D.C. Bike Ride, the region’s only closed-road, recreational bike ride, returns to the District on Saturday, May 19 celebrating bicycling as a form of transportation, healthy living, fitness and fun.
A recreational ride in which participants are invited to bike at their own pace, D.C. Bike Ride is a family-friendly event that brings together people of all ages and biking abilities for a celebration of life on two wheels. The closed-road course features entertainment from local bands as well as rest stops with water and healthy snacks. Participants can choose from a 20-mile route or a 6-mile short cut to the finish.
Now in its third year, D.C. Bike Ride organizers expect about 8,000 registrants from 40 states, Canada and several other countries. The event takes participants on streets that are usually closed to bikes, giving riders the opportunity to see Washington in a completely new way, such as from a car-free Whitehurst Freeway or the 395 lanes of the 14th Street Bridge over the Potomac River. Bike rentals are available to reserve in advance from Bike and Roll D.C.
The ride ends with a Finish Festival along the National Mall and next to the U.S. Capitol, featuring musical performances by local go-go band Trouble Funk and DJ Little Bacon Bear, a local DJ from radio station WKYS. Along the car-free route, D.C. Bike Ride will feature local funk and percussion performers to provide music and entertainment for ride participants, reinforcing that for many residents, bicycling is the heartbeat of the city.
This Washington Blade-sponsored event is LGBT friendly. Local biker Robb Dooling has been involved in the event since 2016 and says gays are welcomed.
“I feel very comfortable being out at these events because D.C.-area cycists are a quirky, progressive and loving group of people, especially at at the D.C. Bike Ride where people dress however they want and we celebrate it,” Dooling says. “The Bike Rack D.C., where I happened to buy my first bike (here), displays a rainbow flag year-round and I happened to get most of my early biking advice from a LGBT mechanic there. When I grew up in Nebraska, there was almost no queer visibility anywhere.”
The event also serves as a celebration of the region’s improvements in bike infastructure and bike accessibility. Data from the League of American Bicyclists’ report on the American Community Survey found that Washington has the second highest percent of bike commuters in major metropolitan cities, with 4.6 percent of the D.C. population biking to work, second only to Portland.
May is National Bike Month, and with National Bike to Work Day taking place on May 18, the day before D.C. Bike Ride, the ride serves as the perfect culminating event to a month dedicated to bringing awareness to bicycling as a growing form of transportation.
D.C. Bike Ride values giving back to the bike community and has committed more than $100,000 over three years of the event to the Washington Area Bicyclist Association for their advocacy and community work to make streets safer for all, which complements the region’s commitment to Vision Zero, a long-term street safety initiative to end traffic deaths and major injuries for all roadway users.
Registration is $70 ($175 VIP). Youth 8-17 are $35 and the 20-mile youth ride is free for kids 3-7. Full details at dcbikeride.com.