A bicycle is a great way to explore a city, particularly when there’s a guide pedaling with you, sharing history and pointing out interesting facts. Bike and Roll offers bicycle and Segway tours in five major metropolitan areas. In Washington D.C., there are several tours available out of three different locations. Mike and I took the Capital Sites tour, which departs from the Old Post Office Pavilion near the National Mall.
We were there just before the government shutdown, so everything was open. (There was, however, a lot of activity on Capitol Hill. I guess it wasn’t very productive, though.) Riding Trek comfort hybrid bikes, we went from one end of the National Mall to the other, stopping along on the way as our guide filled us in on what we were seeing. We rode by the Capitol Building, the Supreme Court and a variety of Smithsonian Museums as well as visiting the World War II Memorial, the Washington Monument, and more.
Our favorite memorial was the Korean War Memorial. Nineteen life-size soldiers, scattered over a triangle of grass, are reflected in a large wall. The nineteen and their reflections create 38 people, signifying the 38th Parallel, the latitudinal line that forms the boundary between North Korea and South Korea. While most of the other memorials are very grand and almost overwhelming in their scope, this memorial is very intimate. The soldiers stare haggardly in all different directions. You can almost see them coming out of the bush, looking like deformed giants because of the ponchos covering the gear they’re carrying. The wall itself is laser etched with faces taken from real footage. It’s a powerful remembrance.
For $40, which included a bottle of water and a granola bar, we covered over 7.5 miles of territory on our Bike and Roll tour and learned a lot about our nation’s history. It was a wonderful and emotional experience.