by John Campanile
As I write this, outside is a bright and balmy 55 degrees, with a forecast high of 70. In the dead of February, no less. A nice day to do practically anything outside, including a bike ride. Even so, I have a feeling that Old Man Winter’s not through with us yet. It may be a tad premature to talk about places to ride around Greenbelt and in the DC/MD/VA region, but let’s hope for the best while expecting the worst of winter yet-to-come.
On days like these, where do you like to ride? Finding a good route is important when you are trying to get around Greenbelt or the Washington D.C. region by bike. Fortunately, there are maps, apps, websites, and tools to help you find your way.
The Washington Area Bicyclist Association’s website has links online on wayfinding tools and map. They also have paper copies of many local maps at the WABA office – stop by during business hours to see what materials are available and take what you need, at 2599 Ontario Road, Washington, D.C.
Google Maps is one of the best online tools for determining bicycle routes. It combines the standard Google mapping and routing functionality with extensive trail data from Rails to Trails Conservancy, and it has improved greatly over time due to the consistent feedback of bicyclists.
Closer to home and part of the regional Anacostia Tributary Trail System is the Indian Creek Hiker/Biker Trail that starts right off of Greenbelt Road and 58th Avenue. Follow it south to College Park, Riverdale, Hyattsville and Mount Rainier, then link to the Sligo Creek Trail that can take you as far north as Wheaton..
Click here for detailed instructions, plus links to other trails and destination points from the Indian Creek Trail.
Greenbelt Park, also accessible from Greenbelt Road, is a popular spot to ride on its paved roads. In addition, bicycle races are conducted throughout the year in the park. Here’s a Greenbelt Online post about the races.
If you like to ride in groups, you have some options. Nearby Proteus Bicycles in College Park sponsors weekly rides and social events, including their Thursday evening Pot Luck Supper, 7-9 pm, along with social rides on Saturdays, and Sunday morning mountain bike rides. Friday mornings features their College Park Friday Morning Coffee Club ride, a easy-going ride to a local coffee shop.
Potomac Pedalers Touring Club offers rides in the greater DC/MD/VA area, ranging from five miles to upwards of 75 miles, and at slower, casual pace to those that average up to 25 mph. Their website has a monthly ride calendar that provides a quick glance at the expected pace of a ride, terrain (mostly hilly or mostly flat, or somewhere in-between), and cancellations due to weather conditions, so it’s wise to check in before you go.
Help Create a Guide to Cycling for Greenbelters
Do you have a favorite regional trail or bike-friendly route? Tell us about it. Is it accessible by Metrorail or more accessible by automobile? Kid friendly? Playgrounds and picnic areas? Et cetera. And while you’re at it, provide links and send us photos if you have them. (email firstname.lastname@example.org)
Your ideas will be added to our growing list of cycling routes beloved by Greenbelters, nearby or a day-trip away by car. It’ll become a Greenbelt Guide.
Next time: getting your bike ready for spring
John Campanile and his wife Lynn Poirier has been residents of Greenbelt since December 2016, moving here from nearby Mt. Rainier, Md. He is retired and volunteers with the Old Greenbelt Theatre and the GHI Bicycle Committee (secretary).