[ The Ideal Country Ride ]

The Country Lane
Bike Ride

Old Colchester Road, Gunston Road, and Pohick Bay Regional Park

Distance: Approximately 20 Miles.
Difficulty: Easy.
Terrain: Mostly flat, but with a few steady climbs.
Time
: 3 Hours plus Stopovers.

By Robert Michie
Last Reviewed June 5, 2003

Everyone wants to bike down a shady country lane, but just try to find one in Fairfax County Virginia. In this ride, we use the bike lanes of Beulah Street and Telegraph Road to reach one of the few remaining shady lanes near Lee District: Old Colchester Road.  This is also your route to reach Pohick Bay Regional Park, and Mason Neck State Park.

As Beulah Street and Telegraph Road were rebuilt in the last few years, the County made sure that bike lanes were added to both routes. The bike lanes are painted paths next to the curb in both directions. They are marked with diamonds, and signs along the roadways remind motorists that they are for bikes only.

[ An example of bike lanes on Fairfax County streets ]

Bike Lane on Beulah Street near Nalls Nursery

This ride uses the bike lanes to get to two very interesting recreational routes: Old Colchester Road, and Gunston Road. Old Colchester Road is the home of the historic Pohick Church, several equestrian operations, and access to the Occoquan River.  Gunston Road features Gunston Hall Plantation, Pohick Bay Regional Park, and Mason Neck State Park.

This ride begins at the intersection of Beulah Street and Manchester Lakes Boulevard in Kingstown (Franconia area, Lee District). A route map and cue sheet is available here. You will ride approximately five miles to get to the real starting line, which is Pohick Church. You may be tempted to drive to the Church and start from there. Don't.

[ Thou Shalt Not Park Here ]

The 11th Commandment, courtesy of Pohick Church.

Old Colchester Road is a fairly shady four mile ride to the Occoquan River. Subdivisions have not pushed into this area yet, but it is only a matter of time. Until then, have fun exploring  the area, but please remember to respect private property.

[ Plank Bridge on Old Colchester Road ]

A wooden plank bridge on Old Colchester Road.

  The Cue Sheet tells you how to find Gunston Road, which is about two miles from Pohick Church. Gunston Road takes you to several recreation areas. Be advised that Gunston Road has no shoulders, and you are going to be sharing it with SUVs towing boat trailers. The drivers are used to seeing bicyclists, as this is a major biking area.

[ A typical view of Gunston Road ]

Gunston Road. A huge farm managed by the Bureau of Land Management is on the right.

Overall, this makes a very nice ride for a morning or an afternoon. If you are familiar with the parks, this can easily turn into an all-day trip. Just be prepared for the following:

bulletDespite the nature of Old Colchester Road, you will be in the Sun for more than half of the ride. Wear sunscreen.
bulletAfter you leave the Pohick area (Telegraph Road and Richmond Highway), stores are few and far between. Carry adequate water ("adequate" = "a lot") and snacks.
bulletWear your helmet, and carry a cell phone.

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