August 2020
For more information visit our website ride schedule
by Anne C. M. Hyman — President PPTC

Greetings Fellow Pedalers,

As we’re rounding into August and the last full month of Summer, and hopefully the last gasp of this torrid heat index streak, I’m writing this while anxiously awaiting the results of my COVID-19 test. Even through all the care, elevated biosafety hygiene, and distancing that I’ve been practicing, I’ve come down with something , and I’m not letting this hang in the wind, just in case. Fingers crossed for negative results (and also for my husband, who has been a saint dealing with me for the past several days). This is also a good opportunity to remind everyone that COVID-19 does not care who it infects, which is why our group activities are still on hiatus, and I implore all of you to maintain the highest abundance of care and precaution as our area is still seriously dealing with the pandemic.

This is also a great opportunity to remind all of you that outside of our riding activities, your membership offers a couple of fantastic benefits:

First, we have partnerships with the majority of our region’s bike shops, and they will offer a discount to you if you show them proof of your PPTC membership. We’re working on a project to update our list of bike shop partners and are going to place decals in the windows of these shops to show the mutual support and love in our cycling community.

Second, while you’re our riding solo or with your small group of trusted friends right now, your membership avails you of our club’s private yet extensive Ride with GPS route library. You will be surprised at how many routes may be right outside your door (or in the merciful shade!), so spend some time looking through and using this incredible resource.

Third, if you do get the chance to escape somewhere fun to ride outside of our region, we have bike boxes for rent at a nominal cost. Considering the price of a solidly-constructed hard case is upwards of $400-500, this is a PPTC benefit that you don’t want to forget about.

And last but not least, right now your membership gives you a discount on the Back Yards Century, taking place between September 12th-27th.

Have you registered for the Back Yards Century yet? We’re closing in on six weeks to go until the kickoff of our virtual event! Unlike our in-person events, there’s no need to hold your breath while looking at the long-distance forecast to decide if you’d like to register. Plus, the BYC benefits Phoenix Bikes, a local and very worthy cause to elevate the next generation of cyclists in our community.

And speaking of community, this month I am closing my letter by highlighting another virtual event. There is a consort of cyclists riding from Minneapolis to DC, beginning on August 1st, and arriving on August 28th, the anniversary of the March on Washington. Their Ride on Washington will raise awareness of the Black Lives Matter movement, and their ride will highlight and evoke further discourse on the nation’s current journey for equality and justice. Head to our website to check out the full event details and register for the event here .

I hope you are all finding meaningful ways to move on two wheels while taking proper precautions with this awful heat.

Be safe, ride well, Allez.
 by Anne C. M. Hyman — President PPTC

Cyclists are used to riding in all sorts of conditions, but a heatwave is a dangerous weather phenomenon that can lead to serious and permanent health issues, if not death. Here are things to consider before you head outside again:

1.   Know the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke
According to the Mayo Clinic, signs of heat exhaustion can either build gradually or wallop you all of a sudden. Here are things to look out for:

  • Sudden stop of sweating, goosebumps, or cold clammy skin
  • Faintness
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Weak, rapid pulse
  • Low blood pressure upon standing from the saddle
  • Muscle cramps
  • Nausea
  • Headache

If you begin to experience ANY of these, move to a shaded area, drink plenty of fluids with electrolyte replacement, and call for help. If ignored, this may lead to heat stroke. Heat stroke is far more serious and by the time you’ve reached this state, it may be too late for you to act on your own:

  • High body temperature. A core body temperature of 104 F (40 C) or higher, is the main sign of heatstroke.
  • Altered mental state or behavior. Confusion, agitation, slurred speech, irritability, delirium, seizures and coma can all result from heatstroke.
  • Alteration in sweating. In heatstroke brought on by hot weather, your skin will feel hot and dry to the touch. However, in heatstroke brought on by strenuous exercise, your skin may feel dry or slightly moist.
  • Nausea and vomiting. You may feel sick to your stomach or vomit.
  • Flushed skin. Your skin may turn red as your body temperature increases.
  • Rapid breathing. Your breathing may become rapid and shallow.
  • Racing heart rate. Your pulse may significantly increase because heat stress places a tremendous burden on your heart to help cool your body.
  • Headache. Your head may throb.

2. Plan your ride outside of the hottest part of the day
The UV index and air quality are typically at their worst between 10am and 6pm right now, so if you can ride when it’s cooler and the sun angle isn’t as severe, so much the better.

3.Don’t forget sun protection!
Wear good quality sunscreen that is sweat and rub-proof (I’m looking at you, zinc oxide), UPF-rated clothing that wicks sweat, and a cap and sunglasses to protect your eyes. Skin cancer has much longer lasting effects than a brutal ride in the heat.

4.Take care of yourself AFTER the ride, too.
When you get home, take a *cool* shower to get your core temp back down- not freezing cold, because the shock of the temperature difference may not be good for your body. Within an hour of your ride, replace some of your burned calories with an electrolyte-based drink or salty food, with a high ratio of carbs to protein, and keep drinking throughout the rest of the day. How much should you have? A simple way to figure this out is to weight yourself before and after your ride to see how much fluid you’ve lost, and remember the mnemonic “A pint’s a pound the world around”. Replace each pound lost with 16oz of electrolyte beverage- NOT just water, as you’ve lost a bunch of salt and other minerals with your sweat as well.
New Five-Month Detour Around Closure on W&OD Trail
by Ed Hazelwood - PPTC ExCom – Member at Large
The Virginia Department of Transportation will implement a major detour on the W&OD Trail at Idylwood Park starting soon. The detour was scheduled to start July 27, but has been postponed to allow for additional project coordination. VDOT expects an announcement of a new closure date soon. The closure is part of the "Transform 66 Outside the Beltway" project. Most riders will know the closure spot for the climb up Virginia Lane when headed westbound, and the climb up the W&OD to Virginia Lane when riding eastbound. 
VDOT says the closure is necessary for construction of a retaining wall and widening of the ramp from I-66 West to I-495 South. The map shows the area of the closure, and the alternative routes for cyclists and pedestrians.
  • Cyclists will be directed to Virginia Lane and Nottingham Drive to detour around the closed section of trail. This on-road detour uses the W&OD Trail access at the end of Nottingham Drive.
  • Pedestrians will be detoured through Idylwood Park around the closed section of the W&OD Trail using footpaths and the parking lot.
Ed Hazelwood took a look at the detour in advance. Westbound there will be bright orange detour signs when you reach the left turn on Nottingham Drive. However, the street signs are not easy to see. Nottingham Drive is in a very residential neighborhood that is not accustomed to having a lot of cyclists. So be careful here. Watch out for cars that do not expect you. At the end of Nottingham Dr. you come to a connection to the W&OD again. It is a sharp right-hand turn and narrow. Eastbound once you are on Nottingham and then make your right on Virginia Lane the good news is that the slope is not as steep as it is on the W&OD.  There is one potential danger point on this detour and that is the junction of Virginia Lane & Nottingham Drive. Cars traveling south on Virginia Lane are coming downhill (thus picking up speed) and coming into a partially blind turn when they may not see cyclists crossing or entering their lane. Please use extra caution there.
The project and the detour are planned to be finished in December 2020.
by Anne C. M. Hyman — President PPTC
Are you a professional in the cycling community? Do you have a certification in coaching, fitting, or mechanics in the cycling world? PPTC wants to hear from you!

Potomac Pedalers is working on creating a resource to highlight the talents and professional resources we have in our very own community. Please email with the subject line “PPTC Pro” and include a brief description of your specialty as well as a copy of any certifications that you currently hold. Our goal is to create a database for our members to tap into for their cycling needs, be it teaching a family member how to ride a bike or to have access to a fitter outside of normal shop hours.
Status of DC Area Local Bike Shops During COVID-19
This is the list of all currently open bike shops in the region and what services they are offering. Click the Button below to see the full list.
September 12 - 27

Registration fees
$30 Member ; $40 Non-Member

Registration will include:
  • suggested outdoor routes in VA, MD, and DC; 
  • group access on Strava and Zwift, BYC t-shirt, 
  • invitation to virtual happy hour on September 25, 
  • invitation to participate in a BYC scavenger hunt, 
  • option to purchase the BYC jersey ($65), and 
  • proceeds from every registration will be donated to Phoenix Bikes to help their mission of promoting education, healthy living, and community in our local youth population.
Pedal Patter is collecting member's cycling stories to share.
Tom Roberson barely remembers it, but he and Patrice Coss met at a Potomac Pedalers happy hour 10 years ago. Since then they have biked in states from Maryland to Colorado, Florida to New York, and Ontario and Quebec in Canada. One of their favorite local rides brought them to the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens in Washington DC (pictured). 

Both are longtime members of the club. Patrice led the Tuesday night Capital Crescent Trail ride from 2001 to 2019. Tom joined Potomac Pedalers in the 70s and by the 1990s was designing rides for unpaved roads. His favorite route took a group of strong bikers to the Mosby heritage region in Virginia, famously used as part of the Quaker Underground Railroad.
DC Bike Ride Will now be postponed due to Covid-19.

DC Bike Ride's new date will be on Saturday, November 21st.

Same 20 miles of car-free roads, monumental views, great music, and delicious cuisine. Join thousands of riders in a unique experience through the nation's capitol. Register today with promo code POTOMACPEDALERSBIKE  for a special discount at .

Interested in winning a FREE entry?! Follow both @PotomacPedalers and @DCBikeRide on social media- Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, and post any ride of you and your friends on these social media platforms using the hashtags #PotomacPedalers and #BRDC in the caption.

One lucky poster will get the chance to ride for free! Winners announced in two weeks.

We'd like to keep rolling with items in the "good news" column for Pedal Patter, so if you have a story about cycling that you'd like to share with everyone, now's definitely the time! Want to tip everyone off to an awesome cycling trip experience? Have you had a great encounter on the road with another rider? Have an embarrassing cycling story you'd like to get out of your head once and for all? Send these stories to , with the subject "Pedal Patter Good News" , and we'll feature your story in the upcoming issue.