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Road Closures Planned for Rolling Thunder

by ARLnow.com May 23, 2011 at 1:43 pm 10,786 167 Comments

Rolling Thunder is back this year and several road closures are planned as a result.

The noisy annual Memorial Day weekend tradition will kick off on Friday, when motorcyclists from around the country will start flocking to the D.C. area to boost awareness of American prisoners of war and service members who went missing in action.

The Rolling Thunder headquarters hotel is the Hyatt Regency Crystal City, so South Arlington residents who live near Route 1, Route 110 and I-395 should expect to hear a lot of revving engines over the weekend.

As part of the rally, several roads will be closed near the Pentagon on Sunday. Washington Boulevard will be closed from I-395 to the Memorial Bridge from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. In addition, Arlington National Cemetery will only be accessible from the southbound GW Parkway or northbound Route 110.

Authorities are warning drivers in Northern Virginia to expect “large numbers of motorcyclists” and possible traffic delays on Sunday. The Rolling Thunder festivities will wrap up Sunday evening.

  • CC Resident

    Sometimes people ask me “what’s the worst part of living in Crystal City?” I stop and wonder if I should mention the awful bars, the overpriced apartments, or the piss-poor street design. Then I remember Rolling Thunder.

    • AllenB

      And you live there why?

    • KalashniKLOWN

      Youโ€™re a degenerate commie traitor for not wanting to endure an entire weekend of noise because somebody declared that it honors vets.

    • CrystalMikey

      This Crystal City resident is glad he’s heading out of town this weekend. Now I don’t have to hear the Harleys going up down Jeff Davis day and night.

    • Does look like the worst day of the year to you? Maybe you should take a little time out of your day to come check it out.


      • CrystalMikey

        I can appreciate the cause; but since I can hear the traffic on 1 from my apartment, I’m not so much a fan of the noise of the bikes themselves.

      • doodly

        It doesn’t look like the worst day of the year – it SOUNDS like it.

  • PhilL

    It’s weekends like this that I miss Whitey’s the most. It would always attract a good turnout from some of these guys, and was a blast.

    • John Fontain

      Due to the absence of Whitey’s, the presidents of the Westover-area civic associations are encouraging the bikers to make Westover and the beer garden their new home away from home this weekend.

      Hey bikers, there is plenty of beer and live outdoor music this weekend at the Westover beer garden at 5863 Washington Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22205. This is just a couple of miles further west on Washington Blvd than Whitey’s was. Bring your bikes and be sure to give an extra throttle on the gas as you arrive and depart. The neighbors in that area will love it!

      • PhilL

        Heh, there will probably be a few that stop in at The Forest. Maybe they can set up a little bike petting zoo over by the beer garden for the little kids. And the moms.

      • Curious George

        LOL + infinity

  • doodly

    I think honoring POW/MIAs should involve silence, not noise. Doesn’t make me want to remember them, it makes me want to leave town for the weekend. Which I might.

    • RJ

      Rolling Thunder is a demonstration not a memoriam. Although it appears as such now:

      “In the fall of 1987, Vietnam veterans met to discuss their personal concerns about the POW/MIAs from the Vietnam War. Having honorably served their country and having taken an oath to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies…” and to “bear true faith and allegiance to same,” they were deeply troubled by the abhorrent neglect of attention given to those who did not make it out with their lives or their freedom. These veterans discussed the more than 10,000 reported sightings of live Americans living in dismal captivity. Intelligence reports of these sightings were generally ignored by the government and mainstream press.”

      • doodly

        It began as a demonstration, but it’s a de facto memorial now. And there are no POWs left over, and probably never were.

        • Kace

          You obviously don’t know what you’re talking about!!
          And you’re most likely some snot nosed kid who didn’t lose anyone in the war like I did. Shame on you.

          • GA

            AMEN Kace!!!! I am so sick of hearing people complain about this. I did this ride for the first time last year and I can not even put into words the emotions that ran through me… from start to finish. It is a very powerful ride.

            Always remember & never forget!!!!!!!!!

        • Ray Conlon

          Read the book Kiss the Boys Goodby….

    • BoredHouseWife

      wow. whine. whine. whine.

      • doodly

        Hope they roll past your house.

        • Kace

          Hope they roll past yours.

          • R. Griffon

            They’re more than welcome to roll past mine. My kids would love the show and it wouldn’t bother me one iota.

    • PhilL

      You’ve never been to an Irish Wake, have you?

  • JamesE

    In their honor I am going to keep my car in 1st gear and red line down the entire stretch of Wilson.

  • meh..

    It amazes me how folks are so indignant about a single weekend of the year when they have to hear a little more noise than usual.
    Personally this is something I hope that Arlington residents someday embrace and tout as one of the truly unique events in this world that we can claim.

    • Well..

      The other week it was the law enforcement bike ride blocking off all kinds of roads and slowing down others.

      Then Distaste of Arlington

      Then Rolling Thunder.

      Then it’s one marathon or another blocking off the roads.

      It’s gotten so that just about every other weekend from April to July, there’s some event that keeps people from getting where they need to go.

      Roads are part of the infrastructure we pay taxes for. Running or biking on having a parade on them should take a back seat to people getting to/from work.

      The intent behind these events may be noble and sincere, but when you have one after another, it hurts the quality of life.

      • jade521

        Then why don’t you move?

      • Berna

        You forgot to mention road closing for Bike DC.

      • CarsSuck

        How about GW Pkwy for example is a National Park, just like the National Mall. The riders from out of town pay taxes back home, as do they pay federal tax, which maintains and polices GW Pkwy and areas around the National Mall, which you and hundreds of thousands of other idiots think is your personal scenic freeway into and out of Washington. They have every right to enjoy that “park” as you do the rest of the year. 395 will be open, as will other crossings. Nobody said you have to drive your car everywhere everyday. This is the National Capital. People want to be here. People want to have large scale events here. Don’t like it? Move to Tulsa.

    • doodly

      It’s not a “little more noise” than usual, it’s alot more.

      • What’s “usual”. Usually, each Memorial Day weekend, Rolling Thunder happens. Were you around here before it started?

        • doodly

          Um, you can’t compare the noise with other Rolling Thunders. That’s not the point. It’s really loud compared to every other weekend of the year. Too loud.

          • That is exactly the point. Did you move here after Rolling Thunder started? If so, you should have known the event happens each year and then you chose to live in an urban area where these type of events happen. You can complain about noise, closed streets, or any other thing for motorcycles, runners, etc. But, you chose to live in a location where all of this goes on all the time. Stop your bellyaching. I don’t like all of the inconvenience or noise either. But, I choose to live here and take what the area is about and try my best to embrace it.

          • doodly

            Really? Everything that was already in your community before you got there you have to accept without question? Does that apply to crime and pollution too? How about high taxes or crappy services?

            Sorry, but that’s a load of crap. I’ll complain about whatever I want.

            But what if I was here before Rolling Thunder, as many County residents were? They can hear the noise too. Should the County buy them special earplugs?

            Get real.

          • But YOU are the person whining about it. So, tell us, did you or did you not move here AFTER Rolling Thunder started? I thought so……

        • MC

          Being born in Arlington, I’ve been around decades before these inhumanly loud motorcycles arrived in Arlington. Arlington use to have peaceful and respectful Memorial Day weekends.

          Like many things things that become annual events the second year someone decides to repeat a bad idea, it isn’t a tradition that represents the choices of Arlington residents, it is simply something imposed on Arlington residents by unaccountable organizers. Any talk about this being a “tradition” of Arlington is pure nonsense.

          • Amen


            We call it “Rolling White Trash” at my house.

          • CarsSuck

            While the procession and the purpose of the ride is honorable, most of the bikes are obnoxiously loud. There comes a point where it’s just ridiculous and rude, which is the style now. What a pain in the a$$ it’s becoming lately to try to enjoy an evening out in Clarendon and have some douche in his chopper reVVing up his bike just to draw attention to himself. Not cool dude, TOOL maybe. And BTW, I like bikes, just not the loud ones!

          • Arlington, Northside

            The maintinance work on the Metro at 3am on a Saturday is obnoxiously loud when they honk their horns every 35 seconds to move their track cars two feet. Loud motorcycles from 8am-4pm on a Sunday when half of town has escaped to the beach for a long weekend is nothing to complain about.

          • Thank you for your opinion, MC. I respect it as a long time Arlington resident. There is little you can do to change it, other than go through formal channels of complaint. I suspect that will get you nowhere unfortunately.

  • Skeptical

    It’s not just the noise; it’s the suddenly erupting posses of speeding motorcycles all over the local roads — which I find dangerous — and the smell of the fried hydrocarbons, and the “biker attitude” everywhere. I can’t figure out when a huge crowd of people on Harleys became the official representatives of the people in my generation, and a little bit older, who served during Vietnam.

    The people I’ve known who actually participated in the event seemed mainly excited about being seen in a big crowd of bad-assed people on bikes and being cheered for (or, alternatively, getting a pass to say “F.U. if you don’t like us” to people who weren’t cheering).. Not a very memorious vibe to me

    • rossl


      • Curious George

        Any motorcycle that is that loud at low speed is a piece of junk anyways.

        The only issue I have with the whole event is the noise.


          See you on the road in your Prius soon! ๐Ÿ˜›

          • Lacey Forest

            “Loud pipes save lives” is a myth. The pipes direct most of the noise behind the moving vehicle, while most threats come from in front.

          • GonnaRideRightPastYourHouseALOT

            Its almost as silly of a statement as “Any motorcycle that is that loud at low speed is a piece of junk anyways” isn’t it?

            My apologies, sarcasm doesn’t play well online! hahaha

  • JRDen

    The noise is awful and the folks on the bikes for the most part were not even old enough to be in Vietnam. You expect to see fewer and fewer participants each year as the true vets age but it seems to be growing. It’s time this tradition end. Let the vets and their families and descendants peacefully and quietly pay tribute at the wall – not tear around town on bikes.

    • Arlington, Northside

      The rally is on Sunday BECAUSE the holiday and time for peaceful rememberence is Monday. I would bet that atleast 75% of the riders ARE Veterans and atleast half of the rest are children/spouses of Veterans. The original rally to bring attention to the POW/MIA issues was not just for those lost and missing in Vietnam, but in Korea too. Today we have two on going conflicts whose sacrifice we honor as well. The Rally is mid-day, I really can’t understand that opposition to it on here. As a Veteran of Desert Storm, I am humbled by all the folks that travel here, and my kids and I will be on one of the overpasses welcoming the Rolling Thunder riders with our flags waveing! Let Freedom Ring!

  • Westover

    The Rolling Thunder crowd is not the Sturgis or Daytona Bike week crowd, this is not a Hells Angles event. The group is extremely well organized and polite. I am proud of Arlington for doing such a good job of hosting the event! The sounds of the bikes is the sound of FREEDOM! You can mark those living near I-66 as those who also get the privilege of hearing and welcoming the riders as the approach town!

    • Bluemontsince1961

      I live about one and a half blocks from I-66 and every year I hear them. Doesn’t bother me very much, since by Memorial weekend, the windows in my house are closed and the A/C is on. A lot of the residents in neighborhoods near I-66 crossovers (Sycamore St, Potomac St, Ohio St, Patrick Henry Dr, Jacksonville St. pedestrian bridge, Harrison St, etc) gather to cheer them and wave flags every year. I just accept it as another annual event like the Cherry Blossom Festival or everyone setting off fireworks on July 4 and New Year’s.

      • doodly

        Some of us don’t want to sit inside all day and night on Memorial Day weekend though.

        • Wwwwwaaaaaahhhhhh!

        • GonnaRideRightPastYourHouseALOT

          Don’t, come out and show your support!

    • rossl

      it’s definitely not a privilege. bikes are not the sound of freedom. and it’s not just those near 66 who are disturbed.

    • Tavola

      Hey GonnaRideRightPastYourHouseALOT – I don’t come to your neighborhood and disturb the peace both with loud noise AND by bringing a few thousand people with me.

      I support their peaceful “F” you to the government but they should do it by not paying their income tax – not by taking over the streets on their dangerous noisy bikes.

      • You know you live like 3 miles from the nations capital right?

        Those pesky political events, you know… like inaugurations and stuff must really seem useless, huh?

        Did you really think you’d like in one the most important cities in the country, if not the world, and not have a few extra people around from time to time?

        But I’m with you….. if not paying my taxes was a legal as riding my bike….. I assure you, I’d have a few more $’s to spend on another bike or two! ๐Ÿ˜›

        • doodly

          When’s the last time an inauguration woke you up in your home several miles away?

          The bikes ride around town all day and night. That’s my one, and only, complaint. Ride all you want, protest all you want, but the noise sucks.

      • You don’t go to his neighborhood because he probably didn’t choose to live right next to the Nation’s Capitol, where events like this have happened for decades or centuries. Surely you’ve not been around longer that that, so perhaps your choice of where to live should be questioned.

        • brif

          yes, events like this have happened for decades or centuries. In my experience the Rolling Thunder riders treat locals/residents with less respect and consideration than any other group of visitors. also, they show even less courtesy on the roads than commuters from maryland.

          • Do they treat locals with less respect than locals give riders? Maybe the relationship is adversarial for a reason. Personally, I’ve had some nice conversations with folks who’ve ridden in past events so I don’t see it so much.

          • PhilL

            Yeah, I’ve always had good interactions with the riders I have met. Probably because I treat them like normal people and don’t bitch and moan about noise.

          • doodly

            Being adversarial toward innocent bystanders backfires. Look at this thread for an example.

          • Arlington, Northside

            I have to STRONGLY disagree with you. These guys (and a few girls) are some of the most polite folks around. They clean up the Pentagon Staging area themselves when they are done, unlike the hordes that made a huge mess on the Mall during the Inaguration. They are also very considerate on the road, unlike the crowd that took over the Mall on Jan 20 of last year and those that will visit on the 4th of July this year. Anyone that complains about these Riders, have not really meet or hung around them. These are guys that take off their hats when they enter the Capitol when they tour it this coming Friday and next Tuesday, these are the guys that have the utmost respect for our Nation and what we stand for. This is NOT Bike Week. This is a gathering of folks that are paying respect to our fallen and our missing, they just happen to be doing it on motorcycles.

          • jjbug

            Your comments are beautiful but the final sentence needs something else. These are people who relish the opportunity to state their beliefs by pushing the controls on their motorbikes. It sets them apart as supporting respect for the friends they have lost in wars they are not sure were worth those losses. I would encourage you to state that they choose to do this on motorcycles – Is it the noise or the challenge against cars, trucks, bikes and pedestrians that you object to?
            They have been tested before and still lost comrades. Why challenge them to identify what was wrong before and attack that specifically? The noise satisfies the grief they have experienced: we need to respect that more than interruption of normal life by the noise of motorcycles. If you suffer grief, you need to find an outlet that releases the grief in your soul. The motorcyclists present remind all of us of the difficult choices we had to make some years past and will face again.
            Do we have safeguards for those picked to serve in our services now?

          • brif

            Considerate on the road? Rolling Thunder people are the only DC area visitors disrespectful enough to take it upon themselves to block off OUR roads so that they can drive through. Considering my only encounters have been getting cut off by them on 395 or 66, i have no desire to meet or hang around them.

          • PhilL

            Have you complained to the County? They are the ones who block your roads off for the riders.

          • dynaroo

            I’d be glad to hang around with them if it didn’t require damage to my hearing.

    • CrystalMikey

      Correction: fighter jet noise is the sound of freedom…

      • Indeed it is. And part of that freedom is the freedom of assembly.

        • doodly

          Assembly is fine. Loud engine noise is not assembly.

          • I would guess the organizers of the event have a permit saying it is.

          • doodly

            I’m not saying it’s illegal, I’m saying it’s not necessary, and even counterproductive.

            I am not interested in hearing their message because it’s too damn loud.

    • doodly

      Extremely well organized, polite…and really friggin’ loud.

  • Well…. This will be my 4th year riding with my father who served as a Marine. JRDen is right, I’m not old enough, everyone is right, ITS LOUD…. but a few people are wrong….

    What Rolling Thunder is NOT…. it is NOT a memorial, it is NOT for you and it is NOT to pay tribute to anything.

    Read some history folks….. Veterans of the Vietnam era were not treated as hero’s like we treat our armed forces today. They were not given the respect, honor and tribute’s they deserved. There were no parades, no parties, no amazingly uplifting news stories….. they were spat on in the street when they got home, IF they got home….

    Rolling Thunder is one huge….. PEACEFUL “F YOU” to the gov’t that left them hanging.

    If you don’t like it… LEAVE!

    Its either that or continue to bury your head in the sand and pretend like the world is as peaceful and quiet as you think it is the other 51 weeks of the year.

    • doodly

      Hey, great. I agree with all that.

      Just turn down the volume.

      • Evil

        Garbage trucks are loud – should they stop coming through your neighborhood to collect your trash?
        Fire engines, ambulances, police cruisers are loud – should they stop coming through your neighborhood to save your loved ones and neighbors?
        Any large truck that has the reverse “beep beep beep” safety on their equipment are also loud – should they stop coming through your neighborhood to make repairs/improvements?

        I live in the Ballston area and am constantly hearing the noises of buses, dumpsters, construction trucks “beep beep beeping” in reverse for hours on end, fire engines etc… and I’ll certainly hear a lot of noise from the Rolling Thunder as well… BUT I chose to live in a city – this is the soundtrack of city life.
        There are many other noises besides this one weekend of the Rolling Thunder – put your earbuds on and listen to some Michael Bolten if you’d prefer!

        • doodly

          Garbage trucks are loud on my street for 30 seconds once a week and they take garbage away too.

          You don’t need to be loud all weekend to make a point about a war several decades ago.

          • You live in an urban area known for these large events! Go live in the country where nobody will come around if it has to be quiet all the time. I suppose the animals, frogs, and insects would make too much noise then.

          • proud

            No, I do not live in an urban area where these events happen for more than a few days a year, and only since the 1980s.

            The noise is excessive. It’s beyond what should be expected in our area. All your excuses don’t change that fact.

    • proud

      “If you donโ€™t like itโ€ฆ LEAVE!”

      Um, no. I live here, most of them don’t. I didn’t treat any Viet Nam vets poorly. Protest and complain and celebrate and all that all you want.

      Just do it a little quieter.

      • GonnaRideRightPastYourHouseALOT

        I’ll be sure to pass on the message…… “its ok, just quieter”

        not sure if they’ll hear me over all the loud bikes though ๐Ÿ˜›

    • jade521

      So true…

    • TGEoA

      Since you weren’t old enough to fight in Vietnam, maybe someone will spit on you as you ride by so you can get the full experience.

      • GonnaRideRightPastYourHouseALOT

        Ever see what’s left of a person after 250,000+ motorcycles ride over them…..

        I dare you to find out! ๐Ÿ˜›

        • Eponymous Coward

          I am certain that the deceased would be proud when you honor their memory with insinuations of violence. Good show, sir.

          • GonnaRideRightPastYourHouseALOT

            In the same spirit of maturity….. he started it!

            And the way I see it….. if you spit on someone in the street during a peaceful protest…. you deserve to get your a** beat and ever military man in my family, alive or dead would support me on that one too!

          • doodly

            I’ve never wanted to spit on a military man. Loud bikers are another story though.

          • MayorOfWestover

            Well, you will have your chance this weekend. Get back to us on how it went, OK?

          • GonnaRideRightPastYourHouseALOT

            I double dog dare you! ๐Ÿ˜›

        • TGEoA

          Most of those vets are driving tricycles now.

          • GonnaRideRightPastYourHouseALOT

            I bet they’d still kick the living daylights out of you too! ๐Ÿ˜›

            Look, I’m not advocating violence….. but keep it on an even playing field… we’re riding motorcycles and making noise…. if you don’t like it, the proper response is to ban it. Pass a law against it. Maybe even have an anti-noise and motorcycle rally where everyone just walks around and play the “lets see who can be quiet the longest” game.

            TGEoA, why don’t you start right now and show us all how its done. ๐Ÿ™‚

          • TGEoA

            I could care less about the noise and rolling thunder. They come and spend money and then leave. Good for them.

            If a punk rode by my street just to annoy me or my neighbors, then I’d treat them like a punk. And spitting would be the least of your concern.

    • thank you for posting this. i am not old enough to remember the vietnam war. my father was in school, so did not serve. but i work in healthcare and have many patients who are vets (of multiple wars), and i also have friends who have ridden in rolling thunder. it wasn’t until the first year i knew someone riding with her boyfriend (neither of whom were old enough to have been in vietnam during the war) that i really learned about what rolling thunder was, and i watched from in front of the air & space museum – it was really great to see everyone standing and cheering, families, tourists, students, professionals, a huge range.

      yes, i understand that motorcycles are loud. i live across the street from a bar, and when people are idling on their bikes after last call on a weeknight, it’s irritating. but this is not noise for the sake of noise. it’s a tribute and a celebration. instead of complaining about the noise from inside your house, go out, in arl or even downtown, and watch with the crowds.

      • GonnaRideRightPastYourHouseALOT

        You’re very welcome…. hopefully we’ll see you out there!

    • Sarah

      If it’s an “F” you, to the government, why come here when Congress is closed and most of the town is on a four-day weekend? Wouldn’t it make more sense to meet with members of Congress and the government to civilly discuss your concerns, rather than holding a bike rally during a weekend when no one in power is around?

      And as a resident here, I don’t like being told that you’re here to “F” us. That’s just rude. Don’t tell us to leave our homes just because you want to come here to be rude.

      • Arlington, Northside

        A lot of them DO have appointments with their Members of Congress on Thursday and Friday this week, and many are sticking around until Tuesday to meet too.

  • I can’t believe all the whiners here. Some of you are proud to say how great it is to live in Arlington. You tout low tax rates, great schools, and a generally good place to live. You are proud of the great neighborhood near the Nation’s Capitol. But you whine that people come to the area to celebrate this country? Oh, that’s right. We have a bunch of residents who also don’t want any commuter to come through town. I guess that applies to motorcycles too. Yet, we’ll stand God knows how many people deep in a line at the overcrowded Taste of Arlington. Give me a break.

    • Bluemontsince1961


    • Eponymous Coward

      Just so I’m clear…

      noisy bikes = good
      noisy artillery = good
      noisy kids in brown flip flops and torn jeans = bad
      noisy latinos = very bad, because they’re probably illegals

      Do I have that right?

    • doodly

      Nobody is complaining about people coming to the area to celebrate this country.

      Just people who come to the area to celebrate this country REALLY REALLY LOUDLY.

      Get it now?

      • Nope. Again, have you been in this area longer than Rolling Thunder has been an event each Memorial Day weekend? If not, you’ve moved to an area where a known noisy event occurs each year. You may not like it, but it was your choice to come here. If you have been here longer, then I can see you wanting to reflect upon the old days. We then can discuss change…

      • Evil

        If you don’t like the noise of all these supporters driving through Arlington, CC, Etc to get to their DC destination – how about you fund a large fleet of trucks and trailors to load up all the bikes and drive them into the DC limits… then your precious ears won’t be inconvenienced for a few moments out of ONE weekend.
        OR – you could stop complaining and whenever you hear the sounds of the motorcycles coming through your neighborhood, take a moment to be thankful for what you do have.

        • Curious George

          Actually there will be groups of motorcycles roaming all over Arlington all weekend. If it was just one procession that would be pretty cool and fun to watch. Sort of like the occasional Arlington Cemetery missing man formation or a Guard F16 going by.

          The group driving by my house at 0200 is not so cool.

          • Evil

            It’s ONE weekend – Get over it!
            And per my statement to another complainer on here:
            Garbage trucks are loud โ€“ should they stop coming through your neighborhood to collect your trash?
            Fire engines, ambulances, police cruisers are loud โ€“ should they stop coming through your neighborhood to save your loved ones and neighbors?
            Any large truck that has the reverse โ€œbeep beep beepโ€ safety on their equipment are also loud โ€“ should they stop coming through your neighborhood to make repairs/improvements?

            If you chose to live in a city โ€“ this is the soundtrack of city life.

          • PigPen

            Evil, that is such a —— argument. For one thing, all of the loud pieces of equipment you describe are performing necessary services, which I pay for with my taxes. You can also think of that as “baseline noise”, which happens all day every day.

            Baseline noise is unavoidable and can be annoying enough at times, so it’s even more annoying when people have to be subjected to gratuitous unnecessary noise on top of it. There are lots of ways to get your jollies and be a part of something that don’t involve carting your rear end around on a loud belching deathtrap just so you can artificially inflate your ego and annoy everyone in the process.

          • Please refrain from personal attacks.

          • Evil

            “There are lots of ways to get your jollies and be a part of something that donโ€™t involve carting your rear end around on a loud belching deathtrap just so you can artificially inflate your ego and annoy everyone in the process.”

            Yeah… cuz that’s what Rolling Thunder is all about!
            Do some research!

            Next thing you know, people will want to ban fireworks too – cuz they’re too loud and it’s late at night.

    • MC 703

      Maybe I am naive but I was looking forward to sitting on my balcony over 395 and watching all the bikes go by. I must be because apparently my first thought should have been “gosh what did I do to deserve this terrible fate??”

      I’m tired of all the whining on here. A bunch of self-entitled complainers. Cannon fire on weekday mornings and helicopters flying over your house? You live in Arlington within a few miles of DC. If you want tranquility go live out in rural PW County. Then you’ll probably complain about hunter’s rifles and noise from the speedway or blasting from the quarry.

      • GonnaRideRightPastYourHouseALOT

        We’ll wave on the way past…..

        And trust me, after riding in Rolling Thunder for years….. I assure you, its a sight to see and you surely do have something amazing to look forward to!

    • doodly

      Yes, great schools, low taxes, and quiet most of the year.

  • CrystalMikey

    PS, how many of the people who doubt the complainers live anywhere near CC?

    • MC 703

      I don’t live in CC but I do live right next to 395. My balcony looks right out onto the hwy and because of the + shape of the bldg bikes, sirens and low-flying helicopters going North bound can make a tremendous amount of noise.

      But I do not complain and in fact enjoy helicopters flying so low that I can see the co-pilots’ faces.

  • My God, I don’t see any whiners about the noise the belly dancers made at the metro the other day. Geez…

    • doodly

      Now you’re just being ridiculous.

      • Really, all they did was disturb the peace by making noise and they weren’t even wearing belly dance outfits! How dare they assemble in space within my earshot!!!

        You are as dense as the Rolling Thunder is loud.

        • Curious George

          You really really really do not want to see most of the rolling thunder participants in belly dancing outfits.

        • doodly

          Now you’re being even more ridiculous. Seriously, give it up.

    • GonnaRideRightPastYourHouseALOT

      We should get some of them on the back of the bikes….. hmmmm…..

  • Proud bike rider

    I am a proud bike rider and a proud american. I dont live in Arlington, but I surely work there and I will be riding. Memorial day weekends happen all over the country. I guess those leaving because of the noise are going to sit in traffic on the bay bridge. Go figure. I suppose we shouldnt honor fallen police officers with a memorial here, because, thank god none died here. I guess we shouldnt have santa on a fire truck for your kiddies, because the siren keeps you up. Stop complaining or move! To gonnaridepastyourhouseALOT, let me know where to meet you so we can throttle up!

    • GonnaRideRightPastYourHouseALOT

      Heading to Battley Bikes in Gaithersburg, MD first….. Montgomery County PD leads up all the way down 270 and around the beltway to GW Parkway where Arlington County PD and Fed Park Police take over all the way to the Pentagon parking lot…..

      Its a GREAT ride!

      Here’s a video a friend we ride with made from last year: http://bit.ly/bb1hHH

    • doodly

      Hey, the “stop complaining or move” argument was bulls— back in the Viet Nam era too. Back then, it was “America – love it or leave it.”

      WTF were the vets fighting for? Certainly not that.

  • Shirl

    I agree that loud motorcycles can be very annoying at times. But I actually like hearing them over Memorial Day weekend. Makes me feel grateful.

  • JamesE

    I am being fairly hypocritically because the exhaust on my car is pretty loud but the sound Harley’s make (especially in large packs) is atrocious, where as my car’s sound is music to the ears.

    • Music to your ears, but likely not anyone elses. But, you are just passing by so the rest of us can tolerate it as we should the bikes.

      • JamesE

        true, but I also don’t go screaming by at 6000 rpm (until I hit 66)

        • The Arlington whiners should be complaining about you instead! They have to hear you every day, and the Rolling Thunder just on Memorial Day weekend!

          • doodly

            Ah, but you’d “whine” too if it were every day, wouldn’t you? Now you’re the whiner. Waaaaaa.

          • No, I said the Arlington whiners = doodly et al.

  • Proud bike rider

    Oh and to doodly. Change your name to doodie. There were hundreds of POWs/MIA’s that were left in Vietnam. Read your history. Even the government funded covert ops to get them out with no luck. Please know what you are talking about before you post.

    • doodly

      There may have been a few POWs left, but it’s highly unlikely. The stories have grown from the anxiety over not winning that war and the fact that we did not control the terroritory afterward to definitively look for them.

      MIAs, of course, by definition.

  • Steve

    There are no POW’s/MIAs. They changed the standard so that you coudl be known dead, but if you didn’t have a body, then you are listed as MIA. That means if your plane exploded, you were considered MIA, not KIA.

  • Steve

    Sometimes I wish the southpark kids were real. They did an episode on this once.

  • Bluemont Res

    This is a welcome event. It happens once a year. Get over it. All you complainers are like the people who move near an airport approach that has been there for years and then b!tch because its too loud and too many planes fly overhead.

    • Or next to a sewage plant and then create a stink that it smells.

      • MC 703

        +1 for the pun!

        Also gotta chuckle at that – I was looking for a temporary basement apt last year while waiting for my room mate to get off his lease. Checked a place out directly across from the water treatment plant on S Glebe. The owner had set up Glade plug ins through out the entire house. When I asked about the odor, she said “Oh that’s Garden Retreat isn’t it great!?”

      • BS

        Except that Rolling Thunder didn’t start until the 1980s.

  • Proud bike rider

    Thumbs up Bluemont Res. I have read Arlnow for some time about streets, fire department, government, restuarants, etc and I have never encountered so many misinformed complainers. This event will bring a large amount of money into YOUR community to include hotels, eaterys, your infamous Starbucks, etc and yet you want it gone all over noise. Raise your taxes and move Rolling Thunder to MD. That should take care of it!

    • doodly

      Keep your money. I’d rather have quiet.

      Seriously, I have no other problem except the noise. You’re welcome here. I support you. Just don’t ride around all day and night making so much noise. Don’t you people know about mufflers?

      • MayorOfWestover

        Have you even lived here more than 9 months??? They do not make noise all day and night. 99% of this weekend, you will not hear them. There is no reason to complain about them ruining your weekend. They won’t. Your bitter personality might though.

      • Proud bike rider

        Most bikes have mufflers! Maybe you should talk to the bikers and learn a thing or two. But wait, I will purchase a noise suppressor for my bike when I come to Arlington on Sunday. Loud pipes do save lives…proven fact.

  • Suburban Not Urban

    (I live 1 block off 66) For 1 weekend a year, I’m more than happy to deal with a bit of noise for folks that served or support those who serve to protect our freedom and help gift it to others. I’m much less happy with entitled whiners that close streets and remove lanes so they can tell me how I should live my life or commute to my job.

    • doodly

      Hey, a 2-lane I-66 was here first, if you don’t like it, move!

      See how stupid that argument gets?

    • Bluemontsince1961


  • MC

    Rolling Thunder is a Harley meet-up masquerading as a patriotic event. Even if it was originally about MIAs 25 years ago (why loud bikes ever needed to be part of it is unclear), it now attracts thousands of non-Vets who are simply joy riding and being fake by pretending to be a Vet.

    The Harley Davidson company should be ashamed to be commercializing national holiday like this. Rolling Thunder is not about Vets, it’s about Bikes. Obnoxious.

  • R. Griffon

    Can we get a cheese thread in here to go along with all this whine?

    Seriously. A neighbor who likes to constantly rev a loud bike (esp. in the am) is a problem. Bikes coming to town for an extremely brief and respectful observance ONCE a year? Not so much. If you wanna see loud and obnoxious, try going to Bike Week in Daytona sometime.

    I also find it nearly incomprehensible that people who live in the flight path of a major airport have a problem hearing motorcycles once a year.

    Some people.

  • “Some Gave All” so you can have the freedom and right to post these comments. If you have never stood along their route into DC while they go by and see all the everyone with their flags then come on down and participate. This is to honor to all who served or lost their lives for this freedom that you enjoy!

    • doodly

      Yes, thanks to the vets for the right to post these comments.

      That doesn’t mean we have to tolerate whatever they do, including their noise though.

  • Sarah

    You know what would honor our troops? Volunteering at a VA hospital. Visiting a wounded soldier.

    I fail to see how thousands of motorcyclists burning increasingly expensive fossil fuels honors troops/POWs. These cyclists should work in their communities to improve lives for veterans — many of them do, I’m sure — but working to help veterans is so much more meaningful than riding around town with your buddies, blocking traffic and creating excess noise.

    You all say you come here to remind the government not to forget about veterans and POW. Well, guess what — you picked a weekend when the government’s basically closed. Congress will be out of session, so no members of Congress will be around to see your rally. The president’s out of town. So will most senior-level government executives. Your work could be so much more meaningful if you exchanged your testosterone rally for a campaign to volunteer to help veterans, and then you scheduled meetings with your members of Congress to talk about all of the good you’ve been able to do. That will mean so much more than a herd of loud bikes rolling into town to annoy residents.

    Also, as a woman who lives in the Crystal City/Pentagon City area, I don’t feel very safe when Rolling Thunder comes to town. Lots of guys loiter outside the hotels on their bikes, and I’m tired of getting catcalled or whistled at when I walk by. No, I don’t want to come check out your bike. You bike stinks and is too loud. And when you take Metro, remember, you’re a guest in our town — abide by our rules. Don’t call me a bitch when I ask you to stand on the right so I can catch my train that’s pulling in. If you’re going to come to my town, block our roads, put out smog and pollutants when you park outside my apartment building and rev your engines, just remember that you’re only hurting your cause.

    • Well said.

      + 1 million.

    • MayorOfWestover

      Do you think they should cancel the National Memorial Day Parade because the government is basically closed? By your logic, there is not much point to having it. Think your examples through before you use them as arguments.

    • GonnaRideRightPastYourHouseALOT

      $20 says she’s drives a hybrid! I gotta pick on you a little……

      But really….. you’re right. Getting whistled at, made to not feel safe, and anything else of that nature is inappropriate, rude, uncalled for and unacceptable.I will even apologize on behalf of my friends and family that participate because I know that’s not what they think the event is about and it sucks that people would tarnish its reputation like that.

      I’m a straight up collared shirt wearing computer science corporate sell-out. Who happen to work and ride with quiet a few veterans and reservists who are respectful, mature adults who ride in an event like this to help draw attention to a situation we’d like to support.

      I would hope that, in all fairness, you give the rest of us a chance to prove the others are the minority. I’ve spend upwards of 8 – 9 hours in the pentagon parking like walking around, meeting people, taking pictures, running some video and talking to people….. and I really have met some of the most honest, intelligent and just all around good people.

      There are thousands up thousands of people, families with little kids, elderly, other veterans and tons of all lining the streets, carrying flags, high five-ing riders, each other….. it really is an incredible feeling to be in a crowd like that. You start to get a true sense of brotherhood and understand from the people around you. That’s your all American, that you all love being here and having the freedoms we have and you’re proud of our military AND the people who support them.

      Give a try, come out and see what all the noise is REALLY about. You just might change your mind about Rolling Thunder.

      • CarsSuck

        It originated as an event to honor Veterans, it seems to lately also be turning into an annual rally. No problems, whatever you want to call it. It doesn’t seem as loud as everyone makes it out to be. That’s lots of money being spent in the metro area hotels, restaurants, and businesses, that’s cool. Just please be respectful, tip your waitresses, and be mindful of revving your bike from 10pm-7am. I just can’t stand every other weekend when the occassional lone biker revvs his throttle around a casual dining crowd in Clarendon or Shirlington… announcing that the cool guy has arrived. Other then that, Rolling Thunder, make all the noise you want. Could be worse right?? At least we don’t hear Gunfire at night like in some areas not too far from here.

      • dynaroo

        Awesome! All that sounds great!

        As long as it’s not incredibly loud.

        Is it sinking in yet?

    • Westover

      Not sure that they really raise money for anything at the annual rally, but their are Rolling Thunder Chapters across the country that DO raise tons of money for injured vets and volunteer MANY hours.

    • Very good point about fossil fuels and waste. It’s worth more than a casual mention and it applies especially to truckers’ rallies.

      The phenomenon of Peak Oil might soon constrict these events, and the equally crass NASCAR phenomenon. I’ll bet few of these bikers understand that U.S. crude oil production peaked in 1970 at 9.6 million BPD and we can’t drill our way out of the decline (there’s a ton of emotional denial but the production/consumption net-energy math doesn’t work). One saving grace of motorcycles is their fuel efficiency, but that’s not the typical reason someone buys a Harley.

      As much as people like to protest, rising petroleum costs are really one of the best things to happen to America. Most economic growth has been based on cheap fossil fuels, and the system is too bloated to be sustainable without cheap oil. We are living on finite capital 100+ million years old. The party has to end and scale down. You can see direct connections between fuel prices and economic growth cessation. Notable times: early 70s, summer 2008 and spring 2011 (right now).

      People who celebrate a culture of noise, fumes and waste are superficial patriots at best.

  • Henry Spencer

    I’ve lived on Rt 50 for the past 16 years; to me Rolling Thunder is one of the signs summer is almost here. I see it as one of the things that makes Arlington a unique place to live.

  • Proud bike rider

    +1 trillion Henry!

  • Emily

    Can we please get maps of where the road closures will be (for this event, but really for all of the events that require road closures)? I am happy to try to find alternate routes when there are marathons, biking events, Rolling Thunder, and so on – but PLEASE PROVIDE VISUALS!!! I know that Virginia, DC, and Maryland are three separate entities, but it would be great if someone would put out a map (and not just the day-of) of where roads will be closed.

    • Westover
    • Westover

      Other than the Parade/Rally route to and through DC, they just do rolling road closures for the most part on this side of the river. Virginia State Police /Maryland State Police/U.S. Park Police will shut down roads to keep some of the persessions coming in from out laying areas together. Same thing they do for large funerals. Once a group passes, the road reopens. Some groups are pretty big, so I-395, I-66, Rt. 110 and GW Parkway might be shut down for a half hour at a time or so as the groups pass. This will start around 9am and be done by noon. Some of the ramps onto 110 from 395 will be closed until the rally kicks offs at noon and all of the riders have made it to the Memorial Bridge. It is really not THAT bad, they shut down more Arlington roads for the Marine Corps Marathon and for the Bicycle Races.

  • meh..

    wow…did I start this??

  • proud

    Announcement – me and a few thousand friends are going to honor our veterans by dumping trash in the streets of Arlington for 3 days. Anyone who complains is a whining traitor who hates veterans.

    • Proud bike rider

      Ok you and the one friend you have dump your trash. And on Tuesday, when the police and fire trucks cant get down your road, make sure you come on and complain about that as well.

  • Crystal Drive Resident

    The events and occasional noise don’t bother me…but not having access to my home does. The marathons and street festivals always allow us a way in or out of our building. Rolling Thunder seems to not care. This is not acceptable…nor is it safe for the residents that live there.

  • Noise isn’t just a problem in the places these bikers finally end up. It’s also perpetrated in small towns and hotels they stay in along their pilgrimage route. The same applies to the famous Sturgis rides.

    I was coincidentally stuck with Harley bikers in a series of hotels one year while traveling for work. They had no conscience about revving their engines at 5am when they KNEW people paid good money to SLEEP. But they’re the same people who’ll call YOU “disrespectful” for even looking at them the wrong way. Pure scum.

    They can talk all they want about “patriotism” and noble causes, but it doesn’t change their decibel terrorism one bit. And it’s obvious that many of them straggle on these rides for the parties and babe-getting. It’s way too much of a social event to just be for a cause. Get realistic.

    Bikers who knowingly disturb the peace with loud pipes are criminals, no matter how many excuses they invent. Too many of them are NOT reasonable people, just self-centered ego-trippers. We all know the type; a superficial “nice guy” until you question anything they do. Constant veiled threats of retaliation, etc.

    I apply the same criteria to ghetto bass-thumpers. I’d like to see both groups put on a trashy island where they can destroy each other’s eardrums and leave the rest of us in peace. Somewhere at least 50 miles off the coast would be ideal. Leave them there indefinitely.


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