How do bikes, field trips, and ice cream sound?

Great?

Greeeeaaaaat!

We’re looking for a few super stellar, dynamic, fun-loving volunteers to assist with our action-packed, ice cream studded, adventure seeking BIKE CAMP!

Bike Camp runs from July 13 – 24 on weekdays. We ask that folks who are interested in volunteering commit to riding with us for at least two days, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day.

We’d especially love for folks who have youth development, teaching, or outdoor education experience to join us.

Still interested?

Sign up to come to Bike Camp Volunteer Orientation on Tuesday, July 7, from 6 – 8 p.m.!

If you have any questions, please email us at education@waba.org.

DC’s newest and safest bicyclists are at Benning Park

In the fall, we started the Benning Park Bike Club — an innovative afterschool program for youth at Benning Park Recreation Center.

This spring, we were happy to bring Bike Club back to Benning Park. Over six weeks, we rode with a group of engaged youth, taught safe bicycling practices and bike fixing strategies, and explored the neighborhood on our own two wheels. We rode over 10 miles, and our adventures culminated with a scavenger hunt and an ice cream party.

Below, meet some of DC’s newest and safest bicyclists.

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Special thanks to Jessie Webb, whose facilitation made this program possible, and to the DC Department of Parks and Recreation.

Want a bike club at your school, recreation center or youth-serving organization? We’d love to be in touch — email us at education@waba.org.

Ride Arlington with us this Wednesday!

Folks, our next Community Ride is this Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. in Arlington.

Sign up!

In each of our Community Rides, we explore a different topic related to riding in the DC area. This time, we’re discussing haulin’, which means carrying a lot of stuff on your bike.

We’ll talk about (and bring, so you can get a feel for how they work!) panniers, trailers, and other creative everyday biking solutions for hauling stuff from groceries to tents and sleeping bags.

For example: Meet my friend Will.

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Sometimes Will has to carry a lot of stuff on his bike. Sometimes he even has to carry a whole garden.

He attaches a trailer to his bike to get the job done.

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There are lots of ways to make your bike a good option to transport everything you need for your day. You don’t have to use Will’s way — you can make your own!

Join us on Wednesday to ride around Arlington, to air your deepest bike questions, to haul stuff, and to eat tacos!

See you there?

What we learned at the Family Biking Town Hall

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Back in December we took small steps toward something big. We hosted our first-ever Family Biking Town Hall where we met with parents, members of youth-serving organizations, WABA members, and community stakeholders.

We talked about making our work serve youth and families better, and we learned a lot.

The meeting resulted in the following recommendations to make our programming more inclusive.

In all our programming, we’ll cultivate more consciousness around scheduling at family-friendly times and choosing routes and event spaces that are appropriate for children.

In our outreach:

We’re pleased to offer more Family Biking Workshops with Kidical Mass this spring. The first one is this Saturday, May 2, at 10:30 a.m. at the Watha T. Daniel/Shaw Neighborhood Library.

Click here for more info. See you there?

With additional funding, ideas for future programming include:

  • Creating a neighborhood family bike ambassador program
  • Family-friendly community nights
  • Roundtable discussions with youth and family biking groups around the region to share best practices and develop ideas

In education, we learned that our stakeholders are interested in:

  • Afterschool bike clubs for youth
  • Classes where parents can learn how to ride with and alongside their kids
  • More ABCs of Family Biking events throughout the region
  • Summer Bike Camp

We’re happy to be implementing a number of those suggestions this spring. We’re leading an afterschool Bike Club at Benning Park Recreation Center through the month of May, and we’re partnering up with Gearin’ Up Bicycles to hold our first-ever summer camp in July. We hope that the summer and fall will bring more opportunities to plan ABCs of Family Biking events and to schedule inclusive biking classes for youth and families.

In planning large-scale events, we learned:

  • We should work toward including shorter, family-friendly ride routes as part of our large ride events.
  • We should work on diversifying our ride themes — think Tour de Playground and Cargo Bike Race. Youth and family-friendly theme ideas, anyone?
  • Making events accessible to all makes the world go around! More snack breaks, family-friendly start times, teen rides, off-bike activities, and childcare at events.

In advocacy we’re working on:

Teaching advocacy at schools and in afterschool programs

  • Creating traffic gardens and bike schools
  • Creating more bike parking at schools, libraries, and other institutions used by youth and families

With additional funding and resources, we learned that we should tackle:

  • Consistent wayfinding that highlights comfortable routes that are ideal for families
  • Trail advocacy that focuses on amenities for families
  • Holding advocacy meetings at local high schools
  • Including youth perspectives in testimony
  • Securing subsidized Capital Bikeshare memberships for high school students

And, we learned about all the existing Family Biking groups:

  • Black Women Bike DC: Workshops, rides, forum all year long
  • Kidical Mass Arlington: Family-friendly group rides monthly
  • Kidical Mass DC: Family-friendly group rides monthly
  • Kidical Mass Falls Church: Family-friendly group rides monthly
  • Kidical Mass Gaithersburg: Family-friendly group rides monthly
  • Kidical Mass Rockville: Family-friendly group rides monthly

We owe a big thank you to all the folks who participated in our Town Hall in December, and to those who filled out our Family Biking Survey. Because of your dedication, we were able to open an important discussion.

And don’t forget, next Wednesday is Bike to School Day! You can check here to see if your school is participating. If they aren’t you can still ride by yourself or with friends and neighbors.

Join the conversation by coming out to our Family Biking Workshop with DCPL this Saturday. Or sign up here to join our Youth & Family Biking email list. You can always drop us a line at outreach@waba.org. There are so many ways to be involved, and we’d love to have you on board.

 

Thanks for riding with us, Bethesda and Arlington!

Wow. Such excellent classes in Bethesda and Arlington this weekend. Here’s what they looked like:

Saturday’s City Cycling class in Bethesda

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City Cycling comes to Friendship Heights on May 3!

Claim your spot.

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Sunday’s Learn to Ride class in Arlington

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We still have space in our unsubsidized Learn to Ride class this Saturday, May 2, in DC.

Join us!

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Big thanks to everyone who came out on Saturday and Sunday. We are especially grateful to Bethesda Transportation Solutions and Bike Arlington for making these classes possible.

There’s lots of other exciting stuff happening this season. Check our adult education calendar for more class offerings and community rides coming up soon.

Hey Alexandrians! Hey Arlingtonians!

We have some super classes in your neighborhood this weekend.

This Saturday!

Fundamentals of City Cycling

  • In this class, we’ll learn confident control of the bike in all situations. You will use these skills every time you ride, guaranteed. This group goes for a ride on a nearby trail and learns about dealing with traffic, clear communication, proper use of trails, and the trail-to-road transition.

Confident City Cycling

  • The Confident City Cycling group learns advanced bike handling maneuvers. These techniques can get you out of some dangerous situations. This group goes for a ride on the roads and learns about bike infrastructure, lane control, communicating with drivers, and effective road behavior.

Jones Point Park, Alexandria, VA

Register now!

This Sunday!

Delores April 11 April 12 promo

Fundamentals of City Cycling

  • In this class, we’ll learn confident control of the bike in all situations. You will use these skills every time you ride, guaranteed. This group goes for a ride on a nearby trail and learns about dealing with traffic, clear communication, proper use of trails, and the trail-to-road transition.

Confident City Cycling

  • The Confident City Cycling group learns advanced bike handling maneuvers. These techniques can get you out of some dangerous situations. This group goes for a ride on the roads and learns about bike infrastructure, lane control, communicating with drivers, and effective road behavior.

Quincy Street Parking Deck, Arlington, VA

See you there?

Psst … we also have a Community Ride in Old Town this Wednesday, April 8. We’ll be riding all over Alexandria and learning about how to transition from open streets to trails to bike lanes and back again. And we’ll be filling our bellies with delicious tacos afterward. Come on out!

Fabulous Instructors

Some of these fabulous folks will be teaching.

Fall adventures with DC Youth Bike Clubs

This fall, we piloted Bike Clubs in two locations in ward 7, working with a group of 4th and 5th graders at Randle Highlands Elementary School and 9-14 year olds at Benning Park Recreation Center.

Bike Club is an afterschool enrichment program in which youth explore their neighborhoods on bikes and combine biking with academic and team-building activities.

The Randle Highlands Bikers and the Benning Park Smooth Riders (team names chosen by our students) rode all over town – we explored Anacostia Park, Fort Dupont, the Marvin Gaye Park Trail, and many parks and community centers in between. We learned about bike maintenance and journaled about our experiences, and braved the Hillcrest hills together.

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The Randle Highlands Bikers take a break near Fort Dupont park.

Last week I caught up with Jessie Webb, a recreation specialist and co-creator of Benning Park Bike Club. When Jessie approached us during the summer about the idea of starting an afterschool bike program at the rec, the timing was perfect, as WABA’s education department was hoping to pilot more youth enrichment programs around biking. Now, several months, many miles, meetings, snacks, and group rides later, we looked back on the program’s successes and challenges.

"My dream bike has boosters on the back."

“My dream bike has boosters on the back.”

WABA: Where did the idea to start a bike club come from?

Jessie Webb: It was one of my first days around the rec center, in the community, and I kept seeing young people using a lot of ingenuity and riding bikes that shouldn’t be ridden, riding bicycle trash. I thought it would be cool to engage them this way — and they really love bikes, so we started out fixing their bikes … [and afterward] I really wanted us to have a bike club and to ride. That’s when we started talking and came upon the idea of youth exploring their community on their own two wheels.

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Exploring the pirate ship at Anacostia Park.

WABA: I think you said once to me that this club – this program – engages the community in a unique way. Could you tell me more about that?

JW: I thought it was a novel concept. In that coming of age time, around 12 or 13 — in those years you’ve got enough freedom to branch out a little bit and you want to do that. [Bike Club] is also me walking with youth in a safe way and kind of doing life together. I’m really big on mentoring, but as you go along, not just sitting down and I’m lecturing, but living life together through shared experiences. I thought the bike thing was a great tool to mentor through, to select youth and to get to know the kids.

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DC Bike Ambassador Jon Gonzalez joined us for bike club in Hillcrest.

Also, I think the kids come [to the program], but it’s not like we serve them as much as it’s like they get to serve themselves. Because they are the ones riding the bike, a lot of the experience is self-guided, which I like. Even when they had to label different parts of the bike they had to figure it out themselves; the material wasn’t just spoon-fed to them.

They were really excited about it — all throughout the week kids will be asking about the bike club. I think this is a great way to engage youth in a very different way … I had a guy tell me who’s been with the rec for many years that this is the first time he’s ever seen someone do a bike club through the rec department.

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Benning Park Smooth Riders on the road.

WABA: What do you think the youth took away from the program?

JW: The bike safety piece is something that wasn’t even on their radar before this, and now it is. Little things that we covered, like the abc check, putting air in your tire, thinking to check your brakes before you ride around – I think some of the youth if not all will remember how important these things are. I also think that their level of riding has been enriched a little bit.

I think they have developed a love for biking, too. It’s probably already there with the lion’s share of the kids, but I think it’s going to grow through exercises like this, being able to be a part of this deal. It’d be great if we had some lifelong bikers develop, through being excited to be in the bike club and then having that hunger spurt on.

"My dream bike has eyes on it so it can see everywhere."

“My dream bike has eyes on it so it can see everywhere.”

Bike Clubs like these wouldn’t be possible without our excellent partner organizations and input from other educators. Big thanks to Darlene Ferguson and the faculty and staff of Randle Highlands Elementary School and Jessie Webb and the staff of Benning Park Recreation Center.

We’re also so appreciative of the advice and words of wisdom from Ryne Emory of The Bike Depot in Denver, CO and Liz Pisarcyzk of Neighborhood Bike Works in Philadelphia, PA, who offered their time and experience to help us develop this program.

WABA’s afterschool program will be back in the spring. Email us at education@waba.org if your organization is interested in hosting a bike club.

 

It was the last class of the season. We had a great time!

Last Saturday, we gathered in Silver Spring to celebrate something bittersweet – our last scheduled adult biking class of the fall season.

A chilly morning, but the weather cooperated with cerulean skies and sunny spots in which we warm up while we talked and planned our routes.

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Instructors Megan McCarty, Caleb James and Hamzat Sani got flexible to teach the instant turn.

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And then we practiced it together!

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We stopped and started and scanned and signaled and shifted:IMG_1715

And ended with a group ride led by Sam Mazur and Brenda Ruby, both veteran WABA instructors.

A big thanks to all who joined us this season for any of our adult education programming. This fall we brought our City Cycling curriculum and educational rides to 108 people. We also got 180 adults riding bikes for the first time ever, through our tremendously popular Learn to Ride program.

Finally, we expanded our course selection substantially, offering a brand spankin’ new set of educational rides which we plan to bring back in the spring.

In case you missed it! The last ride, Round, Round, Get Around, explored biking the dreaded DC traffic circles, and the lines we traced around the city looked something like this:

Round Round Get Around route for blog

Give it a try on your own if you missed our session on October 29.

Stay in touch with us through the winter, and happy riding!

 

 

 

 

 

We conquered Northwest’s toughest hills — you can too!

In case you missed last week’s fun, we’re posting the routes to the first of our education rides. Ride them on your own, and join us for the next ones!

Coming up on October 15:

Bike Lane Blitz

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This ride is about making sense of all that bike-specific white paint on DC streets. Ride the good, the bad, and the ugly of DC bike infrastructure with us — we’ll debunk myths, wax philosophical on questions both whimsical and specific, and at the end of it all we’ll seek solace at District Taco.

Tackle the first two educational rides on your own:

Ride # 1, Ch-ch-ch-changes

We rode from Northeast to Northwest and from protected bike trails to streets without infrastructure — and got a chance to look at some fall colors on our way. Click the map below to try the ride yourself.

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Ride # 2, Gotta Get Up to Get Down

We powered up to the highest natural point in the District and shot back down to Adams Morgan in time for food at Super Tacos — a neighborhood favorite where you can find WABA staffers most days during lunch.

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Read about our fall educational ride series here.