Tuesday, May 16, 2017

DC Ride 2017 - Liberating and Organized

Guest blogger: Jenifer Joy Madden
Liberating and organized. My two best words to describe DC Ride 2017. 
It was a cloudless cool morning as we headed from Arlington across the Memorial Bridge. We could hear the music at the starting point well before we saw the huge crowd across the river. 
People were smiling and upbeat as we formed into groups according to ability and were slowly released one by one, starting with the least experienced. The ride started along the river and then did a number of long switchbacks including around Hains Point and alongside Georgetown via the Whitehurst Freeway. 
There’s something wonderful about occupying a space always dominated by cars. Even when we reached a pinch point entering the 14th street bridge, I felt triumphant walking slowly through a traffic jam of bikes. 
There were two main rest stops along the route with light snacks, water, port-a-potties, medical help, and friendly Velocity volunteer mechanics. 
As for the organized part, it was very different from the time I rode on the open streets in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park on a Sunday afternoon, when everyone was going every which way. In the DC ride, you have identification numbers affixed to your helmet, chest, and bike. The ride is closely monitored at all points and traffic flows one way. You can’t veer from the route, although there were several official places to bail out.
You had to plan ahead because the ride was not a loop. It started in West Potomac Park and ended up on Pennsylvania down near the Capitol. 
But the orderliness only added to the enjoyment. As the ride rolled on and space opened up between riders, if you didn’t look behind you, you could imagine you were rolling on your own through the open streets—an almost indescribable feeling of liberation. 
From right to left: Jenifer Joy Madden, Shannon Madden, Reilly Madden, and Matt Lyden

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