Going Out Group

Mural Tour of Mt. Vernon Square, Downtown, Logan Circle, U Street Corridor, Shaw! – eWheel Going Out Group

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Let’s get together for a fantastic summer tour!

Discover the Art of DC: Did you know there are roughly 150 murals in Washington DC? Let’s explore some of these incredible works of art together!

Exclusive Swag and Prizes: RSVP and attend the tour to receive unique swag items — each tour offers something different! Plus, stick around until the end for a chance to win a special raffle prize.

Calling All Riders: Whether you’re a first-time rider or a seasoned participant, we want you to join the fun! Shoutout to our past riders: Adolphus, Adrian, Aian Neil, Aiden, Alejandra, Ali, Alina, Alphonso, Amelia, Amy, André, Anibal, Arturo, Ben, Benen, Benicio, Bird, Bob, Brad, Brandon, Brian, Brooke, Chad, Chris, Christina, Clarissa, Claudia, Connor, CY, Daniel, Darryl, Dave, Declan, Denis, Diane, Dilraj, Don, Ecca, Edwin, Ekaagar, Eli, Emmanuelle, Erwin, Gary, Gav, Geoff, Greg, Francis, Haitao, Heather, James, Jan, Janis, Janovah, Jason, Jay, Jeff, Jenna, Jennifer, Jenny, Jeremy, Jessica, Joe, John, Johnny, Jonathan, Kevin, Kim, Kris, Lam, Laura, Lauren, LeRoy, Loren, Lori, Lutalo, Maggee, Mark, Mayu, Megan, Melissa, Michael, Mikel, Nancy, Nathalie, Nick, Olga, Paul, Phil, Rakesh, Rahul, Raul, Raymond, Ricardo, Richard, Riley, Rob, Robert, Rodney, Ron, Saiju, Saphal, Sasha, Sean, Sergey, Shelly, Soo, Steven, Tim, Zobair, Zoltan — we can’t wait to see you again!

No E-Wheel? No Problem! Don’t have an e-wheel? Rent an e-scooter or e-bike through a micromobility app like Lime, Bird, Spin, Lyft, Veo, or Capital Bikeshare. Capital Bikeshare offers an e-bike Day Pass for about $25 – $30 ($8 day pass + a discounted rate of $0.10 per minute) — way cheaper than a Segway tour; Lime also offers Day Pass options (as of the date of this event announcement). Check out the “eWheel Rental” section of the event posting for all the details.

Scenic Tour Highlights: We’ll ride through Mt. Vernon Square, Downtown, Logan Circle, U Street Corridor, and Shaw neighborhoods. We’ll stop for photo-ops and to admire the sites, neighborhoods, and murals. Don’t worry if you’re a slower rider; we’ll make sure everyone keeps up. Our route features 90% bike lanes for a smooth and safe journey.

Educational and Fun: I’ll narrate the history and significance of each mural we encounter, so you’ll learn about the treasures in our own backyard. It’s a ~6-mile trip designed to be enjoyable for everyone.

Let’s Ride Together: Ideally, we’ll all ride at the same speed, but we’ll adapt as needed to ensure everyone’s safety and enjoyment. Join us for some or all of the tour — it’s going to be an unforgettable adventure!

(Tour Overview)

We’ll meet up at Mt. Vernon Square Metro at 2pm. Then we’ll ride west on M Street NW for ~0.1 miles, at 2:30pm. Once we reach Blagden Alley NW, we’ll turn right and ride north for ~300 feet, then we’ll turn left and travel west to stay on Blagden Alley NW (2 blocks) for another ~56 feet.

(Travel west on M Street NW, right on Blagden Alley NW, left on Blagden Alley NW)

We’ll then come across the LOVE mural (1/2 block, Blagden Alley NW, left-hand side). Created in 2017, the LOVE mural is artist Lisa Marie Thalhammer’s best-known mural. She says “Let me take this love that I’ve created in my studio that’s been a big part of my journey, my personal healing, and put it on the street and try to extend that into the city, as sort of a healing gesture to the country.” The project was designed to preserve the artistic community of Blagden Alley, a small hub of local businesses between M and N, 9th and 10th streets, which has become a landmark tourist destination. Now there are over a dozen murals in the alley surrounded by restaurants, all only a half block from the DC Convention Center. The LOVE mural has been photographed thousands of times, traveling throughout the globe via social media platforms with messages of social justice, equality, empowerment and respect for all human diversity. The alley provides a backdrop for selfies galore, pop-up weddings, engagement pics, music videos, fashion shoots, and commercial solidarity with progressive movements.

(LOVE Mural)

From here, we’ll travel back east ~56 feet, then make an immediate left (1/2 block) to stay on Blagden Alley NW and travel north for another ~300 feet. Once we reach N Street NW (1/2 block), we’ll turn right and travel east for ~300 feet. When we reach 9th Street NW (1/2 block), we’ll turn left and travel north for 0.4 miles.

(Travel east on Blagden Alley NW, turn left on Blagden Alley NW, right on N Street NW, left on 9th Street NW)

When we arrive at R Street NW (4 blocks), we’ll turn left and ride west for ~0.6 miles. When we reach 15th Street NW, we’ll turn right and travel north for ~0.4 miles.

(Turn left on R Street NW, turn right on 15th Street NW)

Along the way, we’ll come across the Connectivity DC mural (3 blocks, U Street NW, right-hand side). The six-story artwork, called Connectivity DC, is on the southwest side of the Paul Lawrence Dunbar apartment building, a senior living facility. Created in 2015 by popular DC muralist Aniekan Udofia, ironically known for his fear of heights, the mural highlights the ways seniors and young people are connected to technology and the DC social scene. The work includes images referencing two Paul Lawrence Dunbar poems, and a pair of piano keys as a tribute to U Street’s “Black Broadway” heyday in the 1940s and 1950s. It is DC’s tallest portrait mural, and pays homage to the famed playwright, novelist and poet while celebrating the District’s senior residents and the U Street corridor’s historic roots. Since 2007, the MuralsDC’s program selects business sites that have been repeatedly marked with graffiti and are clearly visible from the street and replaces them with original artwork.

(Connectivity DC Mural)

Next, we’ll travel north for ~0.1 miles. Once we arrive at W Street NW (2 blocks), we’ll turn right and ride west for ~0.4 miles.

(Travel north on 15th Street NW, turn right on W Street NW)

When we reach 12th Street NW (3 blocks), we’ll turn right and ride south for ~0.2 miles. When we arrive at U Street NW (2 blocks), we’ll turn right and travel west for ~200 feet.

(Turn right on 12th Street NW, turn right on U Street NW)

We’ll next come across The Alchemy of Ben Ali mural. Created in 2013, The Alchemy of Ben Ali mural demonstrates the nation’s progress since Ben Ali first walked its streets. Ali was born in 1927, and founded the famed Ben’s Chili Bowl in 1958 along with his wife Virginia Ali. The mural sits in an alley adjacent to the original U Street location; there are currently nine Ben’s Chili Bowls across the DMV area. Being a neighborhood staple, the intricate mural depicts scenes of interracial marriage, gay rights, Martin Luther King’s March for Jobs, and the Million Man March. Commissioned by Murals DC, the masterpiece aims to show how the block, and the world, has transformed through the decades. Ben’s Chili Bowl is a landmark restaurant in Washington, D.C., located at 1213 U Street, next to Lincoln Theatre, in the Shaw neighborhood. It is known locally for its chili dogs, half-smokes, and milkshakes, and has been an integral part of the neighborhood’s history since its founding. The restaurant’s founders have been inducted into the D.C. Hall of Fame.

(The Alchemy of Ben Ali Mural)

From here, we’ll ride west on U Street NW for ~200 feet. When we arrive at 13th Street NW (1/2 block), we’ll turn right and travel north for ~0.2 miles. Once we reach W Street NW (2 blocks), we’ll turn right and ride for another ~0.1 miles. When we arrive at 11th Street NW (2 blocks), we’ll turn right and travel south for ~0.2 miles. When we arrive at U Street NW (2 blocks), we’ll turn left and ride east for ~100 feet.

(Travel west on U Street NW, turn right on 13th Street NW, turn right on W Street NW, turn right on 11th Street NW, turn left on U Street NW)

The next stop is the Lee’s Legacy mural (1/2 block, 11th Street NW, right-hand side). A literal portrait of perseverance, the Lee’s Legacy Mural, honoring the founders of a flower shop in the historic “Black Broadway” district of DC, was painted by airbrush artist and native Washingtonian Kaliq Crosby in 2017. Lee’s Flower and Card Shop first opened its doors in 1945 by William and Winifred Lee, and specializes in quality flower arrangements and additional gifts. Lee’s and Ben’s Chili Bowl— both black-owned businesses — have been staples along the U Street Corridor since the 1960s. Currently operated by the original founders’ granddaughters, it is the oldest black-owned flower shop in DC as well as the oldest DC florist, and also the longest-standing black-owned flower shop in the United States.

(Lee’s Legacy Mural)

We’ll head back west on U Street NW for ~100 feet. When we reach 11th Street NW (1/2 block), we’ll turn left and travel south for ~0.1 miles. When we arrive at T Street NW (1 block), we’ll turn left and ride east for ~0.3 miles. When we reach 7th Street NW (4 blocks), we’ll turn left and travel north for ~170 feet.

(Travel west on U Street NW, turn left on 11th Street NW, turn left on T Street NW, turn left on 7th Street NW)

We’ll stop by the Go-Go City mural (1/2 block, T Street NW, left-hand side) next. The brilliantly colored Go-Go City mural pays homage to the Junk Yard Band, the Soul Searchers (Chuck Brown’s band), etc. that helped create go-go music and the culture that surrounds it. The mural — by artist Kaliq Crosby — is spray painted along a wall belonging to The Shay, a pricey mixed-use building across the street from a Metro PCS store known for cranking go-go music. In April 2019, a resident allegedly made a complaint about the go-go music being played across the street, sparking an entire Don’t Mute DC activism movement. A petition to bring the music back got more than 80,000 signatures from all 50 states and 94 countries. Crosby’s mural depicts a joyous Black boy drumming on an empty 5-gallon plastic jug, a throwback to go-go’s roots and signature percussive sound. It also features a classic go-go poster, complete with bold font and bright colors. Crosby said at the unveiling ceremony ,“They didn’t have instruments so used whatever they could get.”

(Go-Go City Mural)

From here, we’ll backtrack and travel south on 7th Street NW for ~170 feet. Once we arrive at T Street NW (1/2 block), we’ll turn left and ride east for ~140 feet.

(Turn left on 11th Street NW, turn left on T Street NW, turn left on 7th Street NW)

We’ll immediately come across the DC Jazz Heroes mural (1/2 block, unnamed alley, right-hand side and behind us). The DC Jazz Heroes mural was created in 2017 by artists Kate Decicco and Rose Jaffe with the sponsorship of Murals DC and the D.C. Commission on Arts and Humanities. The colorful and vibrant mural combines painted wood cutouts on the painted brick wall, and features some of the significant jazz musicians who have shaped both the past and present of the city’s jazz scene. Located on the side of what was once “Frank Holliday’s Pool Room” (where Duke Ellington was known to frequent much of his youth in the early 1900’s), this wall features from left to right: the “Queen of Gospel” Mahalia Jackson, Composer / Musician Duke Ellington, Musician / Composer Billy Taylor, Singer Shirley Horn, Saxophonist Ron Holloway, Vocalist Meshell Ndegeocello, and Saxophonist Davey Yarborough. In the piece Duke Ellington (2nd from the left) is pictured as a mentee – learning from those local jazz heroes. The various musicians are depicted singing, or playing a piano, guitar, flute, and saxophone.

(DC Jazz Heroes Mural)

We’ll continue south in the alley for ~0.1 miles. When we reach S Street NW (1 block), we’ll turn right and travel west for ~180 feet. At 7th Street NW (1/2 block), we’ll turn left and ride south for ~0.2 miles. When we arrive at Q Street NW (2 blocks), we’ll turn left and travel east for ~0.3 miles. When we get to 4th Street NW (3 blocks), we’ll turn left and ride north for ~0.2 miles. When we reach Florida Avenue NW (2 blocks), we’ll turn right and travel southeast for ~90 feet.

(Travel south in alley, turn right on S Street NW, turn left on 7th Street NW, turn left on Q Street NW, turn left on 4th Street NW, turn right on Florida Ave NW)

Our next stop is the Reloaded mural (1/2 block, 4th Street NW, right-hand side). The eye-catching Reloaded mural is by one of DC’s most active mural artists, Aniekan Udofia, and shows a curvy woman pointing a sharp pencil from her hips that seems to jump out of the wall in 3D. The Department of Public Works was cautious about the implication of a weapon, but nonetheless supported the choice of mural at the urging of Damali Cathie, who works at Kuumba Kollectibles, the art gallery, gift store, and sweets shop located in the building that is home to the mural. She asserted, “We want people to focus on the true meaning of the weapon, the pencil, which is knowledge and literacy. [It’s] not a weapon that destroys at all, but more of a tool for building.” It has since become a neighborhood landmark, and has received only positive feedback from visitors to the store.

(Reloaded Mural)

We’ll continue southeast on Florida Avenue NW for ~200 feet. When we reach 3rd Street NW (1/2 block), we’ll turn right and travel south for ~300 feet. When we arrive at R Street NW (1 block), we’ll turn right and ride west for ~0.1 miles. Once we are at New Jersey Avenue NW (2 blocks), we’ll turn left and travel southeast for ~0.6 miles.

(Travel southeast on Florida Avenue NW, turn right on 3rd Street NW, turn right on R Street NW, turn left on New Jersey Avenue NW)

When we reach K Street NW (7 blocks), we’ll turn right and travel west for ~0.1 miles. Once we get to 4th Street NW (1 block), we’ll turn left and ride south for ~430 feet. When we arrive at I (Eye) Street NW, we’ll turn right and travel west for ~0.1 miles.

Along the way, we’ll come across the Women in Climate Action mural (1/2 block, I Street NW, right-hand side and behind us). Located in Mount Vernon Triangle, the massive 135-foot mural, titled Women in Climate Action, is raising awareness about climate change, and the role women play in curbing it. The mural says “Mother Nature shows us anything big starts out small.” The mural was created by German artist Hera (aka Jasmin Siddiqui), and it is sponsored by the German embassy and the organization Street Art for Mankind. The artist states “I chose female protagonists for my storytelling, the tallest of them being my personification of Mother Nature. Instead of a crown she wears a bee hive, and her valuable pollinators are busy checking out the new tree that is being planted by the lady on the left, and the blossoming flower in the girl‘s hand on the right. There we can read ‘Every action counts,’ and it is an important reminder, that we are all part of this. What we chose to do and not do has an impact, makes a difference. Let it be a positive one.”

(Women in Climate Action Mural)

We’ll continue west on I (Eye) Street NW for ~200 feet. When we reach 5th Street NW (1/2 block), we’ll turn right and travel north for ~0.3 miles. When we arrive at M Street NW (3 blocks), we’ll turn left and ride west for another ~0.2 miles back to Mt. Vernon Square Metro.

(Travel west on I Street NW, right on 5th Street NW, left on M Street NW)

Come join us as we spend an afternoon together exploring the murals the Mt. Vernon Square, Downtown, Logan Circle, U Street Corridor, Shaw neighborhoods have to offer. Also, please help spread the word of our group and the tour.

I look forward to seeing you there!

– J.T.

METRO & PARKING

We’ll meet at Mt. Vernon Square Metro (Green, Yellow lines). Other nearby Metro stops include Chinatown (Green, Red, Yellow lines) and McPherson Square (Blue, Orange, Silver). 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.

EWHEEL RENTAL

Don’t own an e-wheel? You can rent one (e-scooter, e-bike) using a micromobility app (e.g. Lime, Bird, Spin, Lyft, Veo, Capital Bikeshare). Capital Bikeshare offers an e-bike Day Pass option that will end up costing an estimated $25 – $30 for our tour length ($8 day pass + a discounted rate of $0.10 per minute); Lime also offers Day Pass options (as of the date of this event announcement). 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. Also, some people have had challenges with Capital Bikeshare bikes, and some have not.

DONATIONS

My e-wheel tours have always been FREE (since inception in 2016)! Full transparency, it costs me ~$550 annually to run the group (~$200 of which are Meetup fees alone; other costs include website fees, swag items, raffle items, GPS tracker app fees for creating videos of each tour, etc.). I only have time to host 3 tours a year (I have 2 little ones that I take care of), so each tour costs me ~$180 to run. I also spend roughly 40 person-hours to put together each one (finding interesting spots to visit, mapping out a route, creating a detailed tour description, doing a dry-run, hosting the tour itself, uploading pictures, creating a video of the tour, etc.). If you like what we’re doing, you can support the eWheel Going Out Group by donating any amount you feel comfortable. It’s completely optional and greatly appreciated. Click the “Donate Now” button on the Meetup event page. A couple of notes when donating: (1) The “tip” part of the donation is optional and 100% of it goes to Meetup proper and Pledge, the payment processor (not me). You can bypass that amount by clicking “Enter custom tip” and zeroing it out. (2) You have the option to donate anonymously by withholding your name and email. Ideally, I’d like know who’s contributing to the group so I can acknowledge those that do and to show my appreciation!

DRESS

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.

RIDING SKILL

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.

LEGALITY

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!

RAIN

If there’s a greater than a 35% chance of rain, we’ll cancel or reschedule. Having hosted over 1000 events since 2007, when the percentage chance of rain is below 35% at the event start time for the location’s zip code, I’ve observed that 95% of the time, we’ll get no rain. 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.

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