Launched six years ago today, Capital Bikeshare changed the way DC gets around. These ubiquitous red bike bikes revolutionized biking in this city, bringing cycling to the masses. Biking is no longer just the provence of fearless young males. With thousands of Capital Bikeshare bikes on the streets, it’s now something that everyone does – from office workers commuting downtown to tourists visiting from overseas.
More bikes means safer biking for all. Capital Bikeshare made drivers accustomed to seeing bikes on the streets. This not only made the streets safer for cyclists, it made things safer for pedestrians, by forcing drivers to slow down and be slightly more aware. God knows that the city doesn’t enforce traffic laws. But the presence of people on big red bikes has a “traffic calming” effect that has probably saved lives.
I was an intermittent CaBi user until this year. Joining in February, I’ve already racked up 286 miles on bikeshare. Most of the these miles were back and forth trips to the Metro, in which I used bikeshare for the “last mile” between public transportation and my home. While I have a bike, I also use CaBi for trips where I don’t want to take my real bike. Some examples:
- Don’t want to leave my bike at Union Station where it could get stolen – take bikeshare.
- Metro breaks down – take bikeshare.
- Going out for drinks – take bikeshare to bar, Uber home
- It’s raining/snowing and don’t want to get my bike dirty – take bikeshare.
It’s very handy to have this network of bikes available to you any time of the day or night. Capital Bikeshare is ideal for a compact city like DC, where parking is limited.
Spotcycle is key to the regular CaBi user, providing a real-time map of bikeshare stations and available bikes. I use it every day.
One more thing: those bikes are damn attractive. The beauty of bikeshare is part of their appeal. They’ve made DC a better-looking place and are an irresistable photo subject. Here’s a selection of bikeshare photos over the years. Happy birthday, Capital Bikeshare!