Unfortunately, this is a fairly specific question, so it will be uninteresting to most of you, but I don't know where else I can seek this info.
This morning, I decided to take a longer bike ride, and cut out metro. I determined that I could ride 11.2 miles from my first stop to my office, and even at my pathetic pace, it would be faster than my traditional 6 mile ride coupled with a 1/2 hour metro ride. In addition to getting a few extra miles in, I also save $4 each way.
This morning, I attempted my 'new' ride, and it worked as well as I had hoped, though I did have some issues finding my way. I have two major concerns, however, that I hope some other local cyclists can address.
First: Chain Bridge Road is full of traffic which is nearly stopped. There is no shoulder, and the cars seem to want to hug the right side of the lane, making it challenging to get by them. There's just enough traffic coming up from the bridge/glebe road to make it uncomfortable to ride on the left side of traffic, though there might be more space there than on the left. Does anyone else do this and have some ideas?
Second: The towpath is pretty rough. How often do they groom or resurface it? I'm sure my confidence will rise as I get comfortable on the surface, but today I was pretty tentative until I hit the paved surface. I noted a board surface to the right of the main path, but my attempts to view the same with google maps has not revealed anything. Does this board path lead to the paved path?
Third: How do other people find their way the first time they go somewhere new? I can navigate seat of pants, but I find it challenging to find the entrances to various bike paths the first time, esp. Is there some easy way to keep directions handy for reference? I suppose I could stop and review, but... it seems like there should be a better way?