Walking the monuments in Washington, D.C. is probably one of the most cliche tourist activities I could do in the Nation’s Capital (aside from touring the Capitol, but been there, done that) but I turned the crowded endeavor into a bike ride adventure that brought us through the entire National Mall and ended up with beers as big as my head at a patio bar. Now that’s how you play tourist.
The ManFriend and I decided to skip the gym and combine our Saturday adventure with our workout. We rented city bikes through the Capital Bikeshare and biked about 8.5 miles on the Mount Vernon Trail and through the city.
The Capital Bikeshare is a series of red bicycles docked at stations throughout the District. To use them, you simply swipe a credit card at a dock station, select a membership option (we chose a 24-hour membership, which cost $7 and allowed for unlimited trips during that period of time), enter your code on one of the bikes, and ride! The daily membership included the first 30 minutes of any trip for free, and then additional 30-minute increments were automatically charged to our card.
We used the free iPhone app “Spotcycle” to help us navigate the rental service. The app shows bike stations on a map, and refreshes regularly to display how many available bikes and docs are at any station, which really comes in handy when you want to return a bike or start riding again. It also features a timer that will alert you when you’re nearing your 30 minutes of free use.
I used Google Maps with the biking option to route us on the Mt. Vernon Trail into the city. The trail was a great ride along the Potomac River. We used the app to locate a dock near the Lincoln Memorial and returned our bikes so that we could more easily navigate the memorials around the crowds. The memorials also do not allow you to ride bikes through or on them, so it was easier to dock the bikes.
We started at the Lincoln Memorial, looped around the Mall to the Vietnam Memorial and Korean Memorial, walked across the Tidal Basin to the FDR Memorial and Jefferson. We made the trek around the Washington Monument and through the World War II memorial. It was a lot of walking and a lot of people, but luckily there was another bike dock only a couple of blocks from the WWII memorial fountains.
The next bike trip was another 3+ miles past the White House (and a quick stop for a selfie), National Archives, and Navy Memorial through the city to a trendy area on H Street. It’s not necessarily the nicest area in the city, and it’s not my favorite place to be after dark, but it’s home to some great dive bars, patios, and way fewer tourists and drunk college dudes.
- Biergarten Haus – this Bavarian bar looks unassuming from the front, but if you make your way through the dark small bar, they have an awesome patio bar and rooftop out back. We opted for giant liters of German beer and a wurst platter of fresh, locally-made sausages that didn’t disappoint. Arnold used to drink beer during workouts so I can too, right?
- H Street Country Club – Not country club as in, boots and cowboys, but like golfing and a swimming pool. This bar has multiple levels, all decorated like a different section of a country club. The entrance has lockers, the second floor has a mini putt-putt course inside, and the rooftop deck bar is decorated with public swimming pool signs. It was a fun bar to bring friends to.
I opted for an Uber ride back home since my quads were on fire and I didn’t want to bike the trail in the dark. I absolutely love Uber and use the service almost any time I’m out late. I feel saver knowing information about my driver, the vehicle, and my exact route home, and I love that it automatically charges my account so I never have to waste time fumbling with payment at my destination. (If you aren’t already an Uber user and lover, use my code “zuck4” and get your first ride free!)