Today was the annual Bike To Work Day in the DC area. Local biking organization WABA organized the event and even had 'ride convoys' today to help beginners bike into their offices. Did any of you bike to work today?
I took the plunge and rode my bike in from Wheaton to Farragut West where my office is. It's about 13 miles each way (whew!). I've been strategizing on bike routes since I moved to Wheaton because I would bike into downtown DC every so often when I lived in Silver Spring using either the Capital Crescent Trail (longer route but car-free) or Beach Drive. A few weekends ago, I did a test run into my office using Plyers Mill, snaking through neighborhoods down towards Capitol View, then onto Jones Mill, which connects into Beach Drive. The route worked, but the windy, curvy roads to get to Beach Drive were an issue both from a car safety standpoint (no shoulders) and because they were damn hard to bike up on the way home!
So after talking to some people and looking at a suggested route on WABA's website, I devised a new route, which I tried for the first time today. Here's my disclaimer: Part of my route to get to Silver Spring involved riding my bike on sidewalks along Georgia, which you're not really supposed to do. I was thinking on my ride in how nice it would be if they widened the sidewalk enough to have a bike lane that people could use as a direct route to Silver Spring. A link like that would give easy bicycle access to downtown S.S., the metro station, and the Capital Crescent Trail.
Going from Wheaton to downtown DC:
-Ride the sidewalks along Georgia, using the 'bridge to nowhere' to cross the Beltway
-Take the right to 16th St., continuing to use the sidewalk until the road opens up into multiple lanes. Then, I moved into the street
-At the weird intersection with Colesville Road, make a right turn onto North Portal.
-From there, I used the directions provided by WABA
Biking time: 1 hour
Distance: 13 miles
This route in was nice, but because of the hills, I devised a different route home through the city along streets with more gradual hills instead of the steep ones in Rock Creek. I was pretty happy with this route. You're always going to go uphill heading out of the city, but this route felt easier than alot of ones that I've tried and the traffic was fairly light:
Going from downtown DC (around Farragut West) to Wheaton:
-Go north on 18th St.
-Right on Florida Ave
-Left on 11th St (bike lanes)
-Hop over one block to 10th St once 11th becomes one way in the opposing direction
-Left on Randolph, then a quick right onto Kansas (bike lanes)
-Left onto Missouri, then a quick right onto 3rd St
-When 3rd ends at Blair Road, take a left then quick right to under the Metro Bridge. This puts you onto Sandy Spring Road, which turns into Maple Ave
-Continue on Maple Ave through beautiful Takoma Park until you reach the intersection with the Sligo Creek Parkway.
-Hop onto the Sligo Creek Trail. Once the road gets better shoulders (after you cross Colesville), I left the trail and used the road instead.
-My route home from Sligo Creek was to turn left on the trail connector leading to Windham Ln. Windham eventually dead ends, but a foot/bike trail continues on and connects up with another section of Windham. This road then intersects with Amherst Ave, and you're back in downtown Wheaton!
Biking Time: 1 hour 20min (like I said, there are some hills!)
Distance: 13 miles