DC by bike (and foot and Metro) — Part I

After a few solo days in StL last week, during which time I clearly had a bit too much time on my hands (as evidenced by a blog post ev.er.y day for seven days in a row), I skipped town and headed to our nation’s capitol for a much needed mini-reunion and ladies’ weekend with some fabulous college friends.

I was on the fence about the trip, but the direct (non-stop) Southwest flights from StL to DCA (Ronald Reagan International Airport) sealed the deal.  (Southwest offering flights to DCA is a relatively new thing — exciting b/c DCA is much closer to central Washington, DC, i.e., much more accessible by transit.)

Natalie met me at the airport with a spare SmarTrip [transit] card, so I didn’t even have to navigate the Metro by myself (it was actually fairly straightforward).  After dropping off my bags, and picking up our friend Jennifer, we walked to Sweet Green, a DC-area made-to-order salad restaurant.

Having overdosed a bit on lettuce in the days leading up to the trip, a salad place might not have been my first choice, but the combination of close, fast, healthy, and affordable kept me from voicing any hesitation.

Fortunately, they had some base options other than just lettuce, and I chose a combination of kale (one green which has been missing from my life recently) and warm grains.  I was excited to see that many of their ingredients were sourced locally, including the kale, [hard-boiled] eggs, and homemade spicy pickles that I chose for my salad.  Tasty and a fun twist on a “regular old salad.”

I was up early on Thursday morning, so I headed out for a short run, destination Bicycle Space, a local bike shop that carries Yuba bicycles.  (The day before I left StL, I had the brilliant idea to find a Yuba dealer in DC so I could take the Mundo for a test ride.)  The run turned into a bit of a scavenger hunt, as the shop had moved, and the address I had was their old location.  I tracked down their new shop, knowing they would not be open that early, but planning on some window shopping.

I returned from my run with my brilliant plan in jeopardy, having not seen any Yuba bicycles in the shop.  I waited until opening time to call the shop, where an employee confirmed that they did not have any Yuba Mundos in stock, but they were expecting a shipment soon.  Not soon enough for this visitor, but they helpfully directed me to a different bike shop in the DC-area.

Natalie graciously offered to drive me to The Green Commuter, in the near suburb of Takoma Park, MD.  Ironic that my one car-trip of the visit was to ride a bicycle, especially given the name of the shop.  But there it finally was — a Yuba Mundo in real life!

The shop employees were great, adjusting the bike for me and letting me take it for a spin, knowing that I was from out-of-town and wouldn’t actually be making a purchase from them.  So, yeah, no photo evidence, but I finally rode a longtail (and one of the bikes we are considering).

After driving back into DC, we grabbed a quick lunch and hopped on the Metro to the National Mall area, where we spent the afternoon walking, browsing museums, etc.  It was super hot, but I somehow resisted the temptation to cool off in the fountains that we passed.

I’ll pause there for now.  Check back later this week for DC — Part II, which includes much more biking than just a test ride (as well as the limited number of photos I took on the trip)!

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