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The Hills of Anacostia is one of BicycleSPACE’s signature weekend rides. Cyclists gather early (a few minutes before 8am) on Saturday morning, in front of the downtown shop on K St., and depart punctually at the hour. I imagine the size of the group depends on the weather and the time of year. On the day I went (a gorgeous morning in October, about 60F at the start but warming later) there were I think eight of us, co-ed, most riding clipped in. @zacycles led the ride. We departed at a leisurely pace heading east on K St., eventually dropping down to H and taking Benning Rd. across the river.
This ride is on streets with motor vehicle traffic. At times, it can be a little hectic, especially at intersections. On one hill, a bus followed us up almost the entire climb. But this is sleepy Saturday morning traffic, so it’s light, unrushed. If you’re used to riding on city streets, it will be a piece of cake. If you’re not, it’s good low-stress practice.
The hills themselves are long. Pretty, pretty long. Not quite “my legs are falling off”-long, but fairly well into “oh god why I can’t breath”-long. But just kick it into a lower gear and keep grinding, because this ride isn’t a race. Zack held the ride to regroup at the top of every climb, and then it was down, down, down, on some fun descents.
The ride had a pit stop at a volunteer fire department across the border in Maryland, where we could use the bathroom and refill water bottles, and toward the end, we also stopped off in a church parking lot for the obligatory scenic overlook shot. I think we covered about 24 miles in two and a half hours.
All in all, the Hills of Anacostia is a great way to get out and see parts of the city you may not be familiar with. It’s good, brisk exercise, but also very social, fun for meeting people or riding with a friend. The first Saturday of the month is for beginners, so the pace is a little slower and it’s a good place to start if you’ve never done a ride like this before.