In the next couple of weeks I'll be moving to the DC area. New job is in Arlington, VA (near Clarendon metro I think). Can anyone recommend:
1. Good/bad areas to live based on a cycle commute to work (I'm hoping cycling to work is going to be an option?).
2. Good cycle groups - generally like to ride once mid week and once on the weekend (road bike) and also enjoy touring.
Places to live within bike commute distance and on bike routes: Arlington, Alexandria, Bailey's Crossroads, Annandale, Fairfax, Falls Church, Vienna, Reston, Herndon, DC, Bethesda. If you are looking to rent an apartment there are a lot in DC, Arlington and Alexandria, although farther out (Annandale, Fairfax, Reston and Herndon) would be less expensive.
If you look around you can find little apartment buildings tucked all over.
Places like Springfield, Franconia and Burke would be hard to bike from.
The entire Rosslyn-Ballston corridor (includes metro stops at Rosslyn, Courthouse, Clarendon, Virginia Square, and Ballston) has great access to the Custis Trail. That trail can take you right into DC, other parts of Arlington, Alexandria (via the connecting Mt. Vernon Trail), the airport, Bethesda, MD (via Capital Crescent Trail), etc. S. Arlington and parts of Alexandria also have some good access to the same trails (plus the 4 Mile Run trail). There are a lot of options in DC and MD as well. Where will you be working? Budget?
Thanks - sounds like my new office isn't in to bad a location. Found the Arlington bike maps particularly useful to get an overview of cycle paths in the area.
I'd like to limit my commute distance to under 10miles (I can always go the long way to do extra miles if need be) and also be close to a metro station with decent connections to Clarendon as I don't plan to own a car (I'll review this decision when I arrive). Price less of an issue if the location is right. Does this put me in any specific areas?
Anywhere along the Metro Orange line would work best. 10 miles from Clarendon would put you from Vienna into much of DC and south to Del Ray and the north part of Alexandria. Covers Arlington, Crystal City, Pentagon City, Del RAy, Falls Church, Dunn Loring, Seven Corners and Bailley's Cross Roads, Since you're going without a car, you should look at the major bus lines as well as the subway. The connections are pretty good and the buses have bike carriers.
If you want to be able to ride or take metro to work, I think your best options are in VA. As you've no doubt seen from a metro map, you want to be on the orange line. The route that the orange line takes through DC is mostly thru downtown - more business areas, a bit less residential. (Not that you literally can't find a decent apartment in DC near the orange line, but you have fewer options than, e.g., if you were looking along the red line.) Depending on how much you have to spend, you might be able to find a place right in Clarendon or Rosslyn. Ballston is also a good option. Any of these would put you close to work and to good places to ride.
Welcome my friend in advance to the Washington Metro area. I recommend one site to help you orient yourself that has not been given so far. bikewashington.org
It has links to local clubs, gov't resources and non-profit groups. It gives maps of all the trails in the area. It gives info on events, etc. It has advice on commuting from particular areas. I love the site.