Bike tours in Washington, D.C.?
April 12, 2016 12:37 PM   Subscribe

Has anyone done a bike tour in Washington, D.C., that they would recommend?

Hi, I am back and have another question to add to my recent post asking for advice about a family trip to Washington, D.C., in the near future.

Can anyone recommend a bike tour company for a Sunday morning in the next few weeks, particularly Capital City Bikes? We are a family of six, with kids ranging from The Princess (age 8) to almost 17. All of them are active and can ride a bike, though I expect the youngest would get a tandem with me.

Thanks for any feedback on the general idea, and on Capital City Bikes.
posted by wenestvedt to Travel & Transportation around Washington, DC (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
We did this but brought our own bikes. In my opinion it's the only way to do DC w/ youngish kids.
posted by NoDef at 12:44 PM on April 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I know friends have had good experiences with Bike and Roll. They have tandem bikes available and the tours begin close to the neighborhood you'll be in (it's at L'Enfant Plaza).
posted by everybody had matching towels at 1:41 PM on April 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: While I am a big fan of Capital Bikeshare myself (and I see it recommended in the previous AskMe), it would be a headache and a half to rent them for a family of 6 - plus they're too big for an eight-year-old.

I have used Bike & Roll (also confusingly called "Bike the Sites" on some literature) and it's dependable, but I don't know from Capital City Bikes.
posted by psoas at 3:37 PM on April 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Seconding Bike and Roll. They had great bikes, competitive rates and minimal hassle in getting you set up and on your way.
posted by rippersid at 4:45 PM on April 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks all! We are now booked for a Bike and Roll tour (the monuments, I think). It's only four miles, but that should make it manageable for everyone...especially me, who will probably be wearing the family backpack and also dragging along our youngest. :7)

My kids are smaller but very active, so we were pleased that they didn't make us choose between an adult or kid-size bike when you buy tickets, and instead they select a bike when you arrive for the tour.

You all are awesome!
posted by wenestvedt at 11:27 AM on April 14, 2016

Response by poster: We're back, and it was awesome!!

First off, we used Bike and Roll for the tour. We did the Monuments Tour: we picked up our bikes at l'Enfant Plaza, two blocks due south of the gates of the Smithsonian Castle. Our guide was a bit of a dip, and trying to ride a bike with my headstrong 8-year old daughter on one of those one-wheeled "ride behind" seats that hung from my own seat post was a real downer, but the tour itself was a great way to see everything. I forget what we paid, but I wasn't bent out of shape about the cost. We stopped for ten minutes at each monument, and our guide watched the bikes (off to the side) so we could approach the sites more closely and respectfully. He was kind enough to try to take a family picture a couple of times.

On the down side, I don't think they really bothered to check the fit of any of the bikes, and an older couple of texans in our group had real trouble pedaling -- to the point that she got left behind with me in thick crowds, and at one point they were entirely lost for several minutes. I thought this was pretty shitty.

Anyway, on the whole the company itself did a very good job. The bikes were in good shape, and they had a ton of them on hand. They gave everyone a bottle of water and a granola bar. We brought our own helmets, thankyouverymuch. The staff was friendly, and the guide encouraged us to be polite riders and obey all laws.
posted by wenestvedt at 1:18 PM on April 27, 2016

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