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Thread: Chantilly to DC route

  1. #1
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    Question Chantilly to DC route

    Hi I'm new to commute biking. My office is moving to DC from Fairfax. I'm looking to bike once or twice a week to DC from Chantilly. I was wondering if it is too much to start with. Google map shows about 27 miles. As a new biker, I want to hear your opinion. Overall I am fit, I run 4-5 miles without any issues and last year I rode bike from 25-30 miles on a weekly basis using OD Trail.

    1. Am I being unrealistic to start riding to DC (Intersection of Virginia Ave and 23rd street) from Chantilly (intersection of Rugby and Lee Hwy)?

    2. Is there a parking lot nearby OD trail where I can park and ride straight on OD trail to DC instead of going thru Chantilly Neighborhoods and streets?

    3. What will be a realistic commute time?

  2. #2
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    I used to do one way commutes twice a week from Chantilly to Chinatown. It would take over 2 hours. 33 miles one way, too much for me more than once or twice per week.
    You could park your car along the W&OD, there are plenty of places to do that or you could take your bike on metro early, then ride home.

  3. #3
    TwoWheelsDC's Avatar
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    A couple summers ago--my first summer as a cyclist actually--while living in Capitol Hill, I had long-term training in Reston and started riding it twice a week. It was right about 22 miles each way, and generally it took me about 1:45. Most of the delay was just getting out of DC. Once you hit the W&OD/Custis, it's actually a pretty awesome commute...very relaxing, particularly in the warmer months. I think I did it 3x in a week on a couple occasions, but 2x a week was about right for me. It wasn't so much the distance, but the 5am morning wakeup required to make sure I got in with time to shower and eat, with a buffer for a flat/mechanical issue. That's way too early for me to do on a daily basis.

    I will warn you, however, that you'll almost certainly have a rough time riding home the first few times if you don't have a lot of miles on your legs. Riding 27 miles is one thing, but riding 27 miles, working a full day, then turning around and riding 27 miles back is not easy, even if you're fit. But your legs will adjust eventually.

    Another option could be to ride to one of the Metro stations. East Falls Church would be good...it has lots of bike parking and is in a good neighborhood, so bike theft won't be as much of a concern (although it's still a concern, don't get me wrong...). That'd save you about 8 miles of riding, but probably only about 15 minutes of total time. I live about a mile east of EFC, and it takes me 35 minutes to ride from Foggy Bottom, but Metro usually takes about 25 minutes to EFC, including wait time.
    Last edited by TwoWheelsDC; 03-13-2013 at 12:40 PM.

  4. #4
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    Welcome to the work neighborhood! I work just down the street - 21st & Constitution. The ride from Arlington to the area is great -- though at the moment there's construction on the TR bridge, which means a little, annoying detour (still not bad, I'm just looking forward to it being done).

    I know very little about Chantilly, and my ride is much shorter, so I can't help there. I can tell you that there's lots of free on street parking near the Custis trail in Cherrydale (get off at Spout Run, turn left on Lee Hwy, turn left into the neighborhood). The commute from there is around 5 miles each way. You could easily start by driving-parking-biking, and work you're way up by parking farther away. Another tip people here often mention is the one-way commute: drive in with your bike in the car on day one, bike home. On day two, bike in, drive home. Only works if you can park overnight, and don't need your car at night. You can also take your bike on buses all the time, and on Metro after 7pm, which could help with the commute.

    Good luck!

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    Quote Originally Posted by dasgeh View Post
    Welcome to the work neighborhood! I work just down the street - 21st & Constitution. The ride from Arlington to the area is great -- though at the moment there's construction on the TR bridge, which means a little, annoying detour (still not bad, I'm just looking forward to it being done).

    I know very little about Chantilly, and my ride is much shorter, so I can't help there. I can tell you that there's lots of free on street parking near the Custis trail in Cherrydale (get off at Spout Run, turn left on Lee Hwy, turn left into the neighborhood). The commute from there is around 5 miles each way. You could easily start by driving-parking-biking, and work you're way up by parking farther away. Another tip people here often mention is the one-way commute: drive in with your bike in the car on day one, bike home. On day two, bike in, drive home. Only works if you can park overnight, and don't need your car at night. You can also take your bike on buses all the time, and on Metro after 7pm, which could help with the commute.

    Good luck!
    Another option would be Metrobus. You could ride from Chantilly along the Braddock road side path to FFX/Burke area then catch the 17 G, H, or K bus to the Pentagon. Once there you could ride across the 14th street bridge, and hang a left along Ohio Drive toward the Lincoln Memorial. The pentagon bus ride from where you would get on is about 40-50 minutes. The ride from the pentagon to your office is probably about 20, and the ride from chantilly to where you would catch the bus is probably 45 minutes depending on your pace. This way you could get about 10 miles before the bus, and about 5 after. 15 each way is much more do-able. And with the bus you don't have to worry about bike theft because you keep the bike with you the whole time.

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    I'd investigate multi-mode (bike-bus-bike) options. Check the Fairfax Connector & MetroBus routes and look for routes that get you a bit closer to DC. Unless you get a folder (Bikes@Vienna), I do not think taking a bike on Metrorail is a viable option. I did a quick check on Google Maps - several bus routes (2B, 1C, I think) you could pick up from Fair Oaks Mall and take to Vienna Metro, Dunn Loring, or Ballston depending on the bus and how far you want to bike in. Check if any go past East Falls Church Metro (W&OD adjacent). May be other routes serving the Fairfax government center area and Monument Drive area. An all-bus option gives you alternatives if circumstances dictate not riding back that day and you want your bike with you. If you wanted to drive to the W&OD, there are P&R lots in Reston that might work for you. A friend takes a bus from the South Reston P&R to L'Enfant Plaza and bikes home, or bikes in and takes the bus home. The Reston routes will likely change next year once the Silver Line opens.

    A bike route Google-maps suggests is Rugby-FFx Pkwy-Oxon Rd-West Ox-Lawyers Rd-Hunter Station. Lawyers has a bike path most of the way east (~last 1/2 mile is 2-lane/no shoulder), Hunter Station will test your brakes going east and your climbing gears and legs coming home. I'd cut over to Glade (lighter traffic) and take Twin Branch-S Lakes-Sunrise Valley to get to the W&OD if you prefer to avoid that last section of Lawyers & Hunter Station. I would not take Lawyers east into Vienna. Approx 26 miles 1-way. Figure 2 hours, maybe longer in the afternoon depending on how fast you ride & how well you climb the hills from Rosslyn and coming into Reston. I don't know the Fair Oaks area well enough to suggest more direct routes towards the W&OD in Vienna.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by ssatvat View Post
    Hi I'm new to commute biking. My office is moving to DC from Fairfax. I'm looking to bike once or twice a week to DC from Chantilly. I was wondering if it is too much to start with. Google map shows about 27 miles. As a new biker, I want to hear your opinion. Overall I am fit, I run 4-5 miles without any issues and last year I rode bike from 25-30 miles on a weekly basis using OD Trail.

    1. Am I being unrealistic to start riding to DC (Intersection of Virginia Ave and 23rd street) from Chantilly (intersection of Rugby and Lee Hwy)?

    2. Is there a parking lot nearby OD trail where I can park and ride straight on OD trail to DC instead of going thru Chantilly Neighborhoods and streets?

    3. What will be a realistic commute time?
    I presume you mean Rugby Rd & Lee JACKSON Hwy? Lee Hwy is a different hwy...

    Yes, I'd say very unrealistic to try the whole thing at once. There's a bus - Fairfax County Connector 650 series that runs down LJH to the Vienna Metro, and back. http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/connector/routes/650.htm From there, there are quiet Vienna Streets to the W&OD trail. and you're probably at least 11 or 12 miles from the office still. I usually like the Key Bridge coming off the Custis Trail as the most accesible, but the Roosevelt is also a good option. and that would be something that you could probably work up to 5 days a week within a month or two.

    Realistically? I'd guess 45-60 minutes on the bike after the bus. or about 3-3.4 hours to bike the whole way.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoWheelsDC View Post
    ... East Falls Church would be good...it has lots of bike parking and is in a good neighborhood, so bike theft won't be as much of a concern (although it's still a concern, don't get me wrong...). That'd save you about 8 miles of riding, but probably only about 15 minutes of riding. I live about a mile east of EFC, and it takes me 35 minutes to ride from Foggy Bottom, but Metro usually takes about 25 minutes to EFC, including wait time.
    8 miles in 15 minutes, you're a real speed demon! The only time I hit more than the low-20s mph is going downhill. Or did you mean Metro riding?

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    The simplest route is going to be the Fairfax County Parkway trail to the W&OD in Reston, then the W&OD/Custis all the way in. Thats a long ride, further than the 27 you listed. No difficult, but very long. What route were you looking at? There are some back road options to the W&OD that would be shorter (Bennett Rd to Stuart Mill to Lawyers to Hunters Station to the W&OD, for instance), but note that those are hillier and depending on your comfort level with traffic, could be unpleasant.

    For driving/riding options, you would have a relatively simple back road route to drive to Hunters Mill/Hunters Station, and there is a small lot there. Or you could go down Lawyers into Vienna and park at the station near Church Street. From there you'd still have a 20ish mile ride downtown.

    Commute time will vary a bit. Even fit riders have different speeds when commuting. A 30 mile commute would probably take me a bit under 2 hours, though I'd leave myself at least two in case I wasn't feeling good or had a mechanical.

  10. #10
    TwoWheelsDC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by consularrider View Post
    8 miles in 15 minutes, you're a real speed demon! The only time I hit more than the low-20s mph is going downhill. Or did you mean Metro riding?


    It would only save about 15 minutes of total travel time.

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