College Park’s Proteus Bicycles, soon moving to a new location near the Trolley Trail in the Hollywood Shopping Plaza next to the recently expanded Mom’s Organic Market, hosts four weekly rides each week for all skill levels.
On Saturdays, Proteus hosts a 25-mile road ride from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. to the Beltsville Agricultural Research Farms and back, with an average pace of 14 to 16 miles per hour.
Immediately after returning from the road ride, Proteus employees lead another group on a more relaxed social ride. This ride is easy paced and primarily trails, according to Proteus’ owner Laurie Lemieux. Bikers usually take the Anacostia Trail toward Hyattsville for about 10 to 15 miles.
“That ride’s all about hanging out, having an easy ride and grabbing some coffee or some pizza,” said Lemieux. “We often go to Vigilante, Pizzeria Paradiso or Shortcake Bakery. Those are our three favorite spots.”
Proteus bikers support more local businesses with a Friday morning ride. The group meets at the Board and Brew in College Park for breakfast followed by a ride on trails.
More intense rides are offered on Sunday and Tuesday mornings. On Sundays at 9 a.m., bikers meet at Fairland Regional Park in Laurel for an eight-mile mountain bike ride. Lemieux recommends that interested riders have a mountain bike and some experience for this more intense course.
And on Tuesday mornings at 6 a.m., Proteus leads an early morning commuter ride, starting at the bottom of the hill by Proteus Bicycles shop and ending at The Yards Park in Washington, D.C.
There are various meet-ups along the way, so riders can join in at any point on the route. The pace remains between 10 to 14 miles per hour, but there is an employee at the end of the group to ensure that no one is left behind.
Proteus Bicycles hosts their weekly rides year-round and updates their seasonal schedule on their website. Lemieux encourages feedback, especially ideas about new local spots.
“We’re always happy to hear about new places if someone has a cool spot they wanted to go,” said Lemieux.
“We started the Friday night ride to show beginner cyclists that it’s very easy to ride on road or easy to use a combination of bike path and road to get to a safe area to ride your bike,” said Militello.
The route goes out to Research Road in Greenbelt, through the Trolley Trail in College Park, then on Rhode Island Avenue out to Sunnyside Road, just up before you hit the IKEA. Then the bikers drop down into the Beltsville Agricultural Research Farm, do a loop through there, and then climb the hill back in Greenbelt. Bikers on this ride do that route with an average pace of 12.5 miles per hour.
Other rides with Arrow Bicycle include the Sunday morning ride for more advanced bikers. The route is 37 miles long with the pace sometimes pushing 32 miles per hour. Arrow Bicycle takes an average of 25 bikers weekly on Sunday morning rides.
Co-owners Chris Militello and Chris Davidson say they want their clients to get out and use their purchase, and the group rides help with that.
“If I don’t show you how and where to use the tool that you’re buying, it’s going to sit in your garage and collect dust, and that doesn’t do me any good,” said Militello. “I want you to wear out tires, wear out chains and come back and eventually buy a new bike because you’re getting better.”