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BikeArlington revives ‘notorious’ bicycle tour amid high demand

2015 Notorious ARL Bike Ride in Rosslyn (courtesy of BikeArlington)

After a four-year hiatus, BikeArlington is reviving its 18-mile bicycle tour showcasing Arlington’s most “notorious” historical sites this Sunday.

However, there is currently a waiting list.

Initially launched in 2015, the Notorious ARL Bike Ride aims to educate residents about Arlington county’s most infamous figures and places, while also helping people build confidence doing longer rides.

While on the tour, participants will visit notable places, including the spot where ex-spy Robert Hanssen collected a trash bag filled with $50,000 from Russian agents; the former workplace of Lorena Bobbit; and the famous Rosslyn parking garage where the informant “Deep Throat” met with Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward, who reported on the Watergate scandal.

Guiding the tour is longtime Arlington resident and former BikeArlington staffer Henry Dunbar. Having previously led three Notorious ARL Bike Ride in 2015, 2018 and 2019, Dunbar is set to guide his fourth tour on Sunday, Jan. 7.

Cyclists will meet at Barcroft Sports and Fitness Center at 4200 S. Four Mile Run Drive at 1 p.m. The tour is expected to last about three hours, concluding at around 4 p.m.

In 2020, Dunbar put the tour on “pause” after the onset of the pandemic, citing health risks and a desire to promote shorter, beginner-friendly rides.

“This particular ride is now 18 miles long, with several hilly sections, so it tends to attract riders who are already riding,” Dunbar told ARLnow.

The tour was brought back after repeated calls for its revival.

“So, I asked Henry if he’d be willing to lead it again this year and he said he would,” WalkArlington and BikeArlington’s program director Mary Dallao told ARLnow.

While the tour largely follows its original format, Dunbar said he has introduced minor changes to the route. Dallao emphasized that participants should be comfortable with hilly terrain and cycling on busier streets.

Although the current tour is fully booked, Dallao confirmed there is a waiting list. Dunbar said he is open to the idea of another extended tour later in the year, but made no firm commitments.

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