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.

ch-ch-ch-changes

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.

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Instructor Allyson Brown gives students the lowdown on brakes.

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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.

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Students navigating the course during exercises.

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

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Instructor Allyson Brown demonstrating an avoidance weave.

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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.

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

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

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

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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!

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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

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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

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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

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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!

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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

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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 EDUCATION
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.

YOUTH EDUCATION
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.

Announcing August City Cycling Classes

Bikes and Baseball

Did you miss out on our spring education season?

That’s OK! As temperatures recede in August, join us for a City Cycling class and hone your skills to tackle trails and roads with confidence this fall! See the class calendar to reserve your spot. Remember, you can always walk-up to any City Cycling class for free.

Maybe you learned to ride with us at one of our Adult Learn to Ride classes and you’ve been itching to take your new skills out on some of the region’s awesome trails. Or maybe you’ve been riding all summer long and want to feel a little more secure while commuting in traffic. Either way, our City Cycling classes will teach you sills you can use next time you hop on the saddle!

Don’t take my word for it. Listen to our students:

  • “As I have been cycling for a number of years I was wondering if the class would be too basic for me, but it was not. I was very pleased (and surprised about how much I didn’t know!)”
  • “All of the instructors are attentive and encouraging and helpful.”
  • “Taking a bike ride around the city streets after [the class] made me feel more secure (and confident!) riding around cars.”
  • “The instructors were top notch. They taught me what I needed to learn in a happy, down to earth way and did not make me feel stupid for not knowing basic things.”

What Is a City Cycling Class?
This 3-hour class is meant to be taken twice! After a brief introduction and some fundamental tips, we’ll split the class into two groups. Ideally, new students will take the “Trails” section the first time and join us again for the “Traffic” section. Experienced bicyclists can choose either section.

In the “Trails” group, we will cover basic bicycling information and on-bike skills. We’ll finish with a ride on a nearby trail and demonstrate proper passing, communication and trail etiquette. In the “Traffic” group, we will explore riding a bike on the roads with cars. We’ll cover on-road techniques and teach hazard avoidance maneuvers. We’ll finish with a ride on the roads and demonstrate techniques, highlight bike infrastructure, and put everything we’ve learned into practice. Both groups come back together for a demonstration of changing a flat tire.

Online study is required prior to arriving at class. Please complete the material on www.bikeed.org. This material is free, but is very thorough and can take up to 3 hours to complete. Don’t wait until the last minute!

Participants must bring their own bikes, helmets, and water. Clipless/SPD shoes/pedals are not recommended for this class. Participants will be required to sign liability waivers.

Register today! Not sure which class is right for you? Send an email to education@waba.org and we’ll help you find the ideal education experience.

 

Spring 2013 Adult Education Classes

Panning by the White House #bikedc

Soon, this could be you.

Despite this week’s late-season snowstorm, spring is swiftly approaching. Why not spend a Saturday with WABA at one of our adult education classes? Below, learn about the classes we offer. Go to the education calendar to register.

Adult Learn to Ride
This 3-hour class is designed to teach adults how to ride a bike. We start by teaching balance. Then, each rider proceeds at their own pace through starting, stopping, pedaling, and turning.

Our technique is fun, intuitive, and very successful, but it takes work! Please wear comfortable clothes and bring along some water, a snack, and weather-appropriate outerwear.

A rental bike and helmet for the day are included with your reservation. Be sure to provide your height so that we can provide you with a bicycle that fits you.

This class is for you if:

  • You are at least 18 years old
  • You have never tried to learn how to ride a bike
  • You have tried to learn and have not been successful

Confident City Cycling
This 3-hour class is meant to be taken twice! After a brief introduction and some fundamental tips, we’ll split the class into two groups. Ideally, new students will take the “Trails” section the first time and join us again for the “Traffic” section. Experienced bicyclists can choose either section.

In the “Trails” group, we will cover basic bicycling information and on-bike skills. We’ll finish with a ride on a nearby trail and demonstrate proper passing, communication and trail etiquette. In the “Traffic” group, we will explore riding a bike on the roads with cars. We’ll cover on-road techniques and teach hazard avoidance maneuvers. We’ll finish with a ride on the roads and demonstrate techniques, highlight bike infrastructure, and put everything we’ve learned into practice. Both groups come back together for a demonstration of changing a flat tire.

Online study is required prior to arriving at class. Please complete the material on www.bikeed.org. This material is free, but is very thorough and can take up to 3 hours to complete. Don’t wait until the last minute!

Participants must bring their own bikes, helmets, and water. Clipless/SPD shoes/pedals are not recommended for this class. Participants will be required to sign liability waivers.

Register today! Not sure which class is right for you? Send an email to education@waba.org and we’ll help you find the ideal education experience.

Photo by Flickr user Joe in DC