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Thread: Help- first time visitor to the area

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    Default Help- first time visitor to the area

    I am hoping someone can answer a few question. We are coming to D.C. At the end of the month. We are staying in Old Town Alexderia. Can we ride our bikes from Old Alexeria to the National Mal on a bike path? Would it be better to rent or bring our own bikes? Is biking on the weekend just to difficultdue to the amount of people?

    Thanks for any help.

    Christy from Michigan

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    baiskeli's Avatar
    baiskeli is offline I really need to log off the internet and go for a ride.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adamsmi View Post
    I am hoping someone can answer a few question. We are coming to D.C. At the end of the month. We are staying in Old Town Alexderia. Can we ride our bikes from Old Alexeria to the National Mal on a bike path? Would it be better to rent or bring our own bikes? Is biking on the weekend just to difficultdue to the amount of people?

    Thanks for any help.

    Christy from Michigan
    Welcome, Christy.

    You can indeed ride on a path to the Mall. Starting in Old Town, ride east toward the Potomac River to Union Street and turn left, which will soon turn you left onto Pendleton Street. The connection to the Mt. Vernon Trail is just on your right, through a park and parallel to the train tracks you just crossed. See link below. After a short split in the trail (the right side is more scenic), it takes you along the river to the 14th Street Bridge. Go under it and turn left to cross the bridge and you'll be next to the Jefferson Memorial.

    As for rental, you can use our Capital Bikeshare system or find one of many dockless bikes, but they tend to be heavy and clunky and (in my experience) uncomfortable for long trips. A long trip could also cost too much on those. There's a place you can rent more comfortable bikes at a better rate for a day: http://bikeandrolldc.com. They have a rental spot just off Union St. at King Street so it's perfect for you. They have more options too, such as tandems and kid trailers. I don't know if you have to reserve them in advance but I definitely would if possible because they will be popular. There are a few bike shops in Old Town that you might check for rental too.

    This trail will be very busy on a summer weekend but its fine if you know how to ride safely and watch out for those who don't. There will be a few bottlenecks with pedestrians when you get downtown, but once you are on the Mall, it should up.

    Biking is the very best way to get around and see the sights here so you're making the right choice!

    https://www.google.com/maps/place/Mt...!4d-77.0495195

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    Hi Christy from Michigan, I'm Erin, originally from Michigan

    What baiskeli said is a good summary of getting to the National Mall from Old Town. It's almost entirely on the Mount Vernon trail which is great. It definitely gets crowded on the weekends, but it's ride-able. It's a 7-8 mile, mostly flat ride to or from the National Mall.

    Bike and Roll is a good place to do all-day rentals--I've used them before. Definitely reserve in advance though. They can run out of types of bikes and sizes. Old Town is also fun to bike around if you stay there. It's a really cute area.

    Biking along the Mall is definitely fun, but VERY crowded during the day. So just plan to go slow, and watch out for tour buses and pedestrians. Make sure you get or bring some really good bike locks with you so you can lock your bikes or rental bikes to something when you want to explore the monuments, since you can't bring bikes into most of them.

    One thing I did with friends a few years ago that worked great was I took the metro rail to the National Mall, and then used capital bikeshare to go from monument-to-monument. It saved a TON of time compared to walking. We'd check out bikes at a bikeshare kiosk by one monument, bike to the next monument, check them in to a kiosk, go to the monument, explore, and then check out another bike and bike to the next monument on our list, check the bike in, explore, and so on and so forth. I think only once did we have to wait for a bike to become available.

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    Adding to what others said -- Welcome!

    Capital Bikeshare (CaBi) doesn't have to be expensive -- just be sure to "dock" a bike once every 30 minutes. Docking for even a second resets the clock. Google bike directions are pretty good, but if you're not a confident rider, stay off the TR Bridge (I-66). The other bridges are fine.

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    What everyone else has said

    Basically the advantage . of CaBi (bikeshare) over renting a bike (BikeAndRoll) is that you can dock it without worrying about a lock, you can walk somewhere else, and then pick up a bike at the nearest dock even if its not where you left the previous one, and if you choose, you can take metro or uber back to Alexandria instead of riding back.

    The disadvantage is is you need to keep docking every 30 minutes to avoid extra charges, plus bikes are heavier and more cumbersome than the regular rental bikes. (I think bike and roll will also provide helmets if you have not brought your own).

    You should cross the Potomac on the 14th street bridge, the first you are able to headed north from Old Town. It will take you right to the Jefferson Memorial, and close to the National Mall. Only reason to go further north on the Mount Vernon Trail would be to go to Arlington National Cemetary. Or the badlands of North Arlington. You would have to ride through the "tunnel that is unkind to newbies on Cabis" which I would avoid.

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    Quote Originally Posted by baiskeli View Post
    Welcome, Christy.

    You can indeed ride on a path to the Mall. Starting in Old Town, ride east toward the Potomac River to Union Street and turn left, which will soon turn you left onto Pendleton Street. The connection to the Mt. Vernon Trail is just on your right, through a park and parallel to the train tracks you just crossed. See link below. After a short split in the trail (the right side is more scenic), it takes you along the river to the 14th Street Bridge. Go under it and turn left to cross the bridge and you'll be next to the Jefferson Memorial.
    Be attentive when crossing the tracks and cross them more or less perpendicularly. Otherwise a wheel might get caught in the groove. Been there, done that.
    Last edited by ursus; 06-09-2018 at 06:16 AM.

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    baiskeli's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ursus View Post
    Be attentive when crossing the tracks and cross them more less perpendicularly. Otherwise a wheel might get caught in the groove. Been there, done that.
    Yes oh yes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Adamsmi View Post
    I am hoping someone can answer a few question. We are coming to D.C. At the end of the month. We are staying in Old Town Alexderia. Can we ride our bikes from Old Alexeria to the National Mal on a bike path? Would it be better to rent or bring our own bikes? Is biking on the weekend just to difficultdue to the amount of people?

    Thanks for any help.

    Christy from Michigan
    Also- beyond CaBi, there are a number of Dockless Bikes (and also electric scooters!) available in DC proper, so if you Metro in as One suggested below, there’s a lot of options to grab a bike or scooter & go from one place to the next with ease (the big downside is you have download like 6 different apps to find/reserve all the different bikes & you can’t bring them into VA yet- although you will find them in VA & can bike them into DC!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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    Just a heads up - it can be exceedingly hot and humid around here at the end of June/early July. Even a slow early morning ride from Old Town into the District can make you sweat. In the afternoon, it can really be tough going. It’s doable, and much better than walking, but be ready.

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    All good info, hopefully some more but about crosswalks. DC, VA and MD have implemented right-of-way crosswalks at several trail crossings and city intersections. I am guessing this hasn't been implemented as widely in Michigan as it has been here. If so, it will be something new to get used to. Drivers are supposed to yield to pedestrians and cyclists using these crosswalks. Many drivers have learned to yield correctly, but not nearly all. To use, approach the street edge slowly and visibly to indicate your intent to cross and be prepared to stop. Don't fly across. Wait for approaching traffic to clearly yield to you. If there are multiple lanes of traffic, wait for all lanes to yield. Do not assume the second lane of traffic sees you.

    When done confidently and safely, these crossings are very nice. But there's a learning curve and you always have to watch for the drivers who have not adopted to the new paradigm.

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