(2006) Biking around Washington, DC, offers a great combination of urban and nature biking with some great bike greenways and bike trails.
As soon as I got into town, I had dinner with Maggie Thompson with the Washington Area Bicyclist Association. They work with DOT to produce a GREAT bicycle map for DC (click here to download one), and Maggie was full of great tips for the best rides. Another good Web site is Bike Washington. A great bike shop for repairs is Bicycle Pro Shop. An excellent book resource is 25 Bicycle Tours. For bike rentals or guided tours, see Bike the Sites.
By the way, that dinner was at Mourayo, an outstanding contemporary Greek restaurant at 1732 Connecticut Ave. in Dupont Circle. (see photo below)
This trip I stayed with my friend Jeff at The Fairmont. While The Fairmont is quite fabulous, I recommend the Topaz Hotel, or any of the six other Kimpton Hotels in since they are more relaxed and hip.
My first ride of the trip was the National Mall & Memorial Parks. From my hotel on M Street, I rode down a few blocks to Pennsylvania Ave to a connector to the Rock Creek Park Trail near the intersection. I took a right onto the trail from the connector (taking you south away from the bulk of the Park). Soon you are riding along the Potomac River, past Watergate, the Kennedy Center and the back of the Lincoln Memorial. You can take this trail all the way down to the FDR and Jefferson Memorials or take a left along the way to cut over directly to The Mall.
Since The Mall is over two miles long, a bike is a perfect way to tour. You can stop at any of the museums or monuments, lock up your bike and take a tour. You can ride your bike from the Lincoln Memorial to the US Capitol. From The Capitol, you can take Pennsylvania Avenue to Dupont Circle. Drivers are watchful for bikers, but you need to pay attention and signal for any turns.
For a short, scenic 5-mile ride, cycle through the National Arboretum.