I’ve been in Columbia, Maryland with my bike before. In the past I’ve driven to Annapolis and ridden the Annapolis Trail. I’ve also used it as a jumping off point for evening rides among the monuments on the National Mall or to ride in the DC area. This time, I only had one evening where the weather and my schedule cooperated to allow me to ride. I wasn’t looking for an expedition — I just wanted to get out on the bike. So, when I went to inflate my tires at Race Pace Cycles, I asked the guys there where to ride. They told me that the Columbia area has an extensive system of paths and one could you could easily ride 10-20 miles without a single at grade road crossing.
I bought a map of the trail system and the mechanic who inflated my tires helped me orient myself. It turns out there was a trailhead only half a mile from my hotel and it was accessible without having to ride on any busy roads. That evening after work, I got on the bike and set off to explore. The section of trail nearest my hotel was by a Lake Elkhorn, a small lake surrounded by woods and residential neighborhoods. Access to the trail was from a development of townhomes on a hill overlooking the lake. The path from the townhomes down to the lake was very steep with an abrupt turn at the bottom where it joined the trail.
There was a little bit of water on the trail but otherwise it was in good shape. I got a late start and it was beginning to get dark but there were plenty of people walking or riding bikes on the trail. I only had time for a quick spin around the lake before I decided to head back. I have a regular customer in Columbia and I am looking forward to exploring more of the trail system when I come back.
See this ride on Strava.com.