Archives for category: Places to Ride

The Mount Vernon Trail is 18 miles long and runs between George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate and Theodore Roosevelt Island with a whole lot to see and do in between.

We recently rode it and started in Old Town Alexandria and headed up towards Theodore Roosevelt Island.

The Lincoln and Washington Monuments

Parking

We ended up doing street parking in Old Town Alexandria since I couldn’t find a lot specifically for the trail. Along the ride we came across Gravelly Point Park which would be a great place to park and also watch the planes coming from and leaving Reagan National Airport. Once we had been to the end and back we headed a little further south and found a huge parking lot located underneath the Woodrow Wilson Bridge, Jones Point Park. This was especially nice because it had air conditioned restrooms. Our ride was an afternoon during the week. So I imagine that this lot may be pretty busy on the weekend but can’t say for sure.

The Ride

We followed signs to the trail from where we had parked and promptly found that section to be closed. So we rode around a little and just ended up following South Union Street to where the trail really resumed. There are lots of parks in this section and it doesn’t appear that the trail is super continuous along the river here. South Union Street has a marked bike line and was easy to ride. I think from looking at maps and more research after the ride that this is actually the intended route for the Mount Vernon Trail but it is just poorly marked.

Once that was sorted out it was super easy to follow. The trail is actually very well signed with points of interest and distances to them along the route. You could certainly grab your bike and spend

The trail is well marked.

a full day using the Mount Vernon Trail to site see.

There is access to Arlington National Cemetery from the trail. Of course Mount Vernon on one end and Theodore Roosevelt Island on the other end. Bikes aren’t allowed on the Island but there is a bike rack to secure your bike to. Lady Bird Johnson Park, downtown Rosslyn, VA, the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial and Old Town Alexandria are a few more places of interest to explore. You can also ride your bike across the Woodrow Wilson Bridge to National Harbor. Which is what we are planning on doing during our next ride in this area. Access is also available the Washington and Old Dominion Trail that will run you 45 miles outside of town to Purcellville.

Mount Vernon Trail Boardwalk

A section crossing wetlands on the    Mount Vernon Trail

I was quickly impressed by the diversity this trail offered during the ride. Out of the city and I was soon on a path paralleling the Potomac with residential high rises. Then before you knew it I was on a boardwalk riding in a wet land area which then opened up to a public park. Shortly after that we were passing a marina followed by Reagan National Airport. Often we stopped to take in the sites and snap a few pictures. National Monuments are in almost every direction you look. Each view better than the next. Then we came across Gravelly Point Park. Which as I mentioned

Flying overhead

before has lot of parking but more interestingly this park is literally part of the approach to Reagan Nationals Airport. The planes fly directly overhead. So if you are looking for peace and quiet this may not be the place for you but there is plenty to see.

The trail is rolling but certainly should be able to be ridden by anyone who can ride a bike. It isn’t as flat as a rail to trail trail but I wouldn’t let that scare any rider away. It also has a convenient yellow strip down the center to remind users where they need to be on the trail.

The trail comes to an unceremonious end at Theodore Roosevelt Island. There is a ramp there that looks like it heads into Rosslyn so you can continue to explore.

The trail wasn’t super busy but as we got later in the afternoon more people commuting on the trail started showing up and more people were using it for their afternoon workout. I imagine based on its location it could be busy but it is still worth checking out.

After our return towards the car we headed a little further south from our starting point and rode a few miles south of Old Town. Here the trail started to become less city in nature and more open space. We didn’t ride all the way to Mount Vernon but returned to our car where we did drive all the way to the end to check out the rest of the trail.

The further south you get from Old Town Alexandria you certainly get out of the city and come across some parks and then end up riding thru residential areas before the trail reaches Mount

Vernon. This section looked to be very enjoyable in many cases you lost sight of the trail from George Washington Memorial Parkway. As the trail hides it’s self in the “woods” and does cross the Parkway in a few places. You also pass by Fort Hunt Park.

Our next ride on the Mount Vernon Trail we plan to park at National Harbor and ride across the Woodrow Wilson Bridge and head south to Mount Vernon. If you haven’t explored the Mount Vernon Trail I encourage you to do so.

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The Western Maryland Rail Trail (WMRT) is 22.5 mile long rails to trail that runs from Pearre Station, Maryland on the west end to Fort Frederick on the eastern most end.

The trail is paved and being a rails to trail trail it is relatively flat. During our ride we saw cyclists, walkers and an in line skater. I imagine in the winter this would also be a good cross country ski trail. (Not sure if they clear it of snow.)

Canal access in Hancock from the Western Maryland Rail Trail

My wife and I chose to start in Hancock and ride to towards Pearre Station. We had learned from talking to friends that this was the more scenic portion of the trail. The portion heading east parallels 70 much more closely. You can see the trail from 70 in several sections. Yet this section also has more access to services so if you are a thru traveler this section may come as a welcomed relief, as may a paved trail. The Western Maryland Rail Trail should certainly be considered as a route option for those riding the Great Allegheny Passage and C & O Canal between Pittsburgh and Washington, DC.

Parking and Access

Access to the trail is very easy with parking just off of Interstate 70 in Hancock. We parked at the first WMRT lot that was signed off 70 in Hancock. We rode during a weekday and the lot looked to be used primarily as a Park and Ride lot. Access to the trail was easily found at the end of the lot. As we rode into Hancock there was more parking, free parking looked limited but there was a metered lot. This was about .4 miles from where we parked.

Heading in this direction Hancock is one of the last places to access services. The services are marked by signs on the trail which is super convenient. On the western end of Hancock is C & O

Services Signage

Bicycles in case you need anything. Others who have ridden the trail tell me services are more plentiful east of Hancock but the section we rode is much more scenic. We did pass a trail side B&B during our ride and some houses had coolers with bottled water if you needed to top off.

Hancock provides access to both the Western Maryland Rail Trail and the C & O Canal. It is also home to a visitor center for the Canal with a lot just prior to the one we parked in for the WMRT.

The Ride

The view just gets better.

This is a unique rail trail as it is very scenic with cuts through stone etc. following the old rail bed. Lots of energy was used in creating this trail when it is was being built. The trail is in pretty good shape with the usual ripples in the trail from roots breaking the pavement but it isn’t terrible. There are lots of historical markers and even a B&B along the way. Distances are marked with white posts in one mile increments.

 

We rode to Pearre on the western end of the trail and returned the same way. We had a little side trip down a road to a valley to view a waterfall we could hear from the trail. The trail end is a crossing over place to the canal at Lock 56. There aren’t many places to cross between the trails in this section but it is possible in some areas.

Western Maryland Rail Trail

Enjoying the scenery on the western Maryland Rail Trail

The WMRT runs “above” the Canal in this portion and it does so for the entire length. While we rode an out and back on the WMRT one ride option would be to ride the C & O Canal for part of your ride and then “loop” back on the WMRT. This would make your return ride a little easier on the paved Western Maryland Rail Trail versus the gravel surface of the C&  O Canal. Plus you would get two perspectives from your ride.

The trail is on the narrower side then some rails to trails but plenty wide to ride and pass other cyclists. We saw lots of wildlife along the way and had a great day of riding. While this Western Maryland Rail Trail would be fun to ride any time of year I imaging the fall foliage would be spectacular. We’ll certainly be back to check out the rest of the trail and enjoy the foliage.

From Jon Korin of Bike AAA:

The weather is perfect so if you’re not already out riding, now is the time to dust off your bike, pump the tires, strap on your helmet and ride!    There are a variety of events coming up so pick one or more and start pedaling!

Bike 2 Work May 15 Ride to work on National Bike to Work Day!    There will be a variety of meetup points and pitstops around the county with a main event with County Exec Steve Schuh, Mayor Mike Pantelides, County Councilman Chris Trumbauer (all biking) and others  at Market House Annapolis at 8:30 AM.   More details at www.bike2workcentralmd.com – Editors Note: Crofton Bike Doctor will be at the Odenton MARC/Amtrak Station

Ride of Silence LogoMay 20 Ride of Silence.  a global event in memory of cyclists killed or severely injured.    Our first Annapolis Ride of Silence in memory of Trish Cunningham and Tom “Doc” Heslin, both lost
in 2013, will begin at Bates Middle School in Annapolis with meetup at 630pm and a slow, silent 10 mile ride to Bay Ridge and back.    An important way to remember the fallen and convey a message of safety to drivers and cyclists.   Details and free registration at www.bit.ly/annapolis-ros

 

Lifeline LogoLifeline100 Earlybird Registration until June 1.   The second annual Lifeline100  on October 18, 2015 offers 100 and 65 mile scenic rides through the county as well as 30 and 15 mile trail-only rides plus a free children’s bike rodeo and Make Health Happen health fair, all at Kinder Farm Park in Millersville.    Discount registration is open until June 1.     For details visit www.lifeline100.com . Editors Note: Bike Doctor is a proud sponsor of this ride and I we are looking forward to it this year!

 

 

National Bike Challenge.  Every year from May to September, People for Bikes runs the National Bike Challenge – free registration at  www.nationalbikechallenge.org.   This is a fun way to log your miles and participate as our county competes with other areas of the country .    Prizes are randomly drawn from participants, but you have to score more points to be able to win the top prizes. This isn’t a speed contest, as points are awarded for daily riding and total miles.  You can manually log your rides, or the challenge can now sync with your Strava, Endomondo, or Map My Ride accounts.  You can look at where you stand within your city, county, or state, as well as nationwide.

 

 

Bike AAA Logo

Bicycle Advocates for Annapolis & Anne Arundel County  (“BikeAAA”)

A 501c3 non-profit promoting safe cycling for transportation, recreation & fitness

www.bikeaaa.org

www.facebook.com/groups/bikeaaa

 

There is no lack of trails to explore in the Maryland, Northern Virginia and District of Columbia. Below are just a few of them. Looking for areas in Delaware? Rick is a great resources for areas to ride in Delaware.

Fountainhead Regional Park:

The park also boasts one of the most challenging mountain bike trails in the region, which features a stacked loop system, with a beginner level loop that newer and younger riders can stay on, or riders can continue on the connecting intermediate loop, and then on to an advanced loop.   The course includes the beginner and intermediate loops and boardwalk, trail bridges and technical trail features to create a challenging and exciting ride for cyclists of all abilities.

Learn More or visit the Facebook page which is a great resource.

Jim Thorpe Pennsylvania:

The Jim Thorpe area in Pennsylvania offers mountain biking for beginners and advanced riders.  Trail lengths vary from “epic” to “cake walk.”

The  Lehigh Gorge Trail is nearby: here where you can enjoy 3 – 5 hours of down hill on crushed gravel.  Stop by the shop to pick up a brochure. Jim Thorpe offers too many other activities to list.  If carriage rides are your thing, you got it.

Learn more about  Jim Thorpe.

Patapsco Valley State Park

Nationally known for advanced off-road trails, its nickname is “Moab of the East.”  But there are trails here for all skill levels, like the paved, circuit trail to the Swinging Bridge, a 300-foot walkway over the river. We can recommend trails, based on skill and trail conditions.  This park is just off Route 1 South.

Maryland DNR information on the park, click here.

Rosaryville State Park:

Rosaryville is a 982 acre day-use park and is the location of the historic Mount Airy Mansion. Miles of trails for hiking, biking and horse riding. This park is suitable for all riding levels.  It has some of the coolest, smoothest single-track in the area. The main loop is approximately 10 miles. For a real challenge there’s an inner loop trail that is tight and technical.

This is a great trail system for the first time mountain biker or beginner.

To enter the park, make a right, just south of Osborne Road while traveling south on U.S. 301. Maryland DNR information is here.

Arundel High School Trails

Arundel is a great place for beginners to start to develop their mountain biking skills. The trail head is located behind the school and many of the trails make up the schools cross country trails. Consisting of  two parts; one behind the school and then another set of trails with a fire road on the other side of the creek that runs through the woods. A great feature of Arundel is the variety of terrain represented in such a small area. You won’t get super long segments but something to test your skills on or learn new ones. The loops don’t have to be so long that if someone wanted to sit out a loop they certainly could. There is even a work out circuit along the back side of the fields if you are so inclined. The best place to park is by the courts between the high school and elementary school.

We have plenty of other great places to recommend for riding. Just stop by or give us a call and we will be happy to help.

Another installment of our Places to Ride Series. Hybrid bicycles are especially versatile, so check out our Places to Ride posts for fitness bicycle and dual sport bicycles. Some of those locations are appropriate for hybrids bicycles as well

Torrey C. Brown Trail – Formerly the Northern Central Railroad Trail (NCRT):

Twenty miles long.  Blissful pedaling on smooth, hard-packed gravel, through quiet countryside. It begins at Ashland Road in the Hunt Valley, and goes to the MD state line.

You can begin at Ashland Road, but on weekends expect heavy use and limited parking. There’s less congestion north of the old Monkton Railroad Station, which is now a kiosk with restrooms.  There’s a café here, too, serving something for everyone.

At the MD/PA line continue all the way to York, PA, if you’ve got the legs, on the York County Heritage Trail.

Click here for more information or York County Heritage Trail.

Cross Island Trail, Kent Island, MD:

 A 5.8 mile ride from Terrapin Nature Area to the Chesapeake Exploration Center, at Kent Narrows.  Walk, bike or skate.  Great views of Chesapeake Bay and tributaries.  Just off Rt. 50, decent parking, we recommend parking at the East end and not in Terrapin park.  Click here for more information.

Western Maryland Rail Trail:

This paved trail begins just west of historic Fort Frederick State Park and follows an easy grade along 25 miles of the Potomac River. You can also make a circuit with the C & O Canal trail.  Click here for more information.

Check out our Places to Ride Fitness Bike post to learn about the B&A Trail, BWI Trail and WB&A Trail.

We have plenty of other great places to recommend for riding. Just stop by or give us a call and we will be happy to help.

The dual sport bike allows you to exercise your sense of adventure when you feel like it. On our Places to Ride – Dual Sports below we have listed unimproved trails. Yet they are just at home on trails that hybrid or fitness bike riders enjoy. So be sure to check out the other posts in this series. The trail network in downtown DC is another great area where the dual sport bike shines. It is the perfect bike to explore the monuments on.

C & O Canal Trail:

This gravel trail runs 184 miles, from Cumberland to Georgetown on the old canal towpath. A bucolic, 10-mile stretch along the Potomac River begins at White’s Ferry, near Poolesville.  Many cyclists take a few days and ride its entire length. Lots of history and scenery, all the way.

Click  here for more information.

If you are looking for a very long ride, try the Great Allegheny Passage (GAP). Its southern end, begins slightly north of the C&O Canal (there is a route linking the two). Fantastic quiet and scenery all the way to Pittsburgh, PA. Find campgrounds, hotels and B&B’s, enroute. Note: I am working on plans to ride the entire route on my dual sport bike.

Torrey C. Brown Trail – Formerly the Northern Central Railroad Trail (NCRT):

Twenty miles long.  Blissful pedaling on smooth, hard-packed gravel, through quiet countryside. It begins at Ashland Road in the Hunt Valley, and goes to the MD state line.You can begin at Ashland Road, but on weekends expect heavy use and limited parking. There’s less congestion north of the old Monkton Railroad Station, which is now a kiosk with restrooms.  There’s a café here, too, serving something for everyone.At the MD/PA line continue all the way to York, PA, if you’ve got the legs, on the York County Heritage Trail.Click here for more information or York County Heritage Trail.Rosaryville State Park:

This is a great trail system to get your tires dirty on your dual sport! Rosaryville is a 982 acre day-use park and is the location of the historic Mount Airy Mansion. Miles of trails for hiking, biking and horse riding. This park is suitable for all riding levels.  It has some of the coolest, smoothest single-track in the area. The main loop is approximately 10 miles. For a real challenge there’s an inner loop trail that is tight and technical.

To enter the park, make a right, just south of Osborne Road while traveling south on U.S. 301. Maryland DNR information is here.

We have plenty of other great places to recommend for riding. Just stop by or give us a call and we will be happy to help.

So many places to ride, so little time. Now that is a good problem to have. There are many things that make living in this area truly special and one of them, at least in my book are the many places to ride, no matter what type of riding you enjoy. We will be doing a series of posts outlining places to ride based on bike type. Of course these are just a representative of the places and some of our favorites. If these don’t interest you please let us know and we can make more recommendations.

Places to Ride

Oxford and St. Michaels: (a great road riding location also)

Located on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, this is possibly one of the best places to ride in the state. This is a perfect weekend getaway area with great cycling and plenty to keep you entertained for the weekend. St. Michaels has some wonderful B&B’s and restaurants to feed your hunger after a great day of riding. Be sure to check out the Oxford Bellevue Ferry while you are there. If you don’t want to spend your entire time riding there are plenty of other activities close by such as golf and sailing.

Below is a Cue Sheet from a local B&B on one of the basic ride routes.

Ride Description: Beginning in Easton, Cycling to Oxford & St. Michaels, Returning to Easton – 35.4 Miles Cue Sheet

Cross Island Trail, Kent Island, MD:

A 5 mile ride from Terrapin Nature Area to the Chesapeake Exploration Center, at Kent Narrows.  Walk, bike or skate.  Great views of Chesapeake Bay and tributaries.  Just off Rt. 50, decent parking, we recommend parking at the East end and not in Terrapin park.  Click here for more information.

 

Western Maryland Rail Trail:

This paved trail begins just west of historic Fort Frederick State Park and follows an easy grade along 25 miles of the Potomac River. You can also make a circuit with the C & O Canal trail.  Click here for more information.

Local Favorites

W B & A Trail: Odenton, MD

It is 3.8 miles long and it runs from Piney Orchard Parkway and Odenton Road to Bragers Road, while passing through the Piney Orchard Nature Trail.  It is accessible from the bike shop, via Waugh Chapel Road. Though this road is not recommended for children, the bike trail is fine for them.

WB & A TRAIL INFORMATION:

Baltimore & Annapolis Trail:

Runs from Annapolis, MD to BWI Airport.  It is 10 feet wide and follows an old railroad route for more than 13 miles.  There are many places to start a ride.  Do any distance you like.  It has a rural feel, generally, and is suitable for wheelchairs and rollerblades.

It also joins the 12.5-mile Baltimore Washington International Trail (BWI), which loops the airport.

http://www.dnr.state.md.us/greenways/b&a_trail.html

The BWI Trail:

This 12.5 mile trail is popular for its distance, workout and amenities.  There is access from the Airport Observation Area, on Dorsey Road (parking, playground, picnic tables, planes right overhead). Ask us how to link the trail with local back roads for a long road ride.  For more info:

http://www.dnr.state.md.us/greenways/bwi_trail.html

 

We have plenty of other great places to recommend for riding. Just stop by or give us a call and we will be happy to help.

Lets face it the best part of riding is riding with friends. The next best thing about riding is riding with friends in new places. We strive to help you find great places to ride. Below is a review of organized rides one of our customers did for 2013. If you need help in finding our selecting rides please let us know, we would love to help. We also welcome your feedback.

Note – The opinions expressed below are that of the writer and have not been edited or modified by us.

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My review of organized bike events for 2013

For the bike season of 2013, I had a tremendous opportunity to experience a large number of organized bicycle events. Here is my review of those event.

Let’s start with my favorites:

Seagull Century, October 5- Salisbury, MD: the Super Bowl of Chesapeake region riding. 100 miles for me. Very well organized, over 7,000 participants, 25 years, so they know what they are doing. Typical bike ride food with a pie and ice cream stop on the last stop. Terrain is very flat but usually it is windy. Very Scenic, but I did the Snow Hill route, not Assateague. Routes of 62 and 100 miles are available. Also most stops have live music. Fee around $60. 5th year I have done this one.

Ride for Hunger, Calvert County April 27- Huntingtown, MD: 62 miles to raise money to fight hunger in Calvert County. Extremely well run, top quality food throughout, participants around 1,000. Terrain is gently rolling but a good amount of climbing. Very scenic featuring views of farmland, the Bay, a marina and lots of diverse types of trees. Multiple distances from 10 to 62 are available. Fee around $50. 1st year I have participated.

Cap to Cap, May 11- Richmond or Williamsburg VA: 100 miles to raise money for the bike/walking trail being built between Williamsburg and Richmond, VA. Very well run, good food, good level of participation at around 1,500 bikers. Terrain is mostly flat a few very gentle climbs. Actually get to see some true American history and the trail is about 35% complete. Fee around $50-75. 2013 was my first participation.

Six Pillars, May 4, Cambridge, MD: Very scenic, good support, food good on ride, wonderful at end of ride featuring many healthy options. Multiple loops thru Blackwater Nature Refuge, lots of nature, water, birds, likely to see Bald Eagle. Multiple distances from 11, 37 56 and 100 miles. Fee of $50 goes to supports Character Counts that helps 8,000 kids in local market. 4th year of doing this event, never disappoints.

Read the rest of this entry »

seagull centuryFrom Sea Gull Century:

Since times are busy and calendars are full, Sea Gull Century wants you to know the 26th Annual Sea Gull Century will be held on:

September 27th, 2014.

Please Save the Date! We hope to see you there.  If you have any questions please call us at 410-548-2772. *Registration for the 2014 SGC will open on May 15, 2014.

Looking for a new place to mountain bike? One of IMBA’s (International Mountain Bike Association)  Epic Trails is not that far from us, Cooper’s Gap, Rothrock State Forest in Pennsylvania.

From IMBA’s web-site:

The 2013 class of Epics celebrates true backcountry riding experiences that are technically and physically challenging, more than 80 percent singletrack and at least 20 miles in length.

Cooper’s Gap, Rothrock State Forest, Pennsylvania, USA — This 27-mile ride features extended downhills, flowy technical sections, narrow singletrack, ample solitude and views of the Kishacoquillas Valley.

One of Rothrock State Forest’s best playgrounds, this 27-mile ride features extended downhills, flowy technical sections, narrow singletrack, ample solitude and views down into the Kishacoquillas Valley. Multiple trail options means it’s easy to ride all day and to potentially get lost, but you’re never too far from the road in case you need to bail out.

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For the complete list of 2013 Epic Trails click here.

Looking for more ride ideas? Our Adventure Center has lots of great riding suggestions.