Ride Reviews: The Hills of Anacostia

Hello, welcome to Ride Reviews! These little notes are meant to provide quick overviews of regular shop and club rides around the area so you can decide if you’d like to join in. For a list of all reviews, visit the Ride Reviews page.

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.

The DC Bike List for 10/26

It’s here! The very first DC Bike List! A lot of great rides and events going on this week. Just a few quick highlights: Bike Rack’s Lake Artemesia Ride is on Saturday. They do this once a month, so if you’ve been waiting to catch it, now’s the time. Then later that evening, DC’s fine community of bike messengers are hosting Dead City 2017, a “Mars Attacks!”-themed alley cat race through the streets of DC. Everyone’s welcome to join, and it sounds… wild. On Sunday, the OutRiders are doing a 50-mile trek out to Baltimore and MARCing it back. On Halloween night, the Mt. Pleasant Cruisers are doing a costume ride. And on Wednesday? Free bike polo! Ha!

Anyway, that’s what I’d do if I had unlimited time and no family or professional obligations. You’ll not see many rides by clubs like the Potomac Pedalers listed here. First, there’s just too many, and second, I imagine the club people already know about them. That said, if you want a ride added to the list, definitely e-mail me or tweet me and I’ll make it happen. I’m also looking into a good way to incorporate the less regular club events.

Also, there are some good women cycling groups like Black Women Bike DC and Babes on Bikes that are reserved for those identifying as women. Connect with these groups and they’ll let you know what’s happening from week to week.

A few other pieces of news before I get to the list:

That’s it. If you like this newsletter, feel free to forward it along to friends and tell them to sign up or follow on Twitter. Now with no further ado, the list!

– Peter

Continue reading “The DC Bike List for 10/26”

Tips for group rides

Here’s a few basic pointers on how to approach group rides:

  • Always wear a helmet. It’s definitely safer for you, sure, but also, how you feel personally about helmets is irrelevant on group rides. Wearing a helmet shows respect for the people planning and leading the ride, and for your fellow riders, who do not want to see your brains all over the pavement. Just wear a helmet, OK?
  • Chill out. Most shop and social rides are about having fun, not competition. If you want to race, join a club. Otherwise, enjoy this opportunity to have fun, get some exercise, meet some people, and if you absolutely have to blow of steam, do it on the climbs.
  • Be prepared. It’s always a good idea to have some basics like a patch kit or a spare tube in case you get a flat. A water bottle is also a must, and you might want a snack as well if the ride is a long one. For evening rides, be sure to bring front and tail lights. Dress for weather if it looks like rain, or wear layers if it’s chilly.
  • Make sure your bicycle is in good working condition. In particular, your brakes should work and your tires should be inflated to at least 60-80psi, higher for road bikes. Check that no spokes are broken, and test the batteries on your lights.
  • There is no dress code. OK, you can kit up with all the Lycra and fingerless gloves if you want, and if you want to support your local bike shop by buying all the right gear, please, go nuts. Lots of people do. But if you’re just starting out, comfortable shorts, a T-shirt or sweatshirt, and tennis shoes will probably be fine. As you ride more and talk to other cyclists, you’ll get a feel for what you need and want.

That’s pretty much it. Mostly, remember that all group rides are slightly different, so hop around to different ones, explore different parts of the city and suburbs, and meet new people. Happy riding!

First list almost ready to roll!

OK, progress is being made. Rides are being confirmed. Events are being listed. Links are being shortened and inserted. Text is being bolded and underlined. Essentially, the first DC Bike List is almost ready for release! The confirmed launch date is Thursday, October 26. Don’t forget to sign up to get the list in your inbox if you haven’t yet (it’ll also be posted here later in the day), and send any tips on rides/events you want to see included to pjk AT dcbikelist.com.

Coming soon.

Still getting things set up. DC Bike List is a weekly list of cycling events, gatherings, news, and tomfoolery in and around Washington, D.C. I’ll be sending out the first issue on the morning of Thursday, October 26. Please sign up with your e-mail address if you’d like to receive this extremely, extremely hot piece of news in your inbox. Also, follow me (us?) on Twitter at @DCBikeList, if you’re into that sort of thing. And please e-mail me at pjk AT dcbikelist.com if you have any suggestions for events or feedback. Thank you, more on the way as things develop.