Take It Outside: Summer Activities
Tour de Georgetown
By Natalie Koltun
With miles of shady trails and scenic views, D.C., offers a variety of outdoor family-friendly summer activities. Congested traffic and an increase in Metro fare have led Washingtonians to other forms of transportation. Biking is a popular summer activity for all ages and skill levels, and provides a relaxing retreat from the hustle and bustle of city life. Georgetown is home to several acclaimed bike paths, including the C & O Towpath and Capital Crescent Trail. For long-distance riders, the C & O Towpath is a National Historic Park that spans 184 miles along the Potomac River between Georgetown and Cumberland, Md. This non-paved bike path offers interesting sights along the way, including 19th-century locks from the canal’s early years and the turbulent waters of Great Falls.
Running parallel to the C & O Towpath for the first few miles is the Capital Crescent Trail, which extends from Georgetown to Silver Spring. Built as a rail-trail on the former site of the Georgetown portion of the B & O Railroad, the 13-mile trail provides an interesting path for bikers to explore, complete with a tunnel, several bridges and plenty of shade. Rock Creek Park, running from the Potomac River to the border of Maryland, is a favorite bike path for its views of the National Zoo, streams and quaint picnic areas. CycleLife USA, a full-service bike shop on K Street in Georgetown offers a range of bikes including commuter, city, mountain, road and electric made from high quality materials.
Being at the intersection of several popular biking trails in the Washington area, “…[CycleLife USA] allows us to meet and help a wide range of riders and recommend the best trails and routes to explore,” said Neil Meyer of Georgetown bike shop CycleLife USA. The store carries well-known brands such as Specialized, BMC, Moots, Parlee, Independent Fabrication and Boo, and uses specialized fitting services to adjust each bike to fit its owner. Less experienced riders who wish to ride for exercise or leisure typically opt for hybrid bikes that are suitable for a variety of terrain and riding styles, says Meyer. Big Wheel Bikes on 33rd Street carries a variety of multiuse and specialty bicycles, and offers a rental program where customers can spend a few hours or days testing a bike before purchasing. The rental bikes include hybrids, performance hybrids, triathlon bikes, mountain and road bikes, in brands such as Fuji, Bianchi, Scott and Schwinn.
For the casual rider, D.C. offers its Capital Bikeshare program for visitors, commuters and residents alike. Celebrating its fourth anniversary, the program allows riders to pick up a bike from one of the 300 stations around the Washington metropolitan area and return it at any station near your destination when finished riding. For as little as $7, bikes can be checked out for the commute to work or simply a relaxing ride along the one of the many local bike trails. Capital Bikeshare has five stations in Georgetown. For the more experienced rider, CycleLife USA offers weekly organized rides in the area where bikers can tour local routes and learn the fundamentals of group riding. Another Georgetown bike shop, Revolution Cycles hosts a 25 to 30-mile group ride to Potomac, Md. every Sunday at 8:40 a.m.
This fall, the Potomac Pedalers, a non-profit cycling club, is sponsoring a family-friendly ride for all ages and ability levels in the Shenandoah Valley. With distances of 25, 30, 50, 65 and 100 miles, cyclists can decide how far to ride. What sets this apart from other bike events in the area is the route winds through several colonial towns that influenced our nation’s foundation, including the historic towns of Middleway and Burwell-Morgan Mill, established in 1785. On Friday, August 1, experienced riders are invited to participate in the Bike to the Beach charity race to benefit Autism research and Autism Speaks. In just one day, bikers will ride 104 miles from D.C. to Dewey Beach, Del. via Annapolis.
For more information, visit biketothebeach.org.
CycleLife USA is located at 3255 K St., NW.
Open Monday – Friday: 8:30 a.m. – 7 p.m., Saturday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Sunday: 12 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Big Wheel Bikes is located at 1034 33rd St., NW.
Revolution Cycles is located at 3411 M St., NW.
Open Monday – Friday: 11 a.m. – 8 p.m., Saturday: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., Sunday: 12 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Boating Under Key Bridge
By Joseph Park
Key Bridge Boathouse, one of Boating in DC’s location along the Potomac River, is celebrating their one-year anniversary of the Key Bridge location in Georgetown. The Key Bridge Boathouse has been thriving as a local business accommodating the high demand of tourists that come through Georgetown. “We are doing well as a business here in Georgetown,” said Brendan McLellan, the site lead. “We are expanding the classes we offer giving out more boating tours.”
A wide variety of classes are held throughout the week, including, kayak and paddle boarding offered in introductory and advanced levels. The boathouse also offers stand up yoga on the dock (bring your own mat) and community paddle every Saturday at 7 a.m. Participants can bring their own boards, or rent from the boathouse. Boating in DC opened up two other sites at the Potomac River, Ballpark Boathouse and National Harbor in Maryland. Rentals include canoes, kayaks, stand up paddle boards as well as twilight tours and seasonal boat storage. Seasonal passes are available for purchase for those who want to enjoy unlimited paddling in all of their locations.
“Our seasonal tickets are great, especially in the summer because we offer unlimited paddling at any of our locations and other benefits including free access to intro to Kayaking classes as well as 20 percent off any advanced level class.” McLellan said. Season passes are offered in adult singe, adult doubles and a family pass.
Boating in DC offers safety sessions throughout the day to any newcomers that come on site.
“Safety is our number one priority, McLellan said. “We hold safety sessions for anyone that is new to any of our sites. We go over the safety procedures to take when a rare case of emergency occurs and certain areas of the river that you want to avoid getting into.” McClellan says the boathouse is busy every day of the week throughout the summer and hosted a number of paddle boarders on July 4 to catch the fireworks. Key Bridge Boathouse is located at the end of K Street in Georgetown. Open 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. through September. Visit BoatingInDC.com for more information and class schedules.