Bike Travel Guide: Washington DC

See, Stay, Eat and Ride in DC

Although frolicking in the forest on two wheels occupies quite a lot of my time, I like to mix it up by spending some of my summer in the concrete jungle. I was lucky enough to talk my friend Corinne into coming down from Vermont to join my urban adventure this go-around.

I have been to DC on quite a few occasions over the years and – while I always have a good time – I’ve never really fallen in love with the city. But, this time around, something changed and DC felt as much like home as a place could feel in just five short days. Biking in Washington DC has a way of doing that.

DC Bike Travel Guide

We figured out the thoroughfares, learned to navigate the city with ease, and befriended locals whose energy and enthusiasm for the city was contagious. I left dreaming of my return. Washington, DC, you are a true gem!

See, cities can be tricky. Everything moves so fast, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed – and often like a fish swimming upstream. Then pile on a busy travel agenda and now you really need to know what you’re doing! The bike changes that. It makes travel simple and more fun.

For someone who was new to cruising around a city by bike, DC is an incredible place to learn. There are many bike lanes – some protected, some not – and I was blown away by how many people were on bikes. Perhaps most surprising, I found that the drivers and cars here are very forgiving – often accommodating to cyclists!

There’s something about Washington DC that makes it feels so intimate. It's big in the sense that there's a lot going on, a lot happening, and a lot of moving pieces but it feels small because of its accessibility. As far as cities go, DC is actually small – 68.3 square miles (109.9 square km) to be exact – which means, there is a lot of really cool stuff packed into a small area! It is incredible to think: so many of the things that have shaped American history happened right here.

Tips for Biking in DC

Helpful Tips:

Bike Paths by the Potomac

"We sought out the Rock Creek Park Trail, which quickly brought us out of the city street network and down along the shaded creek, accentuated by old stone bridges and towering trees.  We pedaled to the cicadas’ buzz, humming along."

Best Bike Routes in Washington DC:

Thomas Sweet Ice Cream in Georgetown

“The Capital Crescent Trail ends at the Friends of Georgetown Waterfront Park, the intersection of the Potomac River and Rock Creek. Here we emerged from the quiet wooded corridor. Quickly we were reacquainted with crowds, weaving through pockets of people – each speaking a different language – and for a moment there, it was easy to forget where we were.”

Best Washington DC Bike Shop:

The Bike Rack: The people here are super friendly and very knowledgeable. Two locations make it super convenient no matter where you are in the city.

The Bike Rack DC

"The Bike Rack: compact, clean, professional. We were welcomed by the rainbow flag in the window and the humble folks behind the counter."

Eat and Drink:

Where to Eat in DC

Where to Stay:

I can’t tell you how much I love AirBnb. I feel like AirBnb is the easiest thing you can do to make a place feel homey straight away. Find a place that suits your style and price range - and always look at reviews. We stayed at this cute little place in Adams Morgan. It was the perfect center point for our DC bike adventure.

DC Monuments by Bike

What to See:

Gravelly Point Park

"Gravelly Point, where we were washed over by the blast of landing planes. Larger than life."

Meet the Locals:

Jeff at Cycling Concierge: We came to DC with a laundry list of things we wanted to do and see, but after spending some time at the Bike Rack, they suggested we get in touch with Jeff of DC Concierge. If you can meet anyone in DC, it’s this guy. He made our trip with his passion, knowledge and enthusiasm.

Jeff showed us the ins and outs of his favorite places mixed in with history, facts and a few nuances. Jeff is a passionate DC resident of eight years and a lifetime cycling advocate. His advocacy work has taken him around the world and has since landed him in DC. Just a few months into launching his own business, Jeff shared his knowledge and passion for the city’s sights, infrastructure, and way of life well beyond the average tour guide.

If you are looking for someone to take you on a Washington DC bike tour, Jeff is your dude.

DC Cycling Concierge

Final Thoughts:

It’s hot and sticky in the mid-Atlantic, but that all seems to disappear with the breeze that cruising on two wheels brings. Overall, I was delighted by the cultural diversity that DC holds in its architecture, food and kind people. It’s official I’ve fallen in love with you DC!

Bike DC

BeLiv Flowers

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