Best Way to Pretend You Don’t Live in the U.S.
In Paris, the Vélib’ bike rental system is so popular there’s a station every 1,000 feet or so. In Barcelona, the Bicing system has more than 6,000 bikes available. In Helsinki, in Stockholm, in Melbourne, in Montreal—all over the world, it seems, a credit card and your leg muscles will get you a bike and a way around a city. Thanks to the District Department of Transportation and Arlington County Commuter Services, D.C. and Arlington are now part of that list. (And unlike in Europe, where U.S.-issued credit cards without computer chips don’t allow you to rent bikes, they’re easy for anyone to check out.) Now the stocky red-and-yellow rides are ubiquitous in most of central D.C., even during the winter, and their range is expanding rapidly. Throw a baguette (not included in the rental) in the basket attached to the front of the bike, and voila—you may as well be in France. At least until some SUV with Maryland plates tries to run you off the road.