6/7/13 8:52 p.m. IMPORTANT ROUTE UPDATE: Due to the heavy rains in the area over the last 24 hours, there will be a slight re-route of the last 5 miles of all three routes. Instead of utilizing the Henson Creek Trail, the route will bear left onto Palmer Road from Tucker Road. This will be very well marked, and there will be police support where necessary, however it is not reflected on the cue sheets or MapMyRide downloads online.
The ride leaves from National Harbor, right on the Potomac River, on the eastern side of the beltway. On Saturday there are 30, 60 and 100 mile route options. All routes more-or-less follow the Potomac River heading south into Charles County. For the 60 and 100 mile riders, you will get to see some beautiful rural countryside. The ride is easier than in past years, but it is by no means easy. This year's century has about 4,200 feet of elevation change. For you serious cyclists, the ride promises to be fast, yet challenging. Scroll down for a more detailed description of the route.
THANK YOU to Secor Group, our Official Route Sponsor!
These routes were created on Mapmyride.com The site provides limited editing and some turn by turn and elevation may not be accurate. We hope to post updated cue sheets shortly. On the day of the event, please pick up a cue sheet at the start line to ensure you have the most up to date information on the route.
Please note the following should you try to use them for a training ride in advance of the event:
- If you are using the above maps for training purposes DO NOT start and finish out of National Harbor. During Bike MS we will be using a back entrance to the property that will be opened specifically for our ride. There is a shopping center at the corner of Livingston Rd and Oxon Hill that could work as your starting point
- All three route cross Indian Head Highway/210 at least once (more for 60, 100 mile). We will have police support the day of the ride. If you ride on your own you MUST USE CAUTION – the lights turn very quickly.
- Don't forget to RIDE SINGLE FILE at all times.
The heart of Bike MS: Ride the Riverside is charity: quality people coming together to bike create a world free of multiple sclerosis. We also know that every participant, from a hardcore cyclist to a weekend rider, wants to know the same thing: what’s the route going to be like? Read on, my two-wheelin’ friend.
As you approach the start line at Maryland’s National Harbor with 1,000 of your closest spandex-clad friends, the adrenaline rush will take over as the bass pumps out from the starting line stereo. You’re about to embark on a journey so much bigger than a bike ride – embrace it! National Harbor has a lot to offer as a start/finish location: waterfront property, convenience, on-site hotels, and shopping and dining for you and your family, friends, and fans to enjoy. In order to take full advantage of National Harbor’s convenience, the routes have to start out through some residential neighborhoods before reaching the scenic elements. Just like everything in life, your patience will be greatly rewarded!
As you round out your first 10 miles, you’ll travel along the aptly-named Riverview Road and into Tantallon, a neighborhood of gorgeous colonials, unique custom homes, and a quaint marina. Then, you’ll turn into Fort Washington Park, home of – you guessed it – historic Fort Washington and views of the Potomac River. The park will be host to your first rest stop of the day, with the rest stops spaced out every 10-15 miles for support, rest, and hydration. History buff question alert! Why was Fort Washington built? Find out here!
From Fort Washington, the 30-mile cyclists will head east along Floral Park Road before heading back north, taking advantage of one more rest stop if needed, and victoriously crossing the finish line at National Harbor. Cold beer, anyone?
The 60 and 100-mile cyclists aren’t turning back yet. A little Bike MS: Ride the Riverside insider knowledge: the farther you ride, the better the views – all of the training really pays off! From Fort Washington Park, the 60 and 100-mile cyclists will keep heading south and then southwest. Our 2012 cyclists provided valuable feedback that a section of the route on Hawthorne Road wasn’t bike-friendly, so we listened and changed it! In 2013, cyclists will instead travel on the beautiful Indian Head Rail Trail, providing a unique opportunity to enjoy some of southern Maryland’s most undeveloped natural areas. One of the best parts of the Rail Trail: shade! The tree canopy will help you cool down a few degrees under its glorious shade.
Next, the route cuts back out toward the Potomac River to Bensville Park, home of the lunch rest stop for the 60-mile route. The Indian Head Rail Trail will lead you directly into the park, where you can enjoy the glamorous indoor restrooms (ooh, fancy!) in addition to the always-appreciated Porta-Potties. Here, you’ll have plenty of room to kick back, stretch, drink all the electrolytes you can handle, and refuel with lunch provided by Corner Bakery Café.
From Bensville Park, the 60-milers head back north until they connect with the Henson Creek Trail. Shortly after, they will begin their descent the National Harbor waterfront.
And for those bold and daring enough to conquer a Bike MS Century, your efforts will be sweetly rewarded: the roads that you will continue on are surrounded by tranquil wetlands humming with wildlife, including the picturesque Smallwood State Park. You may see bald eagles (how patriotic!), turtles, herons, and other critters on land and in the air. You’ll glide through Purse State Park for more greenery and history on your route before heading back northeast along the Indian Head Rail Trail and through Bensville State Park before making your way back to National Harbor for the waterfront finish line celebration.
What’s that you say? You want more? Well stick around for the Sunday ride!
The Sunday route has some similarities to the Saturday 30-mile route, like descending south into Tantallon and stopping by the marina, but it changes after mile 11. Along Old Fort Road, you’ll stop into Potomac Village for your first rest stop at about 12 miles. Then you’ll continue to wind northwest through areas of farmland, horse stables, and periods of shade on winding roads with small rolling hills.
The toughest part of the route is next: a trip up Tippett to Temple Hills Road (the name says it all) takes you through miles 16 to 23. At mile 24 you will be rewarded with a rest stop at the Henson Creek neighborhood park, where you will start a steady descent over the next 6 miles through the Henson Creek Trail, a tranquil paved trail weaving along the creek and passing through a few park areas. Public restrooms await you about halfway down the trail, so take advantage of them. Along the trail you’ll find plenty of birds, wildlife, and small woodland creatures (think Bambi and friends). Before you know it, you’ll be crossing the waterfront finish line at National Harbor to celebrate your personal – and philanthropic – success!