This past weekend marked my first full year of membership to Capital Bikeshare, DC’s bicycle sharing program, and I thought it would be fun to reflect a little on a year spent riding around on those distinctive red bikes.
In the spring of 2013, I was starting to feel more comfortable biking around town and decided to try commuting into work via bicycle. I have a gorgeous little Dutch-style bike from Public Bikes, and I loved the idea of building more exercise into my routine while cutting out some of the stresses of taking the metro or the bus (we don’t have a car). There aren’t great north/south bike lanes on my side of town, but I quickly figured out that I could travel on the bike path through Rock Creek Park, DC’s greenbelt, and avoid riding through traffic almost entirely. Summer and fall of last year as a bike commuter were so amazing! I was spending so much less money on transportation, riding through the park was gorgeous, and the one down-side of the ride, a steep hill alongside traffic just before I got home, was nerve-wracking but had left me with killer legs.
Then, in late fall, Daylight Savings Time ended and I realized that I couldn’t safely bike home in the dark through poorly lit Rock Creek Park. Riding through the city felt too dangerous, especially in the after-work rush with scant bike lanes and poor visibility. I was pretty devastated at the thought of being stuck on public transportation all winter, and I kept wishing I could just ride in to work in the the mornings and magically transport my bike back to my apartment in the evening. And then it hit me: Capital Bikeshare! In the mornings, when there was daylight, I could pick up a bike at the kiosk on my block, drop it off right outside my office, and then take the bus or metro home in the evenings when it was dark.
The weekend after Thanksgiving, I signed up. A one-year membership to Bikeshare is $75. A few days later you get a handy little key-fob in the mail, and you have unlimited 30-minute rides for a whole year. So, if you’re wondering what I’ve thought of using Bikeshare, I’d have to say, it’s been great and I just signed up for year two! Here are a few thoughts:
I was also mulling over the finances of using Bikeshare as opposed to bus and metro commuting, and thought the cost breakdown was pretty interesting, too.
So overall I have to say that I’ve loved using Bikeshare and I’m excited to see how many rides I can get in over the next year. It almost feels like a challenge to beat this year’s total!
Have you ever rented a bike or used a bikesharing program? We’ve had a few experiences with both over the last year: