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Thread: New female biker - University of Maryland to 17th and G NW

  1. #1
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    Default New female biker - University of Maryland to 17th and G NW

    Hello. I have made up my mind to get a hybrid bike and commute about 10.5 miles to work. I spend more than $3600 a year commuting by BMW(bus, metro and walking) so I want to save money, and get more active. I have lurked through this forum a few times looking for tips for commuting to DC from College Park. Could anyone suggest a safe route for a 5'1 103lb female beginner bike starting from Adelphi/University of Maryland to 17th and G St NW? I am not concerned about the length of the commute right now. Once I get more comfortable on a bike, I will venture out to shorten my commute. I will be buying a bike (Giant Escape 3) in two weeks but I have not ridden a bike since I was 11 years old, so I would want to start out on a commute that is mostly trails and median bike lanes.

    I would GREATLY appreciate any advice.

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    Hi newb -- I commute from Old Greenbelt to 19th and K, and I often have open commute convoy meetups on Fridays. Here are some ideas/resources. Also, if you're willing to give out a more precise starting point (just within a couple blocks or so) over the Internets, people on this forum can often suggest precise street routings that may be the best or most pleasant.

    Let me say that I think you're right to look for the safest, nicest routes rather than the straighest or fastest -- some roads in our area are just horrible to ride on, and some of the local trails are really nice, but may not be the most direct routing.

    I take the trails along the Route 1/Anacostia Tributary trails corridor -- here's the route I took for the College Park Bike to Work Day convoy, although there are lots of alternate possibilities: http://ridewithgps.com/routes/4518248

    You can also take R street across town westbound and Q street eastbound to get from the Met Branch trail to the 15th Street cycletrack.

    I'm affiliated (by marriage) with Proteus bike shop in north College Park, and we do open group rides on weekends. For example, tomorrow we're riding down to DC in the morning to get coffee at Eastern Market and meetup with another shop ride from Bikinetic in Virginia.

    Those group rides can be fun ways to learn the nicest commuting routes. Good luck! -Jeff


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    This Strava heatmap for the area shows where people bike more often, but it represents only those who upload to Strava:

    http://labs.strava.com/heatmap/#12/-...4262/gray/bike

    Also, Google Maps shows biking directions, and I think only the desktop version shows elevation profile. There are some web sites that show elevation profiles, but they are hard to use. Here is one, but you have to switch to the bike symbol first(It's the third button from the left), then click the starting point, and any points along the route, or the final point. It doesn't show dots where you click until you click on a second point.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Greenbelt View Post
    Hi newb -- I commute from Old Greenbelt to 19th and K, and I often have open commute convoy meetups on Fridays. Here are some ideas/resources. Also, if you're willing to give out a more precise starting point (just within a couple blocks or so) over the Internets, people on this forum can often suggest precise street routings that may be the best or most pleasant.

    Let me say that I think you're right to look for the safest, nicest routes rather than the straighest or fastest -- some roads in our area are just horrible to ride on, and some of the local trails are really nice, but may not be the most direct routing.

    I take the trails along the Route 1/Anacostia Tributary trails corridor -- here's the route I took for the College Park Bike to Work Day convoy, although there are lots of alternate possibilities: http://ridewithgps.com/routes/4518248

    You can also take R street across town westbound and Q street eastbound to get from the Met Branch trail to the 15th Street cycletrack.

    I'm affiliated (by marriage) with Proteus bike shop in north College Park, and we do open group rides on weekends. For example, tomorrow we're riding down to DC in the morning to get coffee at Eastern Market and meetup with another shop ride from Bikinetic in Virginia.

    Those group rides can be fun ways to learn the nicest commuting routes. Good luck! -Jeff

    Hi Greenbelt! Thanks for responding! I appreciate your suggestions. Your recorded commute from Greenbelt to DC was the first thing I found on the internet during my initial search which is what led me to lurke on this forum. Then I found your other vimeo and YouTube videos. They have been very helpful in easing my fear of bike commuting to DC. Proteus was the first bike shop I called when I started looking for bikes. It's nice to know that there are group bike rides on the weekends.I will most likely join becauase I could use the community support.

    I'd be starting from the intersection of University Blvd and Adelphi road (i.e. UMUC).
    Last edited by newbiehere; 07-20-2014 at 08:08 AM.

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    Default Thanks for the help!

    Quote Originally Posted by n18 View Post
    This Strava heatmap for the area shows where people bike more often, but it represents only those who upload to Strava:

    http://labs.strava.com/heatmap/#12/-...4262/gray/bike

    Also, Google Maps shows biking directions, and I think only the desktop version shows elevation profile. There are some web sites that show elevation profiles, but they are hard to use. Here is one, but you have to switch to the bike symbol first(It's the third button from the left), then click the starting point, and any points along the route, or the final point. It doesn't show dots where you click until you click on a second point.


    Thank you very much for the links! Those maps will definitely come in handy. I have actually already tried Google Maps but part of the route that I was familiar with didn't seem safe for me early in the morning or at night. I will download the Strava GPS app and see how that helps when I want to shorten my commute.

    SN: Sorry, again, for the duplicate thread!

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    Hi,

    From the university/aldephi intersection you can just go down the Stanford St hill until you connect which the NW Branch trail on your right (first part if this: http://www.strava.com/activities/122357305 ). I would continue on this trail until reaching 38th Ave and then follow Jeff's route through Woodridge, Brookland, and into DC.

    Also, if you wanted to avoid the trails (bad weather, dark), here is a neighborhood roads alternative: http://www.strava.com/activities/42604241

  7. #7
    PotomacCyclist is offline I spend all day thinking about bikes and talking to people on the internet about them.
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    If you were wondering about the Metropolitan Branch Trail, many people report that they use the trail without problem. However, there have been some incidents in certain sections. It's something to consider. Riding with others or avoiding certain sections when riding alone might be a good plan.

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    I'm actually more concerned about the NW Branch Trail near the Lane Manor area.

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    I think you're pretty unlikely to have trouble on the Met Branch trail during regular commuting hours. I actually haven't had any trouble late at night either. Lots of people out on that trail all the time now jogging, dog walking etc. The latest things are the mural painters and yoga people in the afternoons. It's also pretty easy to just slow down at the start of the trail section and wait for another cyclist or two to join up with. There used to be a homeless guy who hung out near the NY Ave Metro ramp who talked to his invisible friends and enemies, but he never seemed to bother anyone -- haven't seen him in a while, I hope he's OK.

    All in all, my biggest dangers are the raging Maryland drivers on the road sections of my commute, not the stuff on the trail sections so much.

  10. #10
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    dasgeh is offline Queen of Family Biking & All Things Kidical
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    Welcome! In addition to this excellent forum, you may want to check on WABA's Women & Bikes facebook group. It's pretty awesome for support and ride info (I'd come here first for questions about routing and equipment, unless you have women-specific questions).

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