Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Rockville Cycling: Long Rides

This is a fairly long ride, a near
century, which can be extended
to a full 100 miles with a few
tweaks. From Rockville, go North on
Rockville Pike, right on Gude, then the
first left onto Crabbs Branch Way, then
right on Redland Road. Though there
is not much of a shoulder on this road,
the road condition is excellent, and it
will take you all the way out to Laytonsville Road. Turn right and then the first left will put you on scenic Brookland Road, with few cars and nice bucolic scenery. It becomes more forested as you approach Georgia Avenue. The next stretch of this ride is on Georgia, not the greatest road for cyclists, but with a decent shoulder for most of the way until you can take a left on Jennings Chapel Road. There is a store which serves as a first rest stop located at the intersection of Georgia and Damascus/New Hampshire.

Follow Jennings Chapel, once again a lightly vehicled country road, with excellent views of fields and farms, all the way until it hits Florence Road, cross Woodbine. Florence becomes St. Michaels, which you can follow up to Route 144. A right on 144 and a left after a short uphill climb on to East Waterville Rd, will take you over US Route 70 and up towards Mt. Airy. Follow East Waterville as it becomes West Waterville right on to Main Street in Mt. Airy, where a left turn takes you down a hill. Look for Prospect Street heading to the right, which will take you out of Mt. Airy towards Frederick. A the interesection of Jacobs and Old Annapolis Road, you can take either a northern route or a southern one. The northern route takes you up Old Annapolis to McKaig, then right onto Gas House Pike, which will take you all the way into Frederick. The southern route takes you left on Jacobs, down Woodville to Old National Pike. This road has a fair amount of traffic on it but also has a decent shoulder, which is in good condition. Getting into Frederick this route simply requires taking Old National Pike to 144, which will take you right into Frederick. You can add a little excitement by turning right on Meadow, climbing a fairly steep hill. taking a left on Hall, and then a left on Quinn which turns into Terra Firma and hits 144, right and on into Frederick you go. The second rest stop is at the corner of Market and E Second Street. Take in the sights and sounds of historic downtown Frederick!

Out of Frederick on Market Street you turn on to New Design Road, which will take you over Route 40 and 270 and extends all the way to Route 28. An alternative to this direct route, and a bit more scenic, is to go down New Design, turn left on Manor Woods, which becomes Michael's Mill Road. This is a beautiful route which goes along the scenic Monocacy, will take you left on Fingerboard Rd, and then right on Flint Hill, also scenic and lightly travelled. There is a steep climb on Flint Hill up to Park Mill Road. A right on Park Mill will take you screaming down the hill and on some rollers down to Route 28. Take a left on 28 and on into Dickerson for the third rest stop!

Then you can either take 28 to 107 to Poolesville and back down 107 to 28, or go the back way down Big Woods to 109, left down to Sellman to Peach Tree to Barnesville and on into Boyds, down Whites Ground to Schaeffer into Germantown, then down Riffle Ford to 28 and back in. Either way, a stop at Smoothie King in the Fallsgrove Shopping Center is in order! You are back safely in Rockville!

Most of this ride is on roads with light traffic, except for the stretch on Georgia, and of course portions of Route 28, though these are blessed with pretty good shoulders for most of the way and there are plenty of alternatives to avoid 28 depending on how much time you have....