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Old 03-15-2019, 11:32 PM
jemoryl jemoryl is offline
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Where to ride in DC/Montgomery Co. MD?

So I got laid off at the end of 2018 and it looks like I might be taking a job in DC. Considering my income and the commute, it looks like I would be best off living near one of the Metro red line stations in MD, maybe near Silver Spring. Is there anyway for a road cyclist to get out onto some nice country roads without getting killed or frustrated? I understand there are nice routes heading out towards Sugarloaf to the west. Not interested in riding in DC proper or gravel. Any advice? I currently live in Essex Co. NJ, so I have learned to live with busy roads and somewhat aggressive drivers.
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Old 03-16-2019, 04:27 AM
vincenz vincenz is offline
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Where to ride in DC/Montgomery Co. MD?

You will love cycling around here compared to NJ. I lived in NYC for 25 years before moving to MoCo and it’s another world.

You can easily find nice roads here west to Potomac and Poolesville and Sugarloaf Mountain like you mentioned. You can easily connect via local roads from silver spring. Also nice roads to the north in Olney and Laytonsville. I do prefer the west though. Lots of group rides everywhere also if that’s your thing too.
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Old 03-16-2019, 07:57 AM
ahumblecycler ahumblecycler is offline
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Welcome to the area!

River Road is a popular cycling route out to Poolesville and beyond; I used it as part of my loop to Harpers Ferry last year. It's a lovely area that will offer some great cycling.

I restrict DC cycling to Rock Creek Park on the weekends, Hains Point, and Nationals Baseball Park (guarded parking garage for bikes - awesome!).
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Old 03-16-2019, 08:17 AM
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LJohnny LJohnny is offline
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Parts of Rockcreek PKWY are under construction currently. Check out Strava heatmaps for popular riding areas out in Potomac, etc. Great tool.
Good riding areas for sure
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Old 03-16-2019, 08:45 AM
jemoryl jemoryl is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vincenz View Post
You will love cycling around here compared to NJ. I lived in NYC for 25 years before moving to MoCo and it’s another world.....
That is comforting to hear. Right now I need to ride west from home for 7-10 miles before hitting some decent roads (out towards the Great Swamp, mostly Morris Co.). Actually, there is some great riding in NJ if you get to places like Warren, Sussex or Hunterdon Counties. But after my recent visit to DC/MoCo I feared the worst, driving around Silver Spring, Bethesda and Rockville: horrible traffic, speed bumps, etc. Good to know there are routes out to better riding (took me a while after moving to NJ to figure out the best escape routes).

I stayed with friends near the National Zoo and noticed the trail in Rock Creek Park. Is that mostly paved?
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Old 03-16-2019, 09:26 AM
OtayBW OtayBW is online now
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I work in Gaithersburg, but live 55 mi N of there (~10 mi N of the Balto Beltway). Coincidentally, I was also born and raised in Essex Co, NJ, but left when I was 17 (the principal benefit of living there as I remember was being close to the Star Tavern in Orange whenever I wanted a great pizza, but I digress...). I really can't wait to get out of Mont. Co. at the end of the day. Not my cup of tea. That said, I do think the riding can be good in the northern and western (think Frederick Co) part of the country, but still a bit more congested than I like.

I think there's been a long-standing shop ride going out of Laytonsville on Wed nights that you might want to check in to. Good luck!
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Old 03-16-2019, 09:36 AM
echappist echappist is online now
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Downtown Silver Springs is a bit far from the less-traveled roads in Montgomery County. You'll probably spend a good 20-30 minutes one way before you get on country roads. River Road (MD-190), McArthur Blvd, and whatever else leads you to Poolesville, which by then gets you really close to Sugarloaf.

You'd want to stay West of I-270; too much development otherwise

Don't knock DC riding (specifically, Hain's) until you try it. I can't think of another place on the East Coast (other than Central Park) where one doesn't have to worry about cars and tourists

Last edited by echappist; 03-16-2019 at 09:41 AM.
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Old 03-16-2019, 09:55 AM
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Don't forget Capitol crescent trail
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Old 03-16-2019, 10:09 AM
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flydhest flydhest is offline
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I lived in the DC area essentially for 45 years.

If you are already ok with taking the Red Line to get into town, I would go for the western branch of the Red Line toward Shady Grove rather than the Silver Spring side. Grosvenor metro station is essential right in Tuckerman Lane and Rock Creek Park/Beach Drive. Great access to very good riding for being in such a developed area.

I agree with the sentiment that Hains Point is actually pretty good. I now live in NYC and laps in Central Park are twice as long and have a little up and down. But now that it is spring ... Hains is hard to beat if you live in the District and can get down there for mornjng sprint laps. Also, early morning rides at Hains, if you get there when the sun is rising, the reflection off the “new” terminal at National Airport is an amazing sight. You only get one or maybe two laps when the reflection is there, but it is beautiful.
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Old 03-16-2019, 10:30 AM
chromopromo chromopromo is offline
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If bike access is a primary concern, I agree that it is better to stick to the Shady Grove branch of the red line. I wouldn't dismiss riding out of DC. Rock Creek Park, MaCarthur Boulevard and the C and O canal are all excellent routes in and out of town that rival riding in the far reaches of Montgomery county. Rock Creek is only closed on weekends so doesn't works as well on weekdays. And currently is under construction for another year or so.
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Old 03-16-2019, 11:45 AM
bward1028 bward1028 is offline
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Old 03-16-2019, 12:46 PM
vincenz vincenz is offline
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Where to ride in DC/Montgomery Co. MD?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jemoryl View Post
That is comforting to hear. Right now I need to ride west from home for 7-10 miles before hitting some decent roads (out towards the Great Swamp, mostly Morris Co.). Actually, there is some great riding in NJ if you get to places like Warren, Sussex or Hunterdon Counties. But after my recent visit to DC/MoCo I feared the worst, driving around Silver Spring, Bethesda and Rockville: horrible traffic, speed bumps, etc. Good to know there are routes out to better riding (took me a while after moving to NJ to figure out the best escape routes).



I stayed with friends near the National Zoo and noticed the trail in Rock Creek Park. Is that mostly paved?


Yes, definitely don’t want to ride around those areas you mentioned as they are busy.

Rock Creek Park is currently closed for renovations, but probably will be done in another year or two, should fix all the potholes and things. You can do some nice back and forths on Beach Drive on the weekends once it’s done.

All the roads others have mentioned here are tried and true. I also agree that if you are able to choose, look into areas on the Rockville end of the metro red line versus Silver Spring. It is just as convenient getting into DC (and arguably more so into VA if you work there), and imo a nicer area overall with easier access to cycling routes than silver spring (you can go west, north, or south as you would be right in the middle).

There is also an extensive network of trails in the whole DMV area that interconnect and you can ride for a few miles or a few hundred miles. Overall a lovely area to ride around. I haven’t found a better maintained infrastructure for cycling in a northeast metro area with courteous drivers than here (if there is, let me know!).
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Old 03-16-2019, 12:58 PM
OtayBW OtayBW is online now
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FYI - The MARC train Brunswick line gets you into Union Station from as far away as - well - Brunswick to the far NW in Frederick Co (actually, all the way to Martinsburg, WVA now that I look at the map). Similarly, the Penn or Camdem lines takes you in from NE towards Balto.
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Old 03-16-2019, 05:00 PM
zap zap is offline
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All country roads in Montgomery and Frederick County and more have decades of Zap bicycle tires tracks.

Our first house was in Silver Spring...4 corners...and we rode regularly on roads next to the beltway into rock creek out Grosvenor up Tuckerman, Glen and beyond. You can also put a nice route together using neighborhood roads next to Rock Creek then away to McArthur up Anglers (Fly ) Falls back down Tuckerman.

The Bicycle Place in Silver Spring is also an excellent resource. Ask for Mike the owner.

We didn't stay in Silver Spring too long......moved to Potomac.

So, if you can find a place in Rockville.......that would be my pick for a number of reasons.


Quote:
Originally Posted by jemoryl View Post
So I got laid off at the end of 2018 and it looks like I might be taking a job in DC. Considering my income and the commute, it looks like I would be best off living near one of the Metro red line stations in MD, maybe near Silver Spring.
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Old 03-16-2019, 05:09 PM
jemoryl jemoryl is offline
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Thanks for all the useful information. I'm going to be renting, and there will be other factors I need to consider (we like to live where there are walkable shops, etc.), but for cycling the area west of Rockville looks good. Nice to learn about all the routes in DC too, I didn't think they would be so extensive.
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