By Micheline Maynard
Curbing Cars backer Michael Leland is an avid cyclist who spends lots of time on the road in Wisconsin, where he is the news director for Wisconsin Public Radio.
In our inaugural Bike Share Review, Michael writes about his experience testing out Capital Bikeshare in Washington, D.C.
“A few years ago, I was staying in Crystal City, (Arlington), Virginia for a conference, and there was a Capital Bikeshare station in front of the hotel. I bike a lot at home in Wisconsin and try to exercise when I’m on the road, so I thought it would be nice to use on of the bikes for early-morning rides along the Potomac.
The station instructions were straightforward and I was easily able to adjust the bike so that I fit on it comfortably. Several mornings that week, I rode a 6-10 mile loop along the river, and crossed into D.C. to ride past the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials.
A couple of small things I didn’t enjoy so much were my not having a helmet (I always ride with one at home), and the bike’s pedaling and shifting took some getting used to. These are bikes designed for short trips around town, rather than for longer rides like my bikes at home…so once I accepted that, I was able to enjoy the ride and the sights.
I thought the price was right (including my ‘membership fee’, I paid less than $10 for each ride. I would probably use it again in other cities, though I would hesitate to ride on streets without a helmet.
We’ve had a similar program here in Madison, WI, for the last three years, and it’s apparently very popular with visitors, as well as downtown workers who want to run an errand or get lunch in another part of downtown. I’ve never used the bikeshare here because I usually walk everywhere, or ride my own bike.”
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