Sunday, October 09, 2011

Capital Bikeshare and Adventures in learning to ride a bike

Back in 2008 I remarked how cool it would be if we had a bike sharing program like we saw in Barcelona. For some time now, a similar program, Capital Bikeshare has been available, and today we finally bit the bullet and gave it a try.

There's only one minor detail which has kept us from trying the service earlier: Shira hadn't ridden a bike since she was 12, and even then, it was only a couple of times. Not that I'd had so much biking experience either.

We rented from a bike stand at 15th st. and Hayes in Pentagon City, which turned out to be the perfect location. There's a park there with a decent sized parking lot, which had a turn around area we could practice in. The actual rental process took just a couple minutes. The hardest part was figuring out how to unlock the bikes. I entered the correct code, but it took me a time or two to figure out how I needed to lift the handlebars to get the bike out.

As the old saying suggests, I was able to get on the bike and within a few seconds, it all came back to me. I'm not ready to take on the Tour, but I was steady enough to head out for a day's worth of biking.

Shira, on the other hand, was effectively starting from scratch. In about 10 minutes, we went from me walking next to her providing some support, to her soloing around. Sure, a 7 year old on a dirt bike came by that put us both to shame. But, it's amazing how quickly Shira was able to figure out this biking thing. Another couple practice sessions and we'll be good to.

So far, I really like the Bikeshare concept. The bikes are nice and solid, comfortable to ride, and most importantly, not something I need to maintain.

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