D.C. Commuting: The Motorcade

Washington, D.C., is an exciting city for bike commuters. Every day we get to navigate our way through cars, potholes, pedestrians, and tourists(who are often also pedestrians). That sounds like lots of other big cities, I suppose. But in Washington, D.C., another aspect distinguishes our commute. Motorcades!

Motorcades are a mixed bag. One one hand, I get a little thrill because I know that “someone important” is going to be passing on my commute route, and it’s fun to guess who it might be. The President, a visiting world leader, someone else of import? I like trying to remember who is in town and who might be the special someone that requires me to re-route or delay my ride.


On the other hand, it’s not fun to be yelled at by the Secret Service when I’m just trying to go to my j-o-b, and my route happened to intersect with someone more important than I am. It’s even less fun to be yelled at when I’m running late to my j-o-b and then have to take a circuitous route. That is, unless it’s a really great morning. Say sunny, mid-sixties, low humidity, and a nice light breeze. Then I’m totally fine with being re-routed, though I could still do without the yelling.

Yes, the Secret Service really will yell at you, no matter how nice and friendly you might appear to be. One minute you’re a harmless bike rider on your regular boring commute and the next you’re learning that the road you thought was open to the public is not and you have to scram. These guys have no time for niceties I know; they’re protecting important people. But it still startles me. I don’t like feeling like I got in trouble just for taking a road that happened to coincide with the day’s motorcade.

D.C. loves its pomp and circumstance, and motorcades are integral to that. I have to admit, though, it’s pretty cool to see a motorcade procession, especially when you find out the President is going by. Those are special moments that you share with people for the rest of your life.

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