We want to ride Alexandria with you on April 8

Last fall, we launched our first-ever Education Ride Series, and this spring we’re back with all-new rides in all-new places!

And we’re just in time. Capital Weather Gang says winter is over.

The bad news: You have no weather related excuses.

The great news: You can meet us in Old Town next Wednesday, April 8 for a transitions ride that will get you moving and grooving all over Alexandria.

mike let's ride

Sign up!

What are education rides? They are 90 minutes long, and usually around 5 to 7 miles in length. They’re a fun time, but they are also designed to be a safe space to ask questions, try some new biking techniques, and learn about local infrastructure.

They are each organized around a theme. Our April 8 ride is called “Escape from Old Town,” because we’ll be using trails, roads, and protected bike lanes to get out of Old Town, to Del Ray, and ride back again. Oh, and afterward we’ll celebrate with tacos at Los Tios Grill.

Come join us! It will be so much fun!

anica and tiffany bring a friend

The nitty gritty:

  • Ride start – the corner of S. Union St. & Prince St. in Old Town Alexandria
  • Start time – 6:30 PM
  • End time – 8:00 PM
  • Ride end – Los Tios grill, 2615 Mt. Vernon Ave.
  • Distance – approx. 6 miles

10 bucks for advance registration. As always, walk ups on the day of class are free.

Coming up later in April:

Claim your everyday superpower at City Cycling on April 11 and April 12.

Learn to ride for the first time and see DC United on April 18.

Ride Ch-ch-changes with us in Arlington on April 22.


Bike Ambassadors and Education on Hiatus in DC

Dani 1

The Green Trailer is taking a short break

As of January 1, 2015, WABA’s DC-based Bike Ambassador program and our DC education programs are on hiatus. The District Department of Transportation funds these programs through a contract with WABA, and our most recent contract ended at the end of 2014. This is not a sudden or unanticipated change, and we are confident that this break in programming will be short. We are awaiting the beginning of a new contracting process, and hope to be able to offer these programs again soon.

Our Virginia and Maryland programs are not affected, and all of our advocacy, outreach, and other work in the District will continue as planned.

Programs in the District affected by this hiatus include:

  • Bike KINDly outreach
  • DC Bike Ambassador trailers, light giveaways, and activities
  • Adult bike classes
  • In-school bike education

Nonprofit funding is cyclical, and contracting with government agencies takes time. Taken together, this means that there is sometimes a funding gap between the end of one contract and the beginning of the next. These gaps are frustrating but not unexpected. While these DC programs are shuttered, we hope the bike community will rise to the occasion, and ride in the spirit of our bike educators and Ambassadors! Help each other out, wave and smile, offer advice, be courteous and friendly, and make DC’s streets a great place to bike. We’ll come join you as soon as we can.

Please Note: This contract gap is not related to WABA’s year-end fundraising campaign, which was a great success! Thanks to everyone who contributed. We’ll have an update on that campaign soon. 


Hey. Come ride with us!

Take on the fall with WABA’s education ride series!

When it comes to learning about biking, nothing beats real-world experience, so we’re embarking on a series of four rides — each covering a different topic or theme that will help you get around the city.

Our rides are certain to be a good time, but they’re also a safe space to practice riding with people who live and breathe (and teach) this stuff every day. Come to tour DC, come to ride, come to ask any of your deepest, darkest, secret-est bike questions, and come to have fun.

Still not sure? Did we mention that each ride will end at one of DC’s premier taco establishments?

Click on a ride below to register — advance registration costs 10 bucks a person, but you can join us for free on the day of, providing we still have space. Bring a bike, wear your helmet, and read the fine print here.


First up, we have our Ch-ch-ch-changes Ride on Wednesday, Sept. 17th! This ride is all about preparing for what comes next when you’re on your bike. We’ll be riding from trails to roads, from bike lanes to open lanes, and from Northeast to Northwest, all while summer changes to fall around us. Get ready to reinvent yourself and change the way you ride!

Starts at 6:30 p.m. @ M Street NE, between 1st Street NE and 2nd Street NE, in front of the NoMa Metro station

Ends at 8:00 p.m. @ Taqueria Nacional (14th and T Street NW)

Every other Wednesday, we’ll be setting off to explore riding in DC. And these rides are just the beginning. Next year, we’ll have a whole new series!

Check ’em out:

On Wednesday, October 1st:

gotta get up to get down

And on Wednesday, October 15th:

bike lane blitz

And finally, on Wednesday, October 29th:

round round get around


City Cycling is a hit in Alexandria

Last Saturday, we kicked off the fall education season with our first City Cycling class of the season. We met Saturday morning in Jones Point Park, where the Mount Vernon Trail crosses under the Woodrow Wilson Bridge. After discussing the basics of helmet use and fit, and helping students get to know their bikes a bit better, our instructors set up a series of skill-building exercises.


Instructor Allyson Brown gives students the lowdown on brakes.


Instructor Sam Mazur showing off a Capital Bikeshare bike.

We believe confidence comes from controlling your bike in everyday situations, so we start with the basics and students progress from there. The exercises gradually get more complex and we try to mimic the situations and challenges riders may encounter on the roads and trails, all in safe and controlled space.


Students navigating the course during exercises.


A pair of students gets a feel for braking from behind the saddle.


Instructor Allyson Brown demonstrating an avoidance weave.


A student successfully pulling off the instant turn.

After a short break, everyone gets ready for a ride. Half the group took advantage of the Mount Vernon trail to practice safe passing, trail etiquette and communication skills before venturing out into a quiet neighborhood nearby. The other half explored Old Town Alexandria’s bike routes, rode alongside drivers, and even practiced taking control of the travel lane.


Instructor Brenda Ruby leads the group on the Mount Vernon trail.


You can never be too courteous when passing pedestrians on trails.


Taking the lane on Cameron St. in Old Town Alexandria.


Instructor Sam Mazur makes sure no riders get left behind.

When the riders returned, they were full of smiles and ready to turn around and get back out there! They left with new skills, more confidence, and a wealth of new information, helpful tips, maps, and guides. We know they’ll be out there riding well and helping other cyclists.

If you haven’t taken a City Cycling class yet, now’s the time! You can check out our upcoming fall schedule here. All classes cost $10 to reserve a space, or you can walk-up to any class for free. Riding a bike in the city is for everybody, come on out and get started!

Get the most out of your ride with WABA’s fall classes!


The Fall education season is here! Sign up for a class today. Image via Bike Barn Wallingford.

Well, the days are getting shorter and cool, delightful fall weather is coming soon — it’s going to be a great time to ride a bike!

We’ve scheduled six of our popular City Cycling classes between August and November. That’s six more chances to build confidence, have fun, and get around by bike — all with experienced instructors and other like-minded students.

City Cycling classes are divided by skill level, and each group learns different skills and focuses on unique aspects of city riding. We’ve got something for you, whether you’re taking your bike out for the first time in many years or you’re a seasoned road warrior.

We’ll cover dealing with traffic, trail use, trail-to-road transitions, bike handling, bike infrastructure, lane positioning, communicating with drivers, and good vs. bad bicyclist behavior. Most importantly, we’ll build confidence, have fun, and get around by bike.

Please use the links below to register for a session:

Saturday, August 23 in Alexandria, VA from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Saturday, September 6 in Alexandria, VA from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Sunday, September 14 in Arlington, VA from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. (Arlington County Residents only)

Saturday, October 5 in Alexandria, VA from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Sunday, October 19 in Arlington, VA from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. (Arlington County Residents only)

Sunday, October 26 in Washington, DC from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

You can reserve a spot in class for just $10, or you can walk-up to any class for FREE. Class registration is first-come, first-served. Each class has a ten-person waitlist. Click the links above for more details.

If you intend to use Capital Bikeshare for one of our classes, we can get your rental and usage fees waived. Just be sure to get a receipt from the Bikeshare kiosk.

Thanks, and if you have any questions, please email education@waba.org.

6 ways to be more confident on your bike

At City Cycling class we teach skills to build confidence and be ready for anything the road can throw at you. We don’t have any classes scheduled during the hottest part of the summer season (the month of July and early August), but we’ll return in full force mid-way through August. In the meantime, here are six ways to build confidence on your own — and to get ready for a city cycling class in the fall.

1. Confidence = Knowledge + Experience


She’s confident that you can be confident too! Image via pedallove.org

The more you know about riding (knowledge) and the more time you spend on a bike (experience), the better you’ll be able to handle yourself. You can find knowledge all over the internet or you can come to one of WABA’s City Cycling classes. Other options might include asking your friends or that one coworker of yours who rides everyday (you know who I’m talking about). Have a situation you’re curious about? Ask for advice on the forum or email us, we’re happy to help!

What’s more, you already have more knowledge than you think. Your experiences as a driver and a pedestrian will help you build confidence as a bicyclist. Remember the last time you drove a car or walked in the city? What did you see that made you nervous? Were you confident driving? Walking? Where did that confidence come from? And all of your biking experience is valuable, whether you were on streets, sidewalks, or trails.

Confidence gained:
Knowing that there are resources and people out there who can help. Your experience moving around the city has prepared you for biking.

2. Get ready the right way

standover right-wrong

On the left: confident standing. On the right: wibbly-wobbly. Images via MSU Bike Fit.

Stand over your bike. No, don’t sit on the seat, just stand over the top with the seat behind you. Good. Now use a foot (whichever one you prefer) to lift a pedal up and forward until it rests at a 45-degree angle upwards. This is called the Power Pedal Position. Go ahead, put your foot up on the pedal. With your other foot flat on the ground, you should feel pretty stable (you can squeeze a brake, if that helps). This is your new ready position, remember it!

From now on, every time you come to a stop on your bike, your first priority is to put yourself back into this position so you can get moving when you need to. Move the bike between your legs and notice that you don’t move with it. You’re independently stable (and that’s a good thing)!

Confidence gained:
Knowing that if the bike wobbles, you won’t. When it’s time to go, you can simply go without fumbling for the pedal since it’s already under your foot.

3. Start with power


This is a good start. You can even go a bit higher. Image via Fyxation.

If you’re in Power Pedal Position (see #2 above), we can jump right in. If not, go back a step and read instead of skipping ahead. All set? Good. From here, starting with confidence is easy! All you need to do is step down on the Power Pedal, using your momentum to sit up on the bike seat at the same time. But what about the other foot? Glad you asked! Since your Power Pedal foot is now at the bottom of its arc, the other pedal will be sitting right on top. You don’t even have to look for it, it’s right there. Seriously, don’t look. Trust us. Here’s a video. (via Sheldon Brown)

Confidence gained:
No more worrying about starting your bike in traffic. You can start with total confidence that you aren’t going to fall, wobble, or bump into anything.
Bonus confidence!
You look more in control and that projects confidence even when you’re not feeling it. Fake it ’til you make it!

4. Stop smart


Stopping with both brakes together, together. Image via conflicttango.com

Your bike has two brakes, one on the front wheel and one on the back (if your bike has fewer than two brakes, don’t freak out). They’re designed to work together, so from now on use both of your brakes when you want to stop. Squeeze them gently but firmly at the same time. How firmly? Imagine you’re squeezing a ketchup bottle but you don’t want your plate covered in red. When you are almost stopped, you can slide forward off of your saddle and place a foot (either one, but not your Power Pedal foot) flat on the ground. Then reset to Power Pedal Position.

Confidence gained:
Stopping with authority gives you authority. No wibbles and wobbles means no worries.

5. Get to know your bike

Finely tuned and well-cared for. The bike's not too bad, either. Image via Business Insider.

Finely tuned and well-cared for. The bike’s not too bad, either. Image via Business Insider.

How can you be confident in your bike if you don’t know what to expect? Get to know your bike when it’s working well–immediately after a tune-up at the local bike shop would be nice. Learn how it looks, sounds and feels when it’s ship-shape: tires full of air, brakes aligned and squeal-free, chain lubricated and quiet. That way, as soon as something starts to look dirty, feel squishy or sound scrape-y, you know it’s worth paying attention to.

Confidence gained:
Knowing you can trust in your bike to get you where you need to be. Knowing which sounds/sights/feels are okay and which are warning signs.
Bonus confidence!
Being able to explain at least a little better what’s wrong at the bike shop.

6. Take a City Cycling class!

photo (22)

Just a few of the folks who have gained confidence at a WABA class.

Confidence levels still a bit low? Come on out and join us at a City Cycling class! We’ll take you from zero to hero (or at least as far as you want to go in one 3-hour class). Every City Cycling class is divided into two tracks. The Intro track is for folks who want to practice the basics and bike handling, while the Confident track is for folks who want to dive into the thick of things on city streets. Both tracks will help you feel better about your riding and get the most out of your time on a bike.

Keep your eyes on our calendar; fall 2014 classes are coming soon. Or you can sign up here to be notified when new classes are available.

Confidence gained:
All of the above, and then some!


This Month in Education


It’s back to school month for kids and adults with WABA’s bike education programs. We have great classes for adults all September long, and our youth in-school education in D.C. is beginning to ramp back up.

Whether you don’t know how to ride a bike or are a two-wheeling veteran, WABA’s education programs have something for you. Check us out!

Adult Learn to Ride
Our most popular classes by far are our Adult Learn to Ride classes. Unfortunately, all of the classes currently scheduled are full, but you can sign up to be notified when we add more! Follow this link to sign up.

City Cycling
While we love teaching adults how to ride bikes, City Cycling is what really gets us going. The ins and outs of riding a bike on city streets can be complicated and intimidating. But it can also be fun and very rewarding! Our City Cycling class is designed to teach people how to ride in a way that is confident, comfortable, and considerate. They’re our streets, so let’s go ride ’em! Upcoming classes include:

  • Sat, Sept. 7 in Arlington
  • Sat., Sept. 14 in D.C.
  • Sat., Sept. 22 in D.C.
  • Sat., Sept. 28 in Arlington

You can find more info and sign up for City Cycling classes here.

With kids everywhere back in school, WABA’s in-school education, funded by DDOT’s Safe Routes to School program, is gearing up again. We are scheduling schools as fast as we can, but our program is limited to 13 schools per year. Keep an eye on WABA’s blog for updates on our in-school programming! If you’d like to bring WABA’s in-school bike education to your child’s school, contact DDOT’s Safe Routes to Schools coordinator. More information can be found here.