What we're about

Are you looking to do some casual bicycle riding on scenic trails in the MD, DC, VA, and PA area? Do you like partaking of well-earned adult beverages at some point during a bike ride? Do you look at a bicycle ride as more of a social event that includes exercise rather than the other way around? If so, this group is for you. If you're looking for a great cardio workout, you may want to look somewhere else. We tend to target rail and greenway trails, which are bicycle-friendly trails that tend to parallel old train tracks, canals, and rivers. Since trains did not do well on anything over a 3% grade (and neither do I) these trails are amazingly flat. They go through some beautiful areas and quaint towns, often where food and drink are plentiful. We avoid streets as much as possible, although some of the trails may include a bike lane or shoulder for a small portion of the ride. Those would be the exception and not the rule.

The trails tend to be a mixture of asphalt, crushed limestone, and gravel. Just about any bike will do fine, although street bikes with razor thin tires will not fair so well on some of the less maintained paths. To summarize: this is not a cardio ride, we'll ride for enjoyment, socializing, and a nice bar, pub, or something similar at the halfway point for much needed refreshment (sometimes at the end of the ride, too!).

Although we are mainly interested in "day trips," I would also like to schedule at least one overnight each year. There are ample camping sites on the C&O Canal and B&B options for those that prefer more civilized surroundings.

Most rides will be about a 20-mile round trip and we'll range between 8 - 15 mph (some of us are slower, some are faster). This will make for a pretty laid back ride and riders of just about any skill level should be fine. This is not about performance! As we do intend to partake of local refreshments at the halfway point or at the end, riders will need to be at least 21. You cannot be too old to join this group. We are all about enjoyable bike rides in scenic locations. Stop, take pictures, socialize, smell the roses on the way.

What do I need to bring?

Obviously, a bike. What kind? Hybrids and mountain bikes work great on the trails we frequent. Street bikes are also a good choice as long as they don't have the ultra thin profile racing tires, those would be fine on some of the more well maintained asphalt trails but those trails are not the norm.

Some other gear that is almost mandatory:

Mask (still sometimes required for entering establishments, optional for riding)
Water (water bottles or a backpack style hydration system)
Helmet (not required but recommended)
Spare tube--Even if you don't know how to change a flat, someone in the group will be able to do it for you and it's MUCH easier to change a tube than to patch one
Bike tools (a tire repair and patch kit and spare tube is always a good idea)
Bike lock (we do stop for food and drink and the bike is not always in view)
Wallet (ID, cash)
Good attitude (we're fun people!)

Other things to consider:

Bug spray
Small first aid kit
Bike bag to hold everything
Biking shorts (padded shorts may look strange to the uninitiated, but they sure do the trick)

PLEASE NOTE: These bike rides have become very popular since the onset of Covid-19 and limitations on indoor activities. We therefore place limits on the number of riders that can join any single ride. Please be aware of this when you join a ride. If you find you will not be able to make the ride, please move yourself from ‘Going’ to ‘Not Going’ as soon as possible and no later than 24 hours before the event start time to give others the chance to join. If you wait till the day of the event then you’re not giving others the time to take your place. Please don’t RSVP to an event just to add it to your calendar; only RSVP if you truly feel you will make it.

The start time of each ride is the time we expect to hit the trail. Please make sure you get to the Meetup location before start time. Give yourself enough time to get your bike off/out of the car and ready by the start time (at least 15 minutes). Especially in summer, it’s too hot to stand around waiting for late arrivals to get ready. If you’re running late, please message the group on Meetup so we know whether to leave or wait a bit.

If you use Strava, feel free to join our Strava group (https://www.strava.com/clubs/rails-trails-ales-bicycling). It's a new group so there's not much activity there but I'm hoping that changes.

Past events (32)

Sligo Creek Trail


C&O Canal - Dargan Bend to Brunswick

Dargan Bend Boat Ramp

Cross County Trail - Lake Accotink to Old Lee Hwy

7500 Accotink Park Rd

C&O Canal - Dargan Bend to Bavarian Inn

Dargan Bend Boat Ramp

Photos (547)