View Full Version : Bike friendly businesses for carfree folks?

07-24-2010, 01:10 PM
I just moved here a few weeks back and I'm the ring leader of a carfree family of 5 (me, hubby, 3 daughters ages 11, 7 and 1). We're struggling to find bike friendly businesses to do our daily shopping and errands at. By bike friendly I'm specifically looking for adequate bike parking (enough space for a trailer and several bikes to lock up, perhaps covered, definitely off the street), courteous staff and courteous customer base so we don't feel like such aliens walking around with our helmets, water bottles and panniers full of reusable bags.

Mostly we need a grocery, department store(s) and a good cafe or pub or two. Also, fun destinations in Arlington for kids that are easy to get to by bike. But really, mostly, it's the grocery store we're challenged with and it's made even more tricky by the fact that I want GOOD local produce that's in season. I'll probably start adding a farmer's market into my routine so I'm also looking for suggestions about that. I'm what I would describe as a super loyal customer: once I find the place I like you've got me for life. We live in the Westover area and generally shop within a 3 mile radius. Any suggestions?

Thanks in advance.

07-24-2010, 05:02 PM
If you ever happen to ride by Shirlington, you would find all of that (including covered bike parking next to the Harris Teeter grocery store) except for the farmer's market. As far at the farmer's market goes, I think there is a great one near the Courthouse metro, which is not too far from Westover via the bike trail. If you visit the Arlington website (www.arlingtonva.us), I think you can do a search for farmer's markets and find a listing of all of them in Arlington and the days and times that they are open. You won't feel like an alien anywhere around here with your bikes, etc. We have a large and vibrant biking community. Welcome to the neighborhood(s) and be sure you get a copy or two of the great Arlington bike map! I think you can call or email requests for it, and its widely available in the bike shops.

Tim Kelley
07-26-2010, 09:18 AM
I'd suggest Java Shack (http://www.javashack.com/) and Northside Social (http://northsidesocialarlington.com/) as two coffee shops that have great policies towards bikes. Java Shack sponsors a few local riding groups and Northside Social has lots of space for bike parking!

Rosslyn has a farmers market on Thursday afternoons during the summer right in front of the BikeArlington offices on Oak St, Clarendon has one at the Metro on Wednesday afternoons, and the Courthouse market runs on the weekends!

07-26-2010, 08:56 PM
I forgot to mention that I haven't yet found a department store that's easy to get to by bike, although the Macy's at Ballston Mall might be a possibility. Maybe someone else can help on that.

07-27-2010, 09:14 AM
Arlington rider: thanks for the tip re the Harris Teeter in Shirlington. We'll have to give that a go and see how it works out.

Tim: I suppose I need to calendarize the Farmers' Market list - that's a lot! Is it safe to assume that bike parking is just the existing staple racks or are the farmer's markets doing anything else to incentivise biking to their events. I would think there's a good chance a lot of the people interested in local fresh goods are also interested in biking there. Since I haven't been yet I'm just wondering if it's bike friendly since lots of time ped/event type things actually kind of aren't unless it's made clear that bikes are welcome.

Love Northside Social! I definitely feel at home there; haven't tried Java Shack. Will do!

And yes, department stores: haven't found one yet with ample bike parking. One to three staples out front, nowhere near a front door is as good as it gets. Of course, I'm also not seeing much of anyone else hauling around a trailer filled with a week's worth of groceries or a bunch of shopping bags filled with the day's errand-running spoils.

Tim Kelley
07-27-2010, 11:40 AM
Ballston Mall has some parking near Macy's along Wilson, and it much more convenient (and cheaper!) than car parking there. Pentagon City has some decent retail, but isn't that close to the rest of the county...unless you happen to be spending a lot of time in Crystal City.

Tysons Corner Center, one of the largest shopping centers on the east coast, is actually surprisingly accessible with a little route planning, and isn't as far as you might think...

07-27-2010, 01:51 PM
What route do you take? I'd love to know about that.

Oh, and I've got one to list: Whole Foods in Vienna is right off the W&OD and has a Sat/Sun morning omelette bar. It's full of cyclists! Discovered this on my way to pick up a high chair I bought from someone on Craigslist. Nice score!

Tim Kelley
07-27-2010, 02:04 PM
It's trail (http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&source=s_d&saddr=N+Irving+St&daddr=Washington+and+Old+Dominion+Trail+to:Ring+Rd +to:38.917015,-77.221656&hl=en&geocode=FTRaUQId5phn-w%3BFf1yUQId3aRl-w%3BFQLHUQIdbbpl-w%3B&mra=dme&mrcr=0&mrsp=3&sz=15&via=1,2&dirflg=b&sll=38.911339,-77.213073&sspn=0.023576,0.038495&ie=UTF8&ll=38.892369,-77.164364&spn=0.094328,0.15398&t=h&z=13&lci=bike) out to Tysons, and once you hit Gallows road, there is a nice wide asphalt sidewalk/path that goes North. You can also hop the curb where Kidwell Dr. dead ends (http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&source=s_d&saddr=N+Irving+St&daddr=Washington+and+Old+Dominion+Trail+to:Ring+Rd +to:38.917015,-77.221656&hl=en&geocode=FTRaUQId5phn-w%3BFf1yUQId3aRl-w%3BFQLHUQIdbbpl-w%3B&mra=dme&mrcr=0&mrsp=3&sz=15&via=1,2&dirflg=b&sll=38.911339,-77.213073&sspn=0.023576,0.038495&ie=UTF8&ll=38.91022,-77.218899&spn=0,0.009624&t=h&z=17&lci=bike&layer=c&cbll=38.907624,-77.222011&panoid=d6Xw0c8zTSn6jJC_fI2cJA&cbp=12,29.46,,0,5.68) along Gallows near the entrance to the SAIC compound and once you go over Rt 7, you can get on the Mall ring road.

There is bike parking near Parking Terrace C by the Guard Shack at the entrance to the Red Loading dock between Nordstrom and the California Pizza Kitchen/Panera entrance.

(Can you tell I've made that trip once or twice?)

Mark Blacknell
07-27-2010, 09:14 PM
Couldn't pay me enough to head out to Tyson's (and why would you want to?), but I do believe that we've got video evidence of Tim making the trip. For those heading to the Ballston Mall, there's covered parking available at the parking garage entrance on the Glebe Road side of things. The trick is to look to the left (and take the sidewalk in, not the path the cars take).

For produce, our house has three sources - the Clarendon farmer's market on Wednesdays (picked up via bike), Great Country Farms farmshare (dropped off weekly at house during the summer/early fall), and local Giant for the remainder (via bike, despite poor bike parking).

Northside Social is okay (definitely bike friendly, tho' I could do with less competition from staff mopeds at the usually full rack). But it's a bit much as a casual stop, for me (I liked the old Common Grounds environment). Java Shack is super bike friendly (and sponsors a couple local teams, last I checked).

Speaking of WOD-proximate businesses/destinations - the Soundry (http://www.soundry.net/), just a little past that Whole Foods, is definitely bike-friendly.

I don't think you're going to come across too many (any?) overtly bike-friendly businesses in Arlington, mostly because very few have been given reason to think about any benefits to being bike friendly. Here's hope that Bike Arlington's efforts - and our own individual efforts - can help change that.

07-27-2010, 11:11 PM
Mark Blacknell says: I don't think you're going to come across too many (any?) overtly bike-friendly businesses in Arlington, mostly because very few have been given reason to think about any benefits to being bike friendly. Here's hope that Bike Arlington's efforts - and our own individual efforts - can help change that.

Hear, hear! Let's all keep asking and advocating.

By the way, does anyone know if there are any reasonably short term plans to make it easier to cross and/or ride along Leesburg Pike from Beauregard/Walter Reed to Target/Skyline/Bailey's Crossroads?

08-20-2010, 11:42 PM
No idea if there are any plans on making Route 7 more bike friendly. I would recommend that if you were going to Target to take S. Dinwiddie St. up to George Mason then it's only a short hop from George Mason over to the entrance to Target. You could even remain on George Mason passing Rt 7/Leesburg Pike and then make a right at the 2nd traffic light going up a short hill and having a courtyard on your right (that might have bike parking) and a flight of stairs down to the Target.

08-23-2010, 10:10 AM
No idea if there are any plans on making Route 7 more bike friendly.
Rt. 7 isn't really even car-friendly anymore. ;)

I go to a shop in the same area as the Target at 7-corners. It is easily accessed from the W&OD, though the climb up McKinley definitely makes for a bit of a workout.