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Old 06-23-10, 10:36 PM   #1
TheGefish
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Anyone in the DC area?

I'm heading over to the east coast for the week (first week of summer!), and I'm thinking of renting a road bike from Big Wheel Bikes in Bethesda. Just wondering if there are any rides I should check out while I'm out there. And what to expect, I know for sure it's going to be hot and humid.
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Old 06-24-10, 06:53 AM   #2
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This site has most of what you'll need.
http://bikewashington.org/
C&O is shaded as is the CCT(mostly) so if heat has you worried then try them. Rock Creek is nice on wknds.

This is the local bike map
http://www.waba.org/areabiking/maps.php

If you want to ride w/ a club there's the PPT and Oxen hill clubs(on the WABA page). If you want mnt biking then check out MORE.

Enjoy, Charlie
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Old 06-24-10, 08:12 AM   #3
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If you rent something that can ride on gravel, you can ride the C&O to the Great Falls. It's quite beautiful, and the trip is around 30 miles RT.

Down in Virginia, the Washington and Old Dominion trail is paved but hilly, and you can take the metro to the trail.

Will you be there on independence day weekend?
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Old 06-24-10, 08:45 AM   #4
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You could rent from Big Wheel Bikes in Old Town Alexandria and ride the Mount Vernon Trail down to Mt. Vernon. Difficult to get lost and it's a beautiful ride along mostly wooded or marshy Potomac River shoreline down to Washington's plantation. Also cool to do (and could be combined w/ the same ride) is to ride across the Woodrow Wilson Bridge (on the Beltway), which has a special bike/ped lane. The bridge goes from Alexandria to the Maryland side of the Potomac, and there are bumpouts along the bridge w/ cool views towards Old Town Alexandria and DC clear days.
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Old 06-24-10, 10:43 AM   #5
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How far do you want to ride?

The Capital Crescent Trail is immediately behind the Big Wheel Bikes shop in Bethesda. From there, it's slightly less than 7 miles to where the trail ends in Georgetown at K Street. The waterfront is nice there. From there, you can connect to trails on the Virginia side either by crossing Key Bridge (it's directly above K Street, where the CC Trails ends. There are steps up to it and you can bike across it on the sidewalk on the eastern side of the bridge. You can pick up a trail almost as soon as you reach the Virginia side of the bridge. You can stay on trails all the way downriver to Mount Vernon. Or, by crossing the multiple lanes of traffic on the Virginia side, you can pick up the Custis Trail which runs parallel to I-66 and then meets up with the nice W&OD trail which goes all the way west to Purcelleville, aprox. 40 miles to the west.

On weekends, much of Beach Drive in Rock Creek Park is closed to motor vehicles and is great for biking and skating from the Maryland line in the north down to the intersection with Broad Branch Road to the south. Lovely forest & creek scenery in the middle of the city. A paved but somewhat bumpy trail continues parallel to the creek all the way to Georgetown and then Memorial Bridge near the Lincoln Memorial, where you can again connect with the trails on the Virginia side of the river, or with the Capital Crescent Trail.

The Capital Crescent Trail in particular is quite shaded, especially in the afternoon. That helps a lot in the torrid head DC has been having.
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Old 06-24-10, 09:01 PM   #6
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I touched down this afternoon and have been sitting around ever since. I plan on using a friends old hybrid tomorrow to go around the Millennium Trail just to get acquainted with everything and the try and get over the time change. I was also told about an old railway that has now been repaved into a MUP from Bethesda to the Nixon Waterfront which might be what you're talking about axolotl.

I'll be here from the 24th to the second of July I'm just a bit wary of renting an entry level bike for $75 a day. At that rate, for a week I'll have spent enough to buy it...
Maybe for some of the longer trails, I'll decide to rent one. And my God is it hot out here, 89 degrees at 7 pm? Not at all like good ole Cali, and it's the humidity that'll probably get to me.
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Old 06-25-10, 02:50 PM   #7
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well if it helps ya any. the weather is freakishly hot even for our norm... well at least we don't normally feel like this until august.
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Old 06-25-10, 05:44 PM   #8
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If you could get out to Poolesville, that's some great road riding. W&OD trail is nice after all the grade crossings before Vienna.
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Old 06-25-10, 07:55 PM   #9
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start the day with a quart of electrolyte
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Old 06-26-10, 04:09 AM   #10
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You could rent from Big Wheel Bikes in Old Town Alexandria and ride the Mount Vernon Trail down to Mt. Vernon.
This is the shop I use to order parts and do business. I love the attitude of Big Wheel - cycling is for everyone kind of vibe.

Riding in the DC area is quite good. Mt. Vernon is a great ride but quite crowded on weekends this time of year. So is the C & O canal near Georgetown (outside a few miles it's desolate). The CCT is absurd on weekends. I'd rather tie a boulder to myself and jump off the Key bridge than ride it.

Enjoy the area, it's getting better and better for cycling and has a lot of advocacy.
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Old 06-26-10, 06:53 PM   #11
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Not too sure about the comment on the Washington and Old Dominion Trail being hilly. It was once railroad tracks. I surveyed a large portion of the western section in the early 80's and as I recall, it was fairly flat.
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Old 06-26-10, 06:58 PM   #12
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Yeah turbine I've noticed this a lot too as I've been researching the area, Tracks to trails is an amazing project. It's genius really, taking optimal conditions for a train and converting it to a bike path that extends for miles and miles. Absolutely brilliant.
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Old 06-26-10, 09:30 PM   #13
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Not too sure about the comment on the Washington and Old Dominion Trail being hilly. It was once railroad tracks. I surveyed a large portion of the western section in the early 80's and as I recall, it was fairly flat.
"Flat" is a relative term, of course, but to my mind, the C&O and the Capital Crescent are truly flat. I had assumed the W&OD would be much the same, but found that it gets hillier the further west you are. When we were there earlier this year, I didn't have to walk any hills, but my wife did. Compared to the roads in the areas the W&OD goes through, though, the W&OD is quite gentle.
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Old 06-27-10, 04:12 AM   #14
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The Custis trail, where it begins in Rossyln is fairly hilly in that one section right after you get onto Custis from the MVT, but that's about it.

CCT and C&O are ridiculously flat.
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Old 06-27-10, 05:24 AM   #15
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Fair enough..........my last ride was Skyline Drive which I consider to be hilly !! To the original poster, Skyline Drive is an awesome spot if you want a few hills, and it's not too far from D.C.
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Old 06-27-10, 06:02 AM   #16
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Skyline Drive is absolutely beautiful. Extremely hilly IMO! Just be careful during certain times of the year.
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Old 06-27-10, 10:43 AM   #17
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I headed over Skyline Drive yesterday in a car coming back from the Luray Caverns, they were brilliant. Sadly I took a spill this morning not 100 yards from home my front wheel locked up on me going downhill (not a finger on the brakes) and I got pretty banged up. Road rash all over the right side of my face and shoulder. But I was wearing my helmet which took most of the blow. It cracked so I'll head down to Big Wheel Bikes later in the week to get a new one. Now I'm just sitting on the couch oozing bodily fluids. Go Germany!
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