SPOTTED: the Nationals' Racing Presidents make an appearance on guide Rob Pitingolo's tour on Saturday!
Those tour-goers look starstruck, huh? (We would be too!)
Blog posts from Bike and Roll DC
1. L'Enfant Plaza's Rennaisance
JBG Companies has initiated a complete renovation of L'Enfant Plaza to include new retail, office, and cultural spaces that emphasize sustainability and green practices. Development of a 10th street civic corridor that would connect the Mall to the Waterfront is also in the works. (We suspect bike lanes will abound in this new design!) For now, one can still enjoy the historic architecture, La Promenade's variety of dining options that will continue to grow in 2014, and Bike and Roll tours starting this March!
2. Southwest Ecodistrict Initiative
Though the plan has been in the works for several years, the SW Ecodistrict Initiative has picked up speed as of late. This urban renewal will revolutionize and revitalize the L'Enfant neighborhood (more specifically, the 15 block radius from 12th to 4th street, bound by Independence Ave and the Waterfront.) The project is focused on interconnectivity between the National Mall and the Waterfront that will be achieved through sidewalks, bike lanes, reconnecting avenues, and creating various pedestrian and park spaces along the way. We can't wait to see this innovative vision take shape!
3. Proximity to the National Mall
Need we say more? Having the Smithsonian Institution Castle in your backyard is nothing to sneeze at! One block south of the National Mall, L'Enfant Plaza is just a short walk, or bike ride from all the major sites to see in Washington, DC.
4. Proximity to the Waterfront
Another benefit of being just south of the Mall comes in the form of the lovely SW Waterfront! Dubbed the Wharf, this area will also undergo exciting new renovations to transform the neighborhood into something more reminiscent of the Baltimore National Harbor or the Seattle Downtown Waterfront (with a DC flare, of course.) For now, the Waterfront still offers beautiful views, the legendary Fish Market, marinas, and Arena Stage.
5. Access to the Cherry Blossom Trees
Talk about direct entry to the cherry blossoms! East Potomac Park, Hains Point, and the Tidal Basin are just a stone's throw (or roll...) away from L'Enfant Plaza. We'll be able to take our customers to, from, and around the blossoms more efficiently than ever before thanks to our new location.
What better way to kick off this brand new year than by publicly declaring some new year's resolutions? (We thought you'd concur.)
Okay, so these aren't exactly company resolutions but rather a mix of resolutions for DC locals or visitors this year!
1. Commute by bike
So, we know this is a big commitment, and the writer of this blog (that's me!) needs to try this out herself as well... so let's all do it together! We can start small and do it once or twice a week. Here are some tips to get you (and me) started. Bonus: this also counts as exercise, so you can thank us later for helping you kill two birds with one stone!
2. Visit one Smithsonian a month
The choices are endless! Pick from this vast array of fantastic museums that are sure to wow you.
3. Dine at one new or favorite restaurant a month
If you haven't been yet, we suggest: Ted's Bulletin (shout out to cheesy grits and adult milkshakes!); Le Diplomate (we haven't been but are dying to make it an office outing); and Birch and Barley (try the curried goat!) Those will certainly get you started off nicely!
4. Bike the Blossoms
If you're visiting DC during the National Cherry Blossom Festival, make a mini-resolution out of your trip and see the blossoms by bike with Bike and Roll DC this year! We can honestly say you won't regret it.
No matter what holiday you do or don't celebrate, this time of year is perfect for slowing down and appreciating those around us. We hope you and yours have the very best holiday season!
Happy Holidays, from the Bike and Roll Family!
With December already in full swing, it's about time we play catch up by highlighting some quintessential twelfth-month activities in DC. Grab your mittens, hot cocoa, and tackiest holiday sweater as you dive into our top 5 favorite things about December in our nation's capital.
1. Newseum's Anchorman Exhibit
Well, cat's outta the bag! It's no secret that we're huge fans of Anchorman (and the Newseum, and Will Ferrell, and Ron Burgundy...) So go and peruse the fantastically kitschy exhibit devoted to your (and our) very favorite fictional news anchorman! Oh, and stay classy while you're at it.
2. Downtown DC Holiday Market
Located on F street, directly in front of the Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery, this whimsical holiday market will be open through December 23rd. Outdoor shopping becomes all the more charming with 180 rotating exhibitors and artisans offering a huge variety of distinctive handmade holiday gifts.
3. Ice Skating in the Sculpture Garden
What's better than taking in the magnificient sculptures outside of the National Gallery of Art? Doing the former... on ice skates! Music serenades you as you skate around the open air rink in true winter fashion!
4. Our December 7th Bike Sale
If you haven't already (shame on you!) seen our 15 second film detailing the before and after effects of owning a bike, you really need to. After viewing, please pencil in our wonderfully fantastic end of the year bike sale on December 7th from 11am-3pm. You (and all of your bicycle gift recipients) won't be sorry!
5. New Year's Eve in DC
Crazy (slash terrifying) to think it will be 2014 in just a few short weeks... but we might as well find reasons to celebrate! New Year's Eve in the District is truly a glittering fete to behold. Here's a great list of the vast celebratory options for the grand 2013 send-off.
Don't have the perfect Halloween costume picked out, prepped, and ready yet? Don't fret! If you're a cycling enthusiast like our gang here, you'll probably want to bring a bike into you or your child's design. And boy, do we have some cycle-riffic ideas!
E.T. Phone Home
(Baby) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle
The "Ruff" Rider
Atreyu from The Neverending Story
Now the real question is, which will you choose??
Contrary to popular belief, there are still many things to see and do in DC during a government shutdown! Trust us and read on...
1. Visit Off-the-Mall Neighborhoods
Sure, our National Mall is truly awe inspiring and a must-see attraction. But that's really just scratching the DC surface! Veer off the standard tourist's path and discover the magic of U Street, Dupont Circle, Eastern Market, Georgetown, and many other amazing neighborhoods in DC.
2. See the Still Open Attractions
There are still plenty of museums and galleries open to the public in our Nation's Capital-- really, we promise. Such gems as the National Geographic Museum, Phillips Collection, Newseum, or National Building Museum are all more than worth a visit (or two, or three, or ten...)
3. Ride a Bike
The shutdown can't shut us down! We may have had to edit some tour routes, but we're still open and ready for business! Stop by to rent some bikes or join one of our thoroughly amazing bike or Segway tours. You know you want to!
4. Eat, Drink, and Be Merry
Shutdown specials abound for Government employees, but you can still enjoy the many fine and budget-friendly restaurant choices DC has to offer sans federal ID! In fact, why don't you refer back to our Top 5 Cheap Eats list for ideas.
5. Get out of DC
There are so many great getaways right in DC's backyard, and now is the time to take full advantage! We suggest you head down to Virginia to check out the very extraordinary Alexandria. There you can rent a bike from us, and check out all the quaint little city on the water has to offer.
There's nothing quite like autumn in the district, and it's just around the corner! This weekend will bring a taste of crisper weather and with it comes a wanderlust for the perfect fall day trip! We've rounded up a list of the best day trips to take from DC.
Ride your bikes back in time around (perfectly flat and cruisable) historic Colonial Williamsburg, the world's largest living history museum, or take the kiddies off to nearby Busch Gardens for a day of thrill seeking fun!
Nestled above the Potomac river where Maryland, Virgina, and West Virgina meet, Harpers Ferry Historical National Park is a beautifully preserved town known for John Brown's raid and steeped in Civil War history. Enjoy hiking, biking, white-water rafting, re-enactments, and amazing views galore.
Take in the wonderful shopping, dining, boating, and charming scenery in this lovely coastal seaport city that is the home of the United States Naval Academy and St. John's college.
George Washington's digs really have it all! From stunning views to interactive exhibits and immaculate gardens, the 18th century plantation is a must-see for anyone in the DC area. And to really check out the lovely upcoming fall foliage, try biking to and from the estate on the Mount Vernon trail!
An hour away from DC, Charm City is an often overlooked and underrated gem of a metropolis! Explore the harbor, take time to check out the National Aquarium, and try out some of the fantastic culinary fare this uber fun city has to offer.
1. District Taco
The Penn Quarter crowds swarm to this taco mecca around lunch time, and it's no surprise why! With tacos for less than $3 a pop, you can chow down without breaking the bank.
2. Ben's Chili Bowl
A true DC staple for 55 years, get your fill of half smokes and shakes at this awesome U Street dive!
3. Amsterdam Falafel
Yummy Falafel + (nearly) infinite amounts of toppings + $6 price tags = Perfection.
4. Taylor Gourmet
Not your average deli, this sandwich empire is all about quality ingredients at affordable prices. Get a gourmet hoagie for under $10 and smile from ear to ear!
5. Jumbo Slice Pizza
The name truly says it all. Late nights often end at this Adams Morgan locale, where pizza slices sized for giants come fast and cheap.
The team at Bike and Roll wants to wish Miss Catharine Pear a very, very happy birthday! Our Marketing Director inspires all of us each and every day with her enthusiasm and charisma, and we couldn't imagine running this show without her lovely self! Happy Birthday!
The National Mall is typically the first stop on any sight-seeing tour in DC-- and for good reason! Most of its attractions are free, including the famous Smithsonian museums. Stops to the National Museums of American History, Natural History, and Air and Space are must-dos for tourists and locals alike.
2. National Zoo
Since it's under the domain of the Smithsonian Institution, this fantastic zoo is completely FREE! Crazy, huh? See over 400 different kinds of animals and take part in a variety of events put on by FoNZ (Friends of the National Zoo.) Family friendly indeed!
3. Monuments & Memorials
Need we say more? From the Lincoln Memorial to the Washington Monument, and everything in between, DC is known for its magnificient memorials. Make sure you take time to hit all of the big ones! (As a non-free option, let one of our guides enlighten you via bike or Segway!)
4. Willard InterContinental
Heralded as a beacon of political history, this legendary hotel is recognized as one of the Historic Hotels of America by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Here, President Lincoln held meetings in the lobby, Ulysses S. Grant coined the term "lobbying," and Martin Luther King, Jr. penned his "I Have a Dream" speech. Nothing to sneeze at!
5. Arlington National Cemetery
Not technically in DC, but close enough! Located just across the Potomac, this popular destination brings in over 4 million spectators each year. Be sure to catch the changing of the guards.
6. The White House
Though I'm sure you'll need no persuading to visit this incredibly famous residence, we have seen Bo running loose in the lawn during a few of our tours (as an added incentive.)
A picturesque neighborhood set on the river, historic Georgetown is chock full of charm (and shopping!) Popular for its 18th century architecture, cobblestone streets, high-end dining, and waterfront harbor, you can spend a whole day meandering along the lovely quaint streets.
8. Kennedy Center's Millenium Stage
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is truly a sight to behold. And if you make it there by 6:00PM, there are free performances at the Millenium Stage in the Grand Foyer- no tickets required!
9. Rock Creek Park
For those in need of a respite from city living, Rock Creek offers just that. A 1700 acre enchanting oasis to the west of Downtown, this park became one of the first federally managed parks in 1890. Perfect for a bike ride or a hike!
10. Old Post Office Pavilion Tower Tour
Take the elevator to the top of this 315 foot tall clock tower to enjoy stunning panoramic degree views of downtown DC.
The team at Bike and Roll wants to send a big Congratulations to a Washington staple: Clyde's of Georgetown is celebrating its 50th anniversary next Monday, August 12th!
The part Manhattan, part saloon-themed bar and restaurant is a bit of an institution here in the DC area. Opened in 1963 on M Street in Georgetown, Clyde's soon became a fan favorite for both locals and tourists alike. The restaurant will be celebrating this milestone by cooking up free breakfast (think egg dishes, juice, coffee, etc.) on August 12th from 8AM-10AM. The party will continue well into the night as the kitchen cranks out all-time favorites from the past five decades.
Again, Congratulations to Clyde's! Here's to the next fifty! ;-)
Happy Friday, guys and gals! We are just loving the beautiful summer weather (and the fact that the weekend is almost here!)
Today, we're continuing the "Meet Our Team" series, and introducing you to the amazing Dominic Boone- Union Station Rental Manager. Dominic is equal parts efficiency and enthusiasm, and we love having him on our team! Stop by our Union Station location to say hello, and ask him more about his survey answers!
Name: Dominic Boone
Position: Union Station Rental Manager
How long have you been with Bike and Roll?
What is your favorite bike ride in DC?
I still enjoy riding around the Mall and the Memorials. I never get tired of the ride! It makes me feel patriotic and I get that little kid feeling of being in awe.
Your favorite neighborhood in DC?
This is a tough one. I have lived all over the city. I would have to say Upper Georgetown, Glover Park area. I was born in Georgetown and my parents both went to school in the area, so I feel a strong connection to the neighborhood.
Favorite restaurant in DC?
Bistro Du Coin in Dupont Circle. Escargot broiled in garlic butter with French bread for soaking up the garlicky butter! Need I say more?
Best local tip tourists should know about DC?
I am really big on the Wharf—the oldest continuously operating fish market in the country (1805). Close to the memorials and it really has that old school DC vibe. Great food!
Favorite Monument/Memorial in DC?
Another tough one... I would have to say the FDR memorial. Not only is it beautiful, but it really covers some of the most significant events in our country's history.
Favorite park in DC?
Favorite museum or attraction in DC?
Dupont Circle. Always nice to see a wide range of eclectic people just relaxing, having lunch, playing games, etc. Great place to people watch!
The thing I love most about DC is its diversity. I love how the neighborhoods are similar but yet distinct in their own right. (Such as Georgetown, Capitol Hill, Adams Morgan, Columbia Heights, etc.)
Ready for another round of "Meet Our Team"? Well we sure are! Today we're highlighting one of our admins-- Beth Browning! She handles a plethora of behind the scenes activities that keep this big Bike and Roll ship afloat! And since she's heading off to law school at the end of the summer, Beth would like to share her very favorite DC tips with all of you while she's still here! Enjoy.
Name: Beth Browning
Position at Bike and Roll: Admin
Favorite Bike and Roll tour? Sites by Segway
Favorite neighborhood in DC? Dupont/Logan Circles
Favorite restaurant in DC? Jaleo
Best local tip about DC? Go to a farmer's market! There is a great one in Dupont Circle.
Favorite Monument/Memorial in DC? The Masonic Temple on 16th Street (non-touristy), the Korean War Memorial (touristy).
Favorite park in DC? Meridian Hill Park--a good place to walk around and relax.
Favorite museum in DC? The Newseum (worth paying for) and the National Museum of American History.
The thing I loved most about DC is: the friendly people and the diverse architecture-- also helping people with directions. :-)
By: Rachel Cannon
Like most kids from a good suburban upbringing, I learned to ride a bike early. It was my favorite pastime through the end of high school, but I was never especially serious about it—it was just an easy way to get around the neighborhood because I never owned a car. When I came to American University in 2006, I didn't even think to bring my bike with me. I relied on public transportation, I never went anywhere much beyond the Red Line, and I was scared of any quadrant that wasn't Northwest because we were taught as freshmen that DC was pretty dangerous.
Around the end of my sophomore year, in 2008, I saw a job posting for tour guides at Bike and Roll. I was already a tour guide on our college campus, and the thought of riding a bike around the National Mall—and getting paid to do it—sounded awesome. I've never been particularly athletic, and my friends expressed concern that the job might be too hard for me, especially given that I didn't own a bike.
So, not knowing anything at all about bikes, I went to Target and purchased a $40 red Magna mountain bike. I remember taking it off the Metro that night and riding it home from Tenleytown—on the sidewalks, of course, because I was scared of the roads. During my interview with Bike and Roll, I made a point of telling them about my new purchase. To my great surprise, I got the job—and I didn't even need my own bike!
During my first training shift, I fell madly in love with the Bike and Roll bikes—the Trek hybrids were fifty times better than anything I had ever ridden. I never knew that biking could be so fun! The Mall is totally flat, so riding around it was a breeze.
The real challenge was getting to and from work. Metro was getting expensive, so one day, I pulled out my little red Magna. Bike and Roll is downtown, and I lived up near the Cathedral, and Massachusetts Avenue, the main connecting street, is a GIANT hill. The ride to work was great—the ride home was next-to-impossible. My first couple of times biking up it, I wound up walking my bike most of the way, and the third time, I got so exhausted that I fell off my bike.
Gradually, I got better at conquering that hill, and after a couple of weeks, I could ride up it without stopping. That summer, my boss at Bike and Roll helped me purchase my first "big girl bike"—a Trek women's specific 7.2 FX, much like the hybrids at Bike and Roll, and that made the commute much easier. Before long, I was biking everywhere. I realized that between two tours a day and my commute, I rode about 22 miles each work day—but that wasn't enough for me. On my days off, I explored the trails around DC, venturing up to Great Falls via the C&O towpath, rode to Mount Vernon and back, rode around DC, rode around Alexandria, explored the Capital Crescent Trail, and loved every minute of it. My love for the city and the surrounding areas grew exponentially—in fact, a couple of years ago, a friend and I biked around the perimeter of DC, which is shaped like a diamond. I've literally seen every corner of the city on a bike!
Today, I work for DC's local bike advocacy group—the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA), and I install bicycle racks for the city. Remember how I said I was never really athletic? Part of my job today involves hauling power tools and a generator around town on a bike trailer. Biking is a huge part of my life, and whether I'm working or not, you can find me around the city on a bike every day of the year, in whatever weather.
It's been five years since I started as a tour guide, and I still give tours with Bike and Roll—what's more, I still love it. Aside from being obsessed with bikes, I'm also obsessed with DC history. Showing off this city to newcomers is a delight, and to me, it's even better when it happens on bicycles. A 70-year-old grandmother once commented after a tour that she felt like a kid again, and I've seen otherwise begrudging teenagers manage to crack a smile or two as the wind whips through their hair (under a helmet, of course). When I tell people that the best way to see DC is by bicycle, it's not because Bike and Roll pays me to do it—it's because I firmly believe it!
Time for another Monday morning edition of our special "Meet Our Team" series! We hope you enjoyed last week's nod to a Mr. Jeffrey Holliday. Today we're highlighting a wonderful Bike and Roll gal who's one of our fabulous rental staff and soon-to-be Segway tour guide: Rachel Bell! We hope you all enjoy learning a little bit more about Rachel as she shares her DC knowledge!
Name: Rachel Bell
Favorite bike ride in DC? It's not technically in DC, but I love riding my bike around Alexandria. There's less traffic than DC, but it's just as pretty, if not more so.
Favorite neighborhood in DC? Foggy Bottom! Gotta represent my GW.
Favorite restaurant in DC? Wok and Roll, in Chinatown- the house it's in was the house Lincoln's assassination was planned in (I'm a big history buff), and their noodles are amazing!
Best local tip about DC? If you're here for more than a day or two and don't want to rent a bike (you should!), it's worth investing in a Smartrip card. You'll save so much money and it's easier than having to dig through your bag for a little paper card.
Favorite Monument/Memorial in DC? The World War II Memorial. You're not supposed to put your feet in the pool but it's nice to go at night and just sit there.
Favorite park in DC? The Constitution Gardens, on the Mall. It's quiet and beautiful.
Favorite museum in DC? The Air and Space Museum. I've gone and stared at Amelia Earhart's plane for hours.
The thing I love most about DC is that even though I've been here for years, I still find something new to surprise me all the time.
Happy Monday, folks!
I'm glad you could join us as we kick off a new segment here on our blog today; it's called, "Meet Our Team"! We'd like to give you a behind-the-scenes look at the fantastic people who make up the Bike and Roll Washington DC staff. Within these surveys, our featured team member will be able to share all of their favorite details about DC with all of you! Today's lucky guy is Jeffrey Holliday, the Operations Manager here at Bike and Roll.
Name: Jeffrey Holliday
Favorite bike ride in DC? There's an old Formula One race track right next to RFK stadium. I've been told that the first race held there was so loud that the neighborhood complained and no races have been held there since. I have no idea if that's true. Anyhow, now it's used as a parking lot. However, if you get there early in the morning no one's parked yet and you can do some laps as the sun is coming up. I've only done this a few times, but every time is a pleasure.
Favorite neighborhood in DC? I live in Mt. Pleasant, which is pretty ridiculously nice.
Favorite restaurant in DC? The Raven Grille?
Best local tip about DC? Eat breakfast, not brunch. Brunch frays the moral fabric of our society. Also, it's crowded.
Favorite Monument/Memorial in DC? The Joan of Arc statue in Meridian Hill Park: "At the terrace overlook, one may view the beautiful statue of Joan of Arc -- the only equestrian statue of a woman in Washington, D.C. Joan of Arc is a bronze copy of the Paul Dubois statue which sits before the Cathedral of Rheims in France. The statue was given by the Ladies of France in Exile in New York and dedicated to the Nation on January 6, 1922. In attendance at the dedication were First Lady Mrs. Warren G. Harding and Mrs. Jules Jusserand, wife of the French Ambassador to the United States"-http://www.nps.gov/mehi/historyculture/places.htm
Favorite park in DC? East Potomac Park. Public pool with a view of the Washington Monument? Yes please.
Favorite museum in DC? American Art Museum. For many reasons, but mostly because of Duan Hanson's sculpture, Woman Eating.
The thing I loved most about DC is the cosmic geometry.
For those of you who don't know her by name, Nikki Marks is a huge part of Bike and Roll's history and continued success, and we all want to wish her the happiest of birthdays today! It seems rather serendipitous that today be Earth day, as we can't think of anyone who better exemplifies the true message and intention behind this day than Nikki! (This gal loves Mother Earth!)
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NIKKI!