Newsletter: ground truthing

I love route planning almost as much as I love riding my bike. Squinting at maps, hunting through geotagged photos, clicking on anything on the map that looks like it might be an interesting place to rest or grab a snack, and poking around parks department websites, historical society websites, wikipedia, whatever’s available to get a better sense of how the culture and history of a particular place intersect with its geography—it’s really fun!

But! It’s also fun to get it wrong. Like, you spend a bunch of time putting together a route and then you’re rambling along on a trail through the woods and whoops—a culvert has washed out and what used to be a trail is now a muddy ravine. Or what looked like a scenic cut through on the map turns out to be a private driveway with angry “NO TRESPASSING” signs on it. Now, you could pull out google maps and have it re-route you, but you already know that it thinks the six-lane arterial road is the best way to get where you’re going, and that sounds unpleasant. Instead you get to draw on all the extra map-poring and research you did and do your own re-routing (google maps can help, but you can’t let it boss you around)—a little bit of brain exercise to go along with the physical part. You get to see more of a place than you were expecting, and it’s a great feeling when you reconnect with your planned route. It makes your nachos at the end of the ride even more satisfying. 

Things to do this week:

A Fun Route Idea For the Weekend

Hop on the green line and take a ramble along the river, through Rock Creek Park, and into Petworth for a snack, a coffee, or a stop at the bookstore. 

Have a great weekend.