+ Washington DC 101
- Walk Score: 77. Walk Score measures the walkability of any address using a patented system. For each address, Walk Score analyzes hundreds of walking routes to nearby amenities. Points are awarded based on the distance to amenities in each category. Amenities within a 5 minute walk (.25 miles) are given maximum points.
- Transit Score: 71. Transit Score measures how well a location is served by public transit based on the distance and type of nearby transit lines.
- Bike Score: 69. Bike Score measures whether an area is good for biking. For a given location, a Bike Score is calculated by measuring bike infrastructure (lanes, trails, etc.), hills, destinations and road connectivity, and the number of bike commuters.
- League of American Cyclists Community Rating: Silver
The three-city metropolitan area that encompasses Washington D.C., Alexandria VA, and Arlington VA is a surprisingly good place to visit by bike. Washington and Alexandria are both rated Silver by the League of American Bicyclists. The street system is a grid with lettered and numbered streets for logical, easy navigation. There are three major cycle tracks downtown; L Street, 15th, and Pennsylvania Avenue. Your motivation to bike the city comes in true "carrot / stick" fashion: the allure of great infrastructure and an abundance of gorgeous things to see, coupled with the knowledge that Washington's car traffic recently tied Chicago for being worst in the country. There are so many good things to see, and this is not a place in which you want to be in a car. And yes, it's a great place to walk, but you can see so much more by hopping on a bike. They've got a decently connected grid of bike lanes around downtown, and the beginnings of a world-class separated network in sporadic places, but they aren't all well connected yet. So if you're willing to connect some of those dots yourself, you've got the makings of a properly gorgeous bike destination by seeing such trails as the C+O towpath, Capitol Crescent, Rock Creek,W+OD, Mount Vernon, Anacostia Riverwalk, Metropolitan Branch, Marvin Gaye, Northwest Branch, and Four Mile Run. Things will only improve as they continue to implement their bike network plan. Pro tip: ride between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial at night. It's transcendently beautiful.
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+ Biking in Washington
Sidewalk riding is prohibited downtown, so walk them as you search for a place to lock up. Use your voice or a bell to indicate that you're passing someone on the left, and make sure to use hand signals for turns when riding in the more crowded lanes downtown, so you don't get rear-ended.
There's a helmet law for children under 16, and a front white light + rear red reflector are required.
The usual "big city" rules apply: Bring your bike inside overnight if remotely possible, always lock to an actual rack (and not a sign that can be quickly unbolted, rendering it not-so-secure), and if you must lock it up outside overnight, make sure to lock the front wheel too. Capitol Bikeshare is a huge advantage, here, since you can turn it back in, whistle, and walk away.
Capitol Bikeshare is used heavily by all types of people, ensuring a good mix of all experience levels. Typical riders downtown are young professionals, whereas out on the trails away from downtown the mix tends towards older riders doing sightseeing.
+ Best Bike Rides in Washington
These self-guided cultural tours were curated by locals who bike and wanted to share their favorite nooks and crannies in a #BestBikeRide with you.
If you live in Washington and love food, music, art or just being outdoors? Curate a route for us by inquiring here.
- Capital Bikeshare- $2 per 30 minutes or $8 for 24 hours / $17 for 3 days (includes unlimited 30 minute rides). These are sturdy city bikes with front bag holder, lights, fully enclosed chain guard and skirt guard.
- BikeStation Washington - "In addition to secure bike parking, the facility also provides a private changing room and day-use lockers for rent, as well as bike rentals, repairs and retail sales."
- Bike & Roll DC- $35+ daily for city, hybrid, road, tandem, kids, trailer bike or trailer. Rentals include rack, handlebar bag, lock, tube and pump
- Thompson Boat Center- $30 daily for cruiser bikes with baskets and locks
- Spinlister is the Airbnb of bikes!
- DC Cycling Concierge- Jeff Miller, a celebrity bike advocate, designs "the perfect riding experience tailored to fit your pace and interests."
- Bike & Roll DC- $35+ per person for a city or long distance tour (Blossoms, Smithsonian, Capital, Monuments, Night, Mount Vernon, Pittsburgh)
BikeStation Washington - "In addition to secure bike parking, the facility also provides a private changing room and day-use lockers for rent, as well as bike rentals, repairs and retail sales."
- Metro (Map) - Bicycles are permitted on Metrorail (limited to two per car) weekdays except 7-10 am and 4-7 pm. Bicycles are permitted all day Saturday and Sunday as well as most holidays (limited to four per car). 100% of buses have bike racks.
Unless otherwise noted below, all these lines are $20 for trainside checked bike service.
- Acela (Boston - New Haven - New York - Philadelphia - Baltimore) - Folding bikes only
- Cardinal / Hoosier State (New York - Cincinnati - Indianapolis - Chicago)
- Capitol Limited (Pittsburgh - Cleveland - Chicago) - FREE carry-on service
- Carolinian / Piedmont (New York - Raleigh - Charlotte) - Piedmont has free, walk-on service that requires a reservation
- Crescent (New York - Atlanta - New Orleans)
- Northeast Regional (Boston - Providence / Springfield - Hartford - New York - Lynchburg / Richmond - Petersburg - Norfolk / Newport News - Virginia Beach)
- Palmetto (New York - Charleston - Savannah - Jacksonville - Orlando - Tampa/Miami)
- Vermonter (St. Albans - Burlington - Springfield - New York)- Reservation Required, $10 between St. Albans and New Haven; $20 between New Haven and Washington, DC
- Bolt Bus - "We do allow oversize items as long as space is available in the baggage bin. The oversize item will count as your one bag allowed under the coach. You’ll be responsible for placing the item in the baggage bin. We will not charge you an additional fee for oversized item provided it is within your limit of one bag under the coach."
Support Local Advocates
Bikabout donates 25% of annual revenue to local advocates. You, too, can power better biking in Washington, DC by becoming a member of any of Washington Area Bicycle Association!