Wilson had used a bike from the Capital Bikeshare program to pedal over to Eastern Market. Lamb in hand, she used another bike for the return trip, leaving it at the bike station on Columbus Circle just up the street from the Securities and Exchange Commission. Later she thought she might use her third bike of the day for a trip to Woodley Park.
“It’s changed my life,” she said as she slipped the bike into the docking station.
Her husband, an avid cyclist, bought Wilson a membership in the bike-share program as a Christmas gift.
“I’ve been scared of biking forever,” she said. “Now my comfort level is creeping up. It’s an easy bike to ride. It handles the road well. It’s definitely not like a sexy thing, but you can ride it wearing a business suit without any trouble.”
With the arrival of spring, more bike docking stations are opening in the District and Arlington, and last week, an additional 25 locations were proposed.
The Capital Bikeshare program now knows its own rush hours — coinciding, not surprisingly, with everybody else’s rush hour. At its peak, bikes are rapidly snapped up from docking stations in neighborhoods dense with younger people — Capitol Hill, Dupont Circle, Columbia Heights and the U Street corridor.
Trucks from Alta Bicycle Share, the contractor that runs the program, buzz around to the downtown office buildings where the bikes end up, collecting them and rushing them back to neighborhoods for the next wave of commuters.
“There have been complaints that people come out and there are no bikes available, and the other issue is that you get downtown to work and the docking stations are all filled,” said John Lisle, District Department of Transportation spokesman. “Hopefully, within 15 to 20 minutes [Alta] moves the bikes out and back to the people who want to use them next.”
The clunky but solid red machines have been crisscrossing the District
and rolling to and from Arlington since late September. Yes, people pedaled right through the winter, encouraged by Capital Bikeshare’s Winter Weather Warrior contest. The winner, Robert Solorzano, logged 780 trips in less than 60 days, averaging 13 trips a day — numbers that would make a bike messenger proud. He forged from behind by taking time off work and, on a single day, docking a bike at every one of the 104 stations then active.
More than 300,000 rides have been logged since the program launched Sept. 20, and people were using the bikes an average of 3,000 times a day in mid-April.
D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray cut a ribbon for a new bike station outside City Hall last week.
“Capital Bikeshare already has more than 10,700 members, and we are committed to adding more bikes and more stations,” he said.