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Old 04-18-06, 04:54 PM   #1
jppe
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Riding in DC/Alexandria

I'm visiting Washington, DC with my 16 yr old son taking in the sights. I'm very glad the legs are in good shape as I'm surprised at the number of steps we're taking.......Today the temps are in the high's 60's and an absolutely perfect day to ride. As we were in a tour group on the Va side of the Potomac we passed a park. There were probably a dozen cyclists out doing loops and looked like they were having a blast.

With the perfect weather and seeing the other guys riding I was getting the shakes to get out there with them. I guess it will have to wait until we get back to NC.

We didn't plan time to do it but from what I read there looks to be a really great bike trail from Alexandria down to Mt Vernon at a little less than 20 miles. I wish we had brought the mtn bikes and planned that in to our trip!!
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Old 04-18-06, 07:49 PM   #2
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Among big US cities, DC is one of the best for cycling. Here's a sampling of some of the trails:
http://www.bikewashington.org/trails/index.htm

I once rode the entire length of the C&O canal tow path, from DC to Cumberland Maryland. It's amazing. During the entire 184 miles you don't encounter a single intersection. It's completely car-free. And you really feel like you're in the countryside.
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Old 04-19-06, 07:41 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Blackberry
I once rode the entire length of the C&O canal tow path, from DC to Cumberland Maryland. It's amazing. During the entire 184 miles you don't encounter a single intersection. It's completely car-free. And you really feel like you're in the countryside.
That was my first "century" back in (gulp!) the late 60's! I remember I couldn't move my wrists the next day, but it was a good ride.
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Old 04-19-06, 11:03 AM   #4
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The bikewashington site is one of the best resources for DC trails.

The trail along the Virginia side of the river is the Mount Vernon Trail. 19 mile length. Very pretty ride and VERY popular. Gets crowded on weekends, but weekdays should be ok.
Connects to several other major trails:
-Memorial bridge gets you to the Mall, Hains Point and other spots along the River Trail.
-Key Bridge takes you to the C&O, Capital Crescent and Rock Creek Trails. The "zoo review" is a good loop on weekends, and the C&O to Great Falls is a good ride.
-The Custis Trail and the Four Mile Run Trails get you to the W&OD, 45 miles long from Alexandria to Purcelville. The western part near Leesburg and Purcelville might be nice if you're on a longer visit.

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Old 04-19-06, 11:27 AM   #5
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Jazzy wrote: That was my first "century" back in (gulp!) the late 60's! I remember I couldn't move my wrists the next day, but it was a good ride.
I grew up near Baltimore and our Scout Troop took on the C&O Canal as a regular weekend camping experience. When I was about 12 I pedaled my Sears single speed heavy weight about 30 miles on the canal trail in one day. While the trail is flat, none of it was paved and only a few places were smooth back in the late 60s and early 70s. I remember stretches miles long that were like a wash board of roots and rocks. In '81 I rode nearly a third of the length of the trail on one Saturday. It was all in a cold rain. The trail was still quite rough and rather muddy that day. I took that ride some 25 years ago on the Schwinn Traveler which I still own and continue to ride!

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Old 04-19-06, 01:32 PM   #6
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^^ Yes, our scout troop used it as regular hiking place as well. I recall that it wasn't paved, but it seemed pretty smooth to me at the time.
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Old 04-19-06, 02:30 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by pastorbobnlnh
I grew up near Baltimore and our Scout Troop took on the C&O Canal as a regular weekend camping experience. When I was about 12 I pedaled my Sears single speed heavy weight about 30 miles on the canal trail in one day. While the trail is flat, none of it was paved and only a few places were smooth back in the late 60s and early 70s. I remember stretches miles long that were like a wash board of roots and rocks. In '81 I rode nearly a third of the length of the trail on one Saturday. It was all in a cold rain. The trail was still quite rough and rather muddy that day. I took that ride some 25 years ago on the Schwinn Traveler which I still own and continue to ride!

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Ahhhh The good old days. I have just come back from an evening ride and it was along a local trail called the Cuckoo Line. An old railway line so no steep hills. Thing is that this walking/ cycle trail has only been developed in the last 15 years. I can remember when it used to be a mud track in winter and almost unridable in the Summer with the rock hard ruts and dust. Then a bit of levelling was undertaken and the Hollows and mud patches filled in. Then a loose layer of gravel. It is now a tarmac path for its 12 mile distance. No fun any longer.
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Old 04-20-06, 03:56 AM   #8
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stapfam wrote: It is now a tarmac path for its 12 mile distance. No fun any longer.
Especially no fun if you keep those knobby tires on! That noise alone is enough to drive you off to the grass along the side! Is it light out until 9:00-9:30 yet?
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Old 04-20-06, 04:48 AM   #9
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Mt. Vernon trail

My sister in law lives in Alexandria near Mt. Vernon. Every time we visit, I bring my bike and cycle into DC to see the sights. A bike is a great way to see DC. Some Alexandria bike shops rent decent road bikes. On the Mt. Vernon trail, you will see many walkers, cyclists and roller bladers. You have to be a bit careful on tight turns. Sometimes you'll come across three little old ladies walking three abreast. One time, there were a bunch of old guys roller blading on the path. It looked like fun, so I bought a pair of K2's. First time out, I was roaring down a hill on the trail, and the skates went out from under me. Two badly mangled elbows! Then I bought knee and elbow protectors, and haven't used the skates since! If anyone wants a good deal (size 12) on them, I will sell it to them cheap. They are in excellent shape.
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