Ride In & Around the Cherry Blossoms 3/29

Like most bike commuters from Arlington, I am a member of the Tea Party (WHERE'S THE BIRTH CERTIFICATE ZIMMERMAN? There's no way that mustache was born here) and I love freedom and America, which are basically the same thing (right?), and I love horticulture (tea is a leaf) and monuments to slave-owning equally freedom-loving Founding Fathers. Ergo (l'eggo my ergo?), this time of year and its National Cherry Blossom Festival are well worth my time and effort to visit. But not on the weekend, because it gets very crowded down there and I love freedom too much to have to my movement even slightly inhibited by anyone else. Instead I decided that I would take a nice long diversion on my morning bike commute and gawk at visit the cherry blossoms like a real rube patriot.
I took Pershing down to Arlington Boulevard (the intersection is currently a mess. Also, when are they extending/building anew the trail around there? ) and then Fairfax Drive and then over the Meade Street bridge (there were these meetings to make suggestions to make that connection better), over to the now impenetrable Wright gate and then down the hill to the trail that half-loops over to the Memorial Bridge. A motorist stopped her car to allow me to cross the busy Washington Boulevard (I didn't know what the road leading to the bridge is called, but I looked it up and it's called Washington Boulevard. Creative.) and continue my way over the bridge.
It's picturesque and if you like looking at the back of the Lincoln Memorial while traversing a river, I highly recommend it.
At the stop light at 23rd and Independence, I made some small talk with a fellow cyclist.
Him: Morning
Me: Morning
Him: Going to see the Cherry Blossoms.
Me: Yeah, me too.
Him: I forgot my camera. But I guess I already have pictures from last year.
Me: Yeah, I think if you live here long enough, you have pictures from every year.
Him: Yeah.
Me: Have fun.
 I'm quite a conversationalist. Almost as good as I am a photographer. Look:
Are there even cherry blossoms in this picture?

Climbing uphill or just didn't hold the camera right?

I took these while biking along Ohio Drive. No time to stop- I'm on my way to work! Free enterprise! Atlas Shrugged! Government-funded National Parks Service!
Then I decided to actually stop and take some more:
Faintly visible Washington Monument

I think the Jefferson is back there somewhere

If someone steals my bike, I'll totally have a picture of them doing it.
Having completed my ride down by the awesome blossoms (sponsored by Chilis?), I tried to figure out how I would get back. The way I normally figure this out is just by picking a direction and just riding, assuming that I'll eventually come out on a letter or number street and then be able to get somewhere from there. I ended up on Hains Point, but then I came back around and biked along the sidewalk (which is kind of a path) along Maine Avenue and then over the bridge going contra-flow to traffic on Independence. At some point, after being stopped multiple times at crosswalks, I managed to get going on the street again along Independence, then again to Ohio and then on the Rock Creek trail. I pretty much knew where I was then. Sort of.
I don't know of too many drivers who take these kinds of diversions on their way to work.
I saw a mild car crash along the Monodirectional During Rush Hours Four Lane Highway  through a Park (a driver hit the back of someone else's car when they were both pulling away from a stop sign. Whoops) and that inspired me to stay along the Rock Creek Trail rather than go down K and get on the CCT. I like the Rock Creek Trail and I barely ever ride on it because it's a) not especially close and b) wildly inconvenient on the weekends when it's full of joggers. There were a few bike commuters heading in the opposite direction (I swear I'm the only person who bikes uptown for work) and, in general, the pastoral tortuousness was pleasant. That is until I got to the exit from the park at Calvert Street. About half way up a rather unpleasant hill, there's a sign that reads "Move Right- Steep Grade" or something like that. I was like "no shit, why didn't you say something at the bottom?," but it's not as if cursing at the sign would have made any difference- I still had to go up. From the exit of the park, I went Calvert to Cleveland (more hill, riding in the space between parked cars and the right lane dashed lines) and over to Garfield (more hill, bike lane) to Massachusetts (downhill, then uphill a little) to work.
The whole trip took about an extra hour from my normal ride. Is there a point of this story, aside from America Rules and that the government needs to stop curtailing my freedom (but still pay for old peoples' unlimited socialized medical care)? Not really. It's just nice to know that you can leave home a little earlier than usual and get to work a little bit later and in the mean time take advantage of nice weather to see something that a lot of people pay thousands of dollars to only get to see from behind the windows of a tour bus, or maybe during a 15 minute break from riding around in that bus. So, yeah, consider that an endorsement of visiting the Cherry Blossoms by bike.


  1. Didn't you just wonder (in the present day, but the day before or something) how people transported their locks and you said you just throw it in your bag? Looks like the old suburban sharrowsdude was very organized about transporting his lock.

  2. The old me was really good at that! But then the thing broke and I didn't get a replacement part and now I throw it in my bag. If only we had time travel!