Tour de Bike Shoppes
To prep for this intense tour, I first took an inventory of all the places I wanted to stop by. This list was pretty extensive, including a stop at my friend Scott's house, and 10 bike shops.
The problem then became the route, as this would be a very good application for using the Travelling Salesman Problem
and some sort of mapping software. I discovered that Google Maps already had some sort of TSP algorithm
, and that someone had developed a front end
for this, but there was no option for Bicycling (he quickly added this at my suggestion
; his original work on the mapping scripts pre-dated Google's bicycling map features).
The nice thing was exporting it to google maps, so that you can fine tune the route, since google returns the fastest route, which might not be the safest route by bike.
After looking at the route, I dropped a couple bike shops, and set out Saturday morning.
The first part of the ride took me down Graham road, which I have avoided because I didn't want to deal with the Route 50 intersection, but it turned out to be no different than dealing with the Custis trail @ Key Bridge. I stopped to make sure I rode a little on the Dauphine Libere race.
Next was the Holmes Run Stream Valley Park, which I now refer to "The site of my first real bike crash." The trail was wet, and I was going too fast and tried to turn; simple physics at work. Ended up with my first cycling strawbery.
I did also learn that Holmes Run requires at least a CX or Hybrid bike, there's a nice stretch that is medium pebbles, much like riding the Wakefield park trails... And a couple stream crossings, though in my case it was three, as I went the wrong way.
After stopping to warm my hands (after helping fix a natural gas feed line to a grill), I rode down Columbia Pike (near the ghost bike of Elizabeth Shattuck
) and stopped at the German Gourmet
for some Kinder Chocolate.
Next up was Performance Bikes
at Bailey's Crossroads. I rode by, but did not stop in as there was no where for me to park my bike.
Up the crowded Shirlington Road and crossing Rt. 7 I stopped next at REI
. They really didn't have much in the way road bikes on the floor (The Cannondale Synapse was the only thing they really had any inventory, the rest were CX or MTBs, as the store was deep into skiing stock season). I did take a look at the Timbuk2 backpack
, but I did not think I could fit a laptop plus shoes plus shirt/pants/socks into it as well.
Leaving REI, I rode down Columbia Pike to the W&OD trail, taking it down to Four Mile Run trail, then to the Mount Vernon Trail, up to the 14th street bridge and into the District. This time, it was a left at the Jefferson Memorial, and up and around the Lincoln, by the Kennedy center, and up onto Pennsylvania Ave, eventually to The Bike Shop DC
. I recognized this (based upon google street views) as where some of the group rides of DC start from. It was a bit odd to walk into the store, and realize it's at the back of a True Value hardware store. They had a small stock of Raleighs (the reason I was stoping there), but had more Neil Prydes. I wasn't wowed by their prices, and they really only had 1 Revinio in stock (at retail prices too).
The next stop was to have been Cycle Life USA
, but due to the time and the ever lowering of the sun towards the horizon, I made a decision to head towards the Key bridge so I could get towards home quicker. I did however stop next at the Bicycle Pro Shop
and Revolution Cycles
right near Dixie Liquors. Bicycle Pro shop had some Scotts, Giants, Cannondale and Specialzed in stock, at decent discounts (even had the CR1 Pro, which I've discovered is out of my price range, but had the CR1 Comp and Team.) Revolution was just a quick stop in, saw Treks, and left.
I also bypassed Big Wheel Bikes, as I had been there last week. I did stop at Tri360 (which you CANNOT get to from the trail, you have to go down Lee Hwy sidewalk to get there), and Bikenetic. Tri360
had mainly Orbea and Ridley in stock, but also had a couple of Felts as well, but did not have the Ridley Excalibur, which I wanted to see in person. Bikenetic
I realized is mainly a CX shop, though they did have a Bianchi display, but few Bianchi road bikes in stock.
I also bypassed going to Bonzai, as it was now getting nearer to sunset, so I slogged it up West, and headed home.
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