing.
  • Total – 96 miles, according to my phone, with 7 hours moving in the saddle, and 3 hours spent sitting still for lunch, wine, and sightseeing.  I like that ratio!

A Washington classic…

Watching a hunt, complete with horses and dogs and stuff, on the dirt segment of River Road

A crucial mid-ride pitstop at Dry Mill



  1. Looks like a great ride! I need to incorporate a winery stop into more of my rides. 🙂

    Also curious about what you use to map your ride – looks like a direct import into Google Maps, but why are some of the miles marked near the beginning/end?

  2. Image jpeg for the mileage map points to
    Not a service I was familiar with – looks like iPhone only, so no dice for me.

    • Yes, it’s how RunMeter and CycleMeter store GPS files… I’ve never used Strava, so not sure how it compares, but so far I’ve been pretty happy. Have to be frugal with phone battery life on long rides.

  3. Great report! We tried a very similar ride a few weeks ago (even stopped for lunch at the Loudoun Street Cafe – good club sandwich), only we cheated by taking the Red line to Grosvenor to get started and bailed at Dunn Loring for a total of about 65 miles. The first miles from Grosvenor to the rustic parts of River Road were by far the worst part of the journey due to traffic and too-early-in-the-ride rollers, so I’m glad to hear that the Canal Trail worked with skinny tires. We’ll have to try that next time. The dirt road portion of River Road was a highlight of my 2012 cycling.

  4. Oh, and a tip about avoiding traffic… we did this on a Saturday morning and learned the hard way that there was a VERY popular farmer’s market going on at Rocklands Farm on Montevideo Road. Traffic on the short stretch of River Road from Seneca Road to Montevideo was constant and FAST. Try to avoid being on that stretch on a late Saturday morning or be ready to get buzzed for a mile or two.

  5. Now see? THIS is how bicycling is done!

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