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Old 01-04-06, 10:54 PM   #1
Dellphinus
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Wash DC and Shenandoah Valley ride recco?

I'm going to have a full day in So. Maryland, and a half day in/around Shenandoah valley, due to an extended business trip.

For the full day, we're either going to ride from Lexington Park, Md to Point Lookout and back, or do a 30 or somile ride in St. Mary's county, then drive up to DC and do the Mt. Vernon ride (DC to Mt. Vernon, pretty highly recommended on a couple different websites). Anyone have any inputs on the DC ride?

For the half day, we'd like to ride part of the Skyline, but we're both way out of shape for major climbs. Is it feasible to drive up the Skyline to some point, then ride 15miles out and back without any major climbs? Any recommended sections, parking areas (are there any?), etc?

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Old 01-05-06, 08:35 AM   #2
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All of my rides are probably a bit too far north for you.
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Old 01-05-06, 09:40 AM   #3
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For the DC portion, take a detour and check out the monuments. Bike is pretty much the best way to see them, they're spread out and parking has been curtailed since 9/11. You can bike right up to the front door of the white house, but you can't get a car within blocks. Same for the Lincoln and Washington monuments.
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Old 01-05-06, 10:12 AM   #4
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Any suggested parking locations in DC? Somepalce safe, and easy to get to for someone not familoiar with the DC area?
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Old 01-05-06, 10:20 AM   #5
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I'm guessing that your business is in Lexington Park. Paxten maybe???

St Mary's County is a good place for riding (although Lexington Park is not my favorite place.) Route 5 is nicer than route 235, but watch the traffic. Cars fly through much faster than they should on those roads. Lookout Point is a nice spot. Definitely take route 5 through St Mary's City, nice little town with a college and historical sites (original capital of Maryland). You can get back to Lexington Park by way of Great Mills and route 246 (can't remember the road name.) If you have time, stop over at Solomons. Nice resort town with a good Maritime Museum.

For the DC ride, the Mount Vernon Trail is good. The trail is 19 miles long, 38 miles r/t if you start at Roosevelt Island.

Suggestion. As nice as St Mary's is, you could consolidate your ride around DC.
If I was doing a day's ride, I would park somewhere along the MTV (Bellhaven, Gravely Point or Roosevelt Island), ride to Mount Vernon, ride back up to the Key Bridge, cross into Georgetown, down to K Street, Capitol Crescent Trail to Bethesda, Rock Creek Trail back to Georgetown (if you're riding on a weekend, Beach Drive is closed to cars), the River Trail to Hains Point, up to the Mall, to Capitol Hill and back to the Lincoln Memorial, Memorial Bridge to Virginia, MVT back to your car. Distance around 60 miles, and you see a big variety of things. You could go up the C&O to Great Falls instead of going around the Capital Crescent, but you'd miss Rock Creek and the Zoo. If you're interested I can give you more route details. Or do both, adds another 25 miles.

Parking - Bellhaven is on the GW Parkway, a little south of Old Town Alexandria. Big lot near the river.
Gravely Point is on the north side of National Airport. Big lot. Popular place to watch the planes from. Hains Point is on the opposite side of the river.
Roosevelt Island is pretty but the lot is small and you can only get to it from the northbound parkway. Often fills up on weekend.
Ladybird Johnson Park is between Gravely Point and the Memorial Bridge. Has a nice big lot, but you have to cross the Parkway (not easy)
You can also park in West Potomac Park near Hains Point. Lots of spaces.

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Old 01-05-06, 12:58 PM   #6
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"I'm guessing that your business is in Lexington Park. Paxten maybe???"
Four fun filled days sitting in a confernce room on the base...


"Suggestion. As nice as St Mary's is, you could consolidate your ride around DC.
If I was doing a day's ride, I would park somewhere along the MTV (Bellhaven, Gravely Point or Roosevelt Island), ride to Mount Vernon, ride back up to the Key Bridge, cross into Georgetown, down to K Street, Capitol Crescent Trail to Bethesda, Rock Creek Trail back to Georgetown (if you're riding on a weekend, Beach Drive is closed to cars), the River Trail to Hains Point, up to the Mall, to Capitol Hill and back to the Lincoln Memorial, Memorial Bridge to Virginia, MVT back to your car. Distance around 60 miles, and you see a big variety of things. ... If you're interested I can give you more route details. "

This sounds like a great plan. ANy more details you can provide would be much appreciated. PM or post, or PM me for email. As for parking, we'll be looking for the easiest to get to, with good access to the trail/route.

Thanks much for the advice/info- now I just hope the weather holds...
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Old 01-05-06, 01:07 PM   #7
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Seems like on skyline drive there are 2 hills every 15 miles at least for the whole length. Also some tunnels to look out for.
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Old 01-05-06, 05:28 PM   #8
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I grew up in the DC area and the one thing that I miss more than anything is riding on the C &O Canal towpath. You can start in Georgetown (right under Key Bridge) and follow the path up out of DC, through Maryland, and into West Virginia Ė somebody correct me if Iím wrong I havenít gone that far for a long time. There are occasional breaks where you have to carry your bike for a very short distance.
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Old 01-05-06, 05:37 PM   #9
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One trail break near DC, at Widewater Basin, south of Great Falls. IMO the prettiest spot on the whole canal. The north end of the basin is about a quarter mile of rocks. Hikeable but not bikeable. There is a detour trail along the ridge overlooking the basin.

Another break in Georgetown where you have to walk your bike over a footbridge.

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Old 01-05-06, 07:56 PM   #10
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The towpath is just a little bit soft right now, it's been very wet lately, so you'll want thicker rather than thinner tires. The ride out to Great Falls is terrific if you're looking for a longer trip, and I love the falls. If you want to stay on paved roads you can take MacArthur blvd out to Great falls. PM me if you want a route.
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Old 01-06-06, 07:16 AM   #11
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Good point. The day after a rain the C&O can be messy.
But given a choice of riding MacArthur Blvd or riding the Capital Crescent Trail for my first visit to DC, I'd take the CCT. Save Great Falls for a spring or summer visit.
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Old 01-06-06, 11:03 AM   #12
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Thanks all for the advice.
CC_Rider-thanks for the detailed instructions

We'll report back after the ride...

cydewaze, where is the pic of the riders in the fog from? Really nice...
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Old 01-14-06, 03:08 PM   #13
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CC_Rider,

The directions/cue sheet info was great- if you haven't posted it somewhere already, you should!
We started at the Belle Haven Marina, and rode north- did the Capitol Crescent up to Bethesda, then back down the Rock Creek park route. Did lunch at the Potomac Grill, then did the mall, WH, and all the sights. Was getting late, so we saved Arlington the Penatgon for the next trip. Put in 56 miles w/o going down to Mt. Vernon.

Thanks for the tips/directions. Here's my fav pic from the ride
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Old 01-15-06, 11:13 AM   #14
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Glad you liked it.
Were you here Saturday? If I didn't have my cold still hanging on, I would have been at Belle Haven riding south on my usual club ride.

The CCT / Rock Creek loop is one of my favourites. Work it into my local rides about a dozen times a year. With all of the woods it's hard to believe that you're in the middle of a 5 million person urban area.

Post when you're in town next. If the schedule works, maybe I can show you some of my local favorites, or at least make some more suggestions.
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