Biking the District: Tips for Freshmen

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By Caroline Pitman and Jordan Farrell 

Last year, Catholic University began a partnership with the Capital BikeShare University Program. Students can now join the Capital BikeShare for a $25 annual membership, as opposed to the full price at $85.

Similar to metro stops, there are bike docks all around the city, with two close to Catholic’s campus: one by the Brookland-CUA metro stop and the other outside of Opus Hall. With the annual membership, all rides under thirty minutes are free, and each additional half-hour is $2. Biking around the city is an affordable and time-efficient way to get around, especially with safety concerns when riding the metro. Additionally, you can sightsee while on bike and really learn D.C.

The Capital Branch Trail, a safe multi-use path, begins right by the Brookland-CUA Metro stop and ends right before Union Station. The bike ride from Catholic U to Union Station is about twenty minutes each way and is the perfect place to start for first-time city bikers. 

There are five places you can easily access with Capital Bikeshare Docks. One of my favorite bike rides is to go right to Union Station. From Union Station, you are a two-minute bike ride to the Capitol Building, which is a quiet area, especially on weekends. From there you can leisurely bike by the Library of Congress and see the Supreme Court building. 

From the Capitol Building, you can bike to Eastern Market. On the weekends, the Farmers’ Line Market has everything from vintage print booths to fresh produce. If you are in the mood for lunch or dinner, We the Pizza is one of the best places to eat in D.C., and if you are craving a burger and a milkshake, Good Stuff, is a D.C staple.  

Then, head down past the Capitol Building where you will see the monument to our 18th President, Ulysses S. Grant. Keep going straight and you will soon see the Smithsonian Institution to your left. This will lead you straight to the monuments. The Lincoln Monument is a great place to reflect on the nation’s history or even just a cool place to catch up on reading! 

Buck up and download Citymapper because we are heading to Georgetown. If you are in the mood for some more activity, check out the Key Bridge Boathouse where you can reserve a kayak, paddleboard, and canoe. Georgetown is also full of great restaurants and shops! Tucked away on Grace Street, are South Block and SUNdeVICH. South Block has various locations around D.C, and the smoothie bowls are a staple. SUNdeVICH serves sandwiches on fresh baguettes as well as simple salads. Both are closed for indoor seating, but in the back behind SUNdeVICH is a small outdoor seating area. This is a great place to do work or spend time with friends on the weekends. 

Georgetown can be crowded on the weekends, but it is relatively biker friendly, and there are docks throughout the area. Downloading the Capital BikeShare app will allow you to easily see the docks and ensure there are open spaces to place your bike in. Citymapper is another helpful app while navigating biking in the city; the app allows you to get directions for biking and can give speaking directions, which is extremely helpful while trying to navigate biking in the city. 

Biking is a cheap and efficient way to see D.C, and Capital BikeShare makes biking accessible for students. Strap on your helmet this weekend and explore the city! 

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