Tour D.C.'s Bike Network

A decade ago, bicycling in Washington, D.C. was a risky endeavor. Happily, times have changed. In the past ten years, the District Department of Transportation has built over 50 miles of on-road bikeways to complement an extensive network of trails that extend well beyond the Mall into nearly all parts of the city. Bikeways stretch along historic avenues and past iconic landscapes, monuments, and architecture that are unique to D.C. Capital Bikeshare and Bike and Roll offer no-fuss options for renting a bike at multiple locations. Bicycling today in the District of Columbia not only feels fun; it feels safe, too. It’s the perfect mode of transportation for foot-weary travelers who want a faster way to get across the vast amount of space separating the monuments and museums along the Mall. Bicycling offers a quick way to get off the beaten path: in a two hour trip, a person can explore D.C.’s neighborhoods, parks, and historic sites that lie well beyond the Mall. Bicycling provides access to parts of the city that D.C. residents love.

Before you can begin this tour, you’ll need to understand a few rules and safety tips. Bicycling in any urban environment involves dealing with intersections and traffic. Bicyclists must follow the rules of the road – ride on the right, and obey traffic signs and signals at all times. Wear a helmet. Be aware that if you plan to bring your bike on Metro, it is only allowed during off-peak (non-rush hour) times and you must use Metro’s elevators instead of the escalators. Bicyclists should yield to pedestrians on pathways and should follow pedestrian signals at intersections. Finally, this route will take you along several streets with parallel parking. It's best to avoid riding too close to parked cars to avoid a crash with a car door that is suddenly opened.

There are several options for renting a bike in Washington, D.C., and two of these options are convenient to the recommended route. Capital Bikeshare offers a quick and easy way to rent a bike at any number of stations throughout the city. Be aware that Capital Bikeshare is an hourly rental service – costs escalate the longer you keep the bike. You can pick up a bike at any station, and return it to either the original station, or any other station in the system, which extends throughout D.C., Arlington, and Alexandria (visit the website to view station locations). Bike and Roll is another option (from March to November) that makes more sense if you are interested in renting a bike for longer than a few hours. Bike and Roll is conveniently located next to the Bike Station at Union Station and offers different types of bikes (including trailers for kids), as well as helmets and locks.  

View Sites Nearby