If you ask any of my kids what their favorite activity to do in DC is, they would all probably answer—biking.
Several years ago I thought it would be fun to take our bikes into DC. I didn’t have a bike rack for my car, so I called the metro, and found out that during non-rush hours, you can take your bike on the metro. (For a full set of rules, see this website: http://www.wmata.com/getting_around/bike_ride/) I thought that would be a great way to spend a day in DC.
At the time, Natalie, my youngest, was probably about 3 or 4 years old, and rode a trail-a-bike behind my bike. We got us and our bikes to the metro station, where we had to take several trips down the elevators (there were five of us—my four girls and me—with our bikes and only two could fit on the elevator at a time). After a number of elevator rides, we all boarded the metro. The metro was quite an adventure with five bikes and us. At one point Natalie fell asleep on me, and I had to carry two bikes and her off the metro. But we made it! And I’m not trying to scare anyone off from taking the metro. It’s a great option, and for me would have been much easier if my kids had been older, or another adult had been with us. One thing that I came to realize that day was that there are so many kind people who will reach out to help when they see a need. And I had lots of needs that day! (It was that very afternoon that I bought a five-person bike rack when I got home.)
Other than the tricky metro trip, we had the best day biking through DC. We visited the monuments and biked along the Mall. It was so much fun, that we all caught the bike bug. We’ve been biking in DC ever since.
Now that I have my trusty bike rack, and drive in with bikes in tow, I’ll either park along Constitution Ave. or out at Haines Point (on Ohio Ave). Lately Haines Point is our first choice for parking, as we can park there all day with an added bonus of a little bit longer bike ride!
Places we’ll bike in DC:
1. Around the monuments. Remember to walk your bikes through all of the monuments to show respect.
2. Tidal Basin—except while the cherry blossoms are in bloom. It’s too crowded then!
3. North of the Capitol. Around Eastern Market and around the shops and restaurants up there.
4. The Mall. Since the Mall is about two miles long, besides just being fun, biking the Mall saves a lot of time.
5. Along Constitution Ave.—mainly to get to the Einstein Statue.
6. Down Mass Ave past some of the Embassies. (We park around the National Cathedral)
7. Rock Creek Park. One of my favorite bike trails. Bike it on the weekend, as the road is closed to cars and open then for bikes only. Don’t be afraid of what seems to be a very long (although mildly sloped) hill. The first time we biked it, Natalie and I were worried the whole way down because we knew we’d have to come back up what we were going down. But the hill is very gradual, making it not hard at all. (We park and start up in Kensington, MD, but there are lots of other points you could get on the trail)
If you don’t have bikes with you and want to bike, you can still do it! Here are a couple of links for bike rental information in DC:
We’ve rented bikes a bit as we’ve traveled to other places, and it seems like the bike portion of our trip becomes the highlight of our trip. I think it’s well worth the money!