Another Fan of Capital BikeShare – Sign Up by Oct. 31 for $50 Yearly Fee

Photo by PoPville flickr user fromcaliw/love

Don’t wait around too much longer. Thanks to a reader for sending a reminder to sign up now because “the $50 annual fee will go up to $75 after Oct 31st.”

“Dear PoP,

I noticed you had mentioned Capital Bikeshare once or twice, but I wanted to share a very positive experience using it and also to remind people that the $50 annual fee will go up to $75 after Oct 31st. This is a great time to sign up.

I used to walk a mile to the metro everyday, but now I take 20 minutes off my total commute time by taking Capital Bikeshare between 16th/Harvard and the Woodley Park metro. While there are times when bikes are not available, they seem to be very good about reshuffling bikes so my stations don’t go very long without bikes or spaces. This website is definitely the best resource for keeping up with bike distribution: Additionally the Spotcycle app for smartphones is very helpful.

In addition to commuting to the metro, I’ve taken the bikes around the city for errands and it is super easy and, dare-I-say, fun.

The first 30 minutes are free, and then the price goes up every 30 minutes. I’ve never gone over 30 minutes on any ride, but if you find yourself taking a trip across the city, you can stop at a bikeshare station and dock the bike and take it back out again to start a new 30 minutes.

The bikes are nothing fancy and don’t go very fast, but I find that to be best for cycling around the city. They do come equipped with three gears, a flashing light that comes on at night, and a bungee-corded holder on the front for jackets or small bags. I like how sturdy the bikes are because I don’t feel like I’m going to go flying if I accidentally bike over a pothole.

There is also a station near the back entrance of the zoo – on Rock Creek Trail – which makes for easy bike rides to Georgetown (where there is another bike station right off Rock Creek Trail).

Currently there are around 650 bikes in circulation, but I read that they’re planning to up the numbers to 1100 once they put in all the stations. I noticed on Saturday and Sunday that over 100 of the 650 bikes were being used during the day. That is pretty awesome for such a new program!

I own a bike, but it can be very inconvenient and unsafe to use it for short distance biking.

I’m interested to hear what other people think about the program – it has totally changed how I get around the city.”

30 Comment

  • I just spoke to someone yesterday who rides from the Derby to GWU for classes 4 days a week. We calculated that after 2 weeks she already saved the $50 spent in the bike share by not taking bus and metro. So it definitely seems to be a great solution.

  • I’ve been shaving 20-30 minutes off my commute from Tenleytown to Howard University (and saving like 6 bucks a day) using this program and haven’t had a single problem or hiccup yet. I absolutely love it. Get on board. The membership pays for itself and you will get some exercise to boot.

  • yes the bikeshare is wonderful! i joined even though i have my own bike and i’ve already used it 4 times in the first week. there are so many times when i find myself wishing i had my bike with me, and CaBi is coming in so handy at those moments. it’s great to have the option to ride to go out when it’s preferable to take a cab home (no biking under the influence!) or if you’re unsure of the weather and don’t want to commit to riding round trip. or if you’re meeting up with friends who don’t bike. and you don’t have to worry about your own bike being stolen or damaged. and yes, the bikes are super sturdy and go pretty slowly, so i feel really safe on them.

    you can also sign up for a day membership for $5, which is a good way to try it out if you are unsure about biking around town.

    it’s been amazing seeing how many folks are using them. i highly recommend joining! it makes short trips around town so much quicker, and so much more enjoyable.

  • i wrote in with the question on how to be a good urban biker (thanks guys, i think i am!) and since then i’ve become a devoted bikesharer. i carry my helmet in my purse (!) and it is so liberating to hop on a bike whenever it’s convenient. i can get pretty much anywhere i go in twenty minutes, which has opened up a lot more of the city to me. not to mention, i haven’t touched my smartrip in weeks. join, and encourage bikeshare to give us more docks and bikes!

  • I joined a few weeks ago, and I’ve really enjoyed having a way to get around quickly without the concern of locking up the bike. I’ve already saved 20 bucks by biking instead of taking cabs (when the metro/buses aren’t running) so between that and the free t shirt that came when I signed up, it’s a pretty sweet deal.

  • I can’t say enough about this program – it’s been awesome. I own a good commuter bike that I ride nearly every day, but on the days that it’s raining in the morning, or if I want to run a quick errand from work, I usually take CaBi – checking out is super quick and easy. The bikes ARE slow, but if you only have a mile or two to go, that’s not a big deal. I can’t wait for further expansion and I’m proud to be a “founding member” of CaBi.

  • Quincy St Neighbor

    The convenience and ease of using CaBi pays for itself. Two examples:
    1. I recently lost my wallet a few weeks back. Not only did it contain my driver’s license, it also held my SmartTrip card. I did not want to bother purchasing a new metro card and never have correct change on me for bus fare. Obviously I could not drive without a driver’s license. I had to get down to the Georgetown DMV and all I had left on me was the CaBi key fob on my keychain to get me there. So I grabbed a CaBi bike from the Georgia Ave-Petworth station and rode over to the Georgetown waterfront. From there I walked a couple blocks to the Georgetown Park mall to get a replacement license. Easy!

    2. Last Friday, I grabbed a CaBi bike to head down to U street. We did not have any set plans other than the starting point so I chose not to ride my personal bicycle down as I did not know where we’d end up. Our evening found us walking up to Adams Morgan to The Diner as a buddy had a craving for pancakes. Afterwards we had a nice post-prandial walk over to Marx Cafe to check out my other friend’s friend djing there. At the end of our evening, rather than waiting for the bus or trying to hail a cab on the now deserted Mt. Pleasant street, I grabbed a CaBi and biked back to the Petworth station. Not only was I able to enjoy the urban boites of our fine city, I also managed to enjoy the pleasant night air outside too!

    • 1. Or you could get your replacement license online.

    • The flexibility of your scenario #2 has been the real breakthrough for me. I signed up because it looked convenient enough — but it’s true that plans change throughout the evening, and bikeshare lets you go with the flow instead of always worrying about “oh no, should I take my bike with me?”

      I remember seeing a group of people at a Montreal bar (two with bikes, three without) spontaneously decide to go across town. The bikeshare station out front made that possible.

  • I’m still wavering back and forth on whether to join, mostly because the station nearest to my house is kind of far away. I’m beginning to think I could use it to say, go out after work, etc. rather than using metro and buses to get everywhere. And, a planned station is supposed to be coming closer to where I live, so it might be worth it.

    • I biked down from 16th and Harvard to meet a friend near Metro Center. It took me 16 minutes to bike down to the NY Avenue and 15th street station. (I know this because I can check how long my trips were online) Especially with the future lengthening of the 15th St contraflow bike lane – can make errands/going out in city a lot easier. I like that they will have the Union Station station open soon and you’ll be able to bike to H Street to go out and there is a station there by the main bars. I was surprised how many situations there were for me to take out a bike and make my life easier.

      • My problem is that I live in between Union Station and the bars on H Street. So, I wouldn’t use it to go over to H Street. If there were a closer station, I would use it to go down to Eastern Market a lot, I’m sure.

        Regardless, the more I think about it, I could see myself using it coming from work to go to say, Dupont or U Street to meet up with friends (and there is a station less than a block from my work in Chinatown). I guess in theory I could also bike from work to Union Station, seeing as I walk to/from Union Station on the days I don’t ride the X2 anyway. I think the comments on here have pushed me over the edge and convinced me to join!

        • Union Station station just got put in today! I think the reason Bikeshare works so well is because you use it to supplement your trips. I could walk or take metro or a bus for any of the trips I make on bikeshare, but if a bike is available, I take that instead. I think it is worth the initial $50 investment. You find ways to use it that you never even thought of. Like biking from the Woodley Park metro to Adams Morgan. A short bike ride that you could easily walk, but just knowing you can take the bike for no extra cost (after you paid for membership) makes it easy.

    • You could sign up now to lock in the $50 but then wait to activate your key until they put the station in- the clock doesn’t start on your year until you activate. I guess you’d be taking the risk that they never put in a station, but then you’d just have to walk to the further one. Is the risk of that possible inconvenience worth a savings of $25? I guess that’s the question.

  • Does anyone know if the day pass will be continued? I am not sure how often I will use the Capital Bikeshare program – if my use justifies the $50-$75 – but I used it this weekend for the $5 daily fee.

    Someone mentioned this was promotional only. Can anyone confirm or deny? Thanks!

  • I love Capital Bikeshare so much! I had a major back injury (probably from bike commuting on my racing bike so much). So I started off slow on Bikeshare bikes — they help you keep a proper posture and are great for short rides around town. They are really slow, and I basically describe them as a tank. But the system works flawlessly (except for 1 time when I got out of class and there were no bikes at 2 stations near Foggy Bottom). It has been a few months since I was constantly biking and Capital Bikeshare helped me pick up my stride!

  • I don’t see the $5 daily fee going away because I thought they wanted to have a program that tourists could also use, but I have no real knowledge.

    Some guy on Yelp thought it was $5 for all day use without returning the bike and he had to pay the $70 for the whole day. I hope most people aren’t that naive.

  • Most of the riders I see on these bikes are not wearing helmets. I love riding my bike in DC, but there is no way I would go helmet-less. Is this a liability for the company, do you think?

    • When you sign up they make you agree to terms that include that you have read their safety page. On my daily commute I don’t wear a helmet because I take deserted streets and sidewalks and am very slow, but I realize that I take a risk by not wearing one. When I bike anywhere else in the city that involves biking on the street, I wear a helmet.

    • i am still a little uncomfortable riding without a helmet, but the trips i’ve taken with CaBi have been non-rush hour times, i stick to less busy roads, and also, the bikes are super slow and sturdy. I also find that i’m a much more cautious rider when i don’t have a helmet on (not that i’m reckless when i wear one.) but you always have the option of carrying a helmet with you. i actually have been somewhat suprised to see so many people on CaBi bikes with helmets.

    • There are several bike shops in town that are offering discounts on helmets to CaBi members when you show your fob / membership card; they are listed on the Capital Bikeshare website. 🙂

  • I haven’t signed up and probably won’t since I’ve invested so heavily in making my own bike secure from thieves, but I’ve seen friends and neighbors sign up and rave about it. Some went from non-riders to daily riders.

    I’ve noticed that a lot of folks ride from CH and Mt. Pleasant (the top of the hill) to their work down the hill. Somehow the bikes reappear. I assume bikes are trucked to locations to make sure there aren’t too few or too many at a given station? I also wonder a bit about how the bikes will be in a year or three. They’re new now but will they be maintained enough to keep folks liking the program?

  • I passed the Mt. Pleasant station around noon on (gorgeous) Sunday and saw only one bike, so just for interest, checked online to see where people were going. Guessing from which racks were nearly empty it seems like a lot of people from Mt.P, CH & Petworth were going to brunch at U St. or Eastern Market. Kind of an interesting way to check out who’s going where.

    I also saw one of the bike delivery trucks on Mt. P. street.

    I would love to see more stations around the mall/tourist areas – especially Lincoln Memorial – which absolutely sucks for public transportation.

    • Word is that the Park Service has vendor exclusivity contracts that make putting the bikes on any National Park areas a problem. Apparently the Park Service is trying to work it out…slowly.

  • I use it for weekend errands and getting out an about. I really like it.

  • I’m lucky to have a couple stops near my home and many near work. Primarily because of the added convenience and speed, but also because it’s a fun workout, I’ve used the system more times in a month than I thought I might in a year. That’s one less person crowding onto the 42 bus. I think that over the longer term with more stations and broader public acceptance, this will really catch on. Unless of course short sighted funding concerns, lackadaisical management/maintenance, or silly political opposition to all things bike-related were to creep in over time.

    Btw, as a criticism, the day pass interface seems unnecessarily confusing, as some visiting friends have found out.

    Also, any word on where the new stations will be (besides those already marked on spotcycle that are not active). Is there still time for public input/requests? Are they employing early usage data to help decide?

  • I have three bikes at home and still use CaBi all the time. It bridges the gap between planned rides and commuting and impromptu bike travel. It is also just a perfect way to get between those areas that are close enough to walk but too far to really be happy about it. Like Adams Morgan and upper Columbia Heights and Petworth.

  • My pregnant wife went into labor and needed an emergency cessarian. As we were in Anacostia at the time, no Ambulance would come get her. Thank god I had a CaBi membership! That bike put her under and delivered a healthy baby girl in less than 30 minutes!

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