Photo: DC Bike Ride
Photo: DC Bike Ride

The Heartbeat of the City

Grab your helmets, and get ready for a smooth ride. At DC Bike Ride on May 19, bike-riders of all skill levels will have the chance to experience the city from a whole new angle in the region’s only closed-road recreational biking event.

The route, featuring 20 miles of car-free streets, starts at West Potomac Park, winds past Washington’s most iconic views and monuments, and ends on 3rd St., between the U.S. Capitol and the National Mall where DC’s own Trouble Funk will greet riders as headliners at the Finish Line Festival.

You won’t have to wait until the finish line to get your groove on; funky beats can be found all along the course, says Michelle Cleveland, marketing director for Capital Sports Venture and DC Bike Ride Coordinator.

“All of our on-course entertainment is percussion themed, so we’re sounding the idea that biking is the heartbeat of the city,” she says. “Now that we’re in our third year, we hope people will see this event as an annual spring tradition and a way to celebrate all of their favorite things about the city.”

They’re expecting around 8,000 riders this year, Cleveland stresses that DC Bike Ride is an event for everyone from all walks of life and biking skill-levels. She encourages people to register even if they don’t think they can bike the full 20 miles, because it’s not as hard as you’d think—plus, there’s a short cut to double back to the finish line about six miles in.

“We hear from a lot of registrants that this is the first time they’ve ever biked this far,” Cleveland says. “A lot of people tell us that they never thought they would be able to bike 20 miles, but once they’re out there and there’s no stress, it flies by.”

Timika Adams-Sherman, a case manager at a DC law firm, has participated in each iteration of the event, even bringing her 17-and 12-year-old daughters along for the ride. Upon realizing she would never enjoy running, despite her constant efforts, she decided to pick up a bike. For her, the main draws to this event are closed roads, incredible scenery and a family-friendly atmosphere.

“The opportunity to ride through the city without dodging cars and enjoying the views sounded amazing. There are no other closed-road events like it,” she says. “And better yet, I could do it with my family and not feel pressured by a timed event.”

Timika Adams-Sherman and her two daughters at the 2017 DC Bike Ride.

Timika Adams-Sherman and her two daughters at the 2017 DC Bike Ride.

Cleveland says that more people like Adams-Sherman see that riding a bike can be a daily activity, and one “not just for men in spandex anymore.” DC Bike Ride is an all-inclusive event, aiming to give people a chance to try out a new hobby while having a blast.

“One of the special things about our event is that it brings together all of the different pockets of the biking community, and that creates this welcoming and enjoyable and fun vibe,” Cleveland says. “Everyone who’s there at the starting line is there because they have something in common—they enjoy riding a bike.”

Registration for DC Bike Ride ends at 11:59 p.m. on May 16. For more information about DC Bike Ride, visit their website.

DC Bike Ride: Starts at West Potomac Park, 100 West Basin Dr. SW, DC; Ends on 3rd St. SW, DC between the U.S. Capitol and National Mall; www.dcbikeride.com

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Amanda Weisbrod

Amanda is currently a senior at Ohio University, and will graduate with a bachelor's degree in journalism, news and information in December 2018. She has written for multiple professional publications including Cincinnati Magazine, CityBeat and Athens Messenger. Amanda loves to play the saxophone, watch cult classic movies, and hang out with her handsome cat, Darko.