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Northern Virginia has the most extensive bicycle transportation network in the commonwealth. Its trails, paths and bicycle lanes accommodate cyclists of all needs and ability levels, from families to commuters to long-distance cyclists. It's a place where you can really avoid congestion by getting around on two wheels in Arlington (one of America's most bicycle-friendly places) or seeking adventure on some of Fairfax County's 600 miles of trails (not all of which are open to cycling). There are bicycle lockers at some Metrorail stations, and you can cross the Potomac at many points for access to the unequaled attractions of Washington D.C.
The centerpiece of the northern Virginia system is the Washington and Old Dominion Railroad Regional Park (W&OD Trail), managed by the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority. The trail is 45 miles of paved shared-use path for cycling, walking, running and skating. Built on abandoned rail bed, the W&OD runs northwest from Shirlington (near Exit 6 of I-395 in Arlington County) to Purcellville in Loudoun County. There are only a few hills, and numerous access points along its length make it suitable for cyclists of all ability levels. It can be quite crowded with morning and evening commuters and weekend riders, so come prepared to share the trail with others, and take care at the many road crossings.
The Cross County Trail of Fairfax County is another unique achievement. It's the result of strong cooperation between government and citizen volunteers and offers urban Fairfax County an alternative north - south corridor more than 40 miles long. The trail links a number of stream valley park properties, and it officially opened in May 2006 after nearly a decade of planning and development. The Cross County Trail is partially paved.
There are a great number of other trails, bicycle routes and bike lanes available for cyclists in northern Virginia that can't be shown in a single map of this size. With these as with other aspects of Bicycling in Virginia, the map is best regarded as an entry point to a wealth of information available through the supporting Web sites. There you will find links to free maps available from local governments as well as to commercial cycling maps offered for sale.
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