TAKOMA PARK, Md. – Mark Mervine loves to ride his bicycle so much that when Montgomery County officials asked him to ride 34 miles from Takoma Park to Boyds and stop at 14 Capital Bikeshare stations, he jumped at the opportunity.
“I’ve never tried Bikeshare myself because it’s one of those things where I’ve said, I’ve got my own bike, why rent one?” Mervine says. “The opportunity came up and they said, ‘We’d like to see if we find someone who has an interest in riding to every single bike stop,’ which most people don’t do. I thought it was an exciting idea.”
The journey began at a station at Maple and Ritchie Avenues in Takoma Park, took him through Silver Spring, Chevy Chase, Bethesda, then northwest past Rockville, Gaithersburg, Germantown and ended at the Maryland SoccerPlex in Boyds. The 34-mile journey began around 3:15 p.m. on Saturday. Through some rain, it lasted about three hours on the streets and trails in the heart of Montgomery County.
When asked about the difference between Montgomery County and other places with Capital Bikeshare – like the District of Columbia, Arlington and Alexandria – Mervine pointed to those trails.
“You’re not sharing the road necessarily with a car,” he says. “You’ve got your own designated path you can be on, which is nice. In the city, they don’t always necessarily have that. They have some bike lanes, but we all know people park in bike lanes.”
Mervine has lived in northern Virginia for decades and uses his personal bicycle to travel to the District and Maryland, even before bicycling as a mode of travel became in vogue. He says the reason he travels everywhere with a bicycle instead of a car is simple.
“It’s easier to get around by bike than by car,” he says. “Parking is a big thing. You have to find a parking spot, then you have to pay for the parking spot. You have a guaranteed parking spot almost everywhere you go on [the bike]. You know where it is; you’ve got apps on your smartphone. You know exactly where you’re going and you know if you have space or not.”
Montgomery County launched Capital Bikeshare on Sept. 27 at an event in Rockville. Now, there are more than a dozen stations open in the down and mid-county portions of the county. Within the next month, there will be 51 stations and 500 bikes available for riders.
Mervine’s 34-mile trip is part of the MoCo Epic, a two-day mountain bike festival with rides, clinics, demonstrations, live music, children’s activities, food vendors and other events.
Find a full list of Capital Bikeshare locations, and information on membership costs and financial assistance applications, here.