Saturday, November 24, 2012

Terrific Meet-up With MG and Felkerino: DC in Style

DC-rando celebrities Felkerino and MG.
One of my favorite things about the randonneuring life, other than the hills, headwinds and rain, is all of the cool people you meet along the way. Having crossed paths with DC rando superstars and bloggers extraordinaire MG and Felkerino repeatedly in the cyber-randoneuring world, it was fantastic to arrange a spontaneous meet-up during my brief stay in DC this holiday week. I've long been a fan of The Daily Randonneur and chasing mailboxes d.c blogs and have participated in MG's famed Coffeeneuring Challenge for the past two years, but with the exception of the time these two came upon my lifeless body being loaded into an ambulance back in 2010, we have not yet had the pleasure of spending time together in person.

On a Thanksgiving visit to my sister-in-law's home in Maryland this week, I learned that my brother-in-law has long wanted to try out a door-to-door commute via bicycle along the famed C & O Canal towpath all the way into his office on Capital Hill, so it did not take much coaxing to arrange the details. On Black Friday, we arose before dawn and hit the road as the light filtered in through the trees that surround his suburban home in Germantown, MD.

Historic lockhouses line the canal. 

Like many long distance canals in the US, the C & O was the result of a (in this case George Washington's) great and audacious idea that was sadly eclipsed by the arrival of the railroads before it was ever able to fully function as a commercial conduit linking the Chesapeake Bay and the Ohio River. Fallow for many years, the C & O towpath has been restored and repurposed as a fabulous recreational environment that runs all the way from Cumberland, MD to Washington, DC. Note to self: it's even possible to ride all the way from DC to Pittsburgh, PA by connecting with the Great Allegheny Passage trail. This time around, my brother-in-law and I took in 25 miles of the park from Riley's Lock to Georgetown.

This year's Coffeeneur Challenge awards and a serious Cup o' Joe.
Once I arrived in Georgetown, MG and Felkerino and I met up at the Baked and Wired cafe right at the end of the C & O. Over a steaming cup of black coffee, in a surprise awards ceremony, MG presented me with not one, but two, delightful awards to commemorate my Coffeeneur Challenge achievement. The button was designed by none other than Seattle rando Joe P., whose audacious idea first launched the Coffeeneur Challenge in 2011. After enjoying some coffee and congenial conversation in the warm morning sun, we headed off to explore the city. Our first stop along the way was the amazing BicycleSPACE shop where you'll find gorgeous Pashley bikes alongside colorful Surly, Brompton and Linus machines. In addition, if you find yourself in the nation's capitol with a need for a commuter bag, light or Brooks saddle, this is the place for you.

Seeing DC in style with Felkerino on my sister-in-law's 1987 Jamis. Photo: MG
As I wiped up my drool, it was time for a bite to eat, so off we rode to find a delightful sandwich shop in central DC where we swapped stories of teenage children, bike commuting and plans for 2013. Time flew by, as it always does with friends, and soon it was time to meet up with my wife and kids, who had traveled in by Metro, at the National Museum of American History.

The Roy Lichtenstein show on through January is well-worth the visit.
After a glance at our nation's past, we took a quick spin through the wonderful Roy Lichtenstein show at the National Gallery. Here are a few more pics of the day from MG's photostream. So, goodbye, MG and Felkerino. Thanks for your wonderful hospitality. You've left me with fond memories of my trip to DC. Next time I'll bring my rando bike and we'll enjoy an even longer ride.

Goodbye, Washington!


  1. How nice that you got to spend time in DC, with MG & Felkerino no less!

    I hope to ride DC-Pittsburgh next fall. I've done bits and pieces of the trail, but not the entire length.

    1. Lisa, I'd also be interested in joining in for a DC to Pittsburgh trip if I'm around then!

    2. Yes, what a delight it was. I'll try to arrange my next DC visit so as to connect with #fridaycoffeclub and/or other cool DC happenings. I'm scheming on a ride with family along the C & O that will include staying in one of the lockhouses.

  2. Just discovered that the Great Allegheny Passage trail passes within several miles of Frank Lloyd Wright's "Fallingwater." Now THAT'S additional incentive for me to figure this out. That house is on my life list, for sure.