Ordinary people having fun beside extraordinary buildings and a sense of being close to one of the great power centres of the world. It is juxtapositions like this which make a cycling outing around Washington DC an amazing experience.
We set off from our apartment in Arlington which is not far from the huge Fort Myer, and the massive Arlington War Cemetery. As we ride in the mounting heat and humidity of a June weekend, a platoon of perspiring Marines jogs, shouting cadence, past the graves of thousands of their fellow countrymen who no doubt began their commitment to the USA in a similar way. Their column passes us by and shuffles off past the Iwo Jima monument with its superbly familiar scene of Marines planting the Stars and Stripes in the Pacific theatre.
Our ride takes us across the Arlington Memorial Bridge with the Potomac below and jets, clawing skyward as they push for altitude; shooting upward from the Ronald Regan International Airport.
It’s then a short ride to the crowds around the Lincoln Memorial and a view from where Abe sits staring up the green sward to the distant Capitol. So many sights jump into the reality of the moment from memories of movie scenes and TV shows.
It seems surreal to be experiencing all of these sights first hand, and a look at the hot, flushed family groups trying to see it all on foot makes us very pleased that we have the mobility which cycles give us.
Just near the Simthsonian Institute, we stopped to enjoy some great jamming as a number of trombones combined with a sousaphone, drums and percussion to set up a street jam sound which made everybody move to the music.
A young boy stood in the background, pushing out notes on his trombone and waiting for his chance to join the front row.