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.
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.
Continues after the jump.
I started this path on the eastern side of Union Station. Following second street all the way until K street, the path is technically on the sidewalk. You should feel comfortable riding on the street if you like, 2nd Street NE is easy to bike on. The only real difficulty is making the left turn onto the sidewalk on K street and then riding around to the path. As long as you follow the lights, you’ll be able to get where you are going in one traffic cycle or less.
Once you get on the trail, you just need to follow it until it drops you off back on the street. The bike path continues on northbound, but you have arrived at Chocolate City Brewery. As you can see from the pictures, it’s not the prettiest building. Keep in mind it’s not a brewpub like you might be used to, it’s a commercial brewery, and they are only open to the public a couple of hours a week. I wasn’t sure I was in the right place until I looked down at the ground and saw small amounts of brewing grain outside the pub. When I checked in on foursquare, it was clear that I was in the right place. Here’s a pro-tip: arrive early because they do sell out of beer.
I would recommend this ride for all levels of experience, because the bike path is a really easy, fun ride. It was a nice and easy 4.5 miles. There is no need to stop at the brewery to enjoy this ride. You get to see some interesting parts of DC, some cool trail sculptures and art, the back of some buildings, and the metro up close. It’s my opinion that this multi-use path is exactly the type of thing we need to use, enjoy, and keep developing as a DC community.