Dispatch from Charlie

posted in: Cycling News | 0

During the week following Labor Day, my family and I took a short vacation to the Boulder area. It was our first time to your town, and we instantly fell in love with the area. What made the week for me were the daily bike rides throughout Boulder. I was lucky enough to meet Donald and other members of the Flat Tire Bike Club and was welcomed to join in on one of your typical weekly rides. For reasons you already know first hand, we fell in love with your town, your trails, and your weather. We’re now starting to plan a relocation to the Boulder area, but until we can get through the hurdles of finding jobs, I thought I could give something back to the FTBC, in appreciation of their hospitality to me. Below are some quick summaries of bike rides in my area, should you ever find yourself wanting to bike around the Washington DC area.

Seagull Century: Early October starting at Salisbury Univ., Salisbury, MD

An organized 100 mile ride threading through the Cheasapeak Bay farm region. The entire route is near completely flat and user friendly. This year’s ride took place two weeks ago. We had record high weather (85 degrees) and everyone enjoyed the sites, the scenery and the sunshine. What I found unique about the ride were the rest stops.. the ride organizers make sure you’ve got plenty of apple pie and ice cream to keep the tank filled! (A first hand personal recommendation would be to take it easy on the ice cream when there’s still 60 miles to pedal in mid eighties tempatures.. UGH!) Along with the main ride are organized trips to Crab houses and other Chesapeak delicacies to really take in the flavor of the area.

NCR (Northern Central Railroad) Trail

In my opinion, the finest trail in the Baltimore area. 40 miles from Hunt Valley, MD to York, PA. This is a crushed limestone trail through spectacular farmland and sections of Gunpowder National Park. It’s an old rail trail with virtually no street crossings, no cars..just you, the path, and beautiful scenery.

C&O Canal:

This towpath trail literally starts downtown at the Georgetown Marina. It winds it’s way through Maryland and Pennsylvania. Although I haven’t done this first hand, I’m told you can ride from Georgetown all the way to Pittsburgh by trail..some 300+ miles. I’ve ridden the southern part of the trail and it’s worth seeing. Not just scenery, but historical sites scattered along the path. You can camp along the way or enjoy several B&B’s just off the trail. There are several articles, and groups that organize trips through this route.. Worth checking out.

Schuykill River Trail; Philadelphia http://www.traillink.com/ViewTrail.aspx?AcctID=6017043

Literally starts in downtown Philadelphia, at the Art Museum (where Rocky jogged up the steps), you pass through boat houses for the rowing crew teams, along eclectic hip towns stringing along the Schuykill River, stretching out to the rural rolling hills of Valley Forge, PA at the historic battlefields. The trail goes on for at least 40 miles if not more. The idea of being able to ride through a major city filled with cool sculptures, along rivers, past hip little yuppie towns, and reaching out to historic battlefields with no traffic or hassle makes this another one of my favorite rides.


Rock Creek Park, Chevy Chase, MD

A gorgeous long and narrow park that goes from Chevy Chase, MD down to the National Monuments in the center of the District of Columbia. Take the trail on the weekend and much of the ride thru the park is closed to traffic. When not closed to cars, nearly the entire trip is on a separate trail segregated from the traffic.. and it feeds directly out to the Lincoln Memorial. If you’ve never checked out the monuments by bike, you don’t know what you’re missing. DC is best seen by bike. This trail also connects to the C&O Canal trail mentioned above.

Well, hopefully I can soon start having some favorite rides to call my own out in the Boulder area. Until we can make that happen, we’ve got enough locally here in the mid-atlantic to keep us busy.

If you’d like more info about the Baltimore / DC area for biking, or want some company on a ride when you’re in town, feel free to let me know. I’m always looking for an excuse to get on the bike.

Charlie Matlin



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