Car-Free Diet Skeptics Blog

Let us begin this post with a very important message: Happy Mother’s Day! Although my mom is hands down the best mom since sliced bread, I have no doubt there are many close runner ups! Being a mom can’t be easy. So take it easy today gals. You deserve it. Thank you. I can’t express that enough.

Ok. So now that’s out of the way, let’s get ourselves down to some business here. There are a few things I want to cover. And we haven’t much time. It’s Mother’s Day after all and I’m expected to be places. Moms love me.

Capital Bikeshare Scavenger Hunt

On Sunday, I got out to participate in the Capital Bikeshare Scavenger Hunt.  New bike stations were added and to celebrate, Capital Bikeshare created a scavenger hunt.  The mission: use Capital Bikeshare to travel from station to station, finding the clue at each.  When all was said and done, you had to put the clues together to see what sentence was formed.  Given the close proximity to Easter, I found the scavenger hunt especially beneficial.  I tried to enter 38 Easter Egg Hunts with no success.  Apparently all the eggs were for “kids”.  Last time I checked, kids are already enjoying all the Trix cereal they can get their hands on.  Now they’ve monopolized eggs and fun hunting games too.  Well, not at Capital Bikeshare!

I brought my girlfriend, Dana, along with me to enjoy the adventure.  There will be a video of the trip soon.  It’s in the works- don’t rush me.  Despite the rain, and a few complications,  I’d say it was a success overall.  I’ve never used the system previously and I was really impressed with how easy it is to get started.

For those of you who haven’t used Capital Bikeshare in the past, let me just fill you in:

1. You can sign up for a monthly or yearly membership OR you can sign up for a day or five day membership.  The options are pretty open which is nice.  If you live in a city and want to use Capital Bikeshare- boom- it’s covered.  Or if you’re a tourist and just want a bike for the few days you’ll be in town- double boom- covered again.

2. If you sign up for a monthly or yearly membership, you get a key card.  All you have to do is show up to any of the bike stations around the city, put your key card in the slot, and presto, you have a bike to go meandering around the city visiting all of your favorite haunts.

3. If you just want the bike for a day, all you have to do is show up to the station, and use your credit card to pay five dollars.  It prints you out a coupon with a code.  Type the code into the bike station and you get your bike! The whole process takes about three minutes.

4.  You can only have the bikes out for half an hour at a time.  But that’s perfect.  There are TONS of bike stations around the city.  If you want to use the bike for more than half an hour, just drive to the next station, dock the bike, and get a new one out.

It’s a pretty ingenious system designed to be as easy for you to use as possible.  If you haven’t used a system like this in the past, don’t stress.  I’ll have a video up soon to help show you how it works.  In the mean time, you can check out this “how-to” video on capital bikeshare:


Dana and I were able to figure out the secret code using our above average sized brains. And yesterday we received our prize packages full of Bike Arlington and Capital Bikeshare swag. Triple Boom.




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This week I’ve really been pushing to make Dana join me on Car-Free trips.  She’s been resistant.  That’s pretty typical.  I’m still not entirely sold on going car-free myself.  It’s complicated and requires extra planning.  It can make for long nights if you miss your bus or your metro.  It can make for a VERY long night if its your fault and you have a significant other with you who you’ve forced to come along for the car-free adventure.  Fortunately, that hasn’t happened yet.

And I think that’s a worth while subject to mention briefly.  Going car-free is one thing.  But convincing everyone else in your life to go car-free is another.  Obviously that isn’t the point of this challenge, but I hadn’t really given any thought to how MY decision would affect those around me.  I don’t think it’s an insurmountable obstacle by any means, but it is something to consider if you’re planning on trying to go car-free in the near future.  Not everyone is as understanding as Dana.  And she hasn’t even been overwhelmingly understanding.  Just prepare yourself for a few in depth conversations.  Enough said.

Also, I know everyone has been on the edge of their seat to find out if I got the job I interviewed for on the first day of the challenge.  Put on your frowny faces.  Because I didn’t. Let’s be honest though.  I missed the bus, so I missed the metro.  And more importantly, I missed the interview and had to reschedule.  I think we all saw this one coming.  But it’s a good lesson.  That job was important to me.  There will be plenty more situations like that interview.  Going car-free isn’t easy.  Missing an interview on my first day of the challenge, and subsequently not getting the job, has been a pretty tough lesson.  But I’m better because of the mishap.  I’ve learned to plan better and make sure I know what my options are.

So to recap
1. Get ready for relationship disagreements based on going car-free
2. Don’t miss interviews
3. Plan accordingly

Earlier in the week, Dana and I took a trip into DC to meet with her sister and brother in law.  We used Groupon to pick up a deal at Maddy’s bar/restaurant; so I used the opportunity to document a trip into DC.  As always, I recorded a song to use for the video.  It’s something I actually started to write a few years back and then abandoned.  But, since I need music for the videos, I thought I’d try to finish it up.  It’s not done, but it’s a skeleton and SO, I insist that you please enjoy this new video and song.  Ya’ll come back now!

2 Responses to “Capital Bikeshare, Date Night, And my Mom”

  1. Steve O

    Hey. Your girlfriend is cute!
    BTW – You should get a refund from Capital Bikeshare for Dana’s membership. It’s supposed to work for 24 hours. As many trips as you want. Clearly there was something wrong.

    Also, there’s a ph# posted on the kiosks and the bikes, so you could have given them a call to see what the problem was. Sorry it turned out to be a hassle.

  2. Matt

    Thanks Steve. She IS cute. Just one of the many great qualities.

    After the scavenger hunt, I was able to ride around with Chris Eatough and he explained it all to me. The way they have it set up makes sense on their end. I assume it’s designed to make sure people don’t let other people use their code. But it’s just not immediately obvious. I’m thinking that the instructions probably say something about needing to insert your credit card at each station, but I’m not sure. Regardless, I think Capital Bikeshare is a great resource. I still recommend for everyone to use it. I’ve been getting some responses from people saying they feel bad about how it all worked out, but I had a good time anyway.

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