Activities Adventure U.S. Washington DC

e Biking in Washington DC

e Biking in Washington DC is the perfect way to sightsee.

e Biking in Washington DC is an adrenaline rush!

Since I live in the nation’s capital, I can ride year round. It is a totally different experience than walking or running for exercise. Plus it is a great way to explore different neighborhoods that are far from my condo.

I feel a sense of Deja vu as I eBike around the back streets of the Historic Capitol Hill district this morning. I suddenly remembered being a preteen and riding my bike everywhere growing up in Silver Spring, Maryland. As a kid, I loved hopping on my bike to cruise different neighborhoods or just wander endlessly. I flew down hills.

Historic Capitol Hill District

Today there are a few masked dog walkers and runners. No cars in sight. I can cruise down the middle of A St. NE with a sense of abandon on my electric bike. My goal is to explore an 18-block stretch from Seward Square to the outskirts of Gallaudet University.

I will also travel eight blocks from the Library of Congress, crossing from 1st Street NE through 8th Street NE. I probably have never driven my car through Stanton Park neighborhood before. There are orange and red leaves in the road. I frequently stop to admire the Halloween decorations, such as the spider crawling up a cobweb.

 

e Biking in Washington DC

I think a lot of people let their bikes gather dust in the garage or let a flat tire discourage them from an adventure. (A former city bicyclist now living in the suburbs confesses to me this afternoon. No names will be mentioned to shame!)

But riding my e bike in the city on a quiet weekend morning is sublime. I am in awe as I gaze on the leaves of stately trees that are beginning to change to red and orange. The rowhouses feature many different architectural styles, including Queen Anne and Federal.

Faster Way to See More

My routine is to walk from my condo in Mount Vernon Triangle to the U.S. Capitol every morning before work. But I can only spend two hours on my exercise so I never get any further than A St NE. Then I must turn around and head back home.

However, this weekend morning, I decide I want to explore the surrounding neighborhoods in NE Washington by “pedal power.” After cycling past the Supreme Court, I head down A Street NE until I reach 3rd Street NE.

Virtually Ride Along on Map

Then I methodically ride my bike all the way down to I Street NE before I turn right to ride back on a parallel route via 4th Street NE.  e Biking in Washington DC is a strangely fun way to explore my city. Imagine dragging your  finger up and down streets and alleys on the plastic StreetSmart Washington DC map.

Search for Felines

Since it is still early on a chilly weekend, I don’t encounter a lot of car traffic (hurrah). I just see folks carrying cups of Starbucks coffee, parents pushing jogging cycles and dogs sniffing at lawns.

I only see two cats during my 2.5-hour ride on my Stark bike. A giant inflatable “Halloween” black cat stares at pedestrians. A tabby runs under a car. I want to pet the tabby but he prefers to hide.

Cost of e Bike

I know electric bikes (eBikes) are inordinately expensive. However, it is easy to rent a eBike if you live in a city like Washington DC. I recommend this Top 10 List of e Bike Rentals.

I bought my Stark eBike back in 2017 for $783 when I saw a Fund Me for a Swedish company. It remains one of the smartest investments I made after I moved to Washington DC.

“Cycling is possibly the greatest and most pleasurable form of transport ever invented. Its like walking only with one-tenth of the effort. Ride through a city and you can understand its geography in a way that no motorist, contained by one-way signs and traffic jams, will ever be able to. You can whiz from one side to the other in minutes.”—Daniel Pemberton, The Book of Idle Pleasures

Eastern Market

This morning I keep making crazy looping turns on side streets. Somehow I end up on A St SE. This thrills me because I now know how to walk to the historic Eastern Market.

I go there to buy fresh pasta, cheeses and homemade pastries. Rather than hunting to find a parking space, I can now add the 3-mile walk to Eastern Market as a new weekend tradition.

Getting Lost

Unforunately, I get lost while e Biking in Washington DC.  A St SE doesn’t lead me past any houses I recognize, so I ride my bike back 10 blocks. I don’t know where I am. I actually thought A Street NE would just change into A St SE but it apparently doesn’t work this way.

Finally, as I am totally lost, I pull up a Google map on my iPhone. I find out that the two A streets run parallel to each other. East Capitol Street divides them. I swing my bike around at the intersection of North Carolina Ave and retrace my route.

Finally I see the Library of Congress ahead. I discover Library Court near the Episcopalian church. I must explore this alley on a future trip. Then I fly home for a late breakfast.

“Bicycling…is the nearest approximation I know to the flight of birds.”—Louis J Halle, Spring in Washington

Childhood Biking

Whenever I think back to my childhood growing up In Silver Spring, Maryland, I always feel nostalgic for my summer days exploring on my purple bike. There were no rules on how far I could venture with my girlfriend Susan, so I was determined to ride further and further—Colesville, Forest Glen, Wheaton and ultimately Norbeck, Maryland.

On a hot weekday morning on summer vacation (before we had our full-time summer clerical jobs in high school), it wasn’t unusual for us to say goodbye to our moms before 9 am and stay out all day. We each made a little pin money from babysitting, so we knew we could afford to buy snacks or candy at a convenience market. My personal favorites were the coke float and the giant sour ball at High’s market.

Powered by the Pedal

But the memory that is most ingrained in my mind is riding to Norbeck in June 1972 at age 13. We had never biked this far. But Susan and I were convinced we could go do it. After Sligo Creek Parkway ended at Route 193, we turned left to bicycle on the sidewalk down University Avenue until we reached Georgia Avenue. Then we turned right and headed all the way to Leisure World adult community. We wanted to see the property’s giant globe, a 40-foot tall metal frame earth located on the southeast corner of Rossmoor Blvd. and Georgia Ave. We thought we spanned the globe by biking this far from Silver Spring—powered by our Keds-clad feet.

Girl Power

As an adult looking back almost 50 years ago, I marvel at our tenacity. We wanted to travel the world, even if it was just to see a fake metal globe located less than 15 miles away (by bike) from our suburban home. And just picturing myself as a 13-year-old on my cruiser bike from Toys r Us gives me such a feeling of girl power. I could do anything. I could go anywhere. I was free. I honestly felt like I was flying when I rode my bike.

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  • John
    October 12, 2020 at 12:57 pm

    What a wonderful post; I felt as if I were riding along besides you. Thanks for taking us along your ride through Capitol Hill. And great quote from Pemberton. One of my favorites parts of biking in DC was discovering the hidden gems; like the back alleyways you would never find in a car. Two of my favorites were Blagdon Alley and Crispus Attucks Park.

    • Terri Markle
      October 17, 2020 at 12:32 pm

      You know I always loved to hear about your DC biking adventures – getting lost and finding new neighborhoods. You were my inspiration!

  • Roxanne Weijer
    October 17, 2020 at 1:23 pm

    As a Dutchie myself I love to bike! I bike everywhere here in Amsterdam. Your bike trip around Washington DC looks and sounds lovely. Thank you for bringing me along. And those colors of the trees look stunning and I wish people decorated their houses like that here in the Netherlands too, looks so cool!

    • Terri Markle
      October 17, 2020 at 2:32 pm

      Roxanne I know you have wonderful biking in the Netherlands. I did a 1-week Dutch bike tour. I gave up after 5 days when I found out that I was not as in shape for all day biking as I thought. I am so glad that you liked my blog. I will also follow yours. The houses in DC are all decorated for Halloween in this neighborhood in DC. It is absolutely gorgeous. I can’t wait to go back out to ride tomorrow.

  • Alanna
    October 17, 2020 at 1:40 pm

    What a fun ride! I love all the Halloween decorations you saw.

    • Terri Markle
      October 17, 2020 at 2:33 pm

      Aren’t the Halloween decorations cool? I may go back and add more photos to the blog. I will allow follow your blog!

  • Melanie Hamilton
    October 17, 2020 at 5:30 pm

    Thanks for sharing, Terri! I love DC and would to experience via ebike next time I’m there. I’m sure it’s strange cycling around in today’s world and having a strange sense of bittersweet nostalgia. Loved seeing DC though your lens!

    • Terri Markle
      October 17, 2020 at 6:45 pm

      DC is amazing, isn’t it? I never fail to fall back in love with my city no matter how many places I visit on my travels. It is very odd living in a COVID-DC. Everything is closed with only limited access to museums. But it will reopen AV (after vaccine)!

  • Nancy
    October 17, 2020 at 6:20 pm

    Oh, I love exploring DC and had a magical childhood riding bikes as well. Although, I lived in a small town in northern Ohio, quite a distance from any large city. We loved riding bikes next to fields of crops and laid back rural neighborhoods. I’m not sure I’m brave enough to ride a bike in the city, but early morning definitely sounds like the best time to try it. Thanks for sharing your journey.

    • Terri Markle
      October 17, 2020 at 6:44 pm

      I am so glad that my article brought back fond memories of exploring on a bike as a girl. I love my eBike and it allows me to cover so much more territory. I typically walk 11,000 steps every morning on the National Mall. Thanks for reading. Love your blog!

  • Agnes
    October 17, 2020 at 7:25 pm

    I lived in Silver Spring for a bit, back in my younger days! Great part of town, with such easy access to DC. Great post!

    • Terri Markle
      October 17, 2020 at 9:07 pm

      You lived in Silver Spring! Small world. I absolutely loved growing up in Silver Spring. I would even skip high school (occasionally) to take the bus or subway down to DC. Georgetown was a favorite place to haunt. Thank you for reading my blog.

  • Jaime
    October 17, 2020 at 7:25 pm

    Awesome post! Looks like so much fun!

    • Terri Markle
      October 17, 2020 at 9:08 pm

      eBiking is SUPER fun! I try to take tours at least twice a week in DC. A favorite ride is to cover the entire National Mall, go around the Tidal Basin and then coast through some neighborhoods. Highly recommend eBiking!

  • Stef
    October 17, 2020 at 7:50 pm

    I have always wanted to visit Washington DC – I hear it’s the city for museums and galleries! And it’s wonderful to see it’s such a bike friendly place, there is no better way to explore. I love the photos of everyday scenes you would pass on your bike. Thanks for sharing Terri.

    • Terri Markle
      October 17, 2020 at 9:06 pm

      Stef you are so kind to comment. YOu really must get to visit my city. I absolutely love it. While the news would make you think it is solely a city of politicians, Washington DC is a real home to over 700,000 people. I have to pinch myself sometimes … I feel so lucky to live here.

  • Sharyn
    October 17, 2020 at 8:07 pm

    I love exploring places either by walking or on a bike. When I finally get to DC I will definitely try this option.

    • Terri Markle
      October 17, 2020 at 9:05 pm

      You have so many ways to explore DC by rental scooter, bike, eBike and even motorcycle. I just love to see how all the tourists (plus residents) are out and about – social distancing but still getting fresh air. I hope you get to visit DC Sharyn!

  • Julie
    October 17, 2020 at 11:38 pm

    This sounds like so much fun! And your photos are gorgeous!

    • Terri Markle
      October 18, 2020 at 5:09 am

      eBiking is fun! You can get to see more “secret” places like alleys on an eBike that you could never explore in a car. Highly recommend.

  • Katie
    October 17, 2020 at 11:55 pm

    Great post! I was a super sweet story to read! I bet biking around DC is beautiful.

    • Terri Markle
      October 18, 2020 at 5:11 am

      I thought other readers might relate to my nostalgia about riding bikes as a young girl. Thank you for reading my blog Katie!

  • Krista
    October 18, 2020 at 12:47 am

    I’ve never been on an ebike but I have been on a bike in DC and it was crazy driving on the main roads!

  • Andrea
    October 18, 2020 at 2:04 am

    The perfect way to get around DC!

    • Terri Markle
      October 18, 2020 at 5:07 am

      I agree. I am so glad that there are rental eBikes that are now available in a lot of major U.S. cities. You must try it!

  • Adele
    October 18, 2020 at 2:47 am

    How fantastic! I’d love to do this! I have tentative plans to get to DC for the inauguration (depending) but will have to see if travel bans are lifted. I will be coming back to your blog for inspiration!

    • Terri Markle
      October 18, 2020 at 5:08 am

      I hope you can get back to DC. We still have very strict rules on COVID. But there is a lot of open space to walk so it helps. I hope some of my articles will give you inspiration!

  • Cristina
    October 18, 2020 at 3:24 am

    I have never been on an ebike, but I would love to visit Washington DC one day 🙂

    • Terri Markle
      October 18, 2020 at 5:06 am

      I have written extensively about Washington DC for my blog because I live here. It is a great city.

  • Portia
    October 18, 2020 at 3:36 am

    Thanks for sharing, this was a super informative post. I really loved Washington when I visted, I would have loved to explore by bike. x

    • Terri Markle
      October 18, 2020 at 5:10 am

      I am so glad you found it informative! I am going to try to do a series on different neighborhoods to explore by eBike. I highly recommend renting an eBike on your next trip to a big city. You will love it Portia! Thank you for reading my blog.

  • Lori
    October 18, 2020 at 4:31 am

    What a lovely way to visit – or revisit – a city! Gorgeous photos!

    • Terri Markle
      October 18, 2020 at 5:05 am

      Thank you so much Lori. I highly encourage you to rent an eBike when you travel. It is pure fun!

  • Sarah
    October 18, 2020 at 7:27 am

    What a lovely place for a bike ride! Love all the fall colours. I’ve never been to DC but it is on our list!

    • Terri Markle
      October 18, 2020 at 4:01 pm

      Washington DC must go on your list to visit. There are so many free things to do and see. The fall colors are reaching their peak by the end of October.

  • Shannon
    October 18, 2020 at 1:57 pm

    This sounds lovely! Biking seems like a great way to get around DC.

    • Terri Markle
      October 18, 2020 at 4:01 pm

      I highly recommend seeing the city by eBike (or eScooter)!

  • Kelly
    October 18, 2020 at 6:36 pm

    What a great way to see the city! I love DC but I haven’t been back in about 10 years so I would love to visit again 🙂 Such a beautiful city!

    • Terri Markle
      October 22, 2020 at 6:23 pm

      If it has been a decade since your last visit, you must return to Washington DC. New museums, new restaurants and new ways to get around!

  • Silly Little Kiwi Blog | Tara
    October 19, 2020 at 3:40 am

    The last time I was in D.C. I was lost as to how to get around. Now I want to go back just so I can use one of these eBikes!

    • Terri Markle
      October 22, 2020 at 6:25 pm

      It is definitely a hard (and somewhat scary) city to get around without a car. Although the Metro subway does take folks to a lot of places they want to visit. But I definitely recommend renting an eBike. I think it is the preferred choice of transportation for most visitors to my city now.

  • Val
    October 19, 2020 at 4:12 am

    I love exploring new places on two wheels and I wish I had read this article when I went to Washington for the first time – I’ll definitely saved it for a future visit 🙂

    • Terri Markle
      October 22, 2020 at 6:22 pm

      I am so glad if I inspired you to see Washington DC in a new way when you return Val!