On Sunday, I struck out on a long ride (for me, anyways), 43 miles up to College Park, around the horn through Maryland, and back down on the CCT. The theme of the ride was ‘try some route you know about, but have never tried.’
The ride took me on the usual route via Met Branch Trail and the Anacostia NE Branch Trail up to College Park for a certain work project. The ride was uneventful, and the nice (for February) weather had alot of people and kids out on the trail. No crimes on the MBT, and one confused driver at the intersection of the NE Anacostia Trail and 38th Street in Mt. Rainier. As I was slogging into a headwind (they’re everywhere!) on the levee, the sun popped out, covering the river and the floodplain in light, it was really beautiful.
Back down the trail from College Park, I decided to try something different. Rather than sticking to my original plan of going back to DC and taking R across downtown to the W&OD in Virginia, I decided to try the Sligo Creek trail from Hyattsville up to Silver Spring. I knew of it, but had never tried.
The trail meanders, zigs, zags, crosses the creek many times, and there are beautiful views around every corner. Don’t take this trail if you’re looking for pristine conditions on which to set your world speed racing record. Take this trail for a leisurely, scenic ride. It’s a real gem, and still inside the Beltway too.
I rode through downtown Silver Spring, through 2nd Avenue, and then around to pick up the “future Capital Crescent Trail” where the trail emerges from an unused rail bed in an industrial area. Heading towards Bethesda, the trail changes from packed dirt (sometimes mud) to nice, smooth stone dust and then pavement. I was thankful for big wide Schwalbe tires.
Back on familiar ground at Bethesda, I ran the gauntlet on the CCT down to Georgetown. In keeping with the spirit of the ride, I schlepped over to the Virginia side to the MVT and tried the I-66 bridge back across to DC – only because I’d never done it before. I found it pretty narrow and tough, and cursed the highway planners of the 1960s when I found myself on the sidewalk amidst well-dressed patrons of the Kennedy Center. Anyway, back up the Mall to home.
Looking at the map later, it does sort of look like a big loop, kind of like… a bike Beltway? Imagine adding the new trail by the Arboretum… sort of?
I any case, 43 miles total, and a great ride.