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How Washington, DC became the capital of bike-sharing in the US

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Paul Bike
Paul Bike

Washinton, DC was never known for being bike-friendly — but over the last decade, the city is home to the largest and most successful bike-sharing program in the country. Slate tracks its rise, pinning much of the success on former University of Virginia urban planning student Paul DeMaio. He became fascinated with a city bike program in Copenhagen, learned all he could about it, wrote a master's thesis on it, but found that similar programs could gain no traction in the US. After spending some years on developing the idea, DeMaio shared his ideas with the bicycle coordinator with D.C.'s Department of Transportation and eventually launched Smart Bike DC in 2008. That was only the beginning of the ups and downs for the program, as writer Tom Vanderbilt lays out in great detail. Whether or not you're a biking enthusiast, it's a tale worth reading.