I wasn’t going to ride today because rain was forecasted and I wasn’t interested in all the muss attendant to a ride in the rain the day before heading to Virginia Beach. However, the skies cleared in the morning and by early afternoon the sun was out. It was time to investigate Signal Hill.
Located in the southeastern portion of Manassas, Signal Hill is not a terribly impressive piece of topography. Once upon a time, it was probably a gentle hill from which signals could be given (radio or semaphore, depending on the age). Today, it is a suburb, but the road which bears its name encouragingly leads toward some rural areas. Perhaps I had found a pleasant bypass to the Prince William Parkway. It was time to find out.
Before reaching Signal Hill, I decided to double my pleasure by venturing down Buckhall Road. This required a brief portage of my bike from Lake Jackson road to the end of Burkhall Road – a distance of about 50 feet through some waist-high cat tails and over a guard rail. This sort of road design is quite common around here. It is an obvious attempt to keep traffic on the main roads and away from the housing areas. It is very frustrating when trying to find new and interesting ways to get about.
Buckhall Road was a pleasant, if short, country lane. If it was three or four miles long instead of barely one, it would have been fantastic. As it was, I contented myself with several pleasant views and pondering the existence of a Sikh Community Center in such a place. Before I had time to settle in, I had reached the Prince William Parkway, which I needed to cross to get on with my ride.
This is the view shortly before the end of Buckhall Road:
In short order, I was pedalling through suburbia and in no time I was at Signal Hill Road, which turned out to be quite hilly (which was expected, given the name of the place) and quite busy (which was a disappointment). My failure was complete when the road gave way to one of the interminable gravel roads that seem to pop up in the most inconvenient of places around here. I doubled back and eventually found my way to the parkway and onward to Davis Ford Road, a route which I regularly take.
Ten miles later I was home. With each attempt to find new routes around my area, I have greater empathy with the explorers who searched for the Northwest Passage. I took stock of my year-to-date progress and was pleasantly surprised to find myself 185 miles further with eight additional rides compared to the quarter-point of last year. Here’s hoping I can keep up the pace for the next nine months. For now, though, it’s off to the beach and some of the flattest cycling routes you will ever find!