The best part of the Metropolitan Branch Trail (MBT) is, in my opinion, the segment running between the NoMa and Brookland metro stops.
The MBT itself is much larger– 8 miles of urban trail running from Union Station to, eventually, Silver Spring in Maryland. (The latter half is still under construction.)
Some are hesitant to call the MBT a proper trail, which I can understand. Much of the “trail” runs through neighborhoods and side streets, where you’re sharing the road with cars. Still a nice ride, and I recommend it. For a more scenic, car-free ride, enter at the NoMa-Galluduet metro station.
Graffiti and City Views
Heading north from NoMa, the Metropolitan Branch Trail is a thing of beauty. The long, paved path features some of the best graffiti in DC. Some spots seem to rotate seasonally, and it’s fun to see when new ones pop up.
“Bike Spa Day” at REI
Exercise is good, so I obviously deserved a reward after biking like four whole miles (and awkwardly taking all these photos while trying to stay out of the way).
Luckily (or strategically), there is a massive REI store located across from the NoMa (and MBT) entrance.
I decided to treat my bike to a “spa day.” She needed it. I have a cheap road bike I bought off Amazon for nothing, assuming I’d upgrade in a year-ish. That year has passed and I’m either too cheap, lazy, or content to do it. But she did need some TLC so I treated her to the following:
- New handlebar tape (from pink to white, because I’m so minimalist~*)
- New cushy seat for my nether regions
- Boring but important stuff like greasin’ up the chain and getting my brakes and tires checked
The REI bike shop is great. They have fair prices, don’t hustle you, and the staff is happy to walk you through (basic) bike maintenance stuff. I even had a $20 member gift card I could apply to the purchase. They gave it to me the last time I bought something here… just another members perk.
Also, while your bike gets serviced you can kill time either trying to resist temptation in the store, or….
Drinking at Red Bear Brewing Co.
I’m going to call Red Bear Brewing Co. the best addition to NoMa this past year (including Trader Joe’s). This 7,000 sq foot “craft brewpub” rocks a cool warehouse vibe, diverse beer list, and impressie selection of board games.
Typically I come to Red Bear to, well, drink and play board games (they. have everything. Games you forgot existed.) Today, I posted up with a rosemary brew to work on this site and wait for my bike. It was nice being there on a Sunday evening– calm, busy but not crowded. Saturdays and some weeknights it can get really packed.
Fun fact: Red Bear Brewing is LBGTQ-owned and (obviously) friendly. If you support that, you should support them! (If you don’t, go away.)
Next time on the Metropolitan Branch Trail
I’m on the MBT often, whether for fun or to commute to certain parts of the city. It’s been fun watching the progress, although it’s not always obvious what has become the trail and what hasn’t.
When I bike to Rock Creek Park using the MBT, I go through lovely little neighborhoods I would like to get to know better. In future rides, I’ll have to explore more of the local businesses and cool shops near the metropolitan branch trail. If you have a suggestion or local business in the area, tell me about it in the comments below.