Grade -- the steepness of a hill -- is calculated by dividing rise (change in elevation) by run (distance between two points). This simple formula, expressed as a percentage, comes in handy for judging the difficulty of a bike ride.
Even the most physically fit athletes will feel their hearts begin to race after a few minutes of pedaling on any grade above 6 percent. Here are the grades of some of the area's most notable hills.
· Capitol Hill (Independence Avenue from First Street SW to First Street SE) -- 3 percent
· Great Falls (MacArthur Boulevard to Great Falls National Park) -- maximum grade 8 percent
· Porter Street NW (Rock Creek Parkway to Connecticut Avenue) -- maximum grade 9 percent
· Mormon Temple (Stoneybrook Drive, Kensington) -- maximum grade 12 percent