Takoma Bicycles gets a fresh look

WABA’s Business Members understand the importance of a community that bicycles. Their membership supports our advocacy, outreach, and education. Our business members are committed to a creating a healthy, more livable region and are adding their voice to a growing number of bicycle-friendly businesses supporting WABA. Today, meet Takoma Bicycles.

You know how you feel when you’re cruising down a protected bike lane? Wind in your hair (through your helmet, of course), smile on your face, not a worry to be bothered by? It’s pretty magical, right? That’s the beauty of design. Much like the layout of a street, the layout of a bike shop has the power to create the same effect as that protected bike laneleaving you with a smile on your face, and ready to start riding.

Bike industry veteran and Takoma Bicycles owner Bruce Sawtelle, has been thinking about bike retail since running around his father’s Schwinn shops as a kid. Bruce’s dad implemented the innovative retail model of Schwinn with a clean, well-lit and organized sales floor, and exceptional customer service.

But since the Schwinn retail revolution of the 1960s, not much has changed for shops. To drive that improvement, Bruce sends employees to retail training sessions each year. And as a member of the National Bicycle Dealers Association Profitability Project (a bike retailer group), Bruce has visited stores across the country to experience the best of various retail models.

Since opening Takoma Bicycles in 2010, Bruce has focused on welcoming all types of riders, from the commuter and the casual weekend rider to kids and families. In the spirit of innovation, Bruce wanted his shop’s layout and design to reflect Takoma Bicycles’ focus on customer experience.

Bruce worked with award-winning retail designers at 3 Dots Design in November 2017 to remodel his store. Some highlights are the new e-bike display, a remodeled kids accessory area, bright apparel section, signs for merchandise categories to orient shoppers, a brand new well-lit fitting room, and storage room that brings hundreds of helmet boxes off the retail floor. New elements clean up the small space and invite customers to stay, chat, and shop.

Whether or not you appreciate the intricacies of bicycle retail, you can appreciate a great bike shop experience, and Takoma Bicycles is worth a visit. While you’re there, make sure you say hi to Bruce who continues his father’s legacy and services the families and commuters in the lovely Takoma Park community.

Do you own, work for, or patronize a business that is a good candidate for our business membership? Help show your support for a bike-friendly region and WABA’s advocacy and get all sorts of perks, including your very own blog post! Details here.

Let’s make Veirs Mill Road better

Late last year, Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett announced his Vision Zero Action Plan, committing the county’s agencies to eliminating traffic fatalities and serious injuries in the county by 2030. On Thursday, the Planning Board will hold a hearing on its first contribution to achieving Vision Zero – the Veirs Mill Master Plan.

Send email comments in support

Sign up to testify

Veirs Mill Road, which stretches four miles between Wheaton and Rockville, is one of the county’s highest risk roads—five people died in crashes in the corridor in just two years.

The road is built for moving cars and not much else. Sidewalks are missing throughout the corridor, even next to heavily used bus stops. There are no safe places to bike. In most places, crossing the street requires darting across five lanes of highway-speed traffic.

The Planning Department wants to change Veirs Mill Road to slow drivers and protect people walking, biking and taking the bus. Among the many planning topics, the draft Veirs Mill Master Plan proposes dozens of Vision Zero recommendations including:

  • Build a combination of 2-way protected bike lanes, sidepaths and neighborhood greenways for a continuous, safe, and low-stress bicycle route,
  • Build continuous sidewalks on both sides of the road,
  • Implement the proposed Bus Rapid Transit plan for Veirs Mill,
  • Add trees and landscaping to buffer people from cars,
  • Add new traffic signals, refuge islands and protected intersections that give people walking and biking priority for crossing the road,
  • Remove high speed turn lanes,
  • And reduce the speed limit to 35 mph.

All of these recommendations are essential to transforming Veirs Mill into a safe road and a connected community. But the plan and its Vision Zero priorities need vocal enthusiasm to gain the support of the Planning Board and County Council.

Here’s what you can do:

  1. Get to know the plan. You can read the executive summary or the whole document here.
  2. Write comments in support of the plan and send them to MCP-Chair@mncppc-mc.org. Your comments can be broad or specific. Highlight the transportation and safety elements that are most important to you.
  3. Comments by email help a lot, but delivering them in person makes a huge difference. Sign up to attend Thursday night’s hearing and tell the Planning Board what you think of a safer Veirs Mill Road. Sign up to testify here.

That’s a wrap for the Vasa Ride (plus photos!)

On Saturday, April 7th, WABA hosted the Last Vasa Ride! Riders joined us for a wonderful spring ride and celebrated the, ah, “wonderful spring weather” with blueberry soup and meatballs at REI afterwards. It was cold, but the cherry blossoms in full bloom, Swedish treats, and vibrant community brought warmth to the day.

To all the riders that attended: thank you for supporting WABA! Like all signature rides, the proceeds from the ride directly fund the hard work that WABA is doing to make bicycling better for everyone in the region. Your support helps us advocate for better trails and more bike lanes. Thank you.

If you want to get more involved with WABA, sign up for our advocacy alerts, join us for a City Cycling class, or volunteer at a spring event. Otherwise, we’ll see you at the 50 States & 13 Colonies Ride in September!

We’ve collected some photos from the ride below, but, first, a final shoutout to our sponsors:

 

Crystal City BID takes Bike to Work Day to the next level

WABA’s Business Members understand the importance of a community that bicycles. Their membership supports our advocacy, outreach, and education. Our business members are committed to a creating a healthy, more livable region and are adding their voice to a growing number of bicycle-friendly businesses supporting WABA. Today, meet Crystal City Business Improvement District.

Beyond Bike to Work Day, how can businesses encourage more people to enjoy their business by bike? Longtime WABA Business Member Crystal City Business Improvement District (BID) is a great place to look for inspiration.

For the eighth consecutive year, the Crystal City BID is taking its Bike to Work Day celebration to the next level by challenging local bicyclists to commute all week long! Every morning from May 14th to May 18th, bicyclists are invited to stop by the Crystal City Bike to Work Week pit stop at the Stand in the Crystal City Water Park for snacks, coffee, and good old-fashioned encouragement. The stop will be open 7:00am to 9:00am, rain or shine.

The first 125 riders who visit the pit stop all five days will be rewarded with a custom Crystal City Cycling jersey (see below). Special dispensation is provided to anyone who volunteers at other Bike to Work Day pit stops and cannot visit Crystal City. Earning the jersey puts riders into a coveted community of bicyclists and conquering the Bike to Work Week challenge is the only way to obtain it—it’s not for sale.

“Be prepared for frequent trail head nods and fellow cyclist chit chats when sporting the Crystal City jersey,” said Robert Mandle, Chief Operating Officer for the Crystal City BID. “But our goal of building community amongst bicyclists extends well beyond the jersey with many friendships, partnerships, and love affairs with bicycling with roots in Crystal City.”

Interested in taking the challenge to commute by bike all week? Register online for the Crystal City Bike to Work Week pit stop and be sure to also sign up for the region-wide Bike to Work Day.

For additional information, visit www.crystalcity.org.

Do you own, work for, or patronize a business that is a good candidate for our business membership? Help show your support for a bike-friendly region and WABA’s advocacy and get all sorts of perks, including your very own blog post! Details here.

Speak up for better places to bike across the region?

How are you helping make DC a better place to bike this month?

We hope you’re out riding your bike, of course! But you can go a step further by attending an upcoming public meeting to support building new protected bike lanes across the city.

C St. NE Rehabilitation

Thursday, April 26 6:00 – 8:00 pm
Rosedale Recreation Center
1701 Gales St. NE

DDOT is nearing final design on a rebuild of C St. NE from 14th St. to 21st St. NE and parts of North Carolina Ave. The new design would drastically reduce speeding and includes protected bike lanes, shorter road crossings, and more green space. More info at the project page.

Connecticut Ave Streetscape in Dupont

Thursday, April 26 6:00 pm
Wework Dupont
1875 Connecticut Ave NW, 3rd Floor

Discuss ideas for a new bike and pedestrian friendly Connecticut Avenue streetscape between Dupont Circle and California St NW! This project includes a deck-over plaza from the Dupont Circle to Q St. Show up to make the case for protected bike lanes! Find more information at the project page.

Veirs Mill Road Master Plan

Thursday, April 26, 6:00 pm
MRO Auditorium
8787 Georgia Ave, Silver Spring
.

The Montgomery County Planning Department wants to change Veirs Mill Road to slow drivers and protect people walking, biking and taking the bus. Among the many planning topics, the draft Veirs Mill Master Plan proposes dozens of Vision Zero recommendations including:

  • Build a combination of 2-way protected bike lanes, sidepaths and neighborhood greenways for a continuous, safe, and low-stress bicycle route,
  • Build continuous sidewalks on both sides of the road,
  • Implement the proposed Bus Rapid Transit plan for Veirs Mill,
  • Add trees and landscaping to buffer people from cars,
  • Add new traffic signals, refuge islands and protected intersections that give people walking and biking priority for crossing the road,
  • Remove high speed turn lanes,
  • And reduce the speed limit to 35 mph.

Agenda

21st & 22nd St. NW

Wednesday, May 23 6:00 pm
West End Library
2301 L St NW

This is the first public meeting for the 21st/22nd Street NW protected bike lane project. DDOT staff will share existing conditions findings and draft selection of three alignments to advance to 10% design. More information can be found here.

Here’s a DDOT flyer with more details

Biking & Walking in Regional Planning

Planning for easier walking and biking usually happens at the local level, but major decisions, affecting billions of dollars in transportation funds, happen at the region’s Transportation Planning Board. The TPB is updating its long range transportation plan, called Visualize 2045. For the first time, biking and walking connections to transit and trails could have a special focus in this plan! Attend a meeting to make sure biking and walking projects get the funding they need.

Rockville: April 26, 7pm
Executive Office Building
101 Monroe Street
Rockville, MD 20850

District of Columbia: May 1, 7pm
Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments
777 North Capitol Street NE
Washington, DC 20002

Arlington: May 2, 6:30pm
Arlington County Public Library
Central Library Auditorium
1015 North Quincy Street
Arlington, VA 22201

Fairfax: May 8, 7pm
Providence Community Center
3001 Vaden Drive
Fairfax, VA 22031

Learn more at https://www.mwcog.org/visualize2045/participate/

Put the Pedal to the Podcast

These days, podcasts are sort of a big deal. Especially since the breakout success of “Serial”—the 2014 true crime podcast from This American Life that explored a murder case in Baltimore in the Winter of 1999. Just four years later, podcasts are everywhere you look—oops, we mean listen!

Podcasts have become a way to consume news, learn new skills, connect with pop culture, and discover stories we might never have heard otherwise. If you aren’t familiar with podcasts, they are sort of like on-demand radio. Podcast topics can range from parenting to politics and everything in between.

There are even quite a few podcasts on bicycling! And here at WABA, we thought it was about time to explore some of the options.

Here are our favorites:

  • Shift Up Bike Podcast – This podcast is a new bike-industry focused weekly podcast where host Arliegh moderates healthy conversations to build a better bike industry!
  • The Bike Nerds Podcast – The Bike Nerds Podcast hosted on the OAM Network. The Bike Nerds is hosted by Kyle Wagenschutz and Sarah Studdard. Their podcast features community leaders, neighborhood advocates and urban thinkers on how bicycling makes cities better. They also nerd out on the aspects of their lives that influences their life on two wheels.
  • We Got to Hang Out – This podcast is hosted by four friends living in the Portland who have been biking or working in the biking industry for nearly a decade. They gather to tell authentic stories of biking in a casual storytelling style.  
  • Breaking Bike – This new podcast by Lanespotter is all about urban biking. It’s about bike lanes, bike tech, and people who bike telling bike stories.
  • The Slow Ride Podcast – three former bicycle messengers from Minneapolis, MN gather for an unscripted conversation about the bike racing and culture.

Download ‘em and take a listen, and if there’s a bike-related podcast you love, let us know on Twitter (@WABADC) or Facebook.

Ride into spring with Silver Spring Social Rides

After a chilly winter, trees are getting greener and the air sweeter, meaning spring is finally here! And now that it is fun to be outside again, it’s time to go for a bike ride! Join WABA and the Bike Silver Spring community for a series of social rides to get back in the saddle, meet new friends, and get to know Silver Spring by bike. Rides are fun, free, and most are family friendly.

Earth Day Ride – Sunday, April 22

Celebrate our planet with a family friendly ride We will meet at Veterans Plaza at 10:00am in downtown Silver Spring, and ride up the Sligo Creek Trail to Wheaton Park. On the way back, riders will have the option to help “clean the creek” with Friends of Sligo Creek. The route is 14 miles round trip, mostly on trails and quiet streets. Register here.

City Cycling Class – Saturday. May 5

In a WABA City Cycling class you’ll learn bike handling tips and tricks that leave you feeling more confident, competent and comfortable, whether you’re riding on the brand new Spring St. protected bike lanes or on a hectic and busy street like Wayne Ave. Learn more and register here.

Silver Spring Art Ride – Saturday, May 12

Join us for Bike Silver Spring’s second Art Ride on Sunday, May 12. We will meet at 10:00am at Veterans Plaza and bike around Silver Spring at a gentle pace while learning about some of the public art you see everyday (and maybe a few you hadn’t noticed). We welcome bikers of all ages and skill levels to enjoy this guided tour of Silver Spring public art! The ride will be around 5 miles with many stops. Register here.

Bike to Work Day – Friday, May 18

Join the growing number of bike commuters on Bike to Work Day 2018. Stop by one of the 100+ pit stops in the region for food, prizes and the encouragement you need to get to work by bike.

Nearby pit stops include Silver Spring – Discovery Place, Takoma Park Downtown – Old Takoma, Takoma Park – Sligo Creek Trail and FDA White Oak. If you work in downtown DC, join a 7:00 am convoy from the Silver Spring or Takoma Park Pit Stops. Register for your free t-shirt and learn more at www.biketoworkmetrodc.org.

Memorial Day – Monday, May 28

Monday, May 28 is Memorial Day and streets near the Mall will be closed to auto traffic. Come ride from Veterans Plaza in downtown Silver Spring at 10:00 a.m. We will ride to Beach Drive in Rock Creek Park, and head south toward DC and the Mall (about 12 miles one way). After cruising the car-free streets in downtown DC, riders will then have the option to ride back the way we came, take the metro back home, or stay in DC for the Memorial Day festivities. Register here.

A Sweet Ride – Sunday, June 9

We know you love biking, but why not sweeten the deal a bit further? Join Bike Silver Spring on Sunday, June 9 at 10:00 am for a casual ride through downtown Silver Spring and Takoma Park with stops at several local shops for some delicious sweet treats. Register here.

Bike Safari (Zoo Ride) – Saturday, June 23

Let’s go bikin’ now (everybody’s learnin’ how). Come on a safari with me! Join our pack when Bike Silver Spring rides to the National Zoo on Saturday, June 23! We will meet at Veterans Plaza at 10:00am, ride about 7.5 miles thru Rock Creek Park, and then enjoy a couple hours at the zoo. You’ll have the option to bike back, take the metro, or continue your own adventure from the zoo! Register here.

Rides are made possible thanks to support form the Montgomery County Planning Department’s Silver Spring Placemaking Initiative.