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.
Continues after the jump.
This last section on beach is my favorite. It’s flat, and really easy to ride along because of a large shoulder on the road. You’ll ride this until the road ends in a “T” intersection with Garrett Park Road. At that point, you will find yourself at a small park with restrooms and water – so be sure to top off your bottle before heading home.
All told – the route took me just under an hour. I’m pretty sure that I was pushing myself to ride hard, so it could take you a little bit longer (or shorter, I’m really not very fast), especially so if you want to enjoy the scenery, rather than just burn off some calories. This is a great workout ride, or if you felt like traveling at a slower pace, half-day adventure ride. The park at the end makes a nice place to recover, and you can pretty easily have a picnic lunch there. I hope that you have fun out there.