Haulin’ Our Way to Crystal City on WABA’s First Arlington Community Ride

Our spring Community Ride series is in full swing, and last Wednesday we made our debut in Arlington with Haulin’—a community ride about moving and grooving with everything you need to carry on a bike.

We explored the Pentagon City and Crystal City neighborhoods, saw a wide variety of bike facilities including the Four Mile Run trail and the new protected bikeways on South Hayes Street.

At the end of the ride, we learned about the Fixit Station—a great new innovation put in place by the Crystal City BID. At the access point to the Mount Vernon Trail on Crystal Drive, you can pump up your tires, use tools for minor adjustments, fill your water bottle, and even buy spare parts from a bike vending machine!

After the ride was over, the whole group headed to the San Antonio Grill for delicious tacos.

Education Coordinator Daniel Hoagland introduces the group to bike sharing.

Education Coordinator Daniel Hoagland introduces the group to bike sharing.

Thank you to Bike Arlington, the Crystal City BID, and the San Antonio Grill for helping make our Haulin’ Ride a big success!

Join us for more Community Rides in May and June!

TONIGHT: Volunteers Needed for Flier and Poster Night!

Join us TONIGHT for a Volunteer Night of putting up fliers and posters around town.

Spring is in full swing, and WABA needs to get the word out about Bike to Work Day, Tour de Fat, new Women & Bicycles events, and all sorts of other fun stuff!

So help us out. We’ll be putting up fliers and posters for our programs at multiple spots in DC, Maryland and Virginia, so there’s almost certainly a location near your home or workplace.

We’ll meet at 6pm, pair up and spread out around the area with our posters for an hour or two, then meet back up for a bite to eat and a tasty beverage! Feel free to invite a friend or meet some new bike-loving friends here. Each location is being run by a WABA staff member.

You can sign up to help out right here.


What is a Quick Release Anyway?

In bike news this week, Trek Bicycles has recalled nearly a million of their bicycles due to problems with their quick release levers.

First of all, if you have a Trek bicycle, go here to learn more about the recall.

Second, we’ve had a number of folks ask us the question above, what is a quick release anyway?

Well, the short answer is that a quick release lever makes it easy to install or remove something on your bike. Usually–such as in the case of the Trek bikes being recalled–this means a wheel, but it can mean other parts too. Most often, you’ll encounter a quick release lever while doing one of three things:

  1. Adjusting your seat height, like on a Capital Bikeshare bike
  2. Taking your wheel(s) off to fit your bike in a car or other small space
  3. Changing a flat tire

It’s important to know both where your bike has quick release levers and how to recognize when they’re correctly fastened. It’s not too difficult and once you learn, you won’t forget.

This is just one of the great pieces of bike knowledge you can get from our City Cycling classes, by the way. Check out our calendar for the next class near you. They’re just $10 to sign up in advance, or you can show up the day of class for FREE.

Now, let’s look at a quick release.

Go ahead and take a look at the center of your bike’s front wheel. It should look something like this:


Quick release lever in the “CLOSE” position. this is how you want yours to look. Image via www.crodog.org


Notice that you can read the word “CLOSE” printed on the lever itself. If your quick releases are properly secured, you should be able to read the word “CLOSE” on them.

If they’re not secured correctly, you’ll see the word “OPEN” like on this lever:


Quick release lever in the “OPEN” position. This is definitely not what you want to see on your bike. Image via www.jimlangley.net


Alright, so you’ve found your quick releases and checked to make sure that they’re closed. If they are, fantastic! You’re all set. Have a great ride.

But what if they’re open? You don’t want to ride with a quick release open, but you also want to make sure you close it correctly. First, don’t simply spin it down until it’s tight like a wingnut. That might keep your wheel secure, but it might also put the lever into your spokes. Try this instead:

  1. Hold the lever open with one hand and slowly tighten the nut on the other side of the wheel with the other.
  2. Every half turn or so, try closing the lever.
  3. If it swings closed with no resistance, tighten the nut and try again.
  4. You want the lever to meet resistance about halfway closed (perpendicular to the plane of the wheel)
  5. Then push the lever closed. It might be a little hard, but it shouldn’t be so hard that it hurts your hand.

Here’s a diagram:


Diagram of a quick release lever. Image via www.montaguebikes.com


Remember to check your quick releases before you ride. In fact, you can use the handy phrase “ABC Quick Check” to remember all of the things you should take a look at before you get going. “Quick” stands for quick release, but to get the rest, you really should come to one of our City Cycling classes, happening all around the Washington region this spring!

You can see the full calendar here, and if you have any questions, you can email education@waba.org.


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!