Bikers Can Race to Discover Capitol Hill’s Secrets

Posted August 4, 2010 at 4:03pm

It’s a mix of the Tour de France and “The Amazing Race,” but on a much smaller scale and restricted to the Hill.

The Capitol Hill Business Improvement District and the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce will host a bicycle scavenger hunt that will have cyclists racing from Eastern Market to the Mall, from the H Street Corridor to RFK Stadium.

Area residents can now register in groups of two for Hill and Go Seek, scheduled for Aug. 28 from 5 to 8 p.m.

Nina Liggett, director of marketing and programs at the BID, said the contest is a hybrid of an “alley cat” race, where bikers are given a list of destinations to find, and a scavenger hunt, where participants have to solve riddles and collect items or points.

In this case, Hill and Go Seek participants will receive a list of destinations around Capitol Hill. They’ll have to navigate their own course to reach the most points of interest in the given time. Each destination will be worth a set amount of points, and duos will earn points for each location they visit.

Liggett said some checkpoints will have challenges such as riddles or rhymes for competitors to solve. The challenges might even send bikers wandering toward secret locations or to meet secret people for bonus points. Other destination challenges may instruct contestants to sing songs about bike riding or juggle for 60 seconds.

Teams will get points for completing the course fastest, completing challenges creatively, and maybe even for coming up with clever team uniforms and wearing safety gear (hint, hint). Winners will be announced at an after-party at H Street Country Club.

“The contest is really just a way to creatively bring people to Capitol Hill,” Liggett said. “People will have the opportunity to see new points of interest and discover new places at the same time.”

Liggett said participation will be capped at 125 teams, first-come, first-served. Bystanders are encouraged to watch from various greens on the Hill and to join the after-party for $5. Don’t have a bike? No problem. Liggett is working to get bike shops involved with rentals and will have more details later this month.

Registration is $20 and includes the after-party fee. Proceeds will benefit Ready, Willing and Working, a nonprofit that helps homeless and formerly incarcerated people get off the streets and welfare dependency through a residential, paid-work rehabilitation program.

Participants will be provided with maps, but it’s a good idea to study up on the Hill’s terrain. Bikers will also have to sign a waiver — broken bones and pulled ligaments are not the responsibility of Hill and Go Seek.

Participants can register online at
hillandgoseek.eventbrite.com or at Capitol Hill Bikes, 719 Eighth St. SE.