By Lia Summers
Loop of the National Mall
The National Mall is the most popular attraction in Washington, DC for good reason. The iconic buildings, memorials, and greenery are breathtaking. Biking is one of the best ways to see the glory of the National Mall. Start at the 15th Street bike trail on the Northeast Side of the White House and follow 15th street past the Washington Monument. Stay on the sidewalk and go clockwise to view the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the Capitol, the Holocaust Museum, the Jefferson Memorial, and the George Mason Memorial to Ohio Drive. Continue on Ohio Drive and view the Potomac River, the Arlington Memorial Bridge and Arlington National Cemetery in the distance. Hang a right on West Basin Drive to see the FDR Memorial, MLK Memorial and the DC World War I Memorial. Hang a left onto Independence Ave to see the Korean War Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial and the Reflecting Pool and the Vietnam Memorial. Take Constitution Ave East and view the Federal Reserve, Constitution Gardens and the Lock-keeper’s House. Hang a Right onto 17th Street to get a close up view of the WW2 Memorial, the John Paul Jones Memorial and the Tidal Basin.
If you are feeling adventurous, cross the Arlington Memorial bridge on the North side into Virginia and cross to the West side of Jefferson Davis Highway to follow the trail to the Netherlands Carillon and a recently restored Marine Corps Memorial (Iwo Jima).
Another option is to take the South side path on the Arlington Memorial Bridge and merge onto the Mount Vernon trail. Take the scenic ride along the Potomac River to the 14th Street Bridge and ride East to land back in DC at the Thomas Jefferson Memorial.
Hains Point is the location where the Potomac and Anacostia rivers meet and the location of East Potomac Park. Now that the SW Waterfront has been redeveloped, there are beautiful views along the road that hugs the perimeter of the park. There are trees along the route including Weeping Willows, Horse Chestnuts, Buckeyes and the oldest section of surviving Yoshino Cherry trees on the National Mall. There are also several recreational activities in East Potomac Park including swimming, tennis and mini golf.
Pennsylvania Ave Capitol/LOC/SC
Head East from South Side of the White house to the center bike lane on Pennsylvania Ave to see the historic buildings on Federal Triangle, City Hall, the Old Post Office, the National Gallery of Art and the Capitol Building. Bike up the walkway around the Capitol to the see the East side, which is the front of the Capitol and where every presidential inauguration has been held until Ronald Reagan’s in 1981. Behold the beautiful views of the Capitol visitor center, the Supreme Court and the Jefferson Library of Congress on First Street. Bike North on First past the Senate Buildings to view Union Station.
Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens – Formerly known as Shaw Gardens, Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens is a historic water lily farm started by Walter and Helen Shaw Fowler. It is set in the Anacostia River Tidal Wetlands and is easily accessible on the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail North bicycle Trail. Water lilies bloom from early May to mid-September and enjoy the lotus seed pod heads for three seasons. Enjoy the beautiful marshes, bird watch, or have a picnic!
Anacostia River Trail South and Kingman Island
Starting at RFK Stadium there is a lovely bike trail that hugs both sides of the Anacostia River. This trail passes Kingman Island, several boating clubs, fishermen, and beautiful views on the West Side of the Anacostia River. Cross the Philip Souza bridge and go North on the West side of the river for a complete loop, or continue South on the East side to the Navy Yard.
Navy Yard/Nats Stadium
The Anacostia river trail ends on 11th St SE. You can then cross the highway to the Navy Yard boardwalk and continue along the Potomac River and several historic military memorials to the boardwalk at Yards Park which hosts several restaurants and Nats Stadium.
Mt Olivet Cemetery and the National Arboretum
Mt. Olivet Cemetery is an underrated attraction that features some of the oldest graves in the city. Most importantly, they allow bikes on their main roads! This iconic cemetery is one of the oldest in Washington, DC and features rolling hills, ancient marble headstones and elaborate family vaults. It’s also the final resting place of Lincoln Conspirator, Mary Surratt and White House Architect, James Hoban.
This is a challenging ride with many hills, so it’s ideal for an electric bicycle. Mt. Olivet Cemetery is located in Northeast Washington, DC off of Bladensburg Road. It’s best to drive and park at the cemetery before you ride. The National Arboretum is across the street from Mt. Olivet Cemetery. Enjoy 400 acres of gardens, a world-class Bonsai collection, and a stunning display of the Old sandstone Capitol columns.