Hotel Monaco Launches Free DC Bike Tours Program

Guests can take a bike and a Poste Brasserie picnic basket for a day while touring DC.

Hotel Monaco of Kimpton Hotels has launched the only Bike With the GM program. Guests can take a bike and a picnic basket from Poste Brasserie for the day and tour DC using routes mapped out by general manager Ed Virtue. Photograph by Melissa Romero.

Hotel Monaco in Penn Quarter offers plenty of fitness perks for hotel guests, from complimentary bikes to in-room yoga gear. Now it’s adding DC bike tours and healthy picnics to the list.

Hotel Monaco has become the first Kimpton Hotel to offer a Bike With the GM program for guests. The program coincides with the launch of custom-designed bikes for Kimpton by California-based company Public. Kimpton is a San Francisco-based hotel brand, whose COO, Mike DeFrino, is often called CBO (chief bike officer).

The Bike with the GM program was developed by Hotel Monaco general manager Ed Virtue, an avid cyclist who often bikes more than 30 miles to work from his home in Sterling to downtown DC. Although Hotel Monaco already offered its guests complimentary bikes, Virtue wanted to add some more freebies to the program.

Now guests can take a Public or Giant—a brand Kimpton offered before the custom-designed Public version—bike from the hotel lobby, along with a Garmin device, which includes 25 Virtue-designed routes, all under 25 miles. A Tuesday evening bike ride with Virtue took us on a monument tour along Pennsylvania Avenue, past the Washington Monument, and down to the Tidal Basin. Virtue says one of the longer routes he designed takes riders down to Alexandria for a day trip.

Each bike comes with a helmet and a lock so guests can stop and go as they tour Washington.

Fans of the hotel’s restaurant, Poste Brasserie, will also be able to take some of the food along with them when chef Dennis Marron launches his custom picnic baskets for bikers. They’ll include local snacks to munch on during the ride.

Knowing that biking in a new city by one’s self can be intimidating, every Wednesday Virtue swaps his suit for a helmet and clip-in shoes and leads hourlong scenic bike tours along the monuments, the Potomac River, or through Rock Creek Park.

For the competitive folks, there’s Race the GM, another aspect of the program that lets cyclists race Virtue’s best times for each ride. Those who beat him will win freebies such as Camelbak water bottles and snacks.

The only downside? Snagging one of the seven bikes at the hotel could be tough. Virtue says once guests realize the bikes are theirs for the taking, they’re off and running.