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Biking around Town is written by Josh Nadas (@dcliterate), a daily bike commuter & avid rider who lives in Mount Pleasant. Josh previously wrote about biking to ice cream in Old Town Alexandria.

For this installment of Biking Around Town, I wanted to get some fresh fruit and veggies. I decided that it would be fun to ride to the Takoma Park Co-Op. As I was planning this ride, it struck me that there are two different ways to get there – so I rode out one way, and back another. For your convenience, I have edited the maps and described two, one-way routes that start in DC and end in Takoma Park.

The first route begins at the intersection of Park and Mount Pleasant street, NW. Head north up Mount Pleasant, and continue north on 17th street. As you descend down toward the parkway be advised that the sight lines are not great. Make a right on the parkway and continue a short ways to Arkansas avenue and make a right. You’ll continue along Arkansas until you get to 13th, where you will make a left and continue north. Be prepared, it’s a little bit hilly. Follow 13th until you reach Georgia avenue. Cross Georgia and continue on Piney Branch road. At this point you can find a bike lane, which makes the ride easier.

As you continue you’ll cross Eastern avenue on your way to Philadelphia avenue, and you will want to take advantage of a little side street that enables you to make the right onto Philadelphia more easily. Continue up Philadelphia until you get to Carroll avenue, where you will make a left. The Co-Op will be just on your left as you ride down Carroll. (more…)

08/08/13 12:30pm

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Biking around Town is written by Josh Nadas (@dcliterate), a daily bike commuter & avid rider who lives in Mount Pleasant. Josh previously wrote about tips for buying a bike on craigslist.

What’s better after a bike ride in August besides Ice Cream? Okay, fine – beer is really nice – but sometimes you just want ice cream. Let’s ride to Old Town Alexandria to check out two different ice cream shops, so you can pick your favorite. On the one side of the street is Pop’s, and on the other side is the Scoop Grill and Ice Cream. When I went, I had Pop’s – so I can’t say definitively which is better, nor am I qualified to do so. I’ll leave that to you in the comments section. Here’s one route that works well to get to Old Town.

I started behind the Jefferson Memorial. That spot is the confluence of several bike trails, as well as a couple of significant roadways. The route that I have highlighted is about six miles long, and is a pretty easy ride. This section of the Mount Vernon Trail can have a lot of traffic, so be courteous to your fellow trail users, announce when you are passing, and you should have a really nice ride. (more…)

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Biking around Town is written by Josh Nadas (@dcliterate), a daily bike commuter & avid rider who lives in Mount Pleasant. Josh previously wrote about the National Arboretum.

Did you know that there is a really cool skate park underneath highway 695? If you have not been there yet, it’s definitely worth checking out. There are some talented riders and skaters, so if you go when the weather is good you might get to see some fancy tricks. I rode out here with my road bike, but I am definitely coming back with my mountain bike so I can be one of the cool kids and ride around under the bridge. There are lots of ramps, jumps, and cool things to check out, if you are into that sort of thing. Don’t go out there trying to be Danny McCaskill, ride smart and be safe at the skate park.

I started the route from Lincoln Park. You’ll start out by heading west on East Capitol street, until you reach 8th street, where you will make a left turn. Follow 8th street, and make a right onto North Carolina Ave, where you will make a left onto 3rd street. Heading south on 3rd street, you’ll make a right onto South Carolina Avenue, and continue for a block where you can make a left into the park. Follow the path all the way down, and you should be able to see the skate park at that point.

This ride is a short, one mile ride from where I started the route. It’s also relatively flat, and most of the roads are easy to ride on. The skate park very well decorated with graffiti, and is worth checking out even if you are just passing by on your way to a Nats game or something. I think that you’ll be able to ride from start to finish in about fifteen minutes. Sometimes the best rides are short – enjoy this one.

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06/27/13 11:00am

national_arboretum
Photo by PoPville flickr user caroline.angelo

Biking around Town is written by Josh Nadas (@dcliterate), a daily bike commuter & avid rider who lives in Mount Pleasant. Josh previously wrote about Teddy Roosevelt Island.

Ed. Note: The National Arboretum: “is now CLOSED every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday because of the sequester cuts. We are open Friday through Monday, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.”

Located relatively close to the New Columbia Distillers, is the National Arboretum. It’s one of my favorite places to ride because there is an epic collection of flora and fauna, courtesy of the United States Forest Service. The arboretum is set up such that once you enter the grounds, there are very few cars, and most of them are moving fairly slowly. It makes for a really pleasant place to ride your bike.

I started this route on the east side of Union Station, on Union Station Drive. You’ll head up that street for a block, and make your first left onto K street, then you will make your next left turn, which is onto North Capital, and then one more immediate left turn onto H street. I know that’s a bit round-about, but it’s not super easy to cross the train tracks. Depending on your approach, you may not need to mess around with multiple left turns, but I wanted to start the route from Union Station, because it is such a central location.

You’ll travel down H street until you have the opportunity to make a slight left turn onto Maryland Avenue. You’ll take Maryland ave until you reach 17th street, where you will make a left onto 17th street. Eventually 17th merges into Bladensburg road, which is probably the least-pleasant part of this ride. I deliberately kept you off this road for as long as possible, because traffic moves pretty fast. Unfortunately, the Arboretum entrance is off of Bladensburg, so you have to use it at some point. However, if you use this route it’s only a short distance on Bladensburg road, and you’ll shortly make a right onto R street. Ride down R until it ends, and you will reach the entrance to the arboretum. So you know, there is a wide sidewalk on Bladensburg that you can use if you are not comfortable riding on that part of the road. I think it’s fine to ride on the road as long as you are careful, but this information maximizes your options. (more…)

05/30/13 1:30pm

Green Hat

The New Columbia Distilling Company (located at 1832 Fenwick St NE Washington, DC), are the producers of Green Hat Gin and they will happily let you visit the distillery when you come by between the hours of 9am and 5pm Monday through Friday. If you come by on Saturdays between 1pm and 4pm, they offer gin tasting to go with your tour. Unlike the last time I visited an alcoholic beverage producer, I managed to show up when they were actually open. I was able to sample the new spring gin – it’s excellent.

Getting to the distillery was a little bit harder for me because I’m not as familiar with the streets in Northeast DC. Additionally, there are parts of northeast where the grid isn’t quite so… grid-like. Anyhow, I found a route composed of relatively quite roads, that should get you there easily. I will mention that there are a good number of small hills along this ride, so give your brakes a quick test before you head out. (Note: you should always do this).

I started the ride at 14th and Harvard street (NW). Heading eastbound on Harvard, I continued along until I reached Michigan Ave, south of the hospital. I continued on Michigan, until I reached Franklin Avenue, where I made a right to pick up Franklin. Franklin is pretty easy to ride on, but there are some of those rolling hills that I mentioned earlier. You’ll continue on Franklin all the way until you reach 14th street NE, which will be a right turn.

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05/16/13 11:00am

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Biking around Town is written by Josh Nadas (@dcliterate), a daily bike commuter & avid rider who works for the National Park Service, and lives in Mount Pleasant. Josh previously wrote about the Anacostia Riverwalk Ride.

One of the most well-worn bike routes around town is beach drive. It due in part to the fact that a good chunk of this ride is closed to cars on the weekend and the route has a couple of hills that are fun without being too challenging (according to the map statistics, you only gain approximately 300 feet of elevation, and I added in hills as I describe below). The parts of this ride that do have cars on the road, the cars are generally well-behaved because they expect bikes to be there. Unfortunately, this isn’t true everywhere or all the time, but it helps.

I started the map down in Rock Creek Park, at the part of Beach drive where the weekend car-free zone begins. The name of the article is fairly intuitive regarding the route – we will be riding along beach drive today all the way to Garret park. However, I chose to take a side route up and around ridge road because I wanted an extra hill. If you are not interested in this part, you can feel free to start pedaling up Beach drive; it’s easy to pick up the rest of the route. As a reminder, Ridge, make the right turn onto Ross drive in order to get back to beach, don’t follow ridge too far.

As you descend down Ross drive, make a right turn and then a quick left to make sure that you go under the Military Road Bridge. At that point, you’ll be riding up Beach Drive, until you reach a bit of a funny intersection at the bottom of a hill. You have the option of continuing to the left on Beach Dr, or going to the right on Beach Drive, NW. (I apologize for how un-intuitive that is). Make sure you head to the left, and continue until you get to east-west highway. At that point, the name of the road changes to Jones Mill Road. Be sure to follow traffic lights and patterns for this part of the ride, it’s a residential area with a decent amount of traffic. Take Jones Mill all the way to the 495 beltway, where you should keep your eyes peeled for a left turn after you pass underneath the bridge, because you’ll be picking up Beach Drive again.

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04/25/13 11:00am

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Biking around Town is written by Josh Nadas (@dcliterate), a daily bike commuter & avid rider who works for the National Park Service, and lives in Mount Pleasant.

This week, I got a suggestion from my friend Greg to ride along the Anacostia river walk. He had run along the river and enjoyed it, so I decided to ride it. I managed to stay on bike trail for just about the entire ride, and for the parts that I wasn’t able to – I modified my GPS map for your benefit. I made a wrong turn and strayed into Virginia, which takes away from the directness of the route, despite the benefit of additional mileage.

I started the ride in Rock Creek Park, and followed the bike path all the way down to Haines Point. From there I did a hot lap around the point, and took my favorite path across to the Fish Market and Water Street. That’s more or less where the Anacostia river walk begins, and you are able to follow signs for the rest of the ride. The final river walk trail is still in development, so this path represents the current detour down by Buzzard point. I had never been there, and was surprised at how industrial that part of DC looks. It was kinda cool to see that part of town, and to ride by the Coast Guard Headquarters, but it’s not exactly picturesque.

Once you get to the Frederick Douglass Bridge, it’s smooth sailing across the bridge and onto the trail. Upon crossing the water, you can blast off up the trail. There were some folks playing and fishing, but it’s a lot less crowded than the trails that follow the Potomac river. The day I rode the weather was spectacular, and I was the only cyclist on the trail when I was out. I followed the trail as far as I could – there is a fantastic looking bridge over the train tracks that is blocked for the time being. The bridge looks really nice, and I am looking forward to it’s official opening. Using the magic of mapping, I went ahead and drew the path as it continues on for a while longer. I rode around to the end and found the paved path ending in a pile of trail work equipment.

Continues after the jump. (more…)

04/09/13 11:30am

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Biking around Town is written by Josh Nadas (@dcliterate), a daily bike commuter & avid rider who works for the National Park Service, and lives in Mount Pleasant.

We are pretty blessed in Washington DC to have the Chesapeake and Ohio (C&O) Canal Towpath available to us to ride on pretty much whenever. The path is car free, relatively flat, and generally uncongested – it has the makings of a great ride. It’s hard to write a lot more about the canal trail itself, because there is not much new to say.

One of the things I like about the canal is the opportunity to see wildlife. When I rode out on the trail, it was a bit drizzly and cool. The upside of which was the trail was nearly deserted and there was a ton of avian life. I was able to spot several different kinds of bird, and when I stopped for a snack, a turtle.

The trail itself is really easy to ride. It’s perfect for just about anyone, and any type of bike. The only bike I would not put on the trail is a skinny tire road bike. Pretty much anything with a flat bar is going to be okay, as long as you have reasonably fat tires. The path is a mixture of crushed gravel and sand, so having a slightly wider tire or some tread is desirable. The perfect bike is a cyclocross bike if you have one. I rode my single speed mountain bike, which was a little bit less than ideal but still fun.

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03/21/13 11:00am

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Biking around Town is written by Josh Nadas (@dcliterate), a daily bike commuter & avid rider who works for the National Park Service, and lives in Mount Pleasant.

I love Italian markets. There are a couple around DC, and the Italian Store is one of my favorites. Their pizza is legendary, and their sandwiches are some of my favorites around town. The store also boasts an impressive selection of prepared Italian food, frozen pastas, and sauces. I could go on and on, but safe to say it’s a great store. Here’s how to get there:

I started this route at New Hampshire and M street NW. From there, you want to take M street westbound all the way to the Key bridge. Take the sidewalk to cross the bridge. While that sounds simple, there are a lot of cars on M street, and the left hand turn onto the sidewalk to cross the bridge involves either dismounting and walking or patience through 1-2 light cycles to accomplish it safely.

Getting through Georgetown is the hardest part of the ride. Once you get onto the sidewalk of the bridge, the entire rest of the route is the paved trail until you get to the shopping center where the Italian Store is located. The only part where you need to be careful is crossing the intersection with the GW parkway. Promise me that your going to wait for the light – okay? Even with the light be aware that there are people in the right lane turning right – it’s an unusually busy crossing.

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03/13/13 1:30pm

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Biking around Town is written by Josh Nadas (@dcliterate), a daily bike commuter & avid rider who works for the National Park Service, and lives in Mount Pleasant.

This ride has to be my biggest mistake so far. I went to a brewery, but failed to actually go when I could buy some beer. I’m hoping that you will overlook this lapse in judgement and read on to find out more about the Metropolitan Branch Trail. It’s a great pathway that runs through the central part of DC, and provides an excellent north south route from Union Station all the way to Silver Spring. The trail is not totally complete yet, and this route only represents a portion of the whole trail. My goal was to get you from a relatively central point in town to the Brewery.

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The trail itself is on either a quiet street with a bike lane, or an off street multi-use pathway. There is good signage everywhere, except at the K street underpass where you actually get off the road. Oddly they did not install a nice “left turn here” sign. Going northbound on the trail felt like a slight false flat going upwards, but it was very slight. This is a great pathway for riders of all skill levels, and is definitely a great commuting artery for anyone trying to get between Northeast DC and downtown.

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