During a break between meetings on Capitol Hill today, I joined several members of Oregon’s bike advocacy team here at the National Bike Summit for a spin on D.C.’s Capital Bikeshare.
With Portland’s bike share system coming soon, this was a great preview of what’s in store.
We found a rental station near the Hill right outside Union Station. For the few people that had key fobs, they simply walked up and grabbed a bike. For the rest of us, we ran our credit cards (a day pass costs $7, rides under 30 minutes are free), got a passcode, and off we went. It’s really warm and humid here in D.C., so the biking-generated breeze was a welcome relief from walking around in our suits and slacks.
Joining me on the ride was: Kenji Sugahara, executive director of the Oregon Bicycle Racing Association; Chris Distefano of Rapha Apparel; Paul Thomasberg of Central Oregon Trail Alliance; Tom Archer of Northwest Trail Alliance; Michael O’ Leary of Bike Walk Vote; and Brian Potwin of Commute Options in Bend.
Everyone I’ve talked to about bike share seems thrilled with it. Even self-described skeptics, who have finally tried it for themselves, are now believers. What’s not to like? The bikes are solid and reliable and they’ve got all the essential creature comforts — a bell, a kickstand, lights, a front rack, and fenders. The system itself is easy to use and convenient.
Once everyone was ready to go, we rolled onto the new, two-way protected bike lanes smack dab in the middle of Pennsylvania Avenue…
We headed west toward the White House and the Washington Monument. After posing for a few photos, we rolled over to the cherry blossoms…
The blossoms are out in full force, and so are the crowds! After being a bit overwhelmed by the throngs of tourists, we headed back toward Union Station. We took the lane on Independence Avenue and then rode onto Constitution Ave. (It was a striking contrast between the pleasant, protected bikeway on Pennsylvania and the stressful, car-centric environment just one block over on Constitution Ave.)
What a great way to see the sights around D.C.! My perspective on bike share has only gotten more positive after my experiences using it in the past few days. I can’t wait to see how it does in Portland.