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Unexpected ride, expect adventure

January 4, 2012

I gulped down the last bit of cold coffee determined to make something of my day. My lofty plans included lubing a chain to a bike I haven’t used since September and maybe mail a late Christmas package. Maybe. However, a call from fellow entomologist Ana would have me put this agenda on hold. They were headed down to the Balkan Grill, an East European deli and grocery store in Alexandria. It may not have seemed like the most exciting thing but compared to how I was spending my vacation (watching Wendy Williams and Dr. Oz doing push-ups and manly things), I was eager to get the wheels spinning again.

There was some confusion over where to link up (they were pedaling over from College Park). Originally, they asked me to meet at the George Mason Memorial. I must not get out that much because I had no idea where that was. We agreed to meet up at the Sculpture Garden on 7th and Constitution. Later passing the Jefferson Memorial, Ana proclaimed, “See, the George Mason Memorial.” I laughed but tried not to hold it against her – how many Croatian founding fathers do I know? Seconds later, we passed the actual George Mason Memorial. Uh, who knew.

We headed over the 14th Street Bridge (also known as the George Mason Memorial Bridge) merging onto the Mount Vernon Trail. The smells from the Maine Avenue Fish Market filled the air even from the height of the bridge. I have yet to visit the market, I realized (again) I need to get out more. Passing Reagan Airport, Old Alexandria, and 6-lane highways, we kept going. My toes tingling, I wished I had bundled up more. After a final sidewalk ascent wrapping around the Huntington Ave Metro, we reached the Balkan Grill. Marco, our sherpa guide (and Ana’s husband), did a fine job orienteering to the destination (of course, I verified this on google).

Worming Warming up inside the small restaurant, we enjoyed one of the shop’s specialities, cevapcici (it’s pronounced with a lot of ‘CH’s’ and contains characters wordpress doesn’t know). Cevapcici are grilled sausages in hot baked bread that’s dipped in tzatziki. Besides being chastised for initially using a fork and knife (“Your hands! Use your hands!”), it was quite delicious. My portion of the trek was 15 miles one-way (they added an extra 10 miles from College Park). I found it hard to believe that this was the closest Croatian restaurant in the DC area. It was. This is a minor outrage. Every bike lane should lead to a Southeast European restaurant, I concluded. We picked up some specialty food items (candy and chocolate) in the adjoining grocery and headed home.

Thanks to Sherpa Marco and Ana for their insistance to get me riding again. Any unexpected ride is more adventure than I expected.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. January 4, 2012 11:47 am

    Balkan Grill is excellent and well worth the bike trip.

    • January 4, 2012 6:47 pm

      Absolutely it was, Brian. For your next WABA fundraiser, I would like to see you offer a “blog your ride to the Balkan grill” option.

  2. January 4, 2012 11:55 pm

    Next time bundle up…it’s cold out there.

  3. January 12, 2012 11:44 pm

    I admire your willingness to bike during the winter! My toes go numb with cold and the wind is brutal on them, so I haven’t yet figured out a good way to get out in the cold without losing circulation. It sounds like a really fun ride though. I organized one social destination ride in Rockville last year, but I should really do some more next summer. Whether just with friends or in a group, it’s a good way to get people on bikes.

    • January 13, 2012 11:24 am

      Thanks for the comment! Nothing makes me more miserable on my rides then cold fingers and toes. Merino wool and heated toes warmers are the way to go!

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