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Where Greenbelters go Cycling

Greenbelt is a great place for cyclists! Here are some Greenbelters’ favorite routes, groups and more. (Got another route to suggest?  Email editor@greenbeltonline.com)

Routes from Old Greenbelt

Beltsville Agricultural Research Center

Beltsville Agricultural Research Center (BARC)  is a favorite with Greenbelters, with its 6,600 acres and low-traffic roads. It’s reachable from Research Road in Old Greenbelt.  From BARC, two popular destinations are Old Bowie (for lunch) and the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center.

Cycling in Greenbelt Park
Wednesday night racing in Greenbelt Park

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.


Lake Artemesia
Lake Artemesia

About 3 miles from Old Greenbelt is the entrance to Lake Artemesia with its 1.3-mile bike/pedestrian paved path around it and the entrances to longer routes.

From there you pick up the Anacostia Tributary Trail System  which you can follow south  and then west to College Park, Riverdale, Hyattsville and Mount Rainier, then link to the Sligo Creek Trail that can take you as far north as Wheaton.

Or from Lake Artemesia ride south to Bladensburg Waterfront Park. and the Anacostia River Trail and beyond to. Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, Kingman Island or into DC via S. Capitol Street.  Click here for detailed directions to Lake Artemesia from Old Greenbelt, plus directions south along the river and into the city. 

The blog Greater Greater Washington noted that with the final leg of the Anacostia River Trail opening in 2016, the route “might be the most beautiful in the region”. The writer continued, “What recently opened is a new trail, that bridges this gap and makes one seamless 40-plus mile trail system throughout the Anacostia watershed.”

From Maryland Milestones, here’s for a map of the Anacostia Tributary Trail System with info about where to eat and shop.

Commuting to DC? Here’s another recommended route.

Finding and Following Routes

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.

Rails to Trails TrailLink app – click for description, pricing and reviewsAAAAFeb 201825: “The ultimate trail-finder app for all outdoor enthusiasts. Download TrailLink today to enjoy full-length trail descriptions, reviews, photos, and detailed trail maps not found anywhere else!”. See your location on the trail, just like GPS.

Strava is one of the most popular GPS cycling apps offers an array of handy ride logging functions which are then uploaded to your online Strava profile.

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.

Use these or  other cycling apps? We’d love your review!

Farther Away

Some favorite bike trips that start by loading bikes onto cars or on the Metro:

  • Eastern Shore, for an easy flat ride. One Greenbelter suggests parking in Oxford and riding to St. Mary’s and Tilghman Island
  • Washington and Old Dominion Regional Trail is a paved trail between Shirlington and Purcellville, Virginia –  45 miles..


Proteus Bicycles group rides
(L) Saturday Social Ride with Proteus Bikes. (R) Potomac Pedalers Facebook Cover Photo

Riding with Others

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.

Every Tuesday and Friday Potomac Pedalers hosts a ride in Greenbelt. From their website: “Join us on this rolling ride with a few nice climbs for your trouble. There are 2 rest stops but only vending machine food. You can take shortcuts for a shorter ride or add a couple of miles for a longer one. Park in Buddy Attick Park, not at Ivy Lane. Lunch afterward, alfresco, at Greenbelt Center with several food options.” Cue sheet for 35 mile route Office spreadsheet icon friday_35_bud_v5_0.xls

mBike station in College Park
mBike station on Berwyn Road in College Park

Renting Bikes

Greenbelters who don’t own bikes (yet) can try the local trails by renting.

mBike is the bikeshare program owned by the University of Maryland and the City of College Park and managed by Zagster. Trips are $3 an hour for nonmembers.  Members get each first hour of their rental for free. To see locations of bikes, membership options, and much more visit the mBike website. The two closest locations to Greenbelt are Berwyn Road and at the Greenbelt Metro Station.

In DC, bike-renters have many choices, including Capital Bikeshare, which is studying future locations in Greenbelt. Also in DC there’s  Bike and Roll and Bikes to Borrow.

Photo credits: BARC. Cycling in Greenbelt Park – by Trish Newberg. Lake Artemesia by the  author.

Follow Susan Harris:
Susan started blogging about Greenbelt soon after moving here in 2012, and that first blog has grown into this nonprofit community website. She also created and curates the Greenbelt Maryland YouTube channel. In 2021 Susan joined the Board of Directors of Greenbelt Access TV. Retired from garden writing and teaching, she continues to blog at GardenRant.com.

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