Crystal City: Get On Your Bikes and Ride!

Bikes

A day at the races: Capital Bikeshare machines feature LED lights, three speeds and a rack in the front for carrying your things. Plus, stations are open 24 hours a day. (iStock)

With apologies to Queen frontman Freddie Mercury, Crystal City is becoming pretty well-known as a bike epicenter of Northern Virginia.

Think I’m kidding? Check out what a little organization called the Crystal City Business Improvement District (BID) has to say, and I quote: “Crystal City is the region’s leader in bicycle culture.” OK, sounds pretty good so far. “Whether an avid or occasional commuter, a serious competitor, a race enthusiast, or strictly a recreational rider, Crystal City can meet any cyclist’s needs.”

OK, those are strong words. If you’re a would-be bicycle enthusiast or a seasoned rider and you want to rent an apartment in Crystal City in the fair county of Arlington, you probably want proof that this is a bike Mecca. OK. Depending on how anal you are, things either get off to a very good or just plain great start with the news that the League of American Bicyclists awarded the Crystal City BID silver status in their Bicycle Friendly Business program.

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Sure, it’s not the organization’s highest designation, but it’s a solid beginning. Let’s see what else Crystal City has to offer bikers.

Number one, the BID is part of Capital Bikeshare, a metro-area program that allows people to share roughly 1,100 bikes at 114 stations in Washington, D.C., and Arlington. If that sounds pretty impressive, it is: In fact, it’s the largest bike sharing program in the United States. There are 110 bikes at 14 stations in and around Crystal City. An annual membership is $75, a 30-day membership is $25, and a 24-hour membership is $5 bucks. (There are fees for trips over 30 minutes, however. Check the site for more details.)

Now you’re talking. What else ya got? There’s the Revolution Cycles City Hub, a bike-sharing program that’s somewhat similar to Capital Bikeshare (one of its partners is none other than the aforementioned Crystal City BID). Only, Revolution is exclusive to the Crystal City neighborhood itself, and you can share a bike (a Trek Allant) for up to three hours at a shot.

Check out this map to see if you or your business is eligible for the program. (Though in addition, Revolution Cycles City Hub is open to partnering with businesses outside that specific area on a case-by-case basis.) Annual fees are $25 bucks, and if you cross that three-hour threshold, the price is a bicycle chain across your buttocks! Ha, I’m sure some of you out there in Cyberville might even like something like that, but alas, take it to San Francisco. It’ll actually cost you an extra fiver an hour for that infraction.

If you keep your bike out all day, the cap is 25 smackers per 24-hour period. But we know you, and you’d never do something like that, right? Plus, if you just want to flat-out rent one, you can (and you don’t have to live here to do it, either). It’s a $20 minimum for the first four hours for the Trek Allant. The higher-end Trek Madone will cost you a lot more. Check out the company’s FAQ page for more information.

All well and good, you might say. But hey there, blogger person, who undoubtedly drives a car, I already have a @#%& bike! So, shut up about bike share this, bike rental that, and tell me more about how I can get around on some trails! OK pal, just dial it down a smidge. There are children reading this blog. Think about the children! OK, you apologize? Great, now we can proceed.

Alright … living in Crystal City gives you access to both the Mount Vernon Trail and the Four Mile Run Trail. In addition, the Crystal City BID has been busy investing in infrastructure to make it easier for riders to commute to work. In 2010, Crystal City participated in the Washington Area Bicyclist Association’s Bike to Work Day, hosting a pit stop in the town’s Water Park. Here is an overall bike map for Arlington County.

So, have I convinced you? You’re sold on the fact that Crystal City is about as bike-friendly as it gets around these parts and you want to move here? Fantastic! So, not to be redundant, get on your bike and ride on over! Use Apartment Showcase to help you on your hunt!

Scott D

Scott D

Scott is a local writer and has been with the Apartment Showcase blog since its inception in 2010.

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