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Thread: Biking east of the Potomac to Wilson Bridge

  1. #11
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    Default Try 11th STreet

    I haven't tried the route near Bolling. Without any signs I just gave up! I've done the loop several times. I think the most straightforward way is to ride the 11th Street Bridge to Good Hope Road. Left on Good Hope. Right on MLK. Then it's MLK all the way to a left on Blue Plains Drive. Another option that bypasses the Oxon Farm Trail is to take a left on South Capitol from MLK. This becomes Indian Head Highway which has an exit for Oxon Hill Road.

    Oxon Farm Park has an amazing deer population. You'll have plenty of time to spot them because the hill is long and nasty.

    The ride on MLK is hilly and pretty depressing unless you are into urban blight.

    Regardless of how you do it, when you get to Oxon Hill Road take the first right on National Ave instead of the side path. Clean pavement and a looong downhill. To get to the Bridge you need to take a left about 2/3rds of the way down the hill to cut over to the side path (look for a trailer office along the side path, its the Maryland Park Police). Sometimes I just bomb all the way to National Harbor on National Ave (just follow the triangular signs).

    As for getting to or from National Harbor, use the road. That oyster shell path is obnoxious.

    I agree with everyone that it's a shame that signs and a sequence of trails doesn't exits in Anacostia.

    If you are intrepid, you can take Oxon Hill Road south to Fort Washington. (That's a big brick fort on the Potomac.) Oxon Hill Road is in lousy shape (shoulders come and go, glass, debris, etc.) but once you leave it the ride is pretty nice.

  2. #12
    americancyclo's Avatar
    americancyclo is offline I really need to log off the internet and go for a ride.
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    I finally rode through here at the end of last week, and while it was fun, there were definitely some moments that made me question the route choice. Here's my GPS data if you want to follow along. http://ridewithgps.com/trips/584657

    The ride from the Capitol to the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge is easy, but I wasn't sure if I should take the northern or southern side of the bridge. The north was closer, so I opted for that, although it's pretty skinny in places, particularly where the gates are positioned. The loop at the end isn't well marked, and the trail underneath the bridge is littered with glass.

    S Capitol SW is not an inviting road to ride next to, on a sidewalk or the shoulder. I eventually got in the shoulder but even though I was going about 20mph, most of the cars were passing at closer to 50 mph. I nearly rode over to the (yet unused) separated street car tracks. The concrete between the rails is nicely paved and it would be a great location for a separated bike trail. Big opportunity missed there.

    I took the ramp up to the light at Malcom X Ave instead of riding with the fast traffic under the street. In DC, I'll take the short tunnels to avoid the lights, but out here, the car traffic was moving too fast. The exit lane gets a little narrow and cars are still coming at a pretty good clip.

    Overlook still has fast traffic, but there is a good shoulder between Chesapeake and Shepherd Parkway, although I noticed some sewer drains that were not set up the correct way.

    Even though I had a GPS track to follow, I still ended up missing the left on to Shepherd Parkway. I had to backtrack against cars that were exiting the base and eager to get on to the Anacostia Freeway.

    As barbnDC noted, the entrance to Oxon Hill Farm Trail is not well marked from DC Village Ln SW. No signage at all that I saw. The trail itself could use a little upkeep, as there were some pretty bad bumps, ruts, and smashed glass. I did see a couple geese that moved at the sound of my bell, and the views of the sun setting across Oxon Creek and the Potomac were beautiful. Be careful at the wooden bridge, it's not flush with the trail. The climb up Oxon Hill Farm felt like more of a grind than I expected, but it felt great to make it to the top.

    Making the right from Bald Eagle to Oxon Hill Rd was a bit stressful, because at that point, my GPS got a little wonky. Everything after here felt like I was entering an onramp to a freeway. I ended up going down Harborview and cutting over to National when I should have done the reverse. I ended up on a ramp to National Harbor Blvd that barbnDC took, but I followed it up and around, crossed three lanes to get to the gas station island and regrouped from there. I took a gravel path down to where I could at least see the trail met up just before entering a tunnel.

    Once I got on the trail safely, the rest of the ride was a breeze. Now that I've done it, I'm sure it will go much more smoothly next time. Just make sure if you're going to ride this way, that you get over on the bike path next to Harborview a bit earlier than I did. Otherwise you're in for some freeway style action.

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by americancyclo View Post
    I finally rode through here at the end of last week, and while it was fun, there were definitely some moments that made me question the route choice. Here's my GPS data if you want to follow along. http://ridewithgps.com/trips/584657

    The ride from the Capitol to the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge is easy, but I wasn't sure if I should take the northern or southern side of the bridge. The north was closer, so I opted for that, although it's pretty skinny in places, particularly where the gates are positioned. The loop at the end isn't well marked, and the trail underneath the bridge is littered with glass.

    S Capitol SW is not an inviting road to ride next to, on a sidewalk or the shoulder. I eventually got in the shoulder but even though I was going about 20mph, most of the cars were passing at closer to 50 mph. I nearly rode over to the (yet unused) separated street car tracks. The concrete between the rails is nicely paved and it would be a great location for a separated bike trail. Big opportunity missed there.

    I took the ramp up to the light at Malcom X Ave instead of riding with the fast traffic under the street. In DC, I'll take the short tunnels to avoid the lights, but out here, the car traffic was moving too fast. The exit lane gets a little narrow and cars are still coming at a pretty good clip.

    Overlook still has fast traffic, but there is a good shoulder between Chesapeake and Shepherd Parkway, although I noticed some sewer drains that were not set up the correct way.

    Even though I had a GPS track to follow, I still ended up missing the left on to Shepherd Parkway. I had to backtrack against cars that were exiting the base and eager to get on to the Anacostia Freeway.

    As barbnDC noted, the entrance to Oxon Hill Farm Trail is not well marked from DC Village Ln SW. No signage at all that I saw. The trail itself could use a little upkeep, as there were some pretty bad bumps, ruts, and smashed glass. I did see a couple geese that moved at the sound of my bell, and the views of the sun setting across Oxon Creek and the Potomac were beautiful. Be careful at the wooden bridge, it's not flush with the trail. The climb up Oxon Hill Farm felt like more of a grind than I expected, but it felt great to make it to the top.

    Making the right from Bald Eagle to Oxon Hill Rd was a bit stressful, because at that point, my GPS got a little wonky. Everything after here felt like I was entering an onramp to a freeway. I ended up going down Harborview and cutting over to National when I should have done the reverse. I ended up on a ramp to National Harbor Blvd that barbnDC took, but I followed it up and around, crossed three lanes to get to the gas station island and regrouped from there. I took a gravel path down to where I could at least see the trail met up just before entering a tunnel.

    Once I got on the trail safely, the rest of the ride was a breeze. Now that I've done it, I'm sure it will go much more smoothly next time. Just make sure if you're going to ride this way, that you get over on the bike path next to Harborview a bit earlier than I did. Otherwise you're in for some freeway style action.
    Looks like you missed a couple of turns that would have made the Natl Harbor area easier. Here's my track from Saturday - you have to get on the sidepath right where Harborview Ave becomes a one-way at mile 9 on your track coming down the hill into National Harbor from Oxon Hill Road. You cross over the road and the sidepath is on the left (uphill) side.

    http://app.strava.com/activities/6364630

    It's also easier to take the south side of the S Capitol St bridge so you don't have to Paris-Roubaix your way through the construction staging under the bridge.

  4. #14
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    Yep, that's a good description of the ride, Shawn. And really, I didn't laugh when I got to the part about freeway style action and gravel paths at National Harbor. Nope.

    South Capitol can definitely be a little intimidating the first time. I've ridden it regularly, though, and have never had any problems. The only tricky part (in my view) is just before you approach Overlook - you *definitely* want to take the lane there. Otherwise, even tho' the traffic is fast, it's superwide: plenty of room for all. That said, I'd *love* to see either Bolling open its own waterfront continuation of the Anacostia path to all users, or construction of the planned path along South Capitol outside of Bolling. As it stands, this is really a one way route (and either of those two options would make it two way).

    For those playing along at home, the trick to finding the path next to Harborview is to get in the left lane, head straight down the hill, and when you see a No Entrance sign in front of you? Take a left onto the path. (Alternatively, you can just hop on the path at the top of the hill. But that's a pretty fun hill to bomb down on the street.)

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