Aziz crawling through the “top secret” ductwork at the Spy Museum in Washington.
One of the first organized bike tours I ever took was 10 years back; to Washington D.C. It was a 3 hour, guided night ride around the National Mall to view the monuments and learn the history of the United States.
It was another special trip. I had not been back to the Capital since I was 10 years old. All I really remember from that trip was D.C was very hot (I’m sure all my family and friends are rolling their eyes right now; sure Zulu…..how hot? Was it 60 Degrees?). I also remember the police being called because of myself, my brothers, and sisters were sitting at the edge of the reflecting pool at the Lincoln Memorial with our bare feet dangling in the water. Another heinous act of Social Defiance from little kids on vacation…….but I promise you; not my last!
It was Columbus Day weekend, and I had the great fortune to share the experience with two of my nephews; the “Powerful and Always-Smiling” Aziz, and my younger nephew Matthew, who you have “met” already. Aziz was attending college at George Mason. Back when Aziz was in high school, the two of us took a trip together to visit San Franciso for the first time. It was here when we rented bikes and rolled across the Golden Gate Bridge that it truly hit me how beautiful and exciting it is to explore a new place on a bike. Matthew was only a “little guy” this trip, and it would be our first trip together. I have to give “credit” to my sister Maura for allowing Matthew to miss school and come with me; as a teacher and educator, she does NOT condone skipping school for “personal family business,” (a direct quote from my father’s letters to the school departments to “spring us” from our daily educational grind, for adventurous activities), but she does agree with Mark Twain sometimes; “Never let schooling get in the way of your Education!”
The tour was incredible! It was a warm October night with clear skies. We rolled around and saw things that I don’t ever remember seeing, and places that were not there during my last visit. Rolling slowly on a bike just put the group in such a great mood. We did not go fast, we waited for each other, we sat patiently while others asked questions and got their answers, and reveled in the joy that all of us were out doing what we loved; riding bikes with our family and friends while learning about new places.
If my San Francisco bike ride planted the seed about how wonderful it is exploring with bikes, my Washington trip only made the idea flourish. Every place I go now, I try to sneak in a bike ride or bike tour. I also do my best to convince my family and friends to do the same.
The Washington Monument picture above was taken by a re-occurring character in this blog; Gus. He took the picture on the same D.C. bike tour this last fall with his wife Kathy. I love the picture, and I love that they took my advice to go riding for “a night at the museum/monument!”