Saturday, March 24, 2012

FABB ride to Udvar-Hazy Center

Entering the Udvar-Hazy Center
FABB plans to hold some social rides this year. Tom Wyland is our ride coordinator and today he led a "dry" run of the planned Udvar-Hazy Center ride. As you can imagine, the ride was not so dry but it wasn't that wet either despite the forecast.

The group met at the Reston Town Center then we headed out on the W&OD and Fairfax County Parkway trails to Franklin Farm Rd, a busy cut-through route. Even though traffic was light, it wasn't a pleasant ride given the impatient motorists. At Centreville Rd we turned right on the paved side path to Wall Rd. Here we discovered there are no crosswalks across Centreville Rd and the traffic signal only works on the other 3 legs of the intersection, which required us to dash across when traffic cleared.

We then took a left onto Air and Space Museum Parkway, a wide, multi-lane road with almost no traffic. There are also no bike or ped facilities. It's an incredibly expensive, wide road and bridge across Route 28 that probably handles a couple of thousand cars a day; imagine what bike facilities could have been built for the cost of just that stretch of road.

Bike parking a long walk from the entrance
It was a short ride to the Udvar-Hazy entrance where we rode past the booths where parking attendants were collecting $15 from motorists. In front of the center is good bike parking in a not so good location. The U racks are well spaced but are not covered and are a long walk from the entrance. Closer to the building entrance there is an overhang with plenty of space for the racks.

We spent about an hour going through the museum and then we headed back to Reston. On the return trip we decided to check out another route using mostly neighborhood streets. We headed north on Centreville Rd to Kinross Circle to L on Cobra Dr. Near the end is a paved trail in Horsepen Run Stream Valley Park that leads under McLearen Rd using a viaduct, one of the only examples of this type of crossing in the county.

The trail continues along a utility right of way to West Ox Rd where we got onto New Parkland Dr to Farthingdale Dr to Pinecrest Dr across Fairfax Co Parkway and where we crossed our outbound route. We continued on Pinecrest to L on Magna Carta, L on Keele Dr to L on Fox Mill Rd where there's a paved shoulder to R on Bedfordshire Circle. We turned R on Rosedown to L on Glade to L on Sunrise Valley Dr back to the FFX Co Parkway trail and then back toward the Town Center.

We learned a lot about the logistics of doing this type of ride. We hope to hold the first ride this Spring and several others over the Summer and Fall. The rides will be open to WABA members.

Update: Here's a google map of our route to Udvar-Hazy.

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Very nice report. A bike network isn't worth much if you can't use it to get places.
thanks for the report. i have been wanting to ride to uh but was unsure of the route and bike parking. looking forward to the upcoming ride.
The overhang is typically used by passengers waiting for the shuttle bus from Dulles -- which was how I got there the one time I went. I have to wonder whether they've made it intentionally difficult to get to just to pump up their parking revenues.
Funny that a group of cyclist would think it a long walk from the bike racks to the entrance after riding across the county to get there.
Thanks for this update! Found it via google. I plan to use your info to ride out on this Thursday to attend the Shuttle welcome ceremony. You're a lifesaver in time!

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