Over the past few years I’ve found out first hand that biking around D.C. is a great way to get to know the city and explore all that it has to offer. It’s also a fun way to exercise and stay healthy. I go for a ride everyday. And I have a convenient and secure place to store my bikes. So I chose to own my bikes. But another alternative to owning a bike, especially if you’re only an occasional rider or don’t have anywhere to keep one, is to rent a bike.
Renting a bike in D.C. has been something that has been possible for quite a long time. Dating back to the early 1940’s, bike rentals were available through bike shops and gas stations at different independent locations in the city. But today the Capital Bikeshare Program provides a network of stations that makes renting a bike easy, convenient and affordable.
Capital Bikeshare, which first began in 2010, makes over 3,500 bicycles available for rent at over 400 stations across D.C., Arlington and Alexandria, Virginia, and Montgomery County, Maryland. Whether it’s for a short trip, a commute to work, to get to the Metro, running errands, going shopping, visiting friends and family, or for any other reason, you can simply rent a bike at any nearby station. And then when you’re done, you can return it to the same station where you started, or to any other station near your destination.
You can join Capital Bikeshare online or at one of their convenient a commuter store locations. Membership options include a day, 3 days, a month, a year or try their new Day Key option. This gives you access to their fleet of bikes 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The first 30 minutes of each trip are free. Each additional 30 minutes incurs an additional fee.
The city’s increasing amount of bike lanes and biking infrastructure combined with the convenient availability of bikes makes it easier than ever to get out there and explore our nation’s capital.
Left – A bicycle rental shop on 22nd Street, near Virginia Avenue N.W., Washington, D.C., on a Sunday. (Library of Congress Control Number fsa2000056770/PP. Contributor: Marjory Collins. Circa June/July 1942.)
Right – Bicycles for Rent, Washington, D.C. (Library of Congress Control Number fsa1998024089/PP. Contributor: Martha McMillan Roberts. Circa 1941.)
Center – Washington, D.C. Renting bicycles at a gas station on East Potomac Park. Notice the “no gas” sign on the nearest gasoline pump. (Library of Congress Control Number fsa2000056780/PP. Contributor: Marjory Collins. Circa June/July 1942.)
Note: Historic photos obtained from the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division and used with the permission of the U.S. Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information/Office of Emergency Management/Resettlement Administration.