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Bike group offers way around next SafeTrack surge

Tired of the same old single-tracking? Want to break away from the Red Line crowd and get some exercise while you’re at it?

The next of Metro’s SafeTrack maintenance projects, the one that affects the upper west side of the Red Line, is scheduled to start Tuesday. But on Saturday, the Washington Area Bicyclist Association will take commuters on a test ride that would get them around the disruption between the Shady Grove and Twinbrook stations.

Out of the two August disruptions on the Red Line, Metro officials expected this week’s single-tracking between Silver Spring and Takoma to have the biggest overall impact on Red Line riders. But the delays and crowding during the 10 days of single-tracking between Shady Grove and Rockville will concentrate the badness: Between those two stations, trains will operate every 18 minutes. On the rest of the line, the service should be about normal, Metro officials said.

Avoiding the Red Line during SafeTrack Surge 6

Figure on a lot more rush hour traffic for Interstate 270 and Rockville Pike, even though we will be deeply into summer vacation season. Rush hour commuters could switch to the MARC Brunswick Line trains or take a free Ride On shuttle bus between Shady Grove and Grosvenor. But the traffic situation alone makes WABA’s “Learn the Route” adventure interesting.

Doug Smith, the everyday biking coordinator for WABA, said the association, in partnership with the Montgomery County Department of Transportation, is going to provide three instructors to lead the Saturday ride on a route from Shady Grove to Twinbrook. That’s about a 6½-mile trip between stations. The test ride starts at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Shady Grove station and is scheduled to end at noon at the Twinbrook station. (I think they’re allowing plenty of time for questions and answers from the group. If you were actually commuting that route on a bike, the trip could be a lot quicker.)

“The purpose of the ride is to show people the proposed route and ride it with them the first time to answer any questions they may have and provide tips for a more comfortable and enjoyable ride,” Smith said.

Requirements for the trip: Your own bike and your own helmet. There’s a $10 registration fee, but there are special offers. See the ride registration form here.