Activity: road cycling
Location: Dupont Circle > Mt. Vernon, VA > Dupont Circle
Distance: 37.9 miles (moderately hilly)
Weather: mostly cloudy, 80 degrees
Avg HR: 135 (max 161)
A solo ride down the Mt. Vernon Trail to George Washington’s estate in Virginia. The crowds along the stretch of trail closest to DC were thick, but past Alexandria the trail was fairly open. I rode down to Mt. Vernon into a steady headwind, which meant for an easy, tailwind-aided return leg. The security around The Mall was tight and, to my estimate, somewhat overkill and useless. Sure, it’s a dog-and-pony show that makes some folk feel safe. But for locals, it’s a pain and stupid.
Case in point: on my return trip, I decided to go through the secure area to save a few minutes. Getting into the area was easy: no line at Memorial Bridge, friendly security folk, and no traffic on the bridge. Getting out of the secured area on 23rd and Constitution, on the other hand, was not easy. I was stopped by a Nat’l Park Police officer who insisted that I couldn’t leave the secure area until after the fireworks. I calmly pleaded with her to let me out, as I’m a local (the aforementioned address is about a mile from The Burrow), but she kept saying no. I asked to speak with a supervisor, but the officer kept trying to have her way with me. Eventually, after five minutes of waiting, a supervisor was contacted and I was allowed to pass.
If the Nat’l Park Service would simply post at the entrances that it’s not possible to exit before the end of the show, that would be fine, and I would’ve diverted to Key Bridge for my return. But given there was no such warning, I didn’t know that the useless security measures would cause me such grief. And, frankly speaking, the measures taken for security didn’t seem too likely to prevent anything from happening: if somebody had wanted to cause mayhem, it would’ve been fairly simple.
That said, I found it somewhat funny that, less than 20 minutes after I’d made my way home, the NPS evacuated The Mall because of an incoming storm. So all of the people who had dealt with the NPS “security” had to get screened once more.
Later on, sprite and I got on our bikes to ride to a proper viewing area for the big fireworks display. We were a little late getting out of the house, so the fireworks were scenery along the way to the Kennedy Center, where we watched the last third of the show.