I was looking for mid atlantic region to post but not found one so I opted to post here....
Im going to spend a lot of time in DC this summer and fall..planning to take a bike so I can really go back to my biking grounds of the 1980's I know a lot has changed... but here is my decision...
should I take my road bike with large saddle bag but with my 25's c tires??? (my fork wont take thicker tires)
or should I take my commuter beater all around mountain bike with fenders, rack and 1.25 tires???
What am I planning to do???
ride around dc...take paths like the one to mt vernon..or the rail to trail 45 miler to VA...I'll be there parts of june august and most probably september... although september I might have the possibility of taking the bike up for 2 weeks to Maine and Halifax...
so which bike would u take????...sorry cant travel with both...BTW any good organized rides in DC for non racers...15-17mph rides???
www.bikepptc.org, although they are mostly out from DC. Some rides in DC close. Also www.waba.org for in-town advocacy and some rides. Bike Washington also.
The C&O canal trail is not paved, so your mt bike would be better for that, but if you want to do road rides with Potomac Pedalers, the road bike would be better. Other trails (WO&D, Mt. Vernon, Custis, etc.) are paved.
Both the Potomac Pedlars (pptc) and the Oxon Hill clubs have open rides and welcome non-members. Their websites have lists of rides. At your speed, you'd probably like the pptc's CC or B pace. http://www.bikepptc.org/ and http://ohbike.org/
There are other local bike events to choose from. The WABA 50 state ride and the Reston Century are in late August (unfortunately usually the same weekend)
This a also a good general resource http://bikewashington.org/
The hills are there if you want them, but there are plenty of routes with few hills.
Unless you are planning to ride the C&O canal or off road trails (like Wakefield or Fountainhead in Virginia) either bike should be fine. DC road can be rough, but I see plenty of skinny road tires riding them just fine.
Keep a look out in the *hem* Mid-Atlantic Forum *hem* There might be a BF meetup ride sometime this summer.