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Good Times Roll At D.C.'s Annual Inertiad

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Eileen O'Toole (left), Patrick Shaughness (center) and Michael Dolan at the 2011 Inertiad in Northwest D.C. The annual event celebrates the Law of Inertia.
Jessica Gould
Eileen O'Toole (left), Patrick Shaughness (center) and Michael Dolan at the 2011 Inertiad in Northwest D.C. The annual event celebrates the Law of Inertia.

By Jessica Gould

One group of D.C. residents likes to kick off the New Year by doing as little as possible. Michael Dolan says he'd rather let the law of physics do all the work.

"Are you ready?" he asks. "Push off with your weak leg and let it roll."

Dolan founded the Inertiad 16 years ago as a tribute to the Law of Inertia, "which says that an object in motion tends to remain in motion, while an object at rest tends to remain at rest."

Here's how it works: People on wheels –- usually bicycles –- roll down a hill, competing to see how far they can go without pedaling. Patrick Shaughness won this year's race by coasting a little more than a mile.

"If you participate in the Inertiad, you can say at least on one day that you've biked every day this year," he says.

Plus, Shaugness says, it builds momentum for the year to come.

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