Relocating: can I have it all in DC?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Relocating: can I have it all in DC?

    The wife and I are looking to make the move out to DC in the next few months, Oct 1st to be exact. Outside of the fact that everything in DC is different than Boise, ID, the biggest lifestyle hurdle for myself could be the lack of mtb riding..since everything in the Boise range is just minutes from my door.

    I'll be working in Bethesda, she'll be in the Capitol Mall..so we would like to live along the RedLine. We've only explored the inner burbs of DC and feel most at home so far in Cleveland Park, but I'm open and would appreciate any suggestions of areas further out that will bring me the most biking bang for my buck.

    I realize that I can't expect to live an urban lifestyle and still ride dirt daily, which is why I'm bringing the cross bike. But, if you live in or know of some interesting and fun outlying areas (along the Redline) that would give me opportunity to have both, please let me know.

  2. #2
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    Don't fret, plan right and you can still ride daily.

    I would look outside of DC, on the far north-west end of the Redline. You will be a few stops from Bethesda. That puts you close to Schaeffer Farms/Hoyles Mill/Black Hill and a couple other trails for your weekday riding fix. Well designed singletrack for what it is and the lay of the land, but it's not epic by any means. For the good stuff you can shoot straight up I-270 30-40 minutes and hit Gambrill State Park and the Frederick Watershed on the weekends (Sample pix here). That's the eastern edge of the Appalachian mountain range and will give you rocks and plenty of techincal riding and more elevation change. I live up there and can give you a tour when you get in town.

    Other good stuff can be had at Patapsco up near Baltimore. Travel a bit further and over the PA line you have Michaux State Forest to the north and the might George Washington National Forest to the South. Both should be under 2 hours from DC and have great riding.

    The DC metro area actually has a surprising number of urban trails for a metro area (and a good commuter bike path network). To get to the good stuff you need to travel some (see above), but there are a lot of cities that hardly have any singletrack at all.

    Two good sources for further info are the local MTB advocacy group MORE and this recent article that covers a lot of the favorite DC riding spots.
    SingleSpeedOutlaw .com
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  3. #3
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    You may want to contact impdude

    Contact impdude in the Idaho boards. He lives in Boise, but he has explored a lot of the DC area, and he can help you. Especially if you want a certain type of trails.

    Otherwise, you can move to Bethesda MD for work or the Cabin John trails (easy trails), farther out, which also means more commuting time, Gaithersburg/Germantown with plenty of trails to choose from such as Schaeffer,Black Hills, Little Bennet, or to Frederick (major rush hour commute) and get the best trails in the area in Gambrill, Watershed and Greenbrier.

    Send me a PM if you like.

  4. #4
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    I'd also look at the MARC train schedules as an alternative to the Metro if you look for a place out near Schaeffer et al. It goes further out than the Metro but with less frequency. It has stops in Gaithersburg, Germantown and Boyds. Any further than Boyds and the commute for your wife will probably be too long (Boyds may even be, not sure on the times). The train's last southern stop is Penn Station, the main hub for Metro.
    SingleSpeedOutlaw .com
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  5. #5
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    Many thanks to both of you for the suggestions. Taking a look at the suggested riding spots and pictures, I'll definitely need to up my game when it comes to the tech. Everything looks lush..I can't wait for the change of scenery.

    I noticed a lot of SS in those pics, any suggestions on gearing..currently I have a 32/19 to handle the climbing nature of our trails...would a true 2:1 work out there?

    As for housing, I doubt I can convince the wife to move any further out than Rockville, but that should cut some time off. We plan on being there for several years, hell maybe even permantly, you know how life is, so even if I end up close to the city to start once we get a feel we can move to what works best.

    Again, I appreciate the suggestions and I'll PM both of you once I get in town. I likely owe you both a suds.

  6. #6
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    Bethesda - Rockville

    If you are going to try to find a place between Bethesda & Rockville, I would suggest trying to stay near Rock Creek Park. There is an asphalt path that goes Rockville/Olney all the way to the Potomac river in DC and will actually connect with the DC mall if you keep going along the path (and it is within a 2 miles of Bethesda). It will give you a lot of opportunites for easy commuting by bike (very little traffic and very peaceful considering your location) as well the tourist thing and visiting a large part of DC by bike. I live at the top of the valley that drops into Rock Creek, and to me, it has been a gold mine of opportunities for keeping me on my bike.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flounder
    I noticed a lot of SS in those pics, any suggestions on gearing..currently I have a 32/19 to handle the climbing nature of our trails...would a true 2:1 work out there?
    Personally I run 2:1 on my 26" bike and the equivalent gear inch (36x20 or 52") on my 29er but it all depends where you ride and what your fitness is.

    Micky mentions Rock Creek park. Just to add to his comments: Most dirt trails in there are illegal for bikes but there is some bike legal singletrack that is being built on the northern end.
    SingleSpeedOutlaw .com
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