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Thread: Dupont Circle to Rosslyn & Alexandria

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    Default Dupont Circle to Rosslyn & Alexandria

    Hi,

    I'm new to the area. Glad I found the bikearlington forum.

    I'm looking for suggestions for biking from Dupont Circle to both Rosslyn and Alexandria. My biggest challenge is finding how to access the bridges! I've given the Francis Scott Key Bridge a try, as well as the Theodore Roosevelt Bridge. I found it quite difficult just to access the Key Bridge, but maybe there's a good way I'm unaware of. The Roosevelt Bridge wasn't too bad, but the 6-foot wide path makes for less than pleasant encounters with oncoming cyclists, joggers, dogs, etc. To get to the Roosevelt Bridge I rode from Dupont Circle down New Hampshire, took a right onto M St, then a left onto 23rd St. At Washington Circle I went around to get back on New Hampshire. Then I followed signs to the Kennedy Center, which got me to the Roosevelt Bridge.

    Are the Arlington Bridge or George Mason Bridge any better? What routes would you recommend for getting to them, and does it matter which side of the bridge (i.e. north or south) you ride on? Thanks for your input. Any tips for night-time riding would also be great.

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    jrenaut's Avatar
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    Welcome! You seem to be a quick learner - new here and you've already realized that one of the worst parts of biking in the area is getting from DC to VA and back. All the bridges suck.

    I live at 15th and Harvard in Columbia Heights. If I want to get over to VA, the easiest thing to do is go down 14th St to New York or so, then cut over to 15th. Follow 15th until it dumps you onto Maine (it curves left at the water), then hop up on the sidewalk until you see the CaBi station on your left. Cross there at the crosswalk and take the sidewalk up to the 14th St Bridge. Once you cross the bridge, head to the right on the MVT and you'll end up in Rosslyn. Head left and you'll get to Alexandria. This is probably not your most direct route to Rosslyn, but it's what I've found to be the easiest.

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    I agree with jrenaut here on the route to the 14th St bridge. When passing the Washington Monument, since it is harder to keep up with traffic as it is a little bit uphill, if you are uncomfortable being in traffic on that stretch, you can always hop onto the sidewalk where it is nice and wide. Remember to follow the signs for I-395 so you don't accidentally turn onto Independence Ave (I've tricked myself into doing this before). Also, be careful when approaching the intersection with Maine because the road is in terrible condition with weird bumps and ruts that make maneuvering in traffic a bit dangerous.

    Quote Originally Posted by jrenaut View Post
    Once you cross the bridge, head to the right on the MVT and you'll end up in Rosslyn. Head left and you'll get to Alexandria.
    Just a minor clarification on this one (even though it's nitpicky and I understand what you mean, I just want to make sure). After crossing the 14th St bridge, you'll get to a T-intersection with the MVT where turning left will take you north towards Rosslyn and turning right will take you south towards Alexandria.

    P.S. - For an additional detour, after turning onto Maine and following the sidewalk, after crossing a short bridge take the next left onto Ohio Dr and into East Potomac Park so that you can do one loop at Hains Point. As a new member on the forum, you should know that it is mandatory to do the Hains Point loop at least once every time one passes through that area

    P.P.S. - Since you are new to the area, the Hains Point loop is also part of the path you can take to see the cherry blossoms when they are in bloom this spring (March-April)

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    Quote Originally Posted by bobco85 View Post
    Just a minor clarification on this one (even though it's nitpicky and I understand what you mean, I just want to make sure). After crossing the 14th St bridge, you'll get to a T-intersection with the MVT where turning left will take you north towards Rosslyn and turning right will take you south towards Alexandria.
    Thanks, clarification is good - I actually don't cross the bridge all that often, and a lot of my navigation is "ok, I know Rosslyn is that way, so . . ."

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    Quote Originally Posted by bobco85 View Post

    P.S. - For an additional detour, after turning onto Maine and following the sidewalk, after crossing a short bridge take the next left onto Ohio Dr and into East Potomac Park so that you can do one loop at Hains Point. As a new member on the forum, you should know that it is mandatory to do the Hains Point loop at least once every time one passes through that area
    Every time? I am in serious violation.

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    Memorial Bridge is fairly easy to access, and as long as a bit of car-dodging on the VA side can be done safely (to cross the Parkway and access the MVT) then the OP is closer to Rosslyn that way.

    To get to Memorial Bridge, use any ~southbound route you are comfortable with, take a right at the National Mall (heading west) and aim just past the Lincoln Memorial.

    This is actually a great time of year to explore different routes (weather notwithstanding) since there are so few tourists out and about (on the Mall and elsewhere).

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    Thanks for all the quick replies guys. I actually tried out some of your suggestions today. Going from DC to Virginia I took the 14th St Bridge (aka George Mason Bridge). Heading back from Virginia to DC I took the Arlington Memorial Bridge. I can't say I have a clear favorite, but it's good to know what options there are.

    My only reference during my ride was a hardcopy of the DC Bicycle Map (no smart phone or GPS ... I know, I know). One thing I found confusing is that the DC Bike Map refers to the 14th St Bridge as the "George Mason Bridge." There is a parallel bridge east of the George Mason Bridge that the map shows as "14th St Bridge." Google Maps calls BOTH bridges the "14th St Bridge." For any newbies like myself, you want to take the westmost bridge. If you're coming from 15th&Maine at the water, you take the sidewalk and bare right to access the first bridge. No need to go under any overpasses. As you get on the bridge there will be a George Mason Bridge sign. This is also the I-395/Rt 1 bridge. Hope I didn't add any confusion!

    I think I'll have to try each bridge again before I come out with a preferred route. I can see all of the bridges being a pain in the ass in the springtime with all the tourists walking all over the place. Such is life. Thanks again guys!

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    There are three spans there, and they're collectively called the 14th St Bridge even though each actually has its own name. Since only one has a bike path, it really doesn't matter from our perspective.

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    I dont use the memorial bridge to get to the mvt because you have to cross the gw parkway with no signal, but I think the memorial bridge is great if you're headed into "central" arlington - courthouse, clarendon (use the path beside 110 and head past the iwo jima) or pentagon city/crystal city once you figure out the "washington blvd" trail). Otherwise, I'd use 14th street bridge to get to alx and key to get to rosslyn. To get to key safely, id stay north of m on the streets of gtown, then come down on 33. I don't mind riding with cars there, since its a short stretch and the cars are usually slow, but if it bothers you, you can use the sidewalk there. If you take the road on m, stay in the right hand left turn lane, then turn into the sidepath - cars tend to treat the bridge as a race way.

    Most importantly, you'll want to grab a free Arlington bike map. Its consistently referred to as the best map of Arlington

    Good luck and welcome

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    Quote Originally Posted by dasgeh View Post
    Most importantly, you'll want to grab a free Arlington bike map. Its consistently referred to as the best map of Arlington

    Better yet, have one mailed to your house for free!

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