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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

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Old 05-21-13, 07:53 AM   #1
datlas
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Road Riding in/near DC ??

I also posted this in "NE Regional" but almost no one reads those forums....plus the 41 is a better place to talk about road cycling....


DC Inquiry...

I am staying in DC for a week this summer for a family vacation. We are renting an apartment in Capitol Hill.

I am a road cyclist and not especially comfortable with urban traffic. I like to ride hard.

Anyway, I am wondering if it's worth it to bring my road bike with me. I would like to find a way to get in a few 2-3 hour bike rides during the week, but if the bike paths are full of pedestrians etc. then it may not be worthwhile. OTOH if I can find a reasonably safe way to get out and have a few hard rides I would like that.

Any of my DC brethren have some suggestions? I generally dislike MUPs because they are generally too crowded, but I am willing to consider them especially if they can get me to an area where I can have some good road riding.

Doug

p.s. I run too so if the cycling does not work out, I can just go run instead. I am guessing that may make more sense. I would rather ride than run (duh) of course.
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Old 05-21-13, 08:28 AM   #2
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Do you have a car, and willing to drive an hour or so? If so, you will have a tons of options.
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Old 05-21-13, 08:53 AM   #3
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Do you have a car, and willing to drive an hour or so? If so, you will have a tons of options.
Will have a car but parking is a major hassle so I suspect I will try to find a spot and keep it. Also, it's a family vacation (cycling is not a priority, according to my wife and kids), so ideal situation is ride from capitol hill and be back in 2-3 hours, most likely get up early (6ish) so I can be ready for vacation activities by 9 or 10AM.

Suggestions?
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Old 05-21-13, 08:56 AM   #4
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is riding one of the Metro lines to the end a realistic option? Don't remember how bike friendly the system is having last lived there too many years ago
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Old 05-21-13, 08:56 AM   #5
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if you're into group rides, hains point has them or ride over to arlington for fresh bikes ride.
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Old 05-21-13, 09:17 AM   #6
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Second the FreshBikes group ride. 7pm every Tuesday, but you can just look at the map and do the same ride whenever you want. Starts from the shop in Arlington (about 30 minutes ride from Capitol Hill), and does the hills of Arlington. I'm somewhat biased, but Arlington is the best place to go if you want to get a good ride without having to drive. The non-arterial roads are easy to ride on, the drivers are generally used to seeing lots of bikes around, and there are all the hills you could ask for.

Also, slightly further west, Tri360 does a Saturday hills ride through Arlington, which is a bit tougher of a loop than Freshbikes. Again, just look at the map on their website and you can do the ride on your own. It's all on extremely bike-friendly roads with about 100ft/mile of climbing on short, steep-ish hills.

To get out of Capitol Hill (I used to live there, but moved to Arlington), ride down to I St SW, to 7th St. SW, to Water St, then over to Ohio Drive and the 14th St. Bridge. Then a short ride north up the Mount Vernon Trail (MVT) to the Custis Trail, and that will take you up into Arlington where you can get to FreshBikes, or onto the streets of Arlington.

I usually avoid the MVT for any serious riding, but the Custis is pretty good, although fairly hilly for an MUP, but that keeps it fairly free of peds. You can also take the Custis out to the W&OD trail for a much longer ride...again, peds really aren't an issue on the W&OD and you can keep a good pace without being an *******.

If you're going to explore Arlington, I suggest staying north of Rt. 50/Arlington Blvd...the bike-friendliness of the roads tends to lessen as you move further south. North of I-66 is where you'll find the best riding, IMHO.


This is the easiest route to Freshbikes from the Hill:

http://goo.gl/maps/lVqZ6

And to Tri360:

http://goo.gl/maps/IWBpL
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Old 05-21-13, 09:55 AM   #7
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The fresh bikes ride is fun and the Tri 360 is a real workout. some people do two loops up Powatan on the fresh bikes ride.
What kind of time do you have to ride and when?

Last edited by Vicegrip; 05-21-13 at 03:46 PM.
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Old 05-21-13, 10:20 AM   #8
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is riding one of the Metro lines to the end a realistic option? Don't remember how bike friendly the system is having last lived there too many years ago
Probably not. Given family obligations, I don't have 1 hour before/after ride to ride the metro, that would eat up most of my ride time.

Thanks for all the suggestions so far.
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Old 05-21-13, 10:53 AM   #9
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Will have a car but parking is a major hassle so I suspect I will try to find a spot and keep it...
Kinda defeats the purpose of bringing a car?

Bring a bike and start riding. You'll get more accustomed to urban riding and also find places to ride. Day of the week and time of day make huge differences which you will learn. Stop in LBSs and ask about rides and where to ride.

(reading between the lines, HTFU :-)
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Old 05-21-13, 11:12 AM   #10
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Will have a car but parking is a major hassle so I suspect I will try to find a spot and keep it.
Since Looigi sort of brought it up....Parking is not generally a hassle in Capitol Hill, unless it's 9pm on a Friday/Saturday/Sunday. Parking in Arlington during the day is also not an issue.
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Old 05-21-13, 11:41 AM   #11
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http://bikewashington.org/routes/all.htm This may give you some ideas.
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Old 05-21-13, 12:05 PM   #12
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Since Looigi sort of brought it up....Parking is not generally a hassle in Capitol Hill, unless it's 9pm on a Friday/Saturday/Sunday. Parking in Arlington during the day is also not an issue.
Good to know. The apartment owner said she will give us a temporary street parking permit so that should help. Still don't have a large time window so driving to ride may not be realistic.
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Old 05-21-13, 03:26 PM   #13
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These guys run a shop ride on Sunday morning that would be worth it for you. They're on 14th and Q St NW. The shop ride runs across D.C. to MacArthur Blvd then up to Potomac.

http://thebikerackdc.com/community/group-rides/
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Old 05-21-13, 03:34 PM   #14
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I second the recommendation that you just go to Haines Point. It's a short ride from Capitol Hill and once your there you can ride the (I believe it's 4 miles) loop around Haines Point. If you time it right over lunch time you will be out there with many other roadies training over their lunch break. If I was interested in getting in a good workout in an efficient manner, this is what I would do.
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Old 05-21-13, 03:42 PM   #15
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Hains Point is boring but if you're looking to ride during the week, it may be the best choice. Just watch the stop signs 'cause the Park Police have been known to ticket.
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Old 05-21-13, 04:57 PM   #16
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2 other shops in georgetown that do group rides are cycle life and bicycle pro shop....if you can take a whole day off, cycle life looks to have a small group that does centuries on thursdays.

do a cue sheet search and you'll find quite a bit. know that there are plenty of bike lanes in the district, but the drivers here tend to ignore the markings, so use them at your own peril...

pm me a month before you arrive, and i'll send you a copy of the potomac pedaler monthly newsletter which lists group rides on a daily basis...no one should be offended if you just happened to show up and say "a friend sent me"
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Old 05-21-13, 05:00 PM   #17
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is riding one of the Metro lines to the end a realistic option? Don't remember how bike friendly the system is having last lived there too many years ago
you can take a bike on the metro but (a) unless you're dressed hipster style you'll have to put up with being stared at in spandex (b) not feasible in rush hours due to crowds etc
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Old 05-21-13, 06:58 PM   #18
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Thanks again for the comments. Will bookmark this thread for when it gets closer to my trip. I will probably have to do mostly shorter rides so Haines Point might be a winner. On the other hand I love small group rides so I will look into those as well. But most likely my rides will be in the morning (as above) and I am guessing that club and/or shop rides are at lunchtime or afternoon.
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Old 05-22-13, 04:30 AM   #19
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no, many rides are in the morning.

hain's point is scenic the first time you do the 3.5 mile loop, after that it's just a flat place to work on time trialing skills.
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Old 05-22-13, 05:45 AM   #20
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no, many rides are in the morning.

hain's point is scenic the first time you do the 3.5 mile loop, after that it's just a flat place to work on time trialing skills.
Really? Good, I will look into the morning group rides then. Thanks.
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Old 05-22-13, 05:55 AM   #21
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Saturdays: 7:00 AM DC Velo ride that starts at the intersection of Beach Drive, in Rock Creek Park, and East-West Highway
Sundays: 8:30 AM Bicycle Place shop ride that starts at the shop in Silver Spring, MD (close to Beach Drive in RCP)
10:00 AM ride that starts on Beach Drive near the bottom of Ross Drive
Tuesday and Thursdays: Goon Ride that starts 5:30ish PM on Beach Drive near its northern terminus
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Old 05-22-13, 06:31 AM   #22
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no, many rides are in the morning.

hain's point is scenic the first time you do the 3.5 mile loop, after that it's just a flat place to work on time trialing skills.
The main rides are noontime. On nice weather days, you might find a big group of 30-40 riders. Usually there are 10-12.

Anything in the morning is just because a couple buddies decide to get together or a local club decided to meet. It's nothing regular line the noontime thing. In fact I rarely see anything other than individual riders mornings.
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Old 05-22-13, 09:33 AM   #23
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DC Tri club has a Sat ride which starts in Capital Hill area

http://www.dctriclub.org/forum/messa...92CA21&&page=1
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Old 05-22-13, 09:35 AM   #24
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Also, http://www.dctriclub.org/forum/messa...BE1&page=1&#13
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Old 05-22-13, 11:18 AM   #25
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I was in DC about a month ago and discovered the Mt Vernon trail---it runs on the VA side along the Potomac, 18 miles total length. My hotel was in Crystal City, VA but I did a few 6-10 mile runs over the 14th St bridge around the mall etc and even around Teddy Roosevelt island which is pretty cool. So you could easily ride from your apt over the bridge to the VA side. Weather was on the cool side for riding so I didn't make it down to GW's home but this trail is fantactic!
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