Experience DC on Two Wheels: The DC Cycling Guide

Ready to Cycle?

Plenty of people visit Washington, D.C., each year, and many of them hop on tour buses and public transportation to travel between monuments and museums.

But there are other options for getting around.

Options that provide a little bit of exercise in addition to breathtaking views.

Cycling through the nation’s capital immerses you in it, enabling you to feel the fresh air as you move from place to place.

Experience mild terrain changes, see many cultures and lifestyles, visit more monuments and museums (without the hassle of parking), and truly enjoy being in the moment.

We put a guide together to share with our new and future residents and visitors who enjoy getting around on two wheels.

Bike Shops in Washington, D.C.

BicycleSPACE

What shop could be better than the “Best Place to Get Your Bike Fixed”?

BicycleSPACE has won this honor from the City Paper Best of DC edition every year since 2012. And this year is no exception.

Known for its knowledge, urban brands, weekly rides, and classes, it boasts several shop locations, including in Adams Morgan, Downtown, and Ivy City.

Their classes and community rides are almost always free. And when they’re not, it’s probably because the money is being donated to a non-profit organization.

Stop by and see what all the hype is about.

District Hardware and Bike

The “one shop that has it all,” District Hardware has been giving DC residents and visitors a convenient retail experience for nearly 50 years.

It offers a full-service bike shop and hardware store, where they host classes. And provide mechanics and parts.

What makes this shop unique is that they also run the Velo café, which serves everything from coffee and baked goods to beer and wine.

This is a cafe built for the community. It’s a great place for anyone new to the DC bike scene to meet some other bikers and get involved.

City Bikes

Serving DC since 1988, City Bikes provides a wide range of products and full-service options.

It has several locations, too, including in Adams Morgan, Capitol Hill, Rockville, and Tenleytown. 

City Bikes also offers test rides of all of their current models so that you can try before you buy. Check their requirements for test rides before you go in.

Beginners and riders looking to upgrade their gear can find everything they need here. City Bikes also sells clothes, helmets, accessories, and bike parts.

You’ll be ready to go on your first ride before you even leave the shop.

Conte’s Bike Shop

This family-owned and operated shop offers bikes and accessories from well-known brands.

It has been listed as one of the “Top 100 Best Bicycle Retailers” in the U.S. several times.

Join in on any of their maintenance classes or group rides and get a feel for the community.

Two ladies enjoying a bike ride in Washington, DC

The Bike Rack

Offering fittings, repair, maintenance, custom builds, and more, The Bike Rack ensures you have everything you need before you hit the DC-area roads.

It is also the only local shop to include free lifetime adjustments for bikes purchased in the store.

And if you’re new to the area, they offer a few guides, such as DC bike laws and riding with your family.

Must-See Spots When Traveling by Bike

There are so many monuments, museums, theaters, galleries, restaurants, parks, and other sights (and sites) to see in the Washington, D.C., area.

It can be a little overwhelming deciding where to start, but these options might help you start to map your trip:

Art

DC has some of the best art galleries in the country, thanks to the Smithsonian network.

And because art and history are so often linked, what better place to take it in than Washington, DC?

Here are a few art galleries, accessible by your bike, that you should check out:

Government Buildings

No visit to DC is complete without a look at all of the various government buildings.

Take in the rich history and political landscape while bypassing all of the traffic on your sweet ride.

Here are a few places you can’t miss:

Monuments

DC is known worldwide for its various monuments, celebrating different presidents, wars, and moments in history.

These monuments display some of the most beautiful architecture in the world.

Above all, you don’t want to miss these standouts:

Museums

DC has the most extensive museum system in the world – the Smithsonian. This network of museums displays the vast history of the United States.

While the Smithsonian may be the most famous museum, DC is also home to many more sites.

From African-American history to the Holocaust, from Air and Space to Spies, from Art to the Postal Service, the District covers almost every facet of what it means to be American.

Here are some of the best museums in DC:

Parks

Perhaps the best environment for bikers, the numerous parks in the District allow you to feel the air on your face and breathe in the fresh air.

Enjoy a few moments of peace that you can’t always get when you’re surrounded by the hustle and bustle of the city.

Take in these beautiful and natural areas as you enjoy an early morning or evening ride:

Tips When Traveling by Bike in DC

Whether you’ve biked D.C. a hundred times or just a few, here are a few tips to make your trip fun, safe, and exciting:

  • Charge your phone and camera batteries, and bring backup batteries or chargers, just in case.
  • Wear the right footwear. It’s a relatively flat city, but athletic shoes work best.
  • Make use of trails and bike lanes to avoid heavy street and sidewalk traffic.
  • Carry a physical map of D.C. to help you navigate.
  • Bike with friends or make some new ones through a D.C. cycling Meetup.
    Go at varying times of day — D.C. in the morning light is very different from D.C. at night.
    Bring a helmet (for safety, of course), and wear colors that stand out.
    Carry a backpack for all your gear, snacks, water, clothing layers, money, camera, and more.

Are you interested in learning more about living and working in the Washington, D.C. area? Give DARO Apartments a call to discuss your needs today.

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