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Biking at Mason Neck - Thanksgiving Picnic Ride

IMPORTANT UPDATE: The weather forecast for Saturday is much colder and windy with a high in the 40's. However, the forecast for Friday is sunny with a high over 60 degrees. So I switched the date of the Mason Neck Picnic Ride to Friday, November 23rd. Same time and place.

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Late fall after Thanksgiving is a good time once again to enjoy Jake's favorite bike ride and picnic at Mason Neck. We did this ride in May when the foliage was newly green, as shown in the above photos.

Now, you'll see those same trees in late autumn hues with fallen leaves as the forest prepares for winter. Mason Neck always offers us a splendid and invigorating appreciation of nature's glory, which makes riding there memorable each time.

This ride concentrates the variety and beauty of Mason Neck into a single ride experience that avoids busy traffic and other unpleasant distractions. It's been popular for several years because it's simply the most scenic, safe, and relaxing ride available within easy driving distance from the Washington metro area. We do it a few times every year to enjoy the different seasons.

There is a $4 per car entrance fee for Mason Neck State Park.

The Bike Ride

Mason Neck peninsula near Occoquan is perfect for recreational cycling on quiet wooded roads and trails just a few miles off I-95 at the Lorton exit. The riding is all on flat paved bike trails and roads with little traffic since we're riding near the end of the Mason Neck peninsula where all the roads dead end.

The route we take goes through Mason Neck State Park (twice), the Elizabeth Hartwell National Wildlife refuge, and several beautiful neighborhoods with cool homes facing the Potomac River. There's even a real covered bridge along the way. Jake always points out the "Martha Stewart" house along the way (pictured below). She doesn't really live there, but the house looks like it should belong to her...

Snacks, drinks, and excellent restrooms are available at the Mason Neck Park visitor center.

The total distance for this ride is 20 miles, and it's suitable for all types of bikes. We'll ride together as a group at a relaxed pace of 11 mph, which is about normal for most people.

HELMETS ARE REQUIRED FOR ALL RIDERS

This is a pleasant ride for people used to riding a bike, but you must be able to pedal your bike for three hours with occasional rest stops. Be prepared to go the whole distance. It's no fun for you or the other riders if you can't keep up and other people need to look out for you.

The Picnic Afterward

After the bike ride, we'll gather at the starting point for a fun picnic at our starting point in Mason Neck State Park. Bring your Thanksgiving leftovers or anything else that's tasty. We never tell people what to bring, and we're always impressed with their creative and delicious contributions. Also, bring a refreshing beverage and a folding chair to relax and be comfortable.

It's okay if you don't bring anything at all. The main point is to be there with us and have fun socializing with the group. We share what we have, and nobody at a Second Half Rally event ever goes home hungry or thirsty.

Mason Neck is a state park where public consumption of alcohol is not allowed. Please be very discreet with your beverages that might violate their policy. We want to return and enjoy it again...

We've never had a problem so far, so let's keep it that way.

Final Details and Directions

Take I-95 South to Lorton (Exit 163). Then go left on Lorton Rd. to Route 1 and turn right heading south toward Woodbridge. Turn left from Route 1 onto Gunston Rd. and drive straight for approximately 6 miles to Mason Neck Park sign at High Point Rd. Turn right onto High Point Rd. and go all the way to the end towards the visitor center. Just before the visitor's center, go left at the Y junction to the picnic area where there's plenty of parking available.

As this is an outdoor event that depends upon good biking weather, please check back here on the morning of the ride. I will post a notice by 9:00 am if the ride needs to be cancelled due to weather. If you have any questions or get lost on the ride date, call Jake at[masked]-8435.

I hope to see you there!

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  • Tom

    Perfect weather for a late November evening. Good move on changing the date Jake. Great company and good food. Who could ask for more?

    November 26, 2012

  • JustBob

    Great day to be outside and on the bike.

    Thanks for organizing Jake.

    November 23, 2012

  • Gloria

    TYJ!!! (stealing David's acronym/abbreviation ;-) for another excellent Mason Neck ride! It's one of my fav's because of the variety of trail, road, neighborhood. Really FUN. And the picnic at the end is always tasty.

    November 23, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    It was fun and great day,JAke you are awsome .

    November 23, 2012

  • Jake

    We had beautiful cool fall weather to ride, and Mason Neck Park and the whole area were great as always. Our riders were in a good mood to have FUN, and we did. We rode the whole route for 20 miles and saw the pretty water views of the Potomac and the Occoquan Bay, as well as the Martha Stewart house and the covered bridge. Then we had a wonderful picnic at Mason Neck Park. Mild temps and great eats, as usual. Thanks to all who attended. It was nice to meet some new people and welcome back friends...

    November 23, 2012

  • David M.

    TYJ!!!

    November 23, 2012

  • martha

    What a great day and fun bike ride. Jake your chicken was exemplary!

    November 23, 2012

  • Jim W.

    Sorry to miss but got sucked into work.

    November 23, 2012

    • Morgan

      Boo. Working. Fabulous day, though

      November 23, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    I can drive Dorsey. My car holds two bikes.

    November 19, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Anyone want to car pool from the McLean area?

    November 19, 2012

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