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Getting Around, August 2019

Maybe it was the rainstorm that made people want to do something—anything—other than get in a car. A man in an empty petty cab kicks off the weekend-long anti-automobile celebration on Saturday morning. He sing-chants as he bikes uphill “assholes in cars, idiots in cars, morons in cars!”

That’s just the beginning. All weekend long people stroll, bike, scoot, and moped from here to there, enjoying cool breezes and mild weather. But the piece de resistance comes Sunday evening.

People rush from their homes and restaurants and shops to see it. The sidewalks grow crowded as the rumble grows closer and louder. A cavalcade of dirt bikes and ATVs makes its presence known on 14th Street NW. Their drivers pop wheelies and shout and raise their hands, as if to acknowledge the onlooking crowd.

Gas and smoke choke the air as the parade continues. It seems endless. The drivers overfill the road, spilling into the opposite lane as they turn left on Rhode Island Avenue NW. One dirt bike even takes to the sidewalk, zipping around pedestrians as it cuts its own path toward Logan Circle. A few riders have taken alternative routes, entering the circle from the north, but they find their friends and head downtown.

Back on 14th Street NW, a French bulldog gets low and yaps at the riders as they zip by, adding its voice to what will become a chorus of complaints online about this reckless way of getting around.

Will Warren writes Scene and Heard. If you know of a location worthy of being seen or heard, email him at wwarren@washingtoncitypaper.com.