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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Greetings!

I'm planning a short vacation to the D.C. area and was wondering about Bike trails. I was thinking about staying at a motel a bit farther out and then biking into the museums - just to keep things interesting.

For those in the area, is this a viable option rather than taking the train or driving? Where would I find maps/directions, and does anyone know of any motels that have easy access to those trails?

Thanks for any info.
 

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Tass Over Teakettle said:
Greetings!

I'm planning a short vacation to the D.C. area and was wondering about Bike trails. I was thinking about staying at a motel a bit farther out and then biking into the museums - just to keep things interesting.
What kind of trails ya talking about? Just a general bike path thru the city or mountain bike trails at a state park or something?

My GF and I take our bikes up to DC Mall area and putt around on a slow day. I know there's a paved bike path that kinda follows rt 1. Run on the west side of the Potomic (sp?)

Tass Over Teakettle said:
For those in the area, is this a viable option rather than taking the train or driving? Where would I find maps/directions, and does anyone know of any motels that have easy access to those trails?

Thanks for any info.
Well, I don't live in DC. About 20 miles south of it. I just know that on a week day that I have to go into the city I take the train and metro as much as I can then deal w/ the traffic.

If you're looking for a guild at a park for mt biking, let me know.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
crashedandburned said:
What kind of trails ya talking about? Just a general bike path thru the city or mountain bike trails at a state park or something?

My GF and I take our bikes up to DC Mall area and putt around on a slow day. I know there's a paved bike path that kinda follows rt 1. Run on the west side of the Potomic (sp?)

Well, I don't live in DC. About 20 miles south of it. I just know that on a week day that I have to go into the city I take the train and metro as much as I can then deal w/ the traffic.

If you're looking for a guild at a park for mt biking, let me know.
Thanks,
I was mostly looking for a bike path into downtown, so I could do the tourist thing without the car parking/train headaches, and get some exercise too. Know of any connection with the C&O Canal trail that goes down to the Mall?

BUT - an offer of easy/cheesy Mtbing would be good too.:)
 

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Connecting C & O with the mall is tricky even for a lot of locals. There's some construction around the Lincoln Memorial that royally screws things up. Every time I ride around there, I end up circling, looking for the next road crossing. Try this, though: When you get to the end of the C & O, keep following the river. You'll cross a bridge over Rock Creek at the boat house, then you can pick up the bike path. Follow this all the way underneath the bridge (past the Kennedy Center). After you go under the bridge, cross the street to the volleyball courts (sand). You'll hit a street (Ohio Dr.) and turn right, following the bike path again, underneath an overpass. Keep going past the steps and under the next overpass. From here you can turn left for the Lincoln Memorial (and the mall) or keep going toward the Tidal Basin and Potomac Park. Convoluted and unmarked, good luck.

More bike path information at waba.org, and bikewashington.org

Lot's of cheesy mountain biking, but in the other direction. Where's the hotel?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
OverStuffed said:
Connecting C & O with the mall is tricky even for a lot of locals. There's some construction around the Lincoln Memorial that royally screws things up. Every time I ride around there, I end up circling, looking for the next road crossing. Try this, though: When you get to the end of the C & O, keep following the river. You'll cross a bridge over Rock Creek at the boat house, then you can pick up the bike path. Follow this all the way underneath the bridge (past the Kennedy Center). After you go under the bridge, cross the street to the volleyball courts (sand). You'll hit a street (Ohio Dr.) and turn right, following the bike path again, underneath an overpass. Keep going past the steps and under the next overpass. From here you can turn left for the Lincoln Memorial (and the mall) or keep going toward the Tidal Basin and Potomac Park. Convoluted and unmarked, good luck.

More bike path information at waba.org, and bikewashington.org

Lot's of cheesy mountain biking, but in the other direction. Where's the hotel?
Wow - I was hoping it wasn't going to be a big deal - but I may still try it.

I haven't made the hotel reservations yet, b/c I wanted to see if the whole idea was do-able, and where there might be a hotel close to the trail. Any suggestions?
 

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Nah, I live here. I know the cheapest hotels are on the other side of the city, which would require you to take the Anacostia tributary trails into town, then a bunch of city riding. If you want to be "near" some cheesy singletrack, stay in Bethesda or College Park (trails are farther away from the city, and not terribly interesting). Staying in College Park would require more street riding once you get into DC, but it's cheaper. That's all that occurs to me.
 

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One thing you could consider is finding a hotel in Old Town Alexandria. That way you could take the Mount Vernon trail (paved) north past National Airport and Crystal City, roughly following the VA side of the Potomac. After you pass National Airport take one of the side paths toward Memorial Bridge, about 2-3 miles from Old Town Alexandria. This is right next to Arlington National Cemetary so you could hit that as well. If you cross Memorial Bridge into DC this puts you right at the Lincoln Memorial and sort of the western end of the Mall.

From Old Town Alexandria, take the Mount Vernon trail south and you'll come to (surprise, surprise) Mount Vernon.

Otherwise you could stay somewhere near Falls Church and take the Custis or W&OD trails into DC via Rosslyn, going over the Key Bridge into Georgetown. You'd have to find your way to the Mall from there on streets but it's neither that far nor that difficult to navigate. Otherwise find a path from near the waterfront area underneath the Whitehurst Freeway in Georgetown and follow that east past the Kennedy Center which will put you at the Lincoln Memorial, Memorial Bridge.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for the help and the links!

I'm currently on Expedia, comparing hotel maps and locations to what is on the BikeWashington site for the Mount Vernon Trail. It looks like there is a low budget Travel Lodge within about 4 blocks of the river in Old Town Alexandria. That definitely looks do-able.:thumbsup: :D
 

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DamienC is on the right track. The Mt. Vernon Trail would be a nice ride. I think it is pretty easy to get into DC and to the Mall via the Custis or W&OD Paths. Rather than taking the Key Bridge, continue on the Custis trail as it runs along the potomac, hang a right on to Memorial Bridge, which will dump you out right at the Lincoln Memorial. There are what appear to be reasonable hotels in N. Arlington near the trails, and in Falls Church. Check the Arlington County web site for bike trail maps.
 

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In addition to Alexandria, there are some hotels in the Ballston area of Arlington that are convenient to the WOD bike path.

Just be real careful about where you leave your bike when you head into the museums. I don't recall there being too many places to do a safe lock-up and even then bikes get stripped pretty often.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
lawhoo said:
In addition to Alexandria, there are some hotels in the Ballston area of Arlington that are convenient to the WOD bike path.

Just be real careful about where you leave your bike when you head into the museums. I don't recall there being too many places to do a safe lock-up and even then bikes get stripped pretty often.
Yeah, I thought about that. I was going to call ahead to the museums to see where or what their bike accommodations consist of.

Maybe I should ride the old Schwinn instead of the new Tass -- it would KILL me for it to get ripped off.:mad:
 

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Definitely bring the old Schwinn, a nice bike can disappear in a heartbeat around here, and it sounds like you're doing paved/gravel anyway. If you do bring the tass, make sure your lock is bombproof and leave as few parts attached as possible. Someone mentioned staying in Ballston -- I don't know what hotel prices are but I can attest that its fairly bike friendly as Fairfax drive and many of the side streets have bike lanes, and its an easy connection to the Custis trail.

For distance figure 3-4 miles down the Custis trail, stay straight (instead of crossing the Key Bridge to Georgetown) and you'll drop down the parking lot by Roosevelt Island. Continue on for a mile or so and you can cross either the Memorial bridge or the Roosevelt bridge to D.C. From there the street crossings can be a little tricky, but just keep going in the general direction of the Washington Monument and you won't have a problem. Once you pass the Monument I think there's a map near the Smithsonian metro that can direct you to the musuem of your choosing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks.:thumbsup:

I made the reservations - now I just hope it doesn't rain (too hard) and my bike doesn't get stolen! I'll have to bring both bikes if I'm gonna ride w/ crashedandburned - and just keep the Tass locked up the hotel room.

I'll be going late next week, and I'll let ya know how it went.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
Update: My bike tours DC

Well, it worked. So this IS do-able for anybody who wants to tour DC who doesn't actually live there. And my bike didn't get stolen either. I even left it locked up outside the Holocaust museum for like 4 hours!( granted it had two kryptonites and a cable lock on it)

Thanks also to Crashedandburned for the daytrip to Patapsco.:thumbsup:
https://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=213756

And oh yeah -- I learned that alot of users of the Mt Vernon Trail are clueless. I came upon this guy with a flat, and neither he nor his girlfriend had ANYTHING to fix it with. I asked "Got a tube?" - Nope, " Got a patch kit?"- Nope, "Got a pump?" - Nope.:rolleyes:

Fortunately for them I had it all in my camelbak - the girlfriend acted like she'd never seen a frame pump before --- "Wow, that's thing's really handy!":rolleyes:







 

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I hear ya. I've pretty much given up on the Mount Vernon trail because of the crowds, there's been a couple times that I've nearly been taken out by kids or people just not paying attention. Now if the rain keeps me out of the dirt I usually stick to the W&OD (which i also use to commute) or the Capital Crescent. Glad you enjoyed your visit!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
redandy said:
I hear ya. I've pretty much given up on the Mount Vernon trail because of the crowds, there's been a couple times that I've nearly been taken out by kids or people just not paying attention. Now if the rain keeps me out of the dirt I usually stick to the W&OD (which i also use to commute) or the Capital Crescent. Glad you enjoyed your visit!
Thanks - it was fun enough that maybe I'll do it again using the W&OD sometime.

My daughter heard about me taking pix of my bike ( but not of me) in front of the landmarks, and she said "Hey Mom, your bike is kind of like Flat Stanley" ( the Paperdoll guy that gradeschool kids mail around the world to learn about geography http://flatstanley.enoreo.on.ca/ ). Hmmm... maybe I'll be inspired to do more of this, and I think the bike has a new name now!:)
 
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