Newsletter: 100 feet per mile

Most summers I spend a week visiting family or friends in more mountainous parts of the country, and whenever possible I take my bike with me. At some point about a month before I leave, I realize in a panic that I need to remind myself how to ride my bike up hills. 

Before you hit that reply button: yes, I know the DC region is not flat! But our elevation changes tend to be steep, short, and spaced out between flat(ish) spots. This presents a challenge. I enjoy riding my bike up a good climb—I find it meditative and rewarding—but I don’t like riding in circles. The moment someone says “hill repeats,” I’m bailing to go find some tacos. So here’s this week’s route planning puzzle: 

A route that:

  • is Metro accessible;
  • is pleasant to ride (minimal busy roads);
  • features about 100 feet of climbing per mile of riding.

There are some classic local shop and club rides that focus on climbing: Hills of Arlington, Hills of Anacostia, Hills of Rock Creek, Hills of Reston and Vienna, Hills of Croom.

My current favorite is a combo of the Hills of Rock Creek and the Palisades section of the 50 States Ride route, but I am always on the lookout for new options. Send me your favorite climbs and hilly routes! 

Important Note: The routes linked here (including mine) are public routes on RidewithGPS. They’re not tested by or endorsed by WABA.

Things to do

Have a great weekend!