June 3, 2007 brought the very first Arlington and Alexandria Community Bike Ride (up until this year, it was an Arlington-only affair). The weather forecast was pretty miserable -- overcast skies and rainy conditions for the whole day -- but since lightning was absent from that forecast, I decided to put on my quick-drying shirt and shorts and head on over to the Shirlington start point.
Upon registration I was issued a commemorative bike bell along with the cue sheet and a number to wear. I got there around 7 in the morning, and there were only a handful of people there. I started to get the impression that I would be one of the few people to actually show up. I was mistaken. I heard an estimate of over people 500 people ended up joining in the 23 mile ride around Arlington and Alexandria.
The pace was as leisurely as you wanted it to be -- I stayed near the front of the pack and got to meet a lot of interesting folks. The ride started out with a police escort down to the Washington and Old Dominion trail which we took down to the Custis Trail and then through Rosslyn to the Mount Vernon Trail to Crystal City and the Four Mile Run trail back to the Mount Vernon trail then through Alexandria and back across to Shirlington. Along the way there were stops for food, drinks, and the occasional giveaway. As the ride progressed the rain got harder and harder, and shortly after arriving in Shirlington for the conclusion the skies erupted in a downpour.
I celebrated the completion of the ride with lunch at the Capital City Brewery with my bike safely under watch at the valet bike parking WABA had set up and then made my way back home to dry off. The picture of me above is from right after the completion of the ride, in all my rain-drenched glory. All in all it was a great time, and I'd like to do it again next year.