I spent 5 hours today riding around DC. I rode on trails and in bike lanes and for a few blocks in one of our three (3) cycle tracks and on a kind-of highway's kind-of shoulder and over speed bumps and speed humps (they're different) and through stop signs (sorry) and I rode over two bridges (one great, one terrible) and I saw where they might build the new soccer stadium (#BuzzPo) and before that I saw the new streetcars (coming soon! No, really. They promise. And this time, they mean it! Or intend to mean it) and I even stopped once to buy a taco because I saw a neon sign that said Taqueria. (Ed. note: my computer is trying to autocorrect taqueria to equestrian, which is wrong and also gross). I went to a coffee shop that I've been to before and then I ate fried fish at a renowned place I'd never been to before and to get there I rode through parts of the city I know well and parts of the city I know less well and other parts where I've been before and also parts where I hadn't been or at least don't remember ever having been. I rode on a street could easily accommodate a bike lane (I'll let you guess which) and I passed the park where I used to walk EtP when we first moved here. I saw the an English soccer team, in town for a friendly. The players weren't as tall as one would expect. I had no agenda. Some guy shouted "Pick it up, baby!" to me as I lumbered up a hill, the way one might yell from beside a road race course. I yelled back "thank you!" for some reason. I saw Jeff and Jaime on the Metropolitan Branch Trail and I missed Abigail, maybe by minutes. I went to a brewery that was out of beer and a distillery that sells seasonal gin. I brought with me a laptop and a plug and a phone charger and a u-lock and for most of the trip, a pair of DC Streetcar branded sunglasses. For real. They're pretty great.
I don't go on long rides. The near entirety of my bicycling is commuting and the remainder of that entirety is going to the grocery store or maybe to pick up sandwiches. I feel very little appealing about the idea of riding through bucolic farmland. Cows. Fences. Grass. Cows. Barns. Country roads. They just don't do it for me. They have their charms and I don't disparage the urbanite for fleeing the countryside to take in nature and really stretch their legs. It's just not my thing. Maybe I'm not acquainted with the right country roads. You really can't do a century within city limits and trying might make you go crazy. But you can ride around aimlessly or vaguely aimed (for example, aim for coffee, beer, cocktails, murals, museums, high-end waffleries [do we have any of these?]) and quite like it. I like seeing things. I like living in a place where there's lots of stuff to see and while I get to see some of it on my daily bike commute, the thing about a commute is that there's really only so many reasonable ways to get from point A to point B and your experiences, while varied, are a circumscribed. So rather than setting off to see the nothing in particular that you see from country roads, I choose instead to see the stuff that's here in the place where I live. It's nice stuff and I'm lucky to have it nearby.
There are many different kinds of cycling experiences and none are "wrong." The weekend city ride is one that you shouldn't overlook.