Anyone from Maryland



alienator

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Jun 10, 2004
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I'm looking for info on the best places to live (w/ best schools) within riding distance (20ish miles for commuting) of NASA Goddard. What is the cycling environment like in that part of Maryland? Any subjective rating for quality of life there?
 

maydog

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Feb 5, 2010
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You are out of luck, Maryland only does crabcakes and football.
 

alienator

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Jun 10, 2004
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Well, I do like crab cakes, and if I were in a coma, it's likely someone could turn on football without me getting violently bored. It so happens I just added a three way with me, Isla Fisher, and Rachel McAdams to my bucket list......Maryland sounds nearly perfect, then.......except for the football aberration.
 

AlanG

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Dec 26, 2010
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The best schools in that area are in adjacent Howard County and this should be within your range. Columbia MD is the main town in Howard County. It is a pretty well known early "planned community." I am not sure about bike commuting from anywhere in Howard County to Goddard.

Greenbelt MD borders on the Goddard site and is an old established cooperative community. I'm not sure what the schools are like there. It would be the Prince Georges County school system and the best I can say is that their schools might be "spotty" compared to Howard County schools. Prince Georges County has a bit of a negative image in various ways compared to some of the more affluent areas around here. There have been a lot of positive changes in that county in recent years but unfortunately it still has a higher crime rate than the rest of the suburban counties. A relative of mine was one of the first to settle in Greenbelt about 60 years ago. She was very committed to the Greenbelt philosophy and lived there in the same home for about 50 years.
 

AlanG

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Dec 26, 2010
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I'm in the DC area and have not ridden near the Goddard region.I'd expect that there would be a lot of riders in the Columbia area but I don't know where they ride. The DC metro area has a lot of trails and it is pretty easy to ride through the city if you stay off the busy roads. There are plenty of group rides in the suburbs and country around the area. Here are some links that should get you started:

http://bikewashington.org/

http://www.waba.org/

http://www.potomacpedalers.org/

http://dc.about.com/od/bicyclingclubs/Bicycling_Clubs.htm

http://freshbikescycling.com/index.php/content/cycling-events

There is a bike share program here and this must be one of the best bike storage facilities for commuters you can find:

http://www.streetfilms.org/bikestation-at-union-station/
 

kdelong

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Dec 14, 2006
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Its been several years so my info may be old, but the Laurel area was a pretty nice place to live and within biking of GSFC. I remember that if you got yourself onto Gunpowder Mill Road, you could take it to some kind of paved conservation road that would take you right to the back gate of GSFC. Biking in that part of Maryland is good and bad. The traffic is horrendous but the roads are well maintained with big lanes and a pretty good sized berm for the most part. Most of the neighborhoods are interconnected so that you can get around pretty well while avoiding most of the really busy roads if you don't mind riding out of your way a little. I don't think that you are going to like the climate in MD as much as you do in NM. There is more rain, humid summers, and cold winters. As far as schools are concerned, I really cannot help you there at all as I never had to deal with them. Good luck with your move.
 

alienator

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Jun 10, 2004
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You mean Arizona. Frankly, I've missed snow and winter in Arizona, especially since winter's my favorite season. I grew up in the Midwest, so I'm accustomed to the winters there. A lot of play time was spent climbing in winter in the Canadian Rockies, which can be a tad nippy in January and February. Nothing is certain yet on Maryland, but I am trying to evaluate the living and biking options there.
 

AlanG

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Dec 26, 2010
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Yes it can get cold here but last winter we had only 24 days that were below freezing. We had lots of warm and even hot days in the winter instead. It can get pretty hot and sticky here in the summer and was 88 Monday (April 16th.) We had no snow this year but a few years ago we had two major blizzards in a row.

In my opinion the most scenic places to ride are some of the trails in the DC area.

The Capital Crescent Trail is about 7 miles long and goes from Georgetown to Bethesda MD and then becomes a gravel trail for 4 miles called the Georgetown Branch into Silver Spring MD. The DC section is along the Potomac and is quite pretty. From Bethesda to Silver Spring goes past a golf course and through Rock Creek Park. It can get really crowded on weekends so I often avoid it then. A lot of people commute on this. To give you an idea how popular this trail is, I count 10 bike shops either on the trail or within a few blocks of it at various points.

The C&O canal tow path is a stone and dirt trail that is between the Potomac River and the canal. It goes for 184 miles but you can't go fast on it either as it can get rutted and muddy in sections. The area around Great Falls is so rocky and rugged that you will think you are in the wilderness.

Rock Creek Park goes from the heart of the city up through Maryland on a route that is about 20 miles or so. There is a trail but most road cyclist ride on Beech Drive and you can make good time on it. (Parts of Beech Drive in the city are too busy on weekdays.) Much of Beech Drive is closed to traffic on weekends. There are other routes off of Beech Drive in DC that have good climbs.

There is a 45 mile paved trail called the W&OD that goes from Alexandria Virginia all the way to Purcellville VA. It gets pretty busy on weekends but when not too crowded keeping up a fast average speed is pretty doable and it is a smooth ride.

There are many places to ride in DC near the Mall. A lot of people do racing loops at place called Haines Point.

I can access all of these places and many more by bike right from my house. But if you live out near Goddard, these will be hard to reach by bike and a pretty long haul if you figure out a route. Of course there are probably plenty of nice roads to ride on in Howard and PG counties but you need to be selective because this area is pretty congested.
 

alienator

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Jun 10, 2004
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Hmmmm. Well when not commuting during the week, I'll be looking for 50-100 mile rides on the weekends. Surely there are roads for such things.
 

AlanG

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Dec 26, 2010
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Originally Posted by alienator .

Hmmmm. Well when not commuting during the week, I'll be looking for 50-100 mile rides on the weekends. Surely there are roads for such things.
Yes, I know them around DC but not where you are thinking of. (That is not to say they don't exist there, I'm sure they do.) You will be right in the heart of the busy Baltimore Washington corridor, but there still are rural sections not too far away. And some of the suburban developed areas can be decent places to ride too.
 

steviesmallfry

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Jan 29, 2017
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I'm originally from Baldwin, MD (Baltimore County) but I live and work in Harford County. (Live in Forest Hill, work in HDG.) Havre de Grace is a great place for flat riding, I do bike patrol at work and a lot of the downtown area is flat. Going out towards Pulaski Highway gets a little more hilly, but not too bad. My Corporal and I rode from downtown HDG almost to Aberdeen and back one day at work.