I'm new to biking in DC, and I wanted to lead a group ride from Eastern Market to Hains Point/Mt. Vernon Trail. What's the best biking route? I was going to simply lead us all the way down Independence until 14th and then cut over. Any other suggestions?
15th St. (Raoul Wallenberg Place) would be much better unless you want to end up on Route 1!!! (YIKES!)
But if you want a lower traffic route you can go down Indy until 3rd then go up to Madison Dr. on the mall to 15th, it is a little more low key that way and back (Jefferson Drive) than dealing with Independence Ave.
There are some rough roads between Cap Hill and Haine's Point--particularly if you opt to go straight down Constitution or Independence from Pennsylvania SE / E Capitol / Maryland-Mass Ave. That said, that is my normal route (from the Potomac Ave Metro stop area): E Capitol to Constitution; down Madison Dr NW; cut through the park west of the mall / east of the Washington Monument to Raoul Wallenberg; and then down Ohio Dr. An alternative is to go south from the Hill on 11th St or 8th St SE to Maine Ave and just take Maine Ave all the way to the Tidal Basin.
Careful on 15th / Raoul Wallenberg Place crossing Maine Ave. The road in the intersection is bumpy and nasty--I almost bailed the first time I went over it.
I tend to avoid the Mall altogether -- along with the tourist congestion -- by heading straight down 4th Street, SE, to M St., SE. I turn right on M St. and follow it past S. Capitol St. to West Potomac Park.
A little off topic but, can anyone suggest a route from 14th & Independence to the path that runs along the Potomac at the Kennedy Center?
If you go up L'Enfant Plaza, there an entrance to the sidewalk along 395, which takes you right over there. I use that way if I'm coming from the north, but I usually come in from NW so I just go down Ohio off of rock creek.