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Old 02-28-07, 10:03 AM   #1
kokomo61
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W&OD trail conditions (Reston/Arlington)

Posted this in the Commuting section:

Decided to take the leap today to ride the JTS in.......

During my parking lot cut through, there were several spots of black ice (and inattentive motorists, too). The turn on to the path was blocked with snow, so I had to go through the turn lane around to the street side (and paddle with one foot while avoiding incoming cars)....

Turned onto Fairfax County Parkway, and rode the shoulder - the path looked too dicey at that point. Went onto the FFCP path at West Ox Road, and had to paddle through a couple spots of ice/snow/black ice. Walked the bike back onto shoulder prior to the overpass before Fox Mill road, and used the shoulder up until just before the turn lane at Sunrise Valley Drive. Path looked fairly clear, but after the turn, the sidewalk was impassable, and I had to walk the bike to the intersection.

Streets were fairly clear, but some wet spots. Driver blew right through the Yield sign without looking at Soapstone drive. Caught up to her just before Wiehle, but she turned left before I could rap on her window.

Turn onto W&OD was decent, and path was clear at first, but some snow and ruts prior to the first hill. Pedaled slowly through, was OK. Downhill was OK going towards Hunter Mill, but there's about a 100-yard section that's impassable on the bike, unless you've got an ATB with studs. Walked the bike to the intersection.

After Hunter Mill, was completely clear, and the Piney Branch detour was clear as well. Minor snow on the path before Vienna, but some spots are down to a tire track or two.

Just after Maple street, there's some snow, and lots of water on the path between Whole Foods and the Community Center. No major problems up to now.

That is, up to now......

Just after the Park Street crossing, things come to a screeching halt. Between there and Gallows Road, the trail is rutted, ice and snow covered, and pretty much sh*tty. I slipped a couple times, and eventually just got of the bike and walked it up to just before Gallows. I might have been on it 1-2 times, but that was it.

After Gallows road, it's smooth sailing. There's one dicey spot just after the blind crossing @ Shreve road, but the rest is clear of snow alll the way to Ballston on the Custis Trail.

There ARE, however, patches of black ice in certain spots. If you take the street route to the West entrance to Benjamin Banneker park, make sure you're unclipped BEFORE the big patch of ice just after the entrance...if you're not ready for it, it's a bit Oh Sh*t! moment. If you ARE ready, it's time to put your faith in Isaac Newton....and keep your momentum. Couple more ice patches, and you're home free.

On the way home, I'm going to see if I can find an alternate route between Gallows and Maple street. Can't do much about Hunter mill, except wait for sun to take care of it.....


Here's a detour around the bad sections between Gallows Road and Park Street/Vienna.

Going West:

Before you get to Gallows Road:
Turn RIGHT on Sandburg
Turn LEFT on Idylwood (watch for cars!)
Turn LEFT on Cedar Lane
Turn RIGHT on McHenry
Turn RIGHT on Park Street
Pick up W&OD @ Vienna Community Center

To go East, reverse the directions....

It adds about 1 mile over the direct route, but at least the streets are clear.
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Old 02-28-07, 11:43 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kokomo61
....Here's a detour around the bad sections between Gallows Road and Park Street/Vienna.

Going West:

Before you get to Gallows Road:
Turn RIGHT on Sandburg
Turn LEFT on Idylwood (watch for cars!)
Turn LEFT on Cedar Lane
Turn RIGHT on McHenry
Turn RIGHT on Park Street
Pick up W&OD @ Vienna Community Center

To go East, reverse the directions....

It adds about 1 mile over the direct route, but at least the streets are clear.
If I was detouring that stretch, I'd just take Gallows south to Cottage and stay on it to Locust. Then right to Center and pick up the W&OD at the Community Center. Cottage is a wide, low traffic road that avoids both Cedar and Park.

Probably won't matter after today. Looks like most of it has melted already.
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Old 02-28-07, 01:49 PM   #3
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Thanks - fixed.rider gave me a route north of that - he said to stay off of Cedar Lane. I'll try one one way home, and if it's still covered next week, go the other.....
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Old 02-28-07, 03:49 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kokomo61
Thanks - fixed.rider gave me a route north of that - he said to stay off of Cedar Lane. I'll try one one way home, and if it's still covered next week, go the other.....
Yeah. Cedar Lane is not at all bike-friendly, not even bike-tolerant.
North route, eh ... I'm guessing Electric Ave, Woodford, Wolftrap Rd and Echols. That one's not bad, either, although if I'd gone that far, I'd cross Maple at Beulah and take it to Clarks Crossing Road which ends at the trail near the Piney Branch Detour (although I haven't tried the Clarkes Crossing part yet.)

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Old 02-28-07, 05:42 PM   #5
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I did Gallows - Cottage - Patrick - Park. Park was a little narrow, but it wasn't busy at all.

On the way home, conditions were MUCH improved. Not many icy spots. I saw that the trail after Gallows was still covered, so I took the detour. Just after Hunter Mill, there's about 50 yrds of snow that I had to walk through, but other than that, it was fine. Just before Sunrise Valley, there's some snow on the trail, but it's got enough room to ride in a clear area.
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