Early spring is a good time for a relaxed bike ride along the C&O Canal towpath, and Rileys Lock is a great place to start and finish our ride with a fun picnic.
Our SHR group did this ride last year in a chilly rain shower that stopped as soon as we finished the ride. As you can see in the photos, we were a little damp, but happy nonetheless to be out riding on the trail.
This section of the towpath going towards Great Falls is not crowded and has beautiful views of the Potomac River. The trail is flat and suitable for riders of all levels, with a surface of packed dirt and gravel. A hybrid or mountain bike with good tires is best for riding the trail. Bikes with skinny tires are NOT recommended.
We'll meet up in the parking area at the end of the Seneca Park entrance road next to the C&O towpath. The round trip to Great Falls is 18 miles, and takes approximately 2.5 hours with breaks. You can view the most active area of the Potomac River falls from an observation platform at Great Falls Park.
There is plenty of free parking at Rileys Lock which adjoins Seneca Creek Park, and toilet facilities are available at Great Falls Park and at porta-potties along the way. This is an up and back ride, so we will collect any stragglers on our return trip.
Helmets are required for all riders
Afterwards, we'll have a BYO picnic at Rileys Lock which has tables and nice views of the river. So bring some refreshing food and drink to socialize outdoors with your Second Half Rally compatriots.
We don't tell people what to bring, but SHR is an imaginative group of foodies and beverage aficionados who always produce a tasty picnic that we all share and enjoy.
You can leave your picnic things in your car while we ride, so don't worry about carrying them. Be sure to bring a folding chair!
The C&O Canal towpath is a public park that prohibits alcohol, so please be discreet with any of your beverages which might violate that policy. We haven't had any problems yet. Let's keep it that way!
From I-495, take the River Rd. exit towards Potomac and keep going for several miles past Potomac until you reach the T-intersection with Seneca Rd. Turn left and keep going on River Rd. another few miles until you see a sign for "Seneca" just before a small road bridge. Turn left there onto Rileys Lock Rd. and follow it to the parking area at the end.
As this is an outdoor event, we need good weather for it to be successful. I'll post an update here by 10:00 am Saturday morning if we need to cancel or change our plan. Please call Jake at[masked] with any questions.
I hope to see you there!