Yesterday I rode a 38 mile loop that connects several trails and roads closed to cars in the Maryland/DC area:
- Rock Creek/Beach Drive – there is a paved bike path that that parallels Beach Drive through Rock Creek Park from Garrett Park MD down to Georgetown in DC. On weekends, much of Beach Drive is closed to cars – during the pandemic, they have made the closure full time. Empty roads!
- Haines Point – Going past the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials, you reach East and West Potomac Park – the site of the 1971 “May Day” Vietnam war protests. I just finished reading a book “Mayday 1971” that shows how that time eerily parallels today in the US, if you substitute a war for a pandemic and just change the names of the sitting presidents. There is then a 3 mile loop around Haines Point where the Anacostia River feeds into the Potomac River – this used to be the site of the “Boring New Year’s Day Century” each New Years Day – 33 laps! Planes (not that many recently) follow the Potomac River and land at National Airport across the river.
- Capital Crescent Trail – this is a real gem of a paved rail trail that parallels the southern-most 5 miles of the C&O Towpath and then cuts north to Bethesda MD. Unfortunately, Maryland’s governor succumbed to pressure and funded a light rail system that took back a nice stretch east of Bethesda (cost overruns during construction have already shut it down. With any luck, it may end up just being an enhanced section of rail trail). I avoided that stretch or I would have a picture of an empty tunnel that used to be full of bikers and walkers.
- Bethesda Trolley Trail – nice local amenity that is not really great for biking because there are so many kids/dog walkers, etc. but it did add bridges over some major highways that enables this loop.
The northern end of the Bethesda Trolley Trail ends in what is really Rockville, MD but in the interest of raising real estate values, it has called itself “North Bethesda.” It is the site of one of the larger indoor shopping malls that were built around here back in the late 70’s, White Flint Mall. Despite an ideal location, it was always badly run and poorly maintained. Despite attracting a few good restaurants, it went under 5 or 6 years ago. It was one of the sites bidding for Amazon’s HQ2 building – didn’t win.
It is now empty space that nature is slowly reclaiming.
They could film Mad Max 3 there, but it is now a nice shortcut to get back to the northern end of the loop where I park my car.