**RESCHEDULED** North Tract-WB&A Half Century Gravel Grinder

Our Community Forums Freezing Saddles Winter Riding Competition **RESCHEDULED** North Tract-WB&A Half Century Gravel Grinder

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    Update – 1/27/2024 4:15 PM – This ride has been rescheduled to Sunday, Feb. 4, 2024. Unbeknownst to me, the North Tract has recently curtailed its visiting hours to Sundays only. Big props to Tenacious Tenspeeder teammate Geoff Patterson for pointing this out!

    Edited invitation below:

    Hey all – On Sunday, Feb. 4, 2024 I’ll be taking the MARC Train to Odenton to ride on the gravel roads of the Patuxent Research Refuge North Tract and – if there’s time – run out and back on Anne Arundel County’s section of the WB&A trail. I want company, and all are invited!

    ***To aide in day-of-ride logistics: If you plan to do this ride Saturday, let me know in the replies below***

    The entire route is about 50 miles, but there are options to shorten that route significantly if you prefer. More on that below.

    The route is linked here on Ride With GPS,

    I also have the route linked here on Strava.

    The crucial rendezvous details –
    Gathering at Union Station MARC waiting area at 10:00 a.m.
    Boarding MARC Train 478’s Bicycle Car before 10:25 a.m.
    Arriving at Odenton at 10:50 a.m.

    The crucial departure details –
    Trains traveling back to Union Station arrive in Odenton at 2:05 p.m, 4:05 p.m., and 6 p.m.. My person goal is to be on the 4:05 p.m. train or earlier.

    The crucial ticket details –
    You will need to have two Penn Line MARC tickets, one from Union Station to Odenton and one from Odenton to Union Station. I recommend you download MDOT’s CharmPass app to purchase your fares.

    The crucial ride details –

    Terrain: Route is a mix of paved roads, unpaved double track, crushed-gravel double-track, and hiker-biker trails. Bicycles with wider tires would be needed to complete the entire route.

    Route stress warning: Between route mile 2.2 through route mile 5.2, and between route mile 33.3 to 36.6, we must ride on the shoulders of Maryland State Highway 32, which is built like an interstate highway. But believe it or not, MDOT has put a bicycle lane with sharrows on the shoulder there. It is the only direct and legal way to bike from Odenton MARC station to the North Tract. While it is a wide shoulder, and while I ride as far from the travel lanes as possible, even I find it to be a bit stressful have cars approaching from behind at highway speeds.

    The crucial route shortening details –

    There are several ways to shorten the route to your mileage preferences and still ride with the group for some or all of your ride.

    For example: once within the Patuxent Research Refuge North Tract, I have planned a route that follows a loop with three out-and-back legs. If desired, riders are free to go off on their own routes within the refuge and arrange a rendezvous later in the day at the ranger station to return to the train with the group.

    After departing the refuge, the route goes back through Odenton, passing the train station, to link up with the WB&A trail for an out-and-back. Therefore, riders have the option to bail on the ride at this point and take the next train to D.C. Omitting the WB&A portion, while doing the full wildlife refuge portion, is about 36 miles total.


    Interesting. I’ve ridden there semi-regularly, but always drove to the park. I’ve wondered about riding to there (starting from my home in College Park), but the roads leading up to it are downright scary to me. I’ve never known anyone that has ridden there, so was intimidated.


    Thanks for setting this up, and I’ll keep it in mind!


    If anyone’s interested, here are some pics I’ve taken over the years on my rides there. It’s great, and not too far away (for me at least 😉 )

    Patuxent River Boardwalk [04.24.19]


    I am interested.

    Boomer Cycles

    This sounds like a great ride and I love the rail to trail connection, too. I will unfortunately be out of town this weekend but nice to know of this new2me connection to an adventure ride exists nearby, can be done in a day, and without a car.

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