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lobrand
04-25-2011, 07:40 PM
Hi everyone! I'm quite new here (although I did poke around a bit before committing to purchasing my new bike!) and I had a question for those of you who are more knowledgeable about biking in DC than I am.

I'm commuting from Capitol Hill to Dupont Circle, probably around 7:30 or 8am every morning. What I think makes the most sense is to take the 6th St. bike lane up to K St. and cross over K to Connecticut or 19th, or else to take Mass Ave straight up to Dupont from 6th. What I'm not totally sure of is the safety issue - I'm fairly comfortable riding in urban settings, but I come from a much smaller city in Canada and I don't want to bite off more than I can chew. (It would be great if there was a cross-cutting east-west street with a bike lane!) Anyway, if anyone has any tips for which is safer or easier, I'd be super grateful! Happy biking!

Also - I hope I put this in the right forum. I just bought my bike tonight (from City Bikes on 8th - great experience!) and I'm a little overenthused. :)

~Ellie

Justin Antos
04-26-2011, 09:16 AM
Ellie,
I also live on the Hill and make this trek frequently by bike. I think your routes sound good, but it depends on your level of comfort riding in mixed traffic, especially at rush hour. I would find the Mass. Ave. route a little daunting because the parking lane is a travel lane in rush hour, especially west of Union Station. It's a matter of personal taste, for sure!

The route I would choose is actually a bike lane or a dedicated cycletrack most of the way. I'd go over the Capitol, then along the Pennsylvania Ave. NW cycletracks, up the 15th St. cycletrack, and then left on Q St NW.

This way is perhaps less direct than the routes you describe, but it's pretty safe and minimizes your battling with cars :). This is my preferred route from the Hill to most areas in NW.

Here's a map! http://tinyurl.com/68y3r4p

You can actually do a little jigger through the White House grounds too that I couldn't get Google to show properly - when the cycletrack on 15th ends at G, take a left onto the pedestrianized area north of the white house, then a quick right, and pass through the bollards at the gatehouse at H St. and Vermont, and pick up the 15th St. cycletrack again on Vermont.

lobrand
04-26-2011, 05:00 PM
Hi Justin - thanks so much for the great route! It looks way better than the one I took this morning (via L St. to Mass Ave - with a minor detour that owes more to my directional sense than the route I'd planned to take! :)) and much more bike-friendly (although even at rush hour, the cars seemed pretty chill today - I think I got lucky). I'm much more comfortable when bike lanes or cycle tracks are involved, so I think this is a great option!

I'm super excited to take this home tonight. Thanks again for your help! :)

~Ellie

DaveK
04-27-2011, 10:37 AM
Ellie,
I also live on the Hill and make this trek frequently by bike. I think your routes sound good, but it depends on your level of comfort riding in mixed traffic, especially at rush hour. I would find the Mass. Ave. route a little daunting because the parking lane is a travel lane in rush hour, especially west of Union Station. It's a matter of personal taste, for sure!

The route I would choose is actually a bike lane or a dedicated cycletrack most of the way. I'd go over the Capitol, then along the Pennsylvania Ave. NW cycletracks, up the 15th St. cycletrack, and then left on Q St NW.

This way is perhaps less direct than the routes you describe, but it's pretty safe and minimizes your battling with cars :). This is my preferred route from the Hill to most areas in NW.

Here's a map! http://tinyurl.com/68y3r4p

You can actually do a little jigger through the White House grounds too that I couldn't get Google to show properly - when the cycletrack on 15th ends at G, take a left onto the pedestrianized area north of the white house, then a quick right, and pass through the bollards at the gatehouse at H St. and Vermont, and pick up the 15th St. cycletrack again on Vermont.

This is how I come home from Dupont to the Hill when I'm riding CaBi. On my road bike I can keep up with traffic so I usually just ride straight down Mass Ave, but the route mapped out here is much easier and less stressful if you're not comfortable mixing it up with cars. Great advice.

DCLiz
04-29-2011, 02:43 PM
Hi Justin,

I just commuted from Eastern Market to Farragut for the first time this morning. Do you know the rules pertaining to whether cyclists can use the roads the are blocked off to cars around the Capitol office buildings? On the House side, this would be C St SE in between 1st St SE & 1st St SW, in addition to 1st ST SE, etc.

Also, I wasn't sure which paths around the Capitol were okay to bike on.

The jigger on the 15th Street cycle track surprised me. I think it could be better marked so people know how to get back to the cycle track.

Thanks!
Liz

P.S. This was my route: http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/32942502

Greenbelt
05-01-2011, 06:30 PM
Liz -- I ride through Capitol grounds everyday, going in at East Capitol Street and out at the circle by the reflecting pool where Pennsylvania Ave NW starts. I've often wondered the same thing. Lots of us salmon up the closed off parking area on the north side, then cross over to the sidewalk to get to the East Front and back to East Capitol. One thing I can say is that the Capitol Police don't seem to mind cyclists cutting through. I've never had anyone look at me funny, and I often get a polite nod or wave. That said, I go slowly. They do carry heavy weapons and I don't want to surprise anybody...

baiskeli
05-02-2011, 10:34 AM
Hi Justin,

I just commuted from Eastern Market to Farragut for the first time this morning. Do you know the rules pertaining to whether cyclists can use the roads the are blocked off to cars around the Capitol office buildings? On the House side, this would be C St SE in between 1st St SE & 1st St SW, in addition to 1st ST SE, etc.

Also, I wasn't sure which paths around the Capitol were okay to bike on.

I've never had trouble biking on any of these streets. But going slow and careful is good advice, you never know if there's something strange going on that day or a nervous or uninformed cop around.

I did end up on the wrong side of a White House sidewalk once. A guard whistled loudly and pointed the way out. It wasn't really clear he meant me. He could have just talked to me, but he treated me like a car.

Justin Antos
05-02-2011, 03:55 PM
I'm not sure of the exact rules, although I've been riding through the Capitol Grounds nearly every day for three years without a problem. Just ride cautiously, avoid mobs of tourists, and expect cars and pedestrians after 9am. The Capitol Police are pretty tolerant of bikes in my experience. Here's a map of the northern route (http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=4475811) I take every day, and the southern route (http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=4475848) that might help you more. Then there's an inner route (http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=4475853) that has a nice brief view over the Mall, but these are all variations on a theme!

I've also occasionally used the roads adjacent to the grounds (1st Street(s), New Jersey Ave, etc), and the cops have let me ride by the white blockades without issue.

DH RACERgirl
05-03-2011, 05:23 PM
Wow!
Thank you Justin for the google map. I'm going to be doing that commute for 2 weeks in May and that is just what I was looking for.