You Don’t Have to Bike Up That Hill—Take the Bus

Susan McFadden Tweet us @bikearlington @bikearlington February 15, 2018 0 Comments

Susan McFadden is an Arlington resident and enjoys traveling and other fitness activities like Zumba and Yoga when she isn’t examining patent applications for the United States Patent & Trademark Office. She lives with her husband and two precious rescue kitties.

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Did you know that buses in Arlington County have bike racks? The next time you find yourself dreading an uphill ride or end up a little farther from home than you want to pedal, a bus can make your ride a little easier.

I bike three miles to work four days a week which takes me about 17 minutes (mostly downhill). I commute in all types of weather, except during bad storms and on icy roads. I enjoy being outside, seeing the seasons change, and getting a work out in before sitting at my desk for eight hours. I have to admit that hills are not my friend, even though my commute back from work in Alexandria to Arlington is short.

Susan poses with a bike on the bike rack of a bus.

Pay your fare. Bikes ride for free!

Luckily, the Metrobus system and the Alexandria Dash buses are available to help me up that hill and equipped with bike racks.  On the way home, I put my bike on the bus, and it saves me from going up two large hills. I bike the last half mile home from where the bus drops me off.  To save time waiting, I’ll figure out when the next bus leaves and make sure I get to the stop with my bike just before the bus leaves.

How to Put Your Bike on the Rack

For those who have never put their bike on the bus, it may look a little challenging. However, it is pretty easy.

  1. While waiting for the bus, remove all of your accessories (lights, helmet, and locks), and take them with you on the bus. These can fall off.
  2. Pull down the rack using the middle lever. Usually, you can grasp the lever with your hand to lift it up and then swing the rack down with that same hand.
  3. Once the rack is dropped down (it will be parallel to the street). If your bike is the first on the bus, put it in the slot closest to the bus, leaving the front slot empty. It’s hard to lift a bike over another bike to get to the back slot. Place your bike in the slot, positioning the front wheel near a lever on the outside end of the rack.
  4. Pull the lever up over your front tire, and position it near the top of the tire. The bicycle is then safely held onto the rack.

Bonus Tip: It is best to put your bike on the rack with the kickstand down, so when you take it off you can quickly move it to the sidewalk out of the way of the bus. If you are having a hard time, the bus driver can always help you.

Removing Your Bike from the Rack

Susan demonstrates lifting a bike to move it on or off of the bike rack on the bus.

When getting off the bus, go through the front door of the bus, thank the driver, and let him/her know you need to take your bike off of the rack.

  1. Pull the lever up and away from the front tire, and pull it down to where the lever rest..
  2. Take off your bike (with the kickstand down) and place it on the sidewalk.
  3. If no other bikes are on the rack, pull the middle lever on the rack and push upward till it locks in place.
  4. Put your accessories back on the bike and continue your bike ride.

Boom! Your knees and energy are saved for other fun activities!

So next time you are dreading that hill or find yourself farther from home than you planned, remember that you can stick your bike on the front of the bus, and take it easy for a while.


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