My May Day Biking Journey

The Thinker by Rodin

Biking is a large part of my leisure life and my primary form of exercise. Today I will share with you my May Day 2005 bike ride. This ride lasted about three hours, at least half an hour of which were consumed taking these pictures. My total ride was about 30 miles. As
usual the Washington & Old Dominion (W&OD) Trail was my gateway to adventure. Yesterday I chose to bike west.

After two days of inclement weather it was a pleasure to have a Sunday that was mostly sunny. The temperature hovered in the low 60s. The wind was brisk out of the northwest. I began my bike ride as I always do from my house.

All the images are thumbnails. Click on them for the full size image.

PDRM0037.jpg (210559 bytes) I had to bike three miles north up the Fairfax County Parkway before I was able to pick up an on ramp to the W&OD Trail on the west side of Reston.
PDRM0038.jpg (142750 bytes) Like many places on the W&OD trail, there are elevated bridges over the major highways. This is good because we high speed bicyclists don’t like coming to unnecessary stops. Here is the W&OD trail bridge crossing the Fairfax County Parkway (Rt. 7100), where I got on the trail. I headed west toward Leesburg.
PDRM0039.jpg (190036 bytes) This bridge over the Fairfax County Parkway is high quality. Because this part of the parkway is new, this may be the newest bridge on the trail. Here bicyclists hang to the left, and horses/joggers hang to the right. For much of the trail an equestrian path follows on one side. Unfortunately you don’t see many horses on the trail. The view here is looking west.
PDRM0040.jpg (129715 bytes) A couple miles west the trail crosses Elden Street in Herndon. This is part of “Old Town” Herndon. Concerts are held here in the summer, but the businesses here get a fair amount of bike traffic. There is a convenient Dairy Queen for fat friendly bicyclists a hundred feet off the trail.
PDRM0041.jpg (114211 bytes) Here is what is left of the old Herndon train depot. The view is looking east.
PDRM0042.jpg (181724 bytes) As I prepared to get on my bike I snapped this picture of the trail looking West from Old Town Herndon.
PDRM0043.jpg (109896 bytes) An old caboose is kept for visitors to inspect (from the outside only) at the Herndon station.
PDRM0044.jpg (120674 bytes) A few miles to the west of Herndon, the trail crosses Sterling Boulevard. At this point you have crossed from Fairfax County into Loudoun County. Before you reach Sterling Boulevard you pass over the western part of the Herndon Parkway and the Herndon Centennial Golf and Country Club. Here is a more typical “at grade” crossing on the trail. A median makes it not too difficult to cross. There is no walk light for bike riders.
PDRM0045.jpg (99405 bytes) A mile or so further you pass Church Street in Sterling. Here is a view looking east.
PDRM0046.jpg (189186 bytes) Another large trail bridge crosses over Sully Road (Route 28). This is the best picture I could capture since the mesh in the wire fence leaves small gaps. This is looking South on Sully Road.
PDRM0047.jpg (105737 bytes) Crossing over Sully Road, the trail west looks like you may be going toward the frontier. Alas, the frontier is more than half
developed.
PDRM0048.jpg (119910 bytes) A mile or two west of Sully Road is Smith’s Switch Station. You almost feel like you are in the country at this point. The portable toilets lend to the feeling that you are approaching the end of civilization. You can get water here and stretch your legs, but don’t look for snack machines. This view is looking west.
PDRM0049.jpg (108968 bytes) Another view from Smith’s Switch Station, looking west. I continue heading west.
PDRM0050.jpg (91248 bytes) After three or four miles of hard biking, and after passing under the Loudoun County Parkway, you end up at Ashburn Road. Here you will find a restaurant and an antiques store. Be careful crossing the street. Loudoun County commuters are not always accommodating to bicyclists.
PDRM0051.jpg (156059 bytes) Here was my destination for the day: Goose Creek. This bridge is the W&OD trail bridge, built on the foundation that used to
support heavy trains. You can park your bike and wander down and do some hiking or dirt bike riding if you choose. But warning: you can’t get here by car!
PDRM0055.jpg (160613 bytes) Sycolin Creek joins the much larger Goose Creek just north of the trail bridge. It was very bucolic on the spring day.
PDRM0054.jpg (342956 bytes) Here is where Sycolin Creek joins Goose Creek. Goose Creek is quite wide, more than a hundred feet. It counts as a river in my book.
PDRM0056.jpg (241195 bytes) Some wildlife in bloom along the banks of the creek
PDRM0060.jpg (110218 bytes) Undeveloped land (but doubtless not for long) right next to Goose Creek.
PDRM0061.jpg (244180 bytes) A better view of Goose Creek from the W&OD Trail bridge, looking South.
PDRM0062.jpg (112351 bytes) Goose Creek, looking north from the W&OD Trail bridge.
PDRM0063.jpg (181118 bytes) Just to the east of Goose Creek is the Luckstone Quarry. This is a wonderful destination. You can park your bike, enjoy a picnic or just enjoy the view. On weekends you are unlikely to hear the roar of the giant trucks pulling stone out of the quarry. No water fountain here, but portable toilets are across the trail.
PDRM0064.jpg (138485 bytes) A view of the Luckstone Quarry.
PDRM0065.jpg (81171 bytes) Another view of the quarry, looking southeast.
PDRM0067.jpg (148074 bytes) Heading home I had to pass Ashburn Road again. There is food to be found here for the hungry bicyclist.

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