Bikeshare systems across the country are having a moment. In July, Capital Bikeshare broke its record for most rides in a month at 461K rides, only to break it again in August with 465K rides. In October, riders beat the daily ride record with over 19K trips in one day on Saturday, October 28. Then, on October 31, Capital Bikeshare beat their record for all-time rides for the year with 3.8 million trips—still with two months left in 2023! I use bikeshare for trips that are inconvenient on transit or would otherwise be a long walk, first/last mile connections to transit, and riding for fun on trails!
I am so grateful for DC’s extensive Metrorail and bus network, but there are some cases—including late at night when transit becomes more infrequent—when it makes more sense to supplement my transit trips with bike share options. Bikeshare is a great way for me to get to and from bus routes and Metro stations without going out of my way. According to the Capital Bikeshare supplement to the 2023 Lyft Multimodal Report (Lyft operates Capital Bikeshare), 20 percent of riders in DC use micromobility to connect to public transit on a weekly basis. So using Capital Bikeshare also supports transit usage!
This year, Capital Bikeshare introduced a new e-bike model to their fleet with pedal-assist motors that top out at 20 mph. In August, e-bike trips represented about 30 percent of total trips, and by the end of the year, e-bikes will be 30 percent of the bikeshare fleet. E-bikes make it easier to go uphill and make trips faster and easier—a major plus in DC humidity!
But what if you don’t see a station that’s convenient for you? You can use Capital Bikeshare’s map at Capital Bikeshare Station Request Tool to request a new station—it’s as easy as that.
My Favorite Routes on Capital Bikeshare
- Capital Crescent Trail. The Capital Crescent Trail is a seven-mile trail between Georgetown and Bethesda. There are bikeshare stations on either end of the trail and one station along the trail (about two miles from Bethesda) if you want to exchange a bike along the way. Keep in mind that Georgetown to Bethesda is an uphill ride, while the ride back is entirely downhill. I love this trail because it’s perfect for escaping the city for the peacefulness of nature, including excellent leaf peeping in the fall.
- Metropolitan Branch Trail. The Metropolitan Branch Trail is a four-mile trail between the NoMa and Fort Totten Metro stations. It follows the Red Line and there are several bikeshare stations along the trail at Metro stations. I recommend this trail for a casual ride or less-experienced bikers. There are multiple opportunities to park your bike and hop on the Metro or stop at a bar along the Metropolitan Beer Trail!
- Anacostia Riverwalk Trail. The Anacostia Riverwalk Trail is part of a huge network of trails spanning DC, Prince George’s County, and Montgomery County called the Anacostia Tributaries Trail System. A loop between the Frederick Douglass Bridge and the Benning Road Bridge is about eight miles, with bikeshare stations near Nationals Park, Anacostia Park Roller Skating Pavilion, the Benning Road Bridge, entrance to Kingman and Heritage Islands, and RFK Stadium. I love pairing this trail with other activities, like visiting the skating pavilion, Kingman Island, the Arboretum, or Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens.
- Mount Vernon Trail. The Mount Vernon Trail is an 18-mile trail between Rosslyn and Mount Vernon, with an on-street portion in Old Town Alexandria. There are bike share stations at Roosevelt Island (or along the Rock Creek Trail if starting your ride in DC), Gravelly Point Park, National Airport, and Old Town Alexandria. The furthest south station is at the Woodrow Wilson Bridge, so it is not currently possible to ride the full length of the trail to Mount Vernon without incurring a fee. Still, I recommend riding this trail with a stop at Gravelly Point for visitors to DC because of the great views of the monuments.
I am thankful that Foursquare ITP offers Capital Bikeshare memberships for all DC-based employees. For other DC businesses, goDCgo can help you out. Whether your business is a company, private company, private school, or charter school, goDCgo can help you sign up for discounted Capital Bikeshare Corporate Memberships that includes perks for employees such as free or discounted memberships and free helmets.
Capital Bikeshare has a few membership plans, including paying per ride or an $8 day pass, but the $95 annual membership is a steal. There is also a discounted Capital Bikeshare for All program for qualifying residents. I grew up in the area, but my Capital Bikeshare membership has allowed me to explore so many different neighborhoods I’ve never been to before!
The best way to explore DC is on two wheels. Try out Capital Bikeshare to understand why; you won’t regret it!