I've noticed the next few weeks are increasing the bike workouts in the NTP training plans.
Can anyone recommend other trails/areas in DC that are good for actual workouts (as opposed to basic rides). I've been getting my rides in primarily by biking to work on the weekdays and then longer rides on weekends.
I'm having trouble figuring out where to go in the city during the week that is conducive to actually riding at a decent place.
Do you use rock creek trails? That is the first thing that comes to mind, but I know the trails can get busy in the am and right after work.
Thanks in advance.
Have you tried Haines Point ? It's a good place to be during the weekday. I'm out there every Tu/Thur starting around 3:00 PM. You can go as fast or as slow as you want without worrying too much about cars. There is a 3 mile and a 6 mile loop that you can do for as long as you want. Many club members go there either before work or after work to put in a good workout.
Rock Creek is a bad option for biking during the workweek because the roads are not closed and it's a major commuter route for Marylanders.
McArthur Blvd from GTown toward MD is also a good option, There are some cars but you can still ride without much interruptions or fear of cars going 90 mph. However, there are some hills there that will make your heart rate rise a little bit.
I've quickly become a big fan of Haines Point. It's great for just going and going without having to stop or deal with much traffic. It's only a 10-15 min ride from where I live so I've started going there a lot.
Thanks. I know Haines Point pretty well, it's just the extra time required to get there during the week that is a bit of a drag, but doable. Thanks for the advice about Rock Creek, you confirmed my suspicions!
+1 on Hains Point/East Potomac Park. Great place for speedwork but be prepared for those wind gusts as you turn the corner and head up the west side. A couple weeks ago, during the tail end of the high wind weather, I was having difficulty just staying upright on that part of the loop. But normally the wind is not that bad.
I would avoid the Rock Creek Park Trail. It's barely suitable for riding. Much of it is too narrow for two-way traffic so you have to go really slowly when there are people coming down or up in the other direction. It's just not safe to get any real speed on that trail.
How is McArthur Blvd, River Road during week? I assume rush hour is not great idea...what is traffic like mid-morning to mid-afternoon?? Thanks! Andrea
If you're more of a newbie rider, looking for shorter rides, but wanting to get used to hills, there's the Crescent Trail. It's about 12-15 miles round trip, Georgetown-Bethesda. Crowded near Bethesda during the obvious times--weekend afternoons, weekdays after work--otherwise not. Modest, steady uphill, flying downhill. Bonus bagelries and Barnes&Noble at the top.
A little more ambitious, and off the beaten track, is to go from Gtown to Great Falls, along the canal path. Tho hybrids are ideal, the trail is hard enough packed for a road bike. And the scenery's like something out of Twain's Life on the Mississippi. Great lemonade at the national park. 25 miles round trip.
Be careful with the downhills on the Capital Crescent Trail (or any trail for that matter). There was a section just south of the DC/MD border that had a series of raised bumps, probably from unrepaired freeze-thaw damage. The bumps were very high, maybe 3 inches, and they lay at the middle of a long downhill straightaway. When I rode down the trail for the 1st time last summer, I hit those bumps going at a good clip. I was forced off the asphalt and onto the rough turf. I was heading right and saw that there was no place to go, other than a small embankment full of downed trees. I hit the brakes too hard and did a header over the handlebars. I landed hard on my left shoulder and suffered a cut on my eyebrow. Fortunately I landed on the grass, not the asphalt. My shoulder was sore for a month but I didn't have any other serious injuries. It could have been a lot worse.
I posted about the accident on the Friends of the CCT website. They forwarded my detailed message to the National Park Service. I also wrote about it on TheWashCycle (a WABA-sponsored blog/website). I found out that those bumps had been on the trail for at least 2 years. The NPS knew about them because they had spray-painted the tops of the ridges with fluorescent paint. But all of the paint had faded away and was not visible unless you were stationary and standing right next to that section.
I learned that the NPS sent out a repair crew that same week and fixed the bumps, likely in response to my email. I told them that someone was likely to die if they also went down that downhill without knowing about the bumps. Veteran riders had been riding around that section as there was a separate dirt track just off the side of the asphalt, right around the raised section.
I had gone fast on that section because it was a straightaway and I could see that no one was on the trail for a couple hundred yards ahead.
Though that problem was fixed, there may be similar problems on area trails after the freeze-thaw cycle of the winter and spring. Trails can also be crowded with pedestrians, runners and dog walkers (some of whom let out too much leash). In general, it's better to save your high-speed riding for the regular roads, which are much wider and generally in better condition.
Here's an excerpt from a blog post on WashCycle on a non-Hains Point place to cycle:
Previously I would go out to Hain's Point like a lot of other people. But lately I've been using the 2 mile stretch of Anacostia Drive SE between the railroad and Douglas Bridge. There's little traffic, it's closer to my house and I get to watch progress on several projects including the new 11th Street Bridge, the Anacostia trail bridges, the Park at the Yards and - with a slight detour - the streetcar along S. Capitol. FYI for those looking for another option.
I have no idea what they're talking about, but maybe you do. Hope it helps!