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Sunday, April 5, 2009

"Blossoms by Bike"

An energetic, enthusiastic tour guide, Erica, who had only been on the job a week, led a group of 17 bikers from the 12th Avenue “Bike the Sites” shop at 1100 Pennsylvania Avenue over to the Tidal Basin and beyond last week on a grey, drizzly, cool day to see the cherry blossoms in their glory.

Despite the weather it was a delightfully good day to ride and see Washington’s springtime beauty. And for the time involved (two hours) it beats walking or riding in a car because we saw so much.

From the Tidal Basin we skipped over to Hains Point and even on a weekday saw few parking spaces. We rode to the tip of the Point and back to the front of the Jefferson Memorial taking in some of the what seemed to be highly inappropriate music being performed on stage: country rock. From there we weaved in and around hundreds of pedestrians around the Tidal Basin, and following protocol, Erica said, walked our bikes through the FDR Memorial. A few moments later, we stopped at the Japanese Lantern, the official site to launch the festival every year, Erica said.

She made stops every so often to give us a chance for a drink of water, to catch our breath (I guess, although the flat surfaces left no one breathless, I don’t think) and to tell a brief history and description of many sights we could see: the Jefferson Memorial, the old cherry blossoms with their knotted and curling trunks, and from across the Potomac River, the Air Force Memorial and the Pentagon.

It was a glorious tour with the only negative, the many, many tourists along all the trails making some stretches dangerous as we rode, and sometimes walked, in single file.

Except for me, all bikers were tourists with several in family groups ranging from about age 6 to mid-60s. To me the cost exceeded the value and would be more reasonably priced $5 less than the $32 charged adults to get more bang for your bike.

For the fee you get a bottle of water, a helmet, a bike, and a bag attached to the bike for carrying valuables plus the tour, however, contrary to the Washington Post Grab and Go Guide March 27, no snack was offered.

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