Saturday, October 18, 2014

Over the River and into the Woods

Did you know that there is more to Washington, DC, than the northwest quadrant? Or that one can mountain bike within city limits? And that deer sometimes outnumber people? Welcome to my neighborhood.

Since the usual DC training hotspots of Hains Point, Rock Creek Park, and Poolesville can become crowded or just boring after awhile, here are a few alternatives:

  • Anacostia Park: Flat stretches with very little traffic--check. Outdoor pool--check. Free and easy parking--check. Sounds like Hains Point, right? Even better: no tour buses, no park service police ticketing people at stop signs, no flooding, and the roads are open 24/7. Plus, you can mix things up a bit by riding on the parallel trail west of the river. I like to do a route that involves crossing each of the four bridges. Oh, and there's also a pirate ship! 
  • They Don't Call it Hillcrest for Nothing: Want to train on some steep hills? Behold Ward 7. The Penn Ave SE climb is just the beginning. Try Naylor Road, Fort Baker Drive, 31st Street, or Park Drive. If you'd rather stick with a group, Bicycle Space offers a Hills of Anacostia ride on Saturdays.
Why hello there, neighbor! Also notice the steepness.

  • The Great Escape: The Fort Circle hiker-biker trail is city's best kept secret (or it was...oops). Think single track mountain biking amidst Civil War forts. I once went for a trail run here and saw nine deer and zero humans (present company excluded). 
No humans were harmed (or seen) in the making of this photo.

  • No Cue Sheet Required: Want to go for a decent ride without writing down directions...or even turning? Just take Mass Ave the whollllle way, Goldsboro Road to Southern Avenue. It's nearly 15 miles and transverses almost all of DC, from the mansions of Palisades to the PG County border. 
Have you tried these? Any others I should include? 


  1. Hey, I recognize those deer!

  2. Yes! They were in front of our house the other day. Elliott yelled out the window, "Hey! Get off my lawn!" grumpy old man style. They left...eventually.

  3. I found your blog searching for places to ride in D.C. I'm moving from Northern California, and I feel a little better about leaving all my hilly training routes. Thanks!

    1. Clair - That's great! Glad I could help. West of the city, River Road toward Poolesville has some nice rollers, and Skyline and Mt. Weather (~60 min west of DC) are great climbs in beautiful scenery. Hope to see you out there!