Sunday, March 27, 2011

Marvin Gaye Day Ride, Saturday April 2nd

Hey riders! Saturday, April 2nd.. Gather at the coop 11am, departing at noon -riding to remember and honor Marvin Gaye.

We'll tour through DC and MD, visiting neighborhoods and institutions that played major parts in Marvin's young DC life such as Freedman's Hospital, Cardozo High School, and Benning Terrace.

We'll visit a bike shop opening at 101 Maryland Park Drive, a short distance from Marvin's old address of 12 60th ST NE. Maryland Park Bicycles is enthused to receive us, providing pizza and a little party for their arrival, Marvin's birthday, and the birthday of friend and neighbor Kennis Henry, who's been busy trying to make you aware that MD Senate will soon consider passing motorist accountability measure: HB 363.

This ride must be magical with the music of Marvin Gaye, so we will be accompanied by a boombox rider to provide the sounds of our absolute gem of local crooners. Ever had motown stuck in your head while cruising FL Ave?

This approximately 26 mile ride will feature a few major hills, in beautiful parts and harder to reach parts of the city on a so-far pretty nice spring day! There are several stops through out to tell a bit of Marvin's story and the Gay family story. The ride will end at approximately 7:30 pm, back at the Mount Rainier Bike CoOp.

** This weather update is brought to you by mrBikeCoOp... Saturday 4/2: high of 57 with a passing shower between noon and 4.

If it's raining at noon, the ride will alter becoming a straight shot to MD Park Bicycles' opening day at 101 MD Park Drive.

All updates will be mentioned here

                            Hello DC!

Look at those defined lines of water ways melting into a darkened triangle of warm and busy geography. It says to me, "Get up! Get up! Get up1 Get up!, Let's make love, tonight!" It's Marvin Gaye's Birthday and I want to caress its curves on a bike. Let's make love to the city on Gaye Day!

It rained at noon thirty as we three departed the bike coop for the rain-deflecting awning of near by Kaywood Theater on Arundel Road. It rained hard on us and it was decided to ditch the boombox. Though well tethered to handle bars, it is an instrument of rocking parties, and this ride of three would be a more intimate affair.

After leaving the boombox at a near by home, we took towards WHUR on Bryant St at 5th NW. This is the building where Marvin Pentz Gay jr was born on April 2 1939. The building hosted Freedman's Hospital then.

Then we darted west to Cardozo High School at 13th and FL Ave. We considered our time and saw we 3 were traveling smartly through the land. We were mostly dry from the earlier rain and enjoying the sun and all the flower's greetings. We knew we could pace it easy to hit all the advertised stops. We aimed our ease towards Eastern Market, where colleagues of the bike coop were presenting operations like another fresh flower.

We hovered east on Q, south on 1st and swung around Union Station contrasting it's brilliant white stone against the clarity of the blue sky you see before and after summer, but smudges towards whites and greys in warmer summer months. A great day to explore the space, besides the two rushes of summer-style storms. But this next one hit while we were in Eastern Market, going for the crab soup and rolls. Mmmm, spiced nice.

We swung through Lincoln Park too meet any riders who'd decide to join us there. Nobody thought such, so we darted east on East Capitol Street, following the trail eastwardly on the west-bound side of the road. After bridging over teh Anacostia river, one can link to the grid north to Benning and cross there. Or one can be direct and continue on East Cap. That way, the sidewalk descends under the bridging over of 295/Kenilworth. Then the concrete wall separating you from the fast traffic of East Cap closes in on you! Among the deserted dust and debris of seldom visited grimey roadside, there is the trekker who attempts to cross 295, the railroad tracks and the Anacostia river. This is the infrastructural no wonder that helps to keep neighborhoods apart from knowing eachother, affecting eachother, from becoming together. We hop our bikes over when head-on traffic is nil. We cross the exit ramp, step up the curb on the other side and get on our bikes to cruise the next tight highway-hugging sidewalk, passing a cop doing the work of tracking motorists speed. He nods hello to us. We live to tell the story of riding the tight sidewalk of East Capitol tunnel. Emerge to a cloverleaf of an exit ramp and step through it's dark boggy mud and awakening bright grass. Hello Anacostia-side!

We head for Benning Terrace -south on Benning right on F. At F and 46th, we are alone again.

Here at the place of Marvin's childhood upbringing, we look through many fences and see peaks of proud hills.

Well on our way to the end spot, the grand opening of Maryland Park Bicycles, who'd ordered pizzas to share for many visitors. We drift east on F and into Marshall Heights. We see a few families and small groups of men hanging near their cars, saying "Hi" to riders visiting their streets. Marvin Gaye Day, a good day for social intimacy. Hello! Hello! Hello! What's going on? Lot's of fences..

We stop by Blaine and 60th, where Marvin lived as a teenager, and very close to Maryland Park Bicycles at 101 Maryland Park Drive. The fences have grown much over since I last visited in January of 2006. We can't even get next to where his house once stood, before whatever blind force allowed it to be razed.
                                           No intimacy here today.

We head north towards Clay and right on the eastern tip of of the Watts Branch trail, experiencing the super practical location of this new bike shop, Maryland Park Bicycles at 101 Maryland Park DR. Once a rider exits the eastern tip of Watts Branch, you join a small road that turns into Maryland Park DR and voila! Your're there when you reach the end, right before it meets the woah! of Central Avenue.

Here, we finally meet friends and family!

 Mother of, and shop owner and operator John Epps:

Not only were there two towers of Pizza, but there was a great big delicious cake. Birthday cake, not at all for Marvin Gaye, actually, but for Kenniss Henry! Our courageous neighbor has been working really hard lately to have House Bill 363, the Vehicular Manslaughter Law, pass in Annapolis. The struggle is in climax right now, and we need to make Senator Frosh of Montgomery County allow this law to go to committee.

Scott is ready to roll. Always ready to roll. Barbara and Scott are true navigators of the region. So roll we do with much ease westwardly up the Watt's Branch Trail first greeted by Marvin Gaye Park..

Look at the mosaic curb near this building that hosted the moving doo wop of the young Marvin 60-some years ago...

Sweet trail.

 The end of the trail features a great big Marvin mosaic.

                                            What's this?
Someone left Marvin Gaye a cookie! Marvin get's a cookie! "On your Birthday!", it said.

We crossed underneath the railroad tracks and 295 at this rare opportunity underpass, and went south on Kenilworth to Benning RD. After crossing, we meandered through Trinidad and then north on Bladensburg, to our homes in the valleys and hills of the Anacostia headwaters. Great ride. Ours is a beautiful region.


  1. This is great. I'll post this information on the DC Bicycle Advisory Council blog with a link to your site.

  2. I think that is right bout that. Nice info and thanks. Need to get in google feed.

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