Tips for biking in DC. Recommendations. Start biking in the DMV.
Cycling in and around D.C.
Compared to my home town of London, DC is a bike friendly city. It even provides bikes for those without their own machine. You can start riding at any one of over 350 stations in the DC metro area and you don’t even have to return it to the same place. The first half hour is free and to avoid paying the rental thereafter many people simply swap the bike for another and carry on!
Start biking today
Whether renting or using your own bike, the options for two wheeled fun is endless. An hour spent on Google will reward you with all the information you need to choose your first adventure, but here are a few of the most accessible ones.
Starting out on the Virginia side of the Key Bridge, the Mount Vernon Trail takes you alongside the Potomac River to the historic town of Alexandria. Take a few minutes to rest at Gravelly Point at the end of Reagan National Airport’s runway and experience the jets coming in to land fifty feet above your head. The ride is suitable for all ages and abilities and takes around one hour to Alexandria. George Washington’s home at Mount
Vernon is another hour further on. This trail can get busy on the weekends but they are a friendly crowd so don’t be put off!
Something a Little More Challenging
For those looking for something a little more challenging, the Capital Crescent Trail and the Rock
Creek Park Trail, together offer a two to three hour circuit via Rock Creek Park, a defunct railway line
through Bethesda and Chevy Chase and the C & O Canal towpath. As it’s a circular route
you can start and finish anywhere along its length depending on where you live or can easily get to. Georgetown, Bethesda and the National Zoo provide excellent lunch stops!
The Trail for Mountain Bike Enthusiasts
For mountain bike enthusiasts I have two recommendations. Schaeffer Farms near Gaithersburg
MD has miles of wooded trails, all signposted so you won’t get lost and there are numerous man made and natural obstacles to test your technical skills. The Cabin John Trail, just outside the Beltway from Bethesda, is a pretty, steam side ride through the woods with a plentiful supply of tree roots, hills and ditches for an exciting ride. Both are free and offer ample parking.
DC’s weather is fairly predictable so a quick check on the forecast before you set off should ensure you are prepared for whatever nature throws at you. The best times of year to ride are obviously spring and all but in the summer you create your own cooling breeze just keep moving! Even in winter the skies are often sunny and shorter rides are still pleasant. All of the rides I have mentioned above are largely
trafficfree although the ride through Rock Creek does have several sections where you will have to share Beach Drive with cars and trucks but it’s not a busy road and the speed limit is 25mph. The road is closed to traffic at weekends allowing walkers and bikers to travel
unhindered. One last thing, stay safe and healthy, wear a helmet and take plenty of water.