–Saturday we biked 41 miles from Poolesville, Maryland to Washington, DC and officially completed our 48-day, 3300-mile Big Ride Across America. We biked through leafy, rolling horse country in the early morning, enjoying the mist along winding roads with names like Edwards Ferry, West Offut, Mt. Nebo before joining Maryland State Route 190, also known as River Road because it parallels the Potomac River. We had our first and only checkpoint near Great Falls Road with most of us stopping at a French pastry shop and then continued along Route 190 through suburban Maryland to the Capital Crescent Trail, a shaded, 11-mile shared use rail trail that extends from Silver Springs Maryland to Georgetown in Washington DC and runs over a bridge, under a tunnel, past a reservoir, an aqueduct, and the Potomac River. The trail terminated for us under a viaduct that turned Into K street and then we rode past the Watergate building and the Kennedy Center and along the National Mall past the Lincoln and Washington memorials to the Old Post Office Pavilion on Pennsylvania Avenue. We all gathered there for a big lunch at the Greek Taverna courtesy of 1998 Big Rider Costas Pappas before riding in pairs up Pennsylvania Avenue to the Freedom Plaza where we received our medals and cheers from the enthusiastic crowd. Representatives from the American Lung Association praised our achievement and our contributions and a handful of us did radio interviews. Earlier in the day the local NBC station apparently ran a nice piece on the 17 Big Riders who traversed the country on two wheels over a 7-week period.
The daily morning ritual of forming a line and loading all the bags onto the truck, here performed pre-dawn for the final time.
Starting on Whites Ferry Road with a thick fog hovering over the landscape
A little sun breaks through the fog on Edwards Ferry Road
Cycling near the discovery site for planetary radio emissions made in 1955 by Bernard Burke and Kenneth Franklin which revolutionized the field of radio astronomy and our understanding of the solar system
Saints Peter and Paul Antiochian Orthodox Church in suburban Maryland
A French pastry shop at out first checkpoint near Great Falls Road
The popular Capital Crescent Trail, used by one million joggers, cyclists, rollerbladers and pedestrians every year.
Canal along the Capital Crescent Trail
Riding past the Lincoln Memorial, which took on new meaning after our recent visit to Gettysburg
Reaching the Washington Monument, very close to the finish line.
The Old Post Office Pavilion, where our ride ends.
The two Big Riders who arrive at the Post Office with me– Jeffrey and Todd.
Big Riders having lunch at the Greek Taverna in the Post Office
All 17 Big Riders line up and wait to be called in pairs — except for one threesome–so they can ride up Pennsylvania Avenue for their medals.
One minute before the finish line, Todd gets a flat tire– but he manages to repair it in record time and does not miss his.place in the queue.
One Big Rider flashes a thumbs up as he receives his finisher’s medal.
Big Riders pose for a group shot with their medals
The imposing new Dr. Martin Luther King Memorial.
One of Dr. King’s famous quotes inscribed on the memorial wall: If we are to have peace on earth, our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional; our loyalties must transcend our race, our tribe, our class, and our nation; and this means we must develop a world perspective.