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Old 04-11-11, 09:13 AM   #1
Skippy kangaroo
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New to DC - where can I find some hills?

I've just moved to DC from Sydney and am slowly learning my way around the area by bike. I'm commuting to work in the downtown area and, on the weekends I've discovered Beach Drive. But one thing I'm missing is a few decent hills. Any suggestions for areas to look for some enjoyable hills?

Also, I'd be interested in finding a few group rides as another way to get a feel for the area and meet other cyclists. Any suggestions? I'm based in NW near the Van Ness metro stop on the red line.
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Old 04-11-11, 01:02 PM   #2
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What do you consider a decent hill? Short and steep or a long climb?
DC if full of short and steep hills
Beach drive is great on weekends. When I want extra hills, I use Porter or Tilden or the road at the zoo. Ridge and Ross are also good. Anything that climbs out of the creek valley can be good.
Mass Ave is a good climb up to the Cathedral. So is Wisconsin.
Nebraska and Arizona makes a good combo, especially if you go all the way down to MacArthur.
In NE is Fort Totten (I usually combine it with Harewood)
In SE is MLK BLvd, big hill up to St E's. More hills on south Capitol, and Mississippi getting back to Alabama.

In a few months WABA will be doing it's 50 State ride, where you get to meet the hills of DC. 65 miles, and it's a real workout.

Just outside of DC - Arlington, especially north Arlington, is very hilly. Williamsburg, Yorktown, Military. Cross Chainbridge and try Chain Bridge Road, Glebe or 41st St (more than a 22% grade, good luck).
Also, in Montgomery Co, the Forest Glen area (Capitol View, Stoneybrook)

Further still, southern Fairfax (Alexandria, Lorton) and the middle part of Montgomery County. Loudon County has many hills and short mountains. Even Prince George can be a challenge (lots of stream valleys)

Last edited by cc_rider; 04-11-11 at 01:08 PM.
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Old 04-11-11, 02:32 PM   #3
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Thanks for the information.

If you go to: http://www.bikely.com/maps/bike-path...er-Bay-Taronga (and check the elevation profile) you can see a fairly standard route I would do around Sydney harbour - relatively short climbs but enough to get the heart pumping and establish a rhythm. Better yet is something like the three gorges ride: http://www.bikely.com/maps/bike-path/3-gorges

I guess I'm looking for more sustained climbs. I ride up Tilden at the end of a weekend ride and went up the hill by the Mormon temple just outside the Beltway on Sunday and didn't find them satisfying. At the moment I am without a car so would have to ride to any potential hills so would be looking for something within cooee of DC. Are any of the routes you mention on bikely or similar?

Regardless - any suggestions of where to discover DC cyclists for some weekend riding and latte sipping?
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Old 04-11-11, 02:39 PM   #4
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For Arlington, Virginia hill discussions, check out the bikearlingtonforum.com tread on where to ride.

http://bikearlingtonforum.com/showth...est-hills-list
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Old 04-12-11, 03:17 AM   #5
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For sustained climbs I think you'll need to get out of town to the west at least 40 miles into the foothills and the Blue Ridge. I haven't found anything closer-in than Bull Run Mt near Gainesville. Next would be 601 (Blue ridge Mt Road) between 50 and 7, and then further out to Skyline Drive.

There are lots of very steep rollers in the piedmont area to the east of the Blue Ridge, but nothing as long as even half a mile that I can think of until you get into the mountains.
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Old 04-15-11, 03:36 PM   #6
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I concur with Jim: the sustained hills are mostly outside of DC. The climbs over Naked Mountain and Mount Weather (i.e. VA-601) are both good, as are the climb up Blue Mountain, Skyline Drive, Massanutten Road and Gid Brown Hollow/Harris Hollow Road around Washington, VA. In Maryland, you should aim toward the Catoctins, where some seriously challenging climbing routes can be found: Park Central Road, Foxville Road, Sabillasville Road, Hamburg Road, Harp Hill, Catoctin Hollow, Middlepoint Road, Fishers Hollow, Coxey Brown, Reno Monument, and Jackson Mountain all providing various levels of climbing challenge. If you venture just into Pennsylvania, you have Old Forge Road and Pen-Mar High Rock, both of which are longer challenges.

If you're looking to ride with groups, check out the Potomac Pedalers, who hold myriad rides (many with hills, as club members prepare for hilly challenge rides like Mountains of Misery). The Pedalers also have some weekday rides that go in the evening, including one (the Downtoan Breakaway) that leaves from the Dupont/Kalorama area every Wednesday night at 6pm for riders in the A to CC classes. The route is rolling to hilly, with some good challenges that, while not as long and sustained as you may like, fit the bill for a ride that's close to home during the work week.
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Old 04-15-11, 04:54 PM   #7
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Thanks - at the moment I am car-less so travel further afield is going to be challenging. I tried out Ridge Rd this afternoon and was relatively happy. It was nice that it has some twistys for a fun descent (shame about how rough the road is on the corners though). I'll have to add Ross into the loop this weekend and see if a fun time can be had by all.

I'll also make sure to look up the Pedalers (in CC at best, lest anyone think I am fast or anything).
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Old 05-12-11, 06:55 AM   #8
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I agree with north Arlington being hilly but not sustained climbs. I quite like Military Rd as it has a dedicated bike lane and fairly quiet traffic-wise but full of climbs (it is nothing like Military Rd in north Sydney, which I've also cycled on...). You could do a loop through Key Bridge, Chain Bridge and the Capital Crescent trail.
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