Friday I finally decided it was time to learn how to use public transportation with my bike. First, let me say, “I’m not a public transportation user at all!” Now, I have to learn to figure out bus schedules and train schedules, and bike racks, and “ban” hours.
Friday morning dawned early, and I got up, fixed coffee and was ready to roll by 7:30. That was just 2 minutes too late to make the last Virginia Railway Express train to the city. So, I had to drive up just a little further, and take the metro-rail instead. Here’s the key. Bikes can’t be on the train between the hours of 4 and 7 pm. I took the train to Crystal City, and rode into Georgetown. Cycled around Georgetown and then found the trailhead for the C&O canal towpath and the Capital Crescent trail. My friends are currently cycling down the C&O from Pittsburgh. I wonder where they are, as I’m entering the trail from the southern-most trailhead? I didn’t see them.
The trailhead for the southern end of the C&O is also the head for the Capital Crescent trail. I wound up riding several miles on the Crescent trail. Then, back to find a bus and learn to use the bike rack. Only, how to I know what bus stop is for what line, and how do I get back to Crystal City? With little guidance, I get on the first bus that comes along. I mean, the idea is to learn to get back to my chosen destination from wherever, right? Hmmmmm. The yellow line. headed to Rosslyn. That’s about exactly the opposite direction from where I’m going. Ok, that will work. I can take it to a metro station and figure the rest out. The bus driver answers my question promptly, but I can’t hear a word she says, either time she responds. OK, but she is good about giving me pantomimed instructions for lowering the bike rack, and loading the bike. My real fear is, “Do people ever steal bikes off the bus in route?”. Apparently, it’s not an issue.
It’s 3:00, so I have lots of time to get back to Crystal City. I take the Yellow line to Friendship Heights. That’s along ride, and the bus got more and more packed with every passing moment. Halfway through the ride, I realized I haven’t PAID!!! Taking care of that, I get out, and unload the bike with no problems and head to the rail station. It’s been such a long ride, that I’m barely going to get to Crystal City by 4 and I’ve remembered that I got off at Crystal city. I have to ride all the way back to Springfield/Franconia. Turns out, I’m 10 minutes late, getting off the train.
I only got to ride about 18 miles, but learned a lot. I also stopped at REI on the way home and picked up my Itzhaak, with his new J-bar installed. I like it. My friend Marie has called, and we are going to go back up toward DC tomorrow, and ride the Mount Vernon Trail. HOOOORRRRAAAYYYY!