Let’s get together for our summer tour!
I’ll hand out swag items to everyone that attends and RSVPs for the tour (a different item on each tour)! A raffle item will be raffled off to those that make it to the end of our ride. New riders, come join us for the first time! Riders from previous Meetups (Adolphus, Adrian, Aian Neil, Aiden, Alphonso, Anibal, Arturo, Ben, Benicio, Bob, Brandon, Brooke, Chad, Chris, Connor, Dave, Declan, Denis, Don, Ecca, Edwin, Eli, Erwin, Gary, Gav, Geoff, Greg, Francis, Haitao, Heather, James, Jan, Janovah, Jason, Jeff, Jennifer, Jeremy, Jessica, Joe, John, Johnny, Jonathan, Kevin, Kris, Lam, Laura, Lauren, LeRoy, Loren, Lori, Lutalo, Mark, Megan, Melissa, Michael, Mikel, Nathalie, Nick, Olga, Phil, Rakesh, Rahul, Raul, Raymond, Richard, Riley, Rob, Robert, Rodney, Saphal, Sasha, Sergey, Shelly, Steven, Tim, and Zoltan), come join us again!
Don’t own an e-wheel? You can rent one (e-scooter, e-bike) using your Uber or Lyft app (other apps include Skip, Lime, Bird, and Spin). Lime offers a Day Pass option for $16.99 plus tax. Since the tours are free, the cost is significantly less than a comparable Segway tour (that uses older technology). Join us for some or all of the tour! See the “eWheel Rental” section of the event posting for full details.
We’ll tour Downtown, U Street Corridor, Columbia Heights, Adams Morgan, Shaw, Logan Circle & West End neighborhoods and stop numerous times along the way for photo-ops and to enjoy the sites, memorials, neighborhoods, landmarks, and to also let some of the slower riders catch up (if some of us decide to go at a quicker speed). Note that this route contains 90% bike lanes. I’ll read aloud the description of each site, memorial, neighborhood, and landmark along the way so that we all know what we’re looking at, and so that we can also learn more about the awesome treasures that exist in our own backyard! Ideally, we’ll all ride together and at the same speed, but that may or may not be possible with other pedestrians, bicyclists, cars, etc. sharing the same paths, but let’s do our best please. In total, it’s a ~7.7 mile trip that’s sure to be enjoyable!
We’ll meet up in the center of Washington Circle at 2pm. Then we’ll ride northeast along New Hampshire Avenue NW for 1 block, at 2:30pm. Once we come across L Street NW, we’ll make a right and ride for ~0.8 miles.
When we reach 15th Street NW (8 blocks), we’ll turn left and travel north for ~1.6 miles.
Along the way, we’ll come across Barbie Pond on Avenue Q (Q Street NW, 6 blocks, turn right onto Q Street NW and go 5 houses down – right-hand side). Barbie Pond on Avenue Q is located outside a Logan Circle rowhouse on Q Street NW. A cast of fully accessorized Barbies greets sidewalk passersby all year. The Barbies are arranged around a small fountain, and there’s always a theme—they rode unicorns for Pride Month in June and donned bedazzled bodysuits and feathered headdresses in a Moulin Rouge-themed Valentine’s Day display. Spectators rarely encounter the pond’s creator, Brent, who asked to be identified by his first name because he works as a lawyer for a federal government agency. The lawyer, who is in his mid-50s, has “always been media shy,” mostly because his line of work tends to make him cautious about speaking to the press, he says. Brent says he first put dolls out after a friend taped them to his birthday gift as a joke. People started taking photos, and so the dolls stayed outside.
Along the way, we’ll come across Meridian Hill Park (W Street NW, 7 blocks, left-hand side). Meridian Hill Park, also known as Malcolm X Park, is a structured urban park located in the Columbia Heights neighborhood; it also abuts the nearby neighborhood of Adams Morgan. The park was designed and built between 1912 and 1940. In 1819, John Porter erected a mansion on Meridian Hill. The site was called Meridian Hill because it was on the exact longitude of the original District of Columbia milestone marker, placed on April 15, 1791. In 1829, the mansion became departing President John Quincy Adams’ home. After its conversion to a public park, Union troops encamped on the grounds during the Civil War. The U.S. government purchased the grounds in 1910. Landscape architects George Burnap and Horace Peaslee planned an Italian style garden. The structures made revolutionary use of concrete aggregate as a building material. The thirteen basin cascading fountain is the longest in North America.
Next, we’ll come across the Joan of Arc Memorial within Meridian Hill Park. Joan of Arc is an equestrian statue, with Joan of Arc riding a trotting horse. She is national heroine of France, a peasant girl who led the French army in a momentous victory at Orléans that repulsed an English attempt to conquer France during the Hundred Years’ War. Captured a year afterward, Joan was burned at the stake by the English at the age of 19. This is the only equestrian statue of a woman in DC. Her body is twisted slightly, and her right arm is raised behind her. She is wearing a helmet with a raised visor and she looks skywards. In her left hand she holds the reins to her horse. The sword she originally held in her right hand was stolen in 1978, and not replaced until December 2011. In September 2016, the sword was again stolen, and a new one was installed in March 2018 as part of the Women’s History Month celebration. The statue was completed in 1922 in Paris; the original was cast in three copies, currently located respectively in Reims (1890), Paris (1895) and Strasbourg (1897). The replica in DC was described as a gift from the women of France to the women of the United States of America.
When we arrive at Columbia Road NW (3 blocks), we’ll turn left and travel southwest for ~0.9 miles.
Along the way, we’ll come across Kalorama Park (Mintwood Place NW, 6 blocks, right-hand side). Kalorama Park is 3-acre park featuring a recreational center, community garden, playground, basketball courts & green space in an urban setting. The name Kalorama, meaning ‘beautiful view’ in Greek, comes from the 19th century estate of the same name. The park is also known as the John Little House. The site represents the remains of John Little’s home and farm and is the place from which Hortense Prout, an enslaved woman, attempted escape during the Civil War. The site’s period of significance extends from 1836 to 1903, through the Little family tenure of the property. The Little house, constructed in the 1830s, was demolished in the 20th century, prior to the establishment of the park. The park is now part of the National Park Service’s National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom, and a marker commemorates Hortense Prout’s escape to freedom.
When we arrive at California Street NW (2 blocks), we’ll veer right and ride east for 1 block. When we arrive at Connecticut Avenue NW, we’ll turn left and ride south for 1 block. When we arrive at T Street NW, we’ll turn left and travel east for ~1.3 miles.
Next, we’ll come across Major General George B. McClellan Park (0 blocks, California Street NW, left-hand side). Major General George B. McClellan is an equestrian statue that honors politician and Civil War general George B. McClellan. The monument is sited on a prominent location in the Kalorama Triangle neighborhood. The sculpture is one of 18 Civil War monuments in DC, which were collectively listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978. McClellan was well liked by his men, but his reticence to attack the Confederacy with the full force of his army put him at odds with President Abraham Lincoln. In 1862, McClellan’s Peninsula Campaign unraveled after the Seven Days Battles, and he also failed to decisively defeat Robert E. Lee’s Confederate Army at the Battle of Antietam. Frustrated by McClellan’s cautious tactics, Lincoln removed him from command. McClellan would go on to mount a failed presidential bid against Lincoln in 1864, and would later serve as the governor of New Jersey.
When we arrive at 7th Street NW (14 blocks), we’ll turn right and travel south for ~0.7 miles.
Along the way, we’ll come across the Shaw (Watha T. Daniel) Neighborhood Library (2 blocks, R Street NW, right-hand side). The Shaw Neighborhood Library or Watha T. Daniel Library was named after Watha T. Daniel, a master plumber, Shaw resident, and community leader who was the first chairman of the DC Model Cities Commission. Originally constructed in 1975 as a two-story structure, the building was extensively renovated and reopened as a three-story structure in August 2010. Of all of the DC library projects, the renovation of the Shaw Library showed the greatest transformation from its previous state. With its distinctive translucent facade, glass enclosure, and light flooded interior, it has been hailed as a model for future libraries. The entry plaza at the east end of the site displays a 22-foot neon sculpture by local artist Craig Kraft. Entitled Vivace, according to the artist the piece was inspired by jazz and is intended to capture “the spirit of creativity, vibrancy and color” that he associates with the Shaw neighborhood. The Wall Street Journal named it one of the top 10 buildings in the US for 2010.
When we reach M Street NW, we’ll turn right and ride west for ~1.7 miles.
Next, we’ll stop by the Walter E. Washington Convention Center (0 blocks, 7th Street NW, both sides). The Walter E. Washington Convention Center is a 2.3-million-square-foot convention center completed in 2003. Walter E. Washington was the first African-American mayor of a major city in the United States, and in 1974 became the capital’s first popularly elected mayor since 1871, serving until 1979. The convention center hosts meetings, conventions and events of every kind, from medical industry annual meetings to comic book-inspired expos and board retreats. It has the largest digital signage network of its kind in any conference facility in the U.S. with over 200 digital signage displays located throughout the facility. Recognized by the American Institute of Architects, the ultra modern structure features a soaring staircase, towering glass walls and smooth granite floors. Its $4 million public art collection combines sculpture, paintings and photography. With more than 130 pieces by 93 different artists, it is the largest public collection of art in DC outside of a museum.
Along the way, we’ll come across Thomas Circle (5 blocks, 14th Street NW, in the middle). Thomas Circle is named for George Henry Thomas, a Union Army general in the American Civil War. Thomas served in the Mexican–American War and later chose to remain with the U.S. Army for the Civil War as a Southern Unionist, despite his heritage as a Virginian (whose home state would join the Confederate). In 2006, a a 2.5-year, $6 million reconstruction of the Thomas Circle was completed. The project included the addition of bike lanes, pedestrian crosswalks mid-circle, new in-circle traffic lights, better street lighting, new sidewalks and landscaping, and the elimination of the 14th Street through-lanes. The circle was restored to its original design according to the L’Enfant Plan, which allowed for a larger landscaped area inside the circle. The circle marks the boundary between “downtown 14th Street” and the “uptown 14th Street”, the latter of which is a rapidly gentrifying gay neighborhood within the city.
Our last stop will be by the National Geographic Museum (2 blocks, 16th Street NW, left-hand side). The National Geographic Museum is located on the first floor of the it’s headquarters. The museum’s two large galleries display a variety of permanent and changing exhibitions that enable visitors to explore and discover culture, history, society and natural history. It features a wide range of interactive displays and photo collections and provides a glimpse into the unique perspective of renowned scientists, historians, photographers, and explorers. In addition to photographs and memorabilia, the exhibits feature live animals, ancient artifacts, 3D models and captivating films. Founded in 1888, the National Geographic Society’s first president was Gardiner Greene Hubbard, father-in-law of Alexander Graham Bell who succeeded him nine years later. The National Geographic magazine began using its famous trademarked yellow border 22 years later in 1910. It is published in 40 languages around the world with a circulation of just under seven million. More than 60 million people read an issue each month.
When we reach 25th Street NW (8 blocks), we’ll turn left and travel south for ~0.1 miles. When we reach L Street NW (2 blocks), we’ll turn left and travel east for ~0.2 miles.
When we arrive at 23rd Street NW (2 blocks), we’ll turn right and travel south for 1 block back to Washington Circle.
Come join us as we spend an afternoon together exploring the sites, memorials, and landmarks Downtown, U Street Corridor, Columbia Heights, Adams Morgan, Shaw, Logan Circle & West End have to offer. Please also help spread the word of our group and the ride.
I look forward to seeing you there!
METRO & PARKING
We’ll meet at Washington Circle. The closest Metro is Foggy Bottom (Orange, Blue, Silver lines). I suggest taking Metro / taxi / ride-share services if you can. I also recommend using wmata.com for travel planning. Don’t forget to account for Metro, traffic, and parking delays. If you are driving, you will need to find street parking or a garage. For Sunday events, street parking is typically free in DC. I recommend using parkopedia.com for garage parking planning.
Don’t own an e-wheel? You can rent one (e-scooter, e-bike) using your Uber or Lyft app (other apps include Skip, Lime, Bird, and Spin). Skip (Helbiz app) offers a Day Pass option for $9.99 plus tax (unlimited rides of up to 30 minutes) and Lime offers a Day Pass option for $16.99 plus tax (unlimited rides of up to 90 minutes). Since the tours are free, the cost is significantly less than a comparable Segway tour (that uses older technology). Join us for some or all of the tour! If you plan to rent an e-wheel, some members have run out of charge in the past. Please try to find one with as full of a charge as possible.
Please dress appropriately for the weather. For those with problems having their feet go numb or tired during long rides, I recommend wearing shoes with a stiff and flat sole.
RIDING ETIQUETTE / RULES
Since e-wheels are relatively new technology, please be as courteous as possible to other pedestrians, bicyclists, etc. Based on personal experience (I’ve been riding daily since 2015), I’ve noticed some general good practices and rules to follow. 1) ALWAYS give pedestrians the right of way. 2) When riding on a narrow sidewalk, and you’re coming up behind a pedestrian and you need to pass them, either a) wait until there’s an opening, or b) clear your throat and say “excuse me” or “on your left” in a *gentle* manner (I’ve noticed people tend to get startled / surprised when they see and hear a tall figure behind them on a wheel) before passing them. 3) SLOW DOWN to a pedestrian’s walking pace (until you are completely clear of them) whenever approaching or passing (whichever direction they are walking). Only after passing a pedestrian for a little distance is it a good idea to go faster than walking pace. Whatever you do, please do NOT wiz by them. 4) Thank the pedestrian as you are passing. 5) Slow down as you are going around a turn (whether there are other pedestrians in sight or not) with a lot of bushes or other obstacles next to the sidewalk, as they can be coming from the other end of the turn (and not be visible initially). 6) Ride single file whenever pedestrians are around (on the sidewalk), or cars are around (in the bike lane). 7) Dismount when in the official memorial areas, such as the FDR Memorial (it’s the law). 8) Please stay behind me since I know the route and may be turning left or right at any time.
For the safety of others and ourselves, we will all be required to be able to: (1) comfortably balance on the wheel while riding straight and turning left or right (2) ride at a snail’s pace and (3) start and stop comfortably without the need to hold onto any wall, post, or similar structure.
People have asked me questions regarding the laws pertaining to riding our e-wheels in the DC metro area. I did a lot of research before purchasing my e-wheel to ensure I could make use of it. In short, they are generally considered Personal Mobility Devices or Electric Personal Assistive Mobility Device. (1) Virginia: “An electric personal assistive mobility device or motorized skateboard or foot-scooter may be operated on any highway with a maximum speed limit of twenty-five miles per hour or less. An electric personal assistive mobility device shall only operate on any highway authorized by this section if a sidewalk is not provided along such highway…” See link here. (2) Washington DC: “Personal Mobility Device (“PMD”) means a motorized propulsion device designed to transport one person, OR a self-balancing, two non-tandem wheeled device, designed to transport only one person with an electric propulsion system. Permitted on Sidewalk – Yes, except PMDs are generally not permitted on sidewalk space in the Central Business District. Permitted on Bike Lanes – Yes.” See link here. (3) Maryland: “‘Bicycle’ means […] an electric low speed scooter […]” and “has the rights and is subject to the restrictions applicable to pedestrians […]: (i) on a sidewalk or sidewalk area; or (ii) in or through a crosswalk[…]. At an intersection, a person […] is subject to all traffic control signals […].” See link here and here. “Green” devices for the win!
If there’s a greater than a 35% chance of rain, we’ll cancel or reschedule. I’ll post an update to the top of the event posting by 11:30am on the day of the event, and also send an email out to the yes RSVPs.