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TwoWheelsDC
07-17-2012, 08:51 AM
I mentioned this on twitter a while back, but I was thinking of attempting some sort of Beltway circumnavigation and turning it into a century ride...has anyone ever done something like this before? I know there's WAGBRAD, but that just does the DC boundaries. Obviously, there are some obstacles, primarily the Potomac up at the American Legion bridge, but I think the ride could run up Macarthur, hang right and do a clockwise loop, then come down at Gtown Pike and back into Arlington (or the reverse of that). My extremely rough go at it on GarminConnect puts the route around 110 miles (the Beltway itself is 64 miles), with diversions around places like Andrews AFB and going out of the way to cross major roads like I270 and I95. I'll probably reconnoiter the dodgier parts of the route on my motorcycle just to get a feel for how the roads will be for cyclists, as I'm not familiar with most of the Maryland sections. Many of the roads are designated bike routes, but some are major-ish looking roads that may not be wise to ride on...particularly in the 2-5 o'clock positions. Most of the VA stuff I know fairly well and is relatively easy to navigate though.

Anyone interested in making this a group ride of some sort? I know it's not as wild as Kill Bill, but I think riding a big circle around DC's most infamous traffic icon has a special meaning. Even if you aren't interested in riding, I'm happy to get route advice as well.

consularrider
07-17-2012, 08:59 AM
Beltway Century, you bet! Post up a Mapmyride or some such for us to look at and comment on.

jrenaut
07-17-2012, 09:01 AM
I don't think that I'm up for a century, but maybe there's a good 30-40 mile segment where I could ride along.

SilverSpring
07-17-2012, 09:02 AM
TwoWheelsDC,

Neat idea. As with WAGBRAD, if I can get spousal permission, I'm in.

TwoWheelsDC
07-17-2012, 09:27 AM
Beltway Century, you bet! Post up a Mapmyride or some such for us to look at and comment on.

EXTREMELY rough map of what I'm thinking...

http://connect.garmin.com/course/1668174

creadinger
07-17-2012, 09:51 AM
I think this is a really good idea. If the route is safe enough and viable then it would connect sections of the city that most people would never really consider going to.

I'd be up for riding it.

ShawnoftheDread
07-17-2012, 10:20 AM
Cool. That section of the Cross County Trail in Wakefield Park is dirt and rough gravel. There's not a great work-around though. Braddock Road to Wakefield Chapel Rd is very busy, but with a rough path/sidewalk and a wide shoulder. But Wakefield Chapel Rd. from Braddock to Queen Elizabeth Blvd. is narrow with no shoulder. There's a bike lane on Wakefield Chapel after Queen Elizabeth, though, that runs almost to NVCC at Little River Turnpike.

Tim Kelley
07-17-2012, 10:53 AM
EXTREMELY rough map of what I'm thinking...

http://connect.garmin.com/course/1668174

Why not cross the Potomac at Chain Bridge instead of going all the way down to Georgetown? Then we could all do 41st street!

Bilsko
07-17-2012, 10:54 AM
I did the WAGBRAD II (or was it III - I think it was two or three years ago) and like you point out, the toughest road stretches were along the 2-5 o'clock positions (along Minnesota Ave, in particular and then getting from there to American Legion).

I was curious so I found out that 495 is 64m around ( link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interstate_495_(Capital_Beltway) ) which means that a 100m+ circumnavigation will have to add a few miles of detours to make the full Century. I'll be happy to contribute to route planning

Either way I'm game.

consularrider
07-17-2012, 11:14 AM
What Tim said. That's 12 miles to go one mile on the Beltway v about 19. And who wouldn't want to climb 41st St? Have you mapped out the fuel stations?

TwoWheelsDC
07-17-2012, 11:46 AM
What Tim said. That's 12 miles to go one mile on the Beltway v about 19. And who wouldn't want to climb 41st St? Have you mapped out the fuel stations?

I agree...the route I chose through Arlington was fairly arbitrary, as was the start point in Gtown...that's really the easiest part to figure out. It's the other 90 miles or so that will be tough. But I'll do some scouting and map out some rest stops and such...I'll try to have a more finalized map in a week or two and then see when people are available to do it. But I figured I'd gauge interest early and then work out the kinks.

JimF22003
07-17-2012, 12:06 PM
I'd do it for sure. I'd love to see a fully fleshed out and tested cue sheet for the ride in any case. Thanks for taking this on!

dasgeh
07-17-2012, 01:09 PM
It's not my thing right now, but I think it's an awesome idea. Imagine a day when we can get a rolling closure of the Beltway to actually ride on the highway...

ShawnoftheDread
07-17-2012, 01:12 PM
It's not my thing right now, but I think it's an awesome idea. Imagine a day when we can get a rolling closure of the Beltway to actually ride on the highway...

Until they improve the Beltway's tree canopy, no thanks.

TwoWheelsDC
07-17-2012, 01:29 PM
Ugh, looking at the route just highlights how balkanized the bike infrastructure is in the big counties. In DC/Arlington, you may need to go a few blocks out of your way for a bike lane, but in Fairfax or PG, it can be miles. And most of the streets in those areas are only "bicycle friendly roads", which basically means they are kinda wide and maybe not so trafficky, but lack dedicated infrastructure. Kinda depressing.

rcannon100
07-17-2012, 01:53 PM
rolling closure of the Beltway

I have spent enough hours on the beltway going speeds much less than bikes speed. Not exactly one my list of utopian bike routes.

rcannon100
07-17-2012, 01:54 PM
just highlights how balkanized the bike infrastructure is

If you were so predisposed, this would be an excellent publicity stunt to highlight this exact fact... and highlight the fact that you cant get across the river, north of chain bridge, on anything but a car. Could be a great way to highlight the need for better infrastructure (and those parts of the city that get it right)

Tour de Beltway

Tim Kelley
07-17-2012, 01:57 PM
and highlight the fact that you cant get across the river, north of chain bridge, on anything but a car.

Well, you can...but it involves a boat: http://app.strava.com/rides/13507408

TwoWheelsDC
07-17-2012, 02:06 PM
If you were so predisposed, this would be an excellent publicity stunt to highlight this exact fact... and highlight the fact that you cant get across the river, north of chain bridge, on anything but a car. Could be a great way to highlight the need for better infrastructure (and those parts of the city that get it right)

Tour de Beltway

I thought about doing it at rush hour and "racing" a car around the beltway, sorta like the cyclists in LA did during last year's carmageddon when the 405 was shut down...I think if the distances were equal, a bike could win, but since you have to tack on 40 miles to do it safely by bike, it wouldn't work very well.