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Biking around Town Vol. 2 – To Franklin’s for a Beer

by Prince Of Petworth February 13, 2013 at 11:00 am 13 Comments

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 studied at the University of Maryland – that’s how I moved to this area. When I was a senior and of legal drinking age, I discovered Franklin’s – a brewpub and gift shop. It used to be so easy to get too by bicycle. From my house in Berwyn Heights, I could pick up the North West branch trail, and take it all the way there. It was pretty much perfect – I had easy access to fresh beer that I could port home in a growler.

Moving to the district made it harder to get to Franklin’s except by car, which is less than ideal because driving out to Hyattsville is annoying, and finding parking in DC when I get home makes the trip feel less worth it.

I wanted to find a reliable bike route to and from Hyattsville. So, I started experimenting with different routes, and eventually settled on what I am presenting today. There is debate as to the best route to Hyattsville from DC. Some people value U.S. Route 1 for it’s directness, but I don’t like how much traffic there is. Others prefer to use Michigan Ave, which turns into Queens Chapel Road and provides access to the bike path and other useful roads. I like to ride on Michigan, especially by the hospital, but when possible I prefer the bike path because there are no cars.

Continues after the jump.

This route begins at the Columbia Heights Metro station, and ends at Franklin’s brewpub. As you will no doubt notice, I traced this route backwards from Franklin’s to the start. When heading out, head out on Irving street, and merge (to the left) onto Michigan. On your way back, just follow the highlighted route. You would have thought that the map I made to the pub before I had beers would have been straighter and true-er, but you would be wrong. A big thanks to my friend Brian for rolling with me on this ride.

Also – I forgot to give a shout out to my friend Kevin who told me about the haines point bridge access.

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Ride Notes:

The bridge over the red line tracks by the Catholic U metro station can be a fast descent. There is some warping in the pavement on the right side of the right lane, along with debris. Please use caution.

At the intersection of Michigan Ave, 18th Street, and Varnum Street, you will pick up Varnum. The name of that street changes in the following sequence: Varnum street becomes Arundle road which becomes Allison street. Don’t worry about the name changes – all you have to do is stay on the same street.

At the closing of the ride, you reach the end of Decatur Street, and turn onto the bridge that crosses the train tracks, it’s probably safest to dismount your bike and walk. At that point you are 4 blocks from the destination. Be advised – there is usually glass on this sidewalk

Enjoy a beer when you arrive at your destination! I enjoyed the Black IPA, but the Oatmeal Stout is also good.

  • I bike commute from Mt. Rainier daily so I thought I’d offer some tips.
    First, I wouldn’t take Michigan all that way, turn off @ Monroe (bike lane till 12th) and then take a quick right then left onto Lawrence or Kearny (flatter). At 18th or 20th, take a left, then a right onto Newton. This will take you to RIA, which, while it still sucks in DC, isn’t terrible into MD (speed limit to 25 though, let’s be honest, most people don’t obey it). Make sure to take the lane! At the circle in Mt. Rainier (34th and RIA) take the 2nd exit for Perry St. (low traffic). Take a right on 38th and the first left once across the train tracks (Cottage Terrace/Bunker Hill). Follow that till you get to the trail on your left and follow that to Decatur St. (complete street). Take a R on Baltimore Ave across the bridge and Franklins is on your left at the bottom.
    Another option is to just take Rt. 1/RI Ave. once you’re in MD. There are usually a few cars parked in Mt. Rainier around the bus stop/library, but once past those, you can use the fairly substantial shoulder all the way up to Franklins. Cuts out some turns and is pretty direct/fairly safe.
    Even if you wanted to stick closer to the route you took, I’d take a right vs. left on Chillum/34th and a quick left on to Windom to 38th. That prevents that long/weird detour you took between 2 and 3.

  • andyn

    I just ride Rhode Island. It’s easy breezy.

  • Anonymous

    i hope franklins has stepped up their game since people now have other option nearby.
    i do like their beer though.

    • PG

      It’s the only brewpub in the area. And their beer and food has gotten a lot better in the last couple of years. Plus, they have that cool store next to the restaurant/bar.

      • Anonymous

        yeah, the store is fun! nothing like it in the beltway.
        and i just heard they were expanding, which is great for them.
        i’ve always liked the beer.

    • Um, Franklin’s IS inside the Beltway.

      I haven’t been there in a while, but I always liked it. And before the Hyattsville renaissance of recent years, Franklin’s was like an oasis — for people living in College Park and Hyattsville, it was pretty much the only cool place to go that was nearby.

      • Oops, that was supposed to be a reply to Anonymous 12:51.

      • Anonymous

        maybe i should i have said nothing ELSE like it inside the beltway. i thought that was clear. sorry.

  • Anonymous

    Great to see bike trip options up on PoP for those who want some exercise before/after their beer :-)

  • FlyingAce

    As someone who’s done 50K plus miles between Mt. Rainier & Adams Morgan over a 20 year commute, I always took the straight shot on Mich Ave all the way. But if you want to avoid the Mich Ave stretch around Brookland, I’d agree w/squaredeal and veer right on Monroe, but then follow the pine tree signage of the East Coast Greenway interim on-road route through Brookland (L on 12th, R on Randolf, L on 13th, R on Ritchie, L on 14th, R on Taylor, L on 19th, R on Varnum) into MD. Once you’re at 34th in Mt.R, I continue (against the one-way) on Allison to L on 37th/aka Grape onto the NW Branch Trail and R over the 1st bridge (or continue on Allison to L on 38th and R on the trail). It’s then more expeditious to turn L into Magruder Park, go to the exit & R on Hamilton (which I continue to follow the wrong way when the road forks instead of going over to Gallatin ). At the top of the hill a quick R on 42ndAve then a quick L back onto Gallatin (again the wrong way… I really never do this except on these particular roads- they should have contra-flow bike lanes!) takes you to Rt1 directly across from Franklin’s. Park at the new goofy bike rack & enjoy the chow & suds!!

    • I’ll have to check out the East Coast Greenway route Flying Ace…good stuff.

      • I should have probably added that I’ve only been doing this since June last year and I’m a bit hesitant to give up my route simply b/c it works for me and I’m always worried I’ll get dumped onto a car sewer.

  • Ed

    A good reason to ride your bike to Franklins would be their beer release and anniversary party on Sunday, Feb. 23rd. They’re launching two barrel-aged sour beers, their anniversary lager, and giving brewery tours and things. It’s basically all day (11am-9pm).

    My wife and I eat/mostly drink here at least every other week. I suppose that’s sorta sad, but I’m okay with it.


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