Our editors had the opportunity to spend Fourth of July 2010 in the Washington DC area. Celebrating the birth of the United States among some of the more famous national landmarks was a thrilling experience. What made the entire trip more thrilling was just how tandem friendly the DC area has become.
There are a series of multi-use trails that enter/exit and circumvent downtown DC creating endless opportunities for near car free touring. Following 9-11 increased security inside DC has all but eliminated the ease of car travel forcing the majority of tourists to hoof it around town anyways. With a tandem, and there were many spotted throughout the area, families are able to quickly travel between monuments, museums, and parks throughout the metro area without having to walk everywhere.
If any of this sounds appealing then we have your Fourth of July 2011 planned for you. Start out by driving, with your tandem in tow, to Mt Vernon and park in their free lot. Spend the day touring the plantation that was home to George Washington and enjoy the daytime fireworks, birthday cake, live bands, and revolutionary soldiers. Stay until the park closes at 5 pm then walk back to the car and change into your riding clothes.
Leaving from the parking area is Mt Vernon Trail traveling 15 miles north into Washington DC. Zigzagging along the Potomac river the trail is adjacent to the George Washington Parkway allowing you to easily imagine back to a time when this same route was traveled by the founding fathers and international dignitaries.
Along the route the trail passes through downtown Alexandria, VA where you can stop at any one of a number of cafes for an enjoyable meal. After taking in the sights and sounds continue on the trail for the final 5 miles to the 14th Street Bridge. Crossing the bridge along the protected path you will exit at the Jefferson Memorial. Cross the street and find a spot along the water front adjacent to the Memorial and enjoy the evening fireworks over the National Mall.
After the fireworks end it is time to reverse the route and ride back to your car. Bring along a bright headlight and flashing tail-light. The first 2 miles will be packed with people but after passing Reagan Airport the crowds will thin and you will have the opportunity to enjoy a wonderful evening ride along the river. Make sure to stop within the trees to admire the countless flickering fireflies.
Just another great tandem outing brought to you by TandemBicycling.com 🙂