Welcome to the home page for the Downtown Breakaway, a long-standing bike riding tradition in DC!
What is it?
The Downtown Breakaway (a.k.a. DTB) is a group ride affiliated with Potomac Pedalers that rides every Wednesday evening from Mitchell Park in the Kalorama neighborhood of Washington, D.C.
NOTE: due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic the DTB is on indefinite hiatus, and when it returns it will likely be limited only to Potomac Pedalers members per rules of said club. (Updated 12/11/20)
When does it roll?
The ride runs between April and early September, meeting at Mitchell Park at 5:50pm and rolling at 6pm. We meet on S Street NW just east of 23rd Street, at the bottom of the steps leading to the park’s basketball courts.
How long is the route?
The route distance depends on the amount of available light. So routes get longer through Summer Solstice, and shorten as their approach Labor Day. Our shortest route is just shy of 22 miles, while our longest route is slightly over 44 miles.
Where does it go?
The ride rolls to places like Glen Echo, Oaklyn, Great Falls, Bethesda, and Rock Creek Park. Where exactly it goes depends, as noted above, on available light (and also weather and road construction issues that can pop up).
Wait – isn’t the route just the same old itinerary that many DC shop and team rides do?
Not at all! In fact, the DTB purposely takes a twisting, turning parcours on its outbound leg to avoid traffic and conflicts on MacArthur Boulevard. It’s not a simple route, so it’s advisable to print a cue sheet or load the GPS file on your bike computer or phone to give you directions – or simply follow the ride leaders, who know the routes!
Are there hills?
Yes, there are many hills due to the more roundabout exit route we take from the District. Most of them are short “punches” between 1/4 and 1/2 mile, some gentle, some steep. The one common theme of all DTB routes is that the return is typically flat for most of its distance, so the hills are essentially done (save for a couple final kickers) by 2/3 of the way through the ride each week.
How fast is the ride?
The DTB attracts many different kinds of riders, from racers and should-be-racers, to folks who’d rather have a rolling conversation, to every kind in between. Basically, the fastest group averages 16-18.5mph for the whole ride (depending on route), averaging 24-25mph on the flat return. The slowest riders average 12.5-16 mph/19-21mph along the same routes.
Are there rules?
Yes, there are rules. Any group ride that uses urban and suburban streets needs order and rules to be safe and enjoyable.
Is there an email list I can join?
Yes, and it’s best to join the list for getting announcements of the week’s ride (complete with RideWithGPS route link and .FIT file for a Garmin), last-minute announcements, and the like. Find the ride listing on the Potomac Pedalers website and send me an email from the email address provided there.