Mknac’s Weblog

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The Capital Crescent Trail

The Capital Crescent Trail (CCT) is one of my favorite trails to cycle on. The CCT is a multi-use bicycle, running, walking trail that runs from Bethesda in Maryland to Georgetown in D.C. The 7-mile section from Bethesda to D.C. is paved and approximately 10 feet wide. At 7 miles that’s not enough for a long ride but the great thing about the CCT is that once you get to Georgetown it connects to several other trails that allows you to keep riding.

CCT and terrain profile from my cycle GPS

CCT and terrain profile from my cycle GPS

Generally my favorite route is to park at Roosevelt Island; cross the Potomac; hook around the Kennedy Center then catch the CCT up to Bethesda; come back down; follow the Potomac to Haines Point then head back to Roosevelt Island. Other options include the Rock Creek Park trails and the Vermont trail that starts at Roosevelt Island.

The CCT is heavily trafficked by all types a people. I want to state up front that in my two years of riding the CCT the vast majority of the users on the trail are friendly and considerate of others. But you must be on your toes at all times and particularly on weekends whether you are biking, running, or walking. Accidents between cyclists and runners/walkers are unfortunately commonplace. In my opinion most of the accidents occur because bikers and runners/walkers are inconsiderate to each other, people are ignorant of trail etiquette/rules and speed is always a factor in any accident.

The CCT recently came out new updated safety rules. One of new rules is a 15 MPH speed limit for bikers. I think this is worthwhile but I’m not sure how they will enforce it. Two of the rules are issues I had emailed the CCT about in the past; Not using Ipods/MP3 players when you bike/run and not running 3-4 people abreast blocking the trail.

Clearly running with Ipods/MP3 players places bikers and runners/walkers at risk. Today’s bikes are quiet. Runners/walkers collide with cyclists when they not aware that the cyclist is passing them on their left. Listening to music blocks out the sound of the bike approaching and audible warnings from the cyclist.

Running/walking 3 to 4 abreast is just rude and inconsiderate. These people force cyclists and other runners moving at a faster rate of speed to have to move into the opposite lane and into on-coming traffic to pass. This in turn forces the on-coming traffic to have to avoid this potential collision. Blocking the entire lane is in my experience a runner/walker issue as most cyclists traveling at a fast pace ride single file.

A final issue I’d like to address is children/toddlers. Yes, I know the CCT is open for all people of our community to use. But parents:



The volume of cyclists and the speed makes the CCT inappropriate for these activities. If children can’t ride in a straight line, are scared by being passed and don’t understand the concept of checking behind and around them before changing lanes (riding or walking) you are placing your child and others at significant risk if you take them on the CCT.  See the CCT use survey for detailed information.

Generally speaking if you ride/run/walk with awareness and consideration for the other users the CCT is a wonderful multi-use trail. As I said earlier, consideration is usually the case for people on the CCT. However it only takes one person to place others in dangerous situations or to get tempers flaring.


July 20, 2008 - Posted by | social media | , , , , , , ,

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