In this article, you will also find information and links about bike share systems in other cool US cities: New York, Denver, South Lake Tahoe, and Orlando.
Washington DC, named after George Washington, the first president of the United States, was founded in July 16, 1791 to be the Nation’s new capital. The city is under the exclusive jurisdiction of the U.S. Congress, so it doesn’t belong to any particular state, this means that even though DC is the nucleus of democracy, its citizens ironically do not have congressional voting rights.
Due to its historical background and its national and international relevance, DC’s attractions are countless. Impressive monuments and memorials, remarkable historical sites, amazing museums and galleries, breathtaking buildings, and wonderful parks make DC one of the most interesting and most visited cities in the US. The District occupies only 68.3 square miles, but its dense population, plus the half million commuters and the thousands of tourists that visit the city every day, cause traffic jams and congest public transportation, especially during the rush hours.
The Capital Bikeshare system was launched in 2008 by the government in an effort to provide commuters with an alternate form of transportation. Capital Bikeshare has more than1800 bikes and about 200 stations located throughout the city where you can conveniently pick up or drop off your bike, which makes cycling an accessible, affordable and practical way to tour the city. With so many attractions to see, most being free of charge, cycling Washington DC is one of the most exciting, efficient and economical ways to explore the Nation’s capital, especially during the pleasant weather of spring and fall.
Make it Unforgettable!
Cycling in DC is an exciting and educational adventure! There are so many cool things to stop and see along the wild-urban environment of the District that no other form of transportation offers the exhilarating freedom and convenience of hopping on and off of a comfortable high quality rental bike. While biking through the city, you can take the Rock Creek Park trail, an 8.5 mile paved trail throughout one of the oldest and largest urban parks in the country. Enjoy the beauty of lush green trees, grasses and plants growing along the waterway and the peaceful songs of wild birds. The Rock Creek Park trail crosses the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal trail, which will take you to the picturesque neighborhood of Georgetown. Its numerous restaurants and beautiful boutique shops will surround you. Take a quick detour to the Waterfront along the bank of the Potomac River for a short break at the park and connect to Pennsylvania Avenue to submerge into the city’s urban heart. On your way to the National Mall, the Smithsonian Museums, and Capitol Hill, you will pass the White House, the Ellipse—where the National Christmas Tree is displayed every year—and the Washington Monument. Be prepared to see the presidential motorcade passing by you at any time of your adventure! There are plenty of exciting places to stop and visit in DC, get a map, plan your route, and jump on a bike. Don’t worry if you get a little lost, chances are that you will discover something new and interesting that wasn’t part of your plans!
Arrive on Time & See it All!
In addition to the fun and excitement that can only be experienced while biking through the Nation’s capital, cycling is also a great way to get the most out of your trip! The freedom and convenience to go where you want when you want is priceless. Biking is faster and cheaper than taxis or public transportation, it requires less effort than walking, and allows you to explore the city on your own terms. The Capital Bikeshare’s stations are conveniently located all over the city, offering easy access to all the main attractions and metro stops. The bikes are beautiful and well maintained, have comfortable seats, 3 speeds, and a practical rack to secure your belonging. Depending on the time of day, you may have to check a few stations in order to locate an available bike or an open parking rack, but with so many stations and bikes, this is rarely a problem. Washington DC is definitely a bike-friendly town, where you will enjoy many miles of paved bicycle lanes and scenic bike paths. Touring the city on a bike is definitely one of the most fascinating ways to explore Washington DC, but remember to always obey all the regulatory signs, never ride against traffic, use hand signals, and be alert at all times.
- Front and rear flashing LED lights,
- Tire reflectors,
- Reflective bands on both sides of the front and rear tire sidewalls,
- Adjustable seat height,
- Step-thru frame for lower center of gravity, and
- Plastic casing around cables to prevent tampering.
The Most Bang for Your Buck!
Finally, renting a bicycle to transport yourself throughout the city can be very economical. The first step is to become a member. There are three membership options: a 24 hours membership that costs $7, a 3-day membership for $15, and an annual membership of $75. Every station has a credit card machine where you can pay your membership fee. Once you became a member, you will be given a code that you will use to unlock your bike. The first 30 minutes of use from the moment you unlock your bike are free; 30 to 90 minutes of use costs an extra $6, and each additional 30 minutes will be $8. In order to maintain the availability, the Bikeshare price plan is designed to encourage riders to immediately park their bikes while they are not in use. To get the most bang for your buck, ride from point A to point B and drop of your bike. If you are on a longer mission, try to rotate bikes every 30 minutes; the stations are everywhere so you shouldn’t have any problems doing so. Paying a small fee for a 24 hour-access to a fun and human-powered transportation vehicle is definitely a smart choice!
Touring Washington DC on a bike is a fun, easy, economical and safe alternative to the common use of cars and public transportation. Cycling is also environmentally friendly, physically challenging, spiritually fulfilling, and mentally rewarding. Have you biked your city already? If you are going on this adventure, stay alert at all times and respect all traffic rules. Make sure you bring some water and a city map with you, and don’t forget your camera! Choose to be a bicyclist, get the most out of your trip, and have a blast!
New York Citi Bike
You can also experience New York city on two wheels at just $12 for one day or $24 for a three-day access. The city has 600 bike stations across Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and New jersey. There are also several bike lanes and bike paths, including the Greenway Bike Path along the Hudson River Park–which will take you all the way to Battery Park, where you can see the Statue of Liberty–and the Broadway, Central Park and Harlem River bike paths. Just ride with traffic, respect lights and stop signs, be extra careful, and swap your bike every 30 minutes or less. Also, make sure the green light comes on every time you drop off and lock your bike. If you walk away from an unlocked bike, it will keep your clock running, prevent you from getting a new bike on the next station, and if the bike gets lost or stolen, you might be held accountable for the cost of the bike, which costs around $1300. Have fun!
Denver’s bike sharing system counts with 87 stations and 700 bikes throughout central Denver. You can check out and return a b-cycle at any station from 5 am to midnight, 365 days a year. B-cycle is designed for locals and visitors for short, one-way trips that are 30 minutes or less. Cruise through Denver’s most charming neighborhoods, experience the South Platte River Trail, and explore downtown! All powered by you!
South Lake Tahoe Lime Bike
Lime Bike, a small California-base company, is South Lake Tahoe’s bike sharing system. The goal is to keep Lake Tahoe blue by reducing the amount of motor vehicles on the road. The first ride is free and the bikes can be picked up and dropped off pretty much anywhere by using the Bike Lime app: “Ride for $1, park anywhere.” South Lake Tahoe has multiple bike lanes and gorgeous scenery. If you visit this town, do not miss out on this cycling adventure!
Orlando Juice Bike
Experiencing Orlando in a Juice bike is a lot of fun! There are lakes, parks, beautiful neighborhoods, and greenery everywhere! Jump on a bike at Baldwin Park, circle the lake, and check out the picturesque streets and homes in Baldwin. On your way to downtown, cruise through the Colonial Drive area, make a left turn on Mills, and stop at hipster Thornton Park’s Graffiti Junktion. Finally, head to Lake Eola Park–where the famous farmers market happens every Sunday–and lock your bike at a Juice station. Grab a bite by the water or walk downtown for a well deserved break at one of its cool bars!
A Modern World
Many other cities in the world, such as New York, Philadelphia, Portland, San Paulo, Buenos Aires, Bogota, Mexico City, London, Madrid, Paris, Berlin, Moscow, Bangkok, Singapore, Shanghai, Seoul, and Tokyo have already implemented the modern bicycle share system. This system, also known as ‘Community Bike programs’ or ‘Smart Bike programs,’ help reduce air and noise pollution and traffic congestion, and improves the health of the citizens and the city itself. It also offers a reliable and economical way of transportation to many people.
Cycling in The Netherlands
The Netherlands is one of the world’s most successful cycling nations in the world, let’s look into their cyclist friendly urban design:
“Cycling for Everyone” is a seven minute film launched by the Dutch Cycling Embassy showing how important, efficient, and convenient it is to have a cyclist friendly urban design in large crowded cities.
The bicycle has been the main form of transportation to work, school, shopping, and leisure for the Dutch since the post war era. Prosperity and the popularity of the car in the 60’s made the bicycle a more dangerous and inconvenient mode of transportation.
In the 70’s, an era of economic, oil, and environmental crises, the Dutch people united and put pressure on the government to develop the infrastructure needed to make every day cycling an option again.
Now, the Netherlands is one of the world’s most successful cycling nations with a vast and completely connected bicycle network of 18,000 miles of separated bicycle paths and 4,500 miles of on the road bike lanes. In main cities like Amsterdam, specific infrastructure, planning and design offer the cyclist a safe, smooth, and enjoyable ride (traffic signs and pro-bicycle traffic laws, accessible parking, and bike rental services). Young or old, rich or poor, everyone cycles!
Watch “Cycling for Everyone” on YouTube!