There are all kinds of reasons for hopping on a bicycle. Maybe you’re doing it for transportation, to get from point A to point B in an environmentally friendly way. Or maybe you’re doing it for a great cardiovascular workout. Or maybe it’s just
that you want an excuse to get outside so you can enjoy some fresh air and scenery.
Whatever the reason, you’ll be in good company in Annapolis! There are plenty of cyclists, and in turn, plenty of opportunities to cycle. A cyclist can seek out paved hiker-biker trails, road routes, and even unpaved parks for mountain biking.
It’s only gotten better in recent years thanks to projects like the Anne Arundel County Bicycle Advisory Council and groups like the Bicycle Advocates for Annapolis and Anne Arundel County (Bike AAA). These groups recognize that bicycle accessibility means a higher quality of life for community members.
How? Well, let’s start by discussing that…
Why Bicycle-Friendly is Great
First, it means a healthier environment and a healthier population. The quality of air is cleaner with more people opting to ride bikes instead of driving around in their cars. Less oil and automobile debris getting swept away by stormwater runoff means a healthier bay and healthier rivers and creeks (something that’s especially important in Anne Arundel County, where we have more than 500 miles of shoreline). Plus people who engage in regular physical activity have better heart health, less risk of illness, more energy, and reduced stress.
Access to cycling improves a community in other ways as well. When more people travel by bicycle instead of car, there is less traffic congestion on the roads, so it’s easier to make those trips that you need to make by driving. Bicycling is a more equitable transportation option for those who cannot afford a car (or a second car) or for people who have a restricted license. Finally, bicycling tends to be good for a local economy because people who are going around town by bicycle have an easier time of stopping to explore shops or eateries.
These are some of the reasons Bike AAA and the Bicycle Advisory Council have worked to make the area better suited for people who enjoy cycling. Thanks to their efforts, Anne Arundel County and the City of Annapolis have gone from having no designation with the League of American Bicyclists to earning a prestigious bronze bike-friendly community designation.
Places to Cycle in Annapolis
So now let’s talk about some of the great places to ride your bike in Anne Arundel County. One of the greatest resources Bike AAA puts out is the Anne Arundel Trail Network, an ongoing project to link all the trails in the county together. By looking at the network closely, you’ll see how you can go from the heart of Annapolis all the way to destinations like BWI Airport, Sandy Point State Park, schools, shopping centers, and more.
For example, look at the B&A Trail. It runs from Boulters Way in Annapolis near the Naval Academy Bridge. Along the trail, there are stopping points for coffee, ice cream, water, snacks, and even some shopping. Once you reach the northernmost
point of the trail, it connects via the Overstreet Connector Trail to the BWI Trail Loop, which encircles Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport. In total, that’s about 40 miles of riding! Then in the western part of the county, you could check out the WB&A Trail, which offers 9 miles of paved pathway from Odenton to the Patuxent River.
If it’s more your speed to take a leisurely cycle around the park, many of Anne Arundel County Parks offer paved bike loops, including Kinder Farm Park in Millersville, Downs Park in Pasadena, and Quiet Waters Park in Annapolis.
Finally, if you feel comfortable sharing the roadway with motorists, you can find plenty of routes throughout the City of Annapolis, where you’ll be able to enjoy the sight of historic landmarks and even get some good shopping done.
As part of its mission, Bike AAA has teamed up with the Anne Arundel County Department of Recreation & Parks and the Anne Arundel County Police to hold the area’s premier bicycling event, the Lifeline 100. Now in its seventh year (and set for October 3, 2021), this all-ages, all-abilities event offers a little something for everyone. Participants can opt for 100- or 65-mile routes around the county, 15- or 30-mile routes along trails, or even a kids bike rodeo at Kinder Farm Park. All proceeds from the event go to support local charities and nonprofits.