Every week, the #ThrowbackThursday meme fills my Twitter and Instagram feeds with photos of friends’ childhoods, drunken college antics, and old vacations and adventures. That stream of remembrance got me thinking about some of my own past bike adventures. I decided to do my own version of Throwback Thursday and tell the story of my first time camping by bike.
I took my first bike camping trip in May of 2009. I’d built up a Long Haul Trucker the previous winter and spent the spring commuting on it between Silver Spring, Maryland where I was living at the time and my newspaper internship in Bethesda. No less prone to daydreaming about bike adventurers then than I am now, I often passed time at my internship thinking up potential trips and chatting about them with my fellow intern and would-be bike tourist, Jeff.
It was Jeff who inspired me to finally make one of those proposed bike adventures a reality. A few days before Memorial Day Weekend, he told me he and his girlfriend Ava were planning an overnight bike trip along the C&O Canal and invited me to come along. Their plan was to ride to the hiker-biker site nearest the White’s Ferry crossing, camp, take the ferry across to Virginia the next morning, then ride back to DC on the Washington & Old Dominion trail. I was on board and set about borrowing a tent from a friend in DC and a decades-old foam sleeping pad from my roommate so that I could join the ride.