To some, bikes are a hobby, a pastime, a toy. To most of our members, bikes are simply their preferred mode of transportation. And then there’s local blogger, GirlonaBikeDC. For Kate, a passion for bicycles led her, quite literally, down the path to the most romantic bike love story of her lifetime. At last year’s BikeFest, Kate was the top bidder for our C&O Canal of Romance package, a plush bike trip including 2 nights in a historic lockhouse along the C&O Canal, plus some other special amenities.
Read GirlonaBikeDC’s bicycle engagement story below. And keep an eye out at this year’s BikeFest for the same package with some new additions, for all the bicycle lovers out there.
At last year’s BikeFest, one of the silent auction packages caught my eye. No, not the unicycle lesson, or the 50 States Preview Ride. It was the “Weekend Along the C&O Canal” package. My (then) boyfriend Jimmy was just starting to get into riding bikes with me. We often rode to & from work together, and would take short trips to the Mall & memorials. We were often on the look-out for any cheap weekend trip options; short nearby trips that would make us feel like we were on vacation but wouldn’t break the bank or use up our leave time. This “Weekend” package looked perfect: a 2 night stay at a “cozy” lock house that was within biking distance. I had no idea what a lock house was or what was considered “cozy”, but I didn’t care. I was going to win that auction.
Win I did, however we didn’t have an opportunity to go until September. The package also included a bottle of wine, chocolates & a front rack for a bicycle. How romantic (and useful)! I researched Lock House 6 and from the limited photos & description, it seemed interesting but I still had no clear idea of what we were getting into. It had been restored to the 1950’s era (each lock house that is renovated for rental is restored to a different time period in the canal’s history) and had full amenities including running water, heat/air conditioning, electricity & furnishings. We just had to supply the towels/linens & food. When it came time to leave, Jimmy was extremely skeptical about the whole affair. We’d have to pack & bring everything we needed with us…on our bicycles?! Jimmy thought this was impossible. But he tried it anyway. We packed what we thought we would need (we overpacked, actually) and set off.
The weather was perfect for the trip. An early fall day with clear skies & mild temperatures. Riding along the canal towpath felt like an adventure. Wildlife peeked out from everywhere, whether it was a heron at the canal’s edge or a fox watching us ride by. When we reached lock house 6 less than an hour later, it felt like we were in a fairy tale and had found a little cottage in the woods. We had a great time exploring the surrounding trails during the day & relaxing in the rocking chairs on the porch at night. It was a wonderful weekend we would never forget.
We’ve been back three times since, and can’t wait for our next trip. The C&O Canal and the lock houses are magical. Even though it was only a few minutes outside of DC, it felt like we were hundreds of miles away. It has become a very special place for us. In fact, lock house 10 is where Jimmy decided he wanted to ask me to marry him (I said yes, by the way). I can’t think of a better place for us to promise to share our lives with each other. And we have WABA to thank for providing the inspiration for what has become our own romantic ritual. “