Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Ignore the Dead End and Expect Lots of Hills - An Excellent DC / Arlington Bike Route

Shira let me overdo it tonight by allowing me to drag her on a 16+ mile bike ride this evening. We made it over to the Key Bridge, along the C&O Canal, over Chain Bridge and finally back through Arlington to our home. Here's the route we covered:

View Bike Across Chain Bridge in a larger map

A few useful tidbits we learned along the way:

  • Once in DC and along the C&O Canal look for an entry way onto the Capital Crescent Trail (CCT), as that will provide for a much smoother ride than the canal tow path.
  • It's not obvious when you need to leave the CCT to merge up with the canal path, which in turn, took us over Chain Bridge. At the entrance way to a large'ish bridge over the road, we made our way down a series of rough steps to the canal. It worked. It wasn't pretty.
  • Once you cross Chain Bridge, keep going straight. Sure, there's a dead end sign. Ignore it. It's a dead end for cars, but there's a place for bikes to pass. Turn left and head toward Arlington.
  • We were biking in an unfamiliar part of Arlington, and were surprised at how good the signage was to get us back to the main trails. When in doubt, follow the bike lane, and you'll hit civilization.
  • Don't be like me and leave the Bike Arlington map at home. Google Maps on my Android does show us bike paths, but a large paper map would have been a winner.
  • You won't realize how hilly Arlington is until you bike it. Yikes. I'm not sure which was trickier - the hauls up the hills, or the partially terrifying sensation of flying down them.

All in all - the route totally worked. Made for an amazing after work adventure.

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