Meet Jonathan Oliver, our new Education Coordinator

Hello! I’m Jonathan Oliver, WABA’s new Education Coordinator responsible for running our adult education programs serving adults in the DC/MD/VA metropolitan region. I’m excited to join WABA’s mission to improve bicycling in our area. My primary goal is to help both new and current adult riders achieve their riding goals while having fun and being safe.

About me: Riding BMX bikes as a kid with my neighborhood friends was when I first understood the sense of community, freedom, fun, and health benefits that bicycling can provide. I’ve always been interested in learning, helping people, and solving problems so it seemed natural to share knowledge through bicycle and fitness-related organizations and activities. Before coming to WABA, I worked in research & development engineering and program management. My focus was always learning and doing new things that might help people. For several years I’ve been an active volunteer with bike organizations, including WABA, doing rider and Ride Marshal training, working with newer riders to achieve their goals, developing and executing ride events, and pretty much anything bike-related. You’ll find me on everything from casual social rides and bike commuting to faster-paced long distance rides.

Looking ahead: Imagine if everyone that wanted to ride could ride? If every rider had the comfort and skill level that they needed to safely ride on streets and trails? If every driver was safe and friendly to bicycles and always shared the roads? To help achieve these visions, I’m working with WABA’s excellent team of instructors to help adults learn to ride bikes and all riders to ride safely and comfortably on city streets, suburban and rural roads, trails, and while bike commuting to and from work. My efforts include planning, coordinating, and implementing several key WABA programs such as our Adult Learn to Ride classes, City Cycling classes, Community rides, Everyday Biking seminars, Bicycle Friendly Driver seminars, and other great offerings. I’m also working to bring bicycle education to areas not already served, identifying areas of need, and helping to implement effective programs to meet those needs.

There’s a lot of work to do and a lot of biking fun to be had. If you or someone you know wants to learn how to ride, improve riding skills, and generally have fun on two wheels in a safe and supportive environment, please contact us at education@waba.org. Hope to see you on two wheels!

Free bike wash

Boooooo rain

Well the good news is that Friday is looking like it won’t be too hot. The less good news is that it will probably rain. But let’s not let a little H2O dampen the best commute of the year!

Pack a raincoat and don’t miss Bike to Work Day 2018! More pit stops, more bike lanes, more brightly colored t-shirts than ever before, and other great goodies.

sign up today!

Bike to Work Day a big bike party with thousands of your bike friends before work! Plus, it’s the best day of the year to renew your WABA membership! (If you get a head start we won’t be mad.)

We want to celebrate you for choosing to ride. Whether you ride once a year or every day, stop by for a high five.

sign up today!

NOTE: If you’re a regular bike commuter, and you are as excited as we are about making sure all the folks trying it out for the first time have a great experience, consider volunteering!

ALSO: Alas, rain is not a particularly good way to wash your bike.

Meet Elijah, our new Operations Coordinator

Greetings!

I’m Elijah Minter, the new Operations Coordinator here at WABA. My introduction to the organization was this past summer as a Bike Camp! counselor. Prior to Bike Camp, I’d heard of WABA, but didn’t know a lot about what they did. After spending half of the summer biking around the city with a bunch of 8 – 14 year olds, I thought I had a better idea. Seeing some of those kids go from biking around their neighborhood to biking 20 miles in one day, or feeling confident navigating city traffic, was pretty awesome. Programs like Bike Camp! are educating and encouraging the next generation of bicyclists.

Growing up, my family mostly lived in the suburbs or on the outskirts of the city. My parents weren’t too comfortable with me riding in the street, so I didn’t do much biking in the city until a few years ago. Now I love biking around the city! I love the adrenaline rush, the stress release after a long day at work…I’m making up for lost time.

My family relocated to Tennessee when I was about 16. While there, I worked at a christian camp during the summers as a biking instructor. After I moved back to DC in 2014, I began searching for ways to get involved in the community and meet new people.

I started volunteering with a bicycle repair co-op to hone my repair skills and get plugged into the cycling scene. I started out riding Capital Bikeshare, but soon I was searching Craigslist for my own set of wheels. I found an early 70’s Raleigh Grand Prix that I fixed up, and well, the rest is history.

It’s been really exciting for me to witness the expansion of the biking infrastructure in DC since I was a kid, and to see the growing number of people who choose to bike.

Most of my cycling adventures happen in rush hour traffic or while dodging tourists on the mall, but I’ve done some trail rides and I plan to do many more. I really want to try bike camping and do some touring. In short, I love bicycling! I’m really excited to be a part of WABA and I’m looking forward to our continued growth.

See you on the trails!

We’re hiring a Communications Coordinator.

 

Can you write a good subject line? Find the emotional core of a technical policy document? Build just the right audience for an advocacy action?

The Washington Area Bicyclist Association seeks a talented and enthusiastic writer and editor with a rich understanding of modern advocacy tools and strategy to join our communications department.

The WABA Communications Team:

  • Ensures that high quality, actionable, relevant content gets to members, supporters, the press, and the public.
  • Provides communication strategy and implementation support to our internal departments.
  • Maintains a consistent, appealing brand across all WABA platforms—digital, print, and in-person.

Communications Coordinator Responsibilities:

Writing and editing: Create and edit engaging, relevant content about WABA’s work.

Team support: Support content, press, design, and social media for the WABA’s Advocacy, Programs and Fundraising teams.

Social Media:

  • Provide quick, relevant, and friendly responses to social media enquiries.
  • Monitor relevant ongoing social media conversations
  • Ensure that WABA content is broadcast on social media channels

Press Relations:

  • Write, edit and distribute press releases and media advisories.
  • Direct press inquiries to appropriate staff and occasionally field them.

Communications Calendar: Manage a communications calendar to keep WABA’s audiences informed and engaged, but not overwhelmed.

Design: Occasional graphic content development consistent with WABA’s visual identity.

Newsletter: Project manage and edit WABA’s quarterly print newsletter.

Qualifications:

  • Excellent writing and editing skills
  • Experience working with
    • A CRM database
    • An email marketing platform
    • WordPress or similar CMS.
    • Microsoft Office / G-Suite (Gmail, Drive, Docs, Etc.)
  • Project management experience – particularly related to content creation and publication
  • Working knowledge of HTML and CSS.

Useful (but not required) skills:

  • GIS / mapping tools
  • Adobe Creative Suite
  • Photography
  • Video and editing
  • Professional social media experience

Benefits:

  • Full-time employment.
  • Expected salary range is $38,000 to $41,000
  • Work at the WABA Office in Adams Morgan, Washington, DC.
  • 100% employer-paid health, dental, and vision insurance.
  • Generous vacation, sick and personal leave.
  • Committed colleagues and a fun working environment.
  • Participate in a 403(b) retirement program after one-year’s service.
  • Optional voluntary accident and disability insurance programs.

About the Washington Area Bicyclist Association:

Making bicycling better through advocacy and education, the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) promotes biking as a healthy, low-cost, and environmentally-friendly form of transportation and recreation. With 6,000 members region-wide, WABA serves bicyclists throughout the Washington, DC Metropolitan Area, including the District of Columbia and parts of Maryland and Virginia.

Contact:

Send a cover letter, resume, and two professional writing samples to jobs@waba.org with Communications Coordinator in the subject line. If you have design experience, feel free to share a portfolio as well.

No phone calls please.

Position available immediately. Applications accepted until the position is filled.

WABA is committed to providing equal employment opportunity for all persons regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, marital status, arrest record or criminal convictions, political affiliation, sexual orientation or gender identity, disability, sex, or age.

Tips for Bike Light Season

It’s bike light season again!

Lights are one of the most important safety features on your bike. If you don’t have lights, get some lights! You can buy a good set of front and rear lights at any bike shop, most hardware stores, or your preferred online retailer. If you can’t afford lights, let us know and we’ll help.

lights-101

Light tips

  • Keep a spare battery or a charger at work or in a little bag on your bike.
  • Make sure you have lights that meet your needs:
    • If you’re likely to be riding on an unlit road trail, make sure you have a light that’s bright enough to let you see where you’re going.
    • If you’re just riding on city streets, a small blinking light is probably enough.
  • When you’re riding on a trail, be aware of the angle of your front light. Modern LEDs can be quite bright, and you don’t want to blind on coming trail users.

front-light-good-angle

front-light-bad-angle

Note: WABA gives away thousands of bike lights every year. We’ve found that we can get more lights into the hands of folks who don’t already have them if we do not announce times or locations in advance. Instead, we seek out places where we see lots of people riding without lights. If you see us out there, say hello! Pick up a set of lights only if you need them.

 

Thank you!

If you’re one of the more than 500 people who joined WABA or renewed their membership this week, THANK YOU!

Whether you became a new member, renewed your commitment to WABA, or tweeted for #wabasockwednesday, your passion for our organization has really shown!

If you’re a new member, we are excited to help you find your bicycling community! If you’re

Thank you again for participating in WABA’s Membership Drive this year, and we hope to see you soon!

Something looks different around here

We are excited to share a new logo with you!

Thanks to generous pro-bono consulting from the Taproot Foundation, we’ve spent the past year researching and developing a visual identity that’s better aligned with WABA’s work.

WABA is committed to being friendly, to being inclusive, to being diverse and to ensuring that everyone’s experience on a bike is a happy one. Whether you are just learning to ride, taking kids to school, commuting everyday, training for a race, or exploring the trail network on sunny weekends, you are welcome at WABA.

We believe the work we do reflects these values, but we’re not sure our old logo does anymore.

Here are some of the design considerations we’ve been trying to balance:

Recognizable types of people and bicycles: One of things that we celebrate in this organization is that lots of different kinds of people ride lots of different kinds of pedal powered devices for lots of different reasons. We want to make sure we’re not sending a message that we only work on behalf of a certain type of bicyclist. In the constrained space of a logo, that means that specificity is very hard to separate from exclusion. As a result, we decided to focus on more abstract shapes that evoke people and bicycles rather than rely on explicit representations.

Gravitas and approachability: WABA provides a wide variety of services and programming to a number of different audiences. One of the core tensions in this design process has been creating an identity that is compatible with both the gravity of our policy work and the joy of our learn to ride classes and street corner outreach programs.  

Geography: WABA is a geographically bounded organization, but the entirety of region we represent doesn’t have a easy visual signifier. We are sensitive to being perceived as too District-centric, and also sensitive to the frustration that many regional residents feel at having our home conflated with the federal government. In the end, we decided that since our audience already lives here, and since the name of the organization includes our geographic focus, we didn’t need to prioritize location in the logo.

So, without further ado: (Drumroll)

Here in the office, there’s a common typo that we can’t help but take personally. We’re the Washington Area Bicyclist Association, not Bicycle Association. It speaks to the core of WABA’s identity. We’re an organization of people, not machines.

So that’s why we’re thrilled to have a logo that contains a community of people, hands raised, united by the desire to move bicycling forward. We hope you like it as much as we do.

Now, the important question:

When can I get a t-shirt?

So glad you asked! Stay tuned for our Fall 2017 Membership Drive, starting 10/16.

Help DDOT make dockless bikeshare a success

mobike

You’ve probably noticed.

The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) has begun a pilot allowing dockless bikeshare companies to introduce a small fleet of bikes in the District. From now through April 2018, DDOT will evaluate the benefits and impacts of dockless bikeshare, and develop appropriate regulations for allowing these systems in the city.

Unlike Capital Bikeshare, dockless bikeshare does not rely on fixed docks to check out and secure bikes. Instead, users check out a bike using a mobile phone application and end their trip wherever it is convenient, within limits set by the government and the company.

There are opportunities and risks involved in allowing private bikeshare businesses to operate in DC. As the first of multiple opportunities for the bike community and the public to offer feedback, DDOT would like to hear your thoughts on:

  • The appropriate number of bikes, both aggregate, or for any participating company;
  • Bicycle parking requirements, including geographic distribution and rebalancing;
  • Data access and transparency;
  • Reporting requirements; and
  • Safety and education of riders

Feedback on the demonstration period’s structure can be submitted via email to publicspace.policy@dc.gov.

Dockless bikeshare has met with mixed results in other cities around the world. We’re working with DDOT and other stakeholders to make sure that as these programs move into our region, they are structured and regulated such that their success makes bicycling better and more accessible to more people. If you have experience or suggestions, please share them with DDOT at publicspace.policy@dc.gov.

Georgetown Branch Trail detour options during Purple Line construction

As you’ve almost certainly read, the Purple Line is moving forward.

The end result of this project includes a big win for biking in the region: a paved, grade separated trail from Bethesda to Silver Spring. But the construction phase will include unavoidable disruptions—the entire Georgetown Branch Trail from Bethesda to Stewart Avenue will be completely closed starting September 5.  It will remain closed for the duration of construction.

There are a number of workable on-street routes, many low-stress and relatively direct, but things get a bit complicated here because the town of Chevy Chase has so far refused to allow the county to sign a trail detour on its roads.

At present, the official signed detour is on Jones Bridge Road, which is a busy thoroughfare with narrow sidewalks and no bike infrastructure. If you’re a confident bicyclist*, it may be fine. If you’re not, it will be a stressful experience.

It is, of course, perfectly legal to ride on Chevy Chase’s neighborhood streets. Here’s one relatively low stress option that’s only about half a mile longer, and only slightly hillier. If you’ve got another detour you like, share it with us on Twitter or Facebook.

And here’s a map with a couple of detour options through Chevy Chase, depending on where your Silver Spring start/end point is.

We’re working with Montgomery County and the Town of Chevy Chase to improve the signed detour, and we’ll keep you posted.


* Sound good? Take a City Cycling Class!

DDOT trains contractors, utililty companies on how to work around bike infrastructure.

Matthew Marcou, Associate Director of the Public Space Regulation Administration at the District Department of Transportation, explains to staff from public agencies, utilities, and construction contractors how to properly detour the 15th St Protected Bike Lane.

After three years of work, The District Department of Transportation has released guidelines that advise Public Space Permit applicants how to properly accommodate bicyclists and pedestrians during construction or other road closures. You can read the guidelines here (PDF). These guidelines are one of the final missing pieces in the agency’s implementation of the Safe Accommodations element of the 2013 Bicycle Safety Amendment Act. 2013 may seem like a long time ago, but DDOT’s Safe Accommodations regulations are some of the most progressive in the country. Without other cities to use as models, the agency had to start more or less from scratch.

In addition to the written guidelines, DDOT developed several typical scenarios for construction teams to follow (below), and hosted the first of several live-traffic training sessions.

An illustration of how to properly detour bicyclists around work in a two way protected bike lane.

These trainings are a big step towards ensuring that bicyclists and pedestrians can move safely past the city’s ever present construction, and WABA is glad to hear that DDOT will hold more of them.

Is construction blocking your bike lane? Here’s our how-to on making sure contractors are following their Traffic Control Plan, and how to report problems.