The D.C. Department of Transportation has spent three years and $6,500 developing a waterproof, ripproof Washington map and guide for bicyclists but does not have the $25,000 needed to publish it.

It has been seeking donations or loans from major Washington firms--so far unsuccessfully--to publish 10,000 copies which it would sell at bike shops and magazine stands around the city.

"It seems like we've tried everybody. I've been writing letters and been on the phone for weeks," says DOT bicycle coordinator Eileen Kadesh, who would like to see the map and guide available this spring.

The multicolor, eight-section map, which fits easily into bike handlebar bags and pockets, comes with a 44-page guide book that has just about anything a bicyclist needs to know to pedal around the nation's capital.

Besides tips on how to get over Washington's many bridges, avoid hazards and ride Metro subway trains with bikes, it lists city bike laws and regulations, bike rental shops, bike organizations--even how to get free legal advice if a bicyclist needs it.

The maps designate all bike routes and paths in the city and color codes Washington streets for traffic volume, enabling bicyclists or pedestrians to find the least-traveled and quietest streets.

Montgomery County and most major cities now have bike maps available, and Washington should too, says Kadesh, because it is a major bicycling city. An estimated 30,000 bicyclists were commuting regularly in the Washington area even in 1976, according to a city consultant's study, and Washington now has among the nation's most active bike touring and racing clubs.

Whoever donates or lends money to the transportation department will get credit on the map, says Kadesh. The city hopes to sell the maps below the cost of about $2.50 each, using the proceeds to print additional maps.

For information about the maps, call Kadesh at 727-5906.