There's a way to get to the inauguration without worrying about Metro, traffic or parking—take your bike.
"Bikes are, by far, the easiest and quickest way into and out of the Mall for the inauguration," said Mark Blacknell, of the Arlington Bicycle Advisory Committee and author of Clarendon Cycles on Patch.
Alan Young, of Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling (and a Burke Patch Local Voices contributor), agreed. Biking to the presidential inauguration downtown is “one of the easiest ways to get in and out there is,” Young said. He biked into the inauguration in 2009 with his sister and nephew.
Routes Into the District from Virginia
“Only the heartiest will ride from Fairfax City and beyond,” Young said, but he also suggested people concerned about the long trip on bike could drive closer to the District (Arlington or Alexandria, perhaps) park somewhere and bike downtown from there.
"The best route, in my experience, is straight across the Memorial Bridge — there should be no problems [with] bikes," Blacknell told Patch. "You can then roll right down Independence (which is usually a little less crowded than Constitution). The Key Bridge works, too, though M Street can be a little intimidating for less experienced cyclists. Finally, there's Roosevelt Bridge, which will put you in front of the Kennedy Center. From there, you just take Virginia Avenue down to the Mall."
Bicycles will not be allowed on Metrorail during inauguration weekend, according to WMATA. Do not plan to bike to a Metro station and bring your bike with you downtown.
In addition, bicycles are prohibited at inauguration inside the security perimeter, but bike parking is available very close by. (See the red border on the attached PDF map for details.)
Where to Lock Up
There will be a bicycle parking lot at 16th and I streets NW provided courtesy of the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) and goDCgo. There will be spaces for several hundred bicycles, said John Lisle, who works with the Capital Bikeshare program through the District Department of Transportation. The bike parking lot will be on a first come, first served basis.
Unlike last inauguration, the Washington Area Bicyclists Association will not be hosting a bike valet for a variety of complicated logistical reasons. Instead, bicycle owners will be responsible for locking up their own bikes, according to Greg Billing, outreach coordinator for the Washington Area Bicyclists Association.
In addition, there will be two Capital Bikeshare corrals available—one at 17th and K streets NW and another at 12th Street NW and Independence Avenue at the USDA building. Capital Bikeshare will have to remove six bikeshare stations that are within the security perimeter and remove bikes from two other stations near the perimeter, Lisle said.
Getting Ready to Roll
- Chances are, your bike has been sitting unused for a few months since it’s gotten cold out. Check your tires and brakes, and make sure your chain and gears are operating smoothly. You may want to take your bike out for a spin a few days before the inauguration to test it out That way, you’ll have time to get it fixed if repairs are needed.
- It’s always a good idea to wear a reflective vest or clothing, and have a light on your bike—even if you aren’t planning to bike at dawn or dusk.
- Be gentle with pedestrians. There will be many, many more people walking around downtown than there normally are, so take it slow and be patient.
- Obey all traffic laws. Use crosswalks to cross streets. Stop at stop signs and red lights.
- Dress warmly. “Once you’re on the bike, you’re moving and your blood is pumping again,” Young said, but those first few miles may be cold and that January wind can really bite.
- Wear clothing that will be good protection against the wind.
- Bring a strong, sturdy bike lock with you.
- Wear a helmet. (Did we say that already? It’s worth repeating.)
“A lot of people biked last time,” said Lisle. He expects the same to be true for the 2013 Presidential Inauguration, too.
Did you bike to the presidential inauguration in 2009? What advice do you have for people considering biking in this year?
For much more inauguration information, see Dale City Patch's 2013 Presidential Inauguration Guide here.