Our First (And Probably Last) Bike Ride at the Mall

October 26, 2010 at 3:37 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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Ambitious, I know. Taking Liam WITH the bike ON the train TO the Mall. But it’s something I’ve been wanting to do since we got the child seat, and it seemed doable. We were supposed to go on Sunday, but I came down with a cold. Feeling much better today, I figured I’d give it a try. I looked up the rules of taking a bike on the metro, and it looked like as long as I avoided rush hour and boarded the first or last car, I was good to go. So we arrived just in time for the 10:02 train headed to DC. Liam sat comfortably in his bike seat for the ride, and I wedged ourselves in the back of the car and stayed relatively clear of passengers. He got lots of smiles and waves, like always. We changed trains at Metro Center lickity split, even catching an earlier connection that I’d expected. We easily found the elevator at the Smithsonian stop. A lady in the elevator commented that I’d gone to a lot of trouble. But, really, it was nothing!

From the Smithsonian stop Liam and I headed toward the tidal basin. I enjoyed the view along the waterfront, and Liam enjoyed all of the cranes and bulldozers parked currently parked in front of the Jefferson Memorial. The trail wasn’t very crowded (probably because of the construction), so we had a nice, leisurely ride. I got us a little lost around the Lincoln Memorial, but a helpful construction worker set us on the right path. We biked in front of the memorial, which had a surprisingly sparse crowd. But Liam seemed to enjoy watching the planes taking off and landing from nearby National Airport. Whatever makes him happy!

Next stop, the carousel at the Mall, where we disembarked and had a snack. We sat on a bench and watched the horses spin. All the while Liam pointed and neighed. There was actually much neighing on this ride – first at the golden horses at Arlington Bridge, then at the carousel, and then at Grant’s Memorial.

For lunch we parked the bike at the Museum of the American Indian (they even had designated bike racks!), and dined on pulled bison sandwiches and fries. I got us a sweet potato tart, thinking Liam would devour it, but he didn’t want anything to do with it. Thankfully I brought enough cookies for him to chow on.

Back on the bike by 1:00, we headed toward the L’Enfant station. I wanted to try an alternate route home to see if it was faster. First obstacle, the sidewalk was closed and I had to negotiate some square curbs to get around it. The bike came dangerously close to tipping over as I walked us down a curb, but I caught it just in time. We found the elevator easily enough, but once in the station, a station manager confronted me, claiming I wasn’t supposed to leave Liam in the seat. He tried to convince me that Liam would be safer walking next to me on the platform with the oncoming trains. What?! Apparently it’s some unwritten rule that kids can’t ride in the bike seat in case there’s a fire on the train and I’ve got to get him out in a hurry. But, seriously, in any other situation he’s much safer in the seat! We had a bit of a heated argument, but I could see he wasn’t going to let it slide. So I unbuckled Liam, let him down, and coaxed him to the elevator. Once the doors opened on the platform, he saw the train and started jogging over there in front of me. Aaaaa! This lady grabbed him, thankfully. I didn’t care what sort of “rule” I was breaking, Liam was much safer in the seat. I figured I’d leave him unbuckled, which was in accordance with the spirit of the rule. Right?

Of course we hit another obstacle. Our train broke down at the Columbia Heights station, and we had to wait for them to clear it out and next train to come through. By the time we made our connection at Fort Totten, it was clear Liam was in need of a nap. Riding the elevator up to the Red Line, he did that pissed off arch his back thing and just about fell out of the seat! Wonderful.

Finally, we made it to Forest Glen, and then home by 2:30. Liam managed to keep his eyes open long enough to make it home, and he was down for the count before his head even hit the mattress.

This turned into a long and arduous adventure, but it was still mostly fun. Next time (if there ever IS a next time), I guess I’ll have to bring the Boba and wear Liam while on the train. Assuming I’ve got enough room in my backpack to stow it once we’re back on the bike, I think that could work. Though it still seems like an unnecessary pain in the ass.



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  1. I bow to thee go getter. I would have been terrified. I love how much energy you have for your son. I only hope I’m half as adventurous. Liam doesn’t know how lucky he has it!

  2. […] in Silver Spring. And there was that time I got REALLY ambitious and took him on the Metro for a bike ride on The Mall. Compared to that, this was gonna be […]

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