Announcing a Trails Advocacy Partnership with REI

REI_Logo_White_Background

At the end of last year, we offered up a list of things that was our “wish list” of projects we had on our minds for many months. Our most ambitious goal was to raise enough money to start planning for a Regional Trail Summit and Advocacy project And thanks to the generosity of our supporters, we came up with enough seed money to lay the groundwork.

But this is what happens when people start hearing about what WABA wants to do: people get inspired, they get excited and they want to build on what we begin. After hearing about our vision, not just for a trail summit, but for a larger, longer term project, we got another big boost: REI, a nationally recognized leader in outdoor recreation, community involvement and global stewardship,  invited us to apply for one of their grants. In January, we prepared an expanded grant proposal which included a full advocacy campaign, a summit with participants from all over the region, multiple trail tours, a concept plan for a new trail connection, public visioning sessions and online engagement.

Over the summer, we were thrilled to learn that we did indeed receive a grant from REI to cover almost all the costs of this expanded trail advocacy and summit vision. With what WABA will contribute in staff time, we now have the resources to launch a very robust and focused trail advocacy campaign. Thanks to the REI grant, all of the resources that come from this effort will become advocacy tools that we can use to build a case for expanded trails for years to come. Without the REI grant opportunity, we would not have been able to fund such a comprehensive advocacy program. Thank you REI!

To get the ball rolling, we’ve scheduled three tours with our advocacy team on three different trail systems. Please join us as we begin the process to help our trails get to the full potential of a completed and expanded trail circuit.

Chipotle sponsors WABA for another year!

Our riders love @chipotle! Thanks for the burritos!

WABA is very happy to announce that Chipotle is our primary food sponsor in 2014! We’re extremely grateful to Chipotle for providing catering services and financial support for so many of our events throughout the year, including BikeFest and the 50 States Ride.

Marvin Gaye Trail Cleanup 7/14

And it’s not just the large-scale events! Chipotle liked the idea of  our Women and Bike meetups so much that they provided food for those too.
Thank You Chipotle!

Thank you Chipotle!

Choose WABA in Your Workplace Giving Campaign

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November typically marks various office rituals, like changing insurance plans, adjusting flexible spending accounts, or reviewing retirement account performance. Another yearly workplace tradition falls in November: committing to a workplace giving campaign.

The biggest workplace giving campaign in the area is the Combined Federal Campaign for federal workers, which is managed by the United Way. WABA is extremely fortunate to be the beneficiary of several workplace giving campaigns, including the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC #93587), the World Bank Community Connections campaign, the DC One Fund, Network for Good, America’s Charities, the Commonwealth of Virginia Campaign (WABA #8469), among others.

The money generated by our generous supporters through workplace giving funds many of our advocacy initiatives. In addition, it provides seed funding to launch new programs. Our East of the River and Women & Bicycles programs were both started up with workplace giving funds: Many new and untested programs with unproven results—like those that attempt to expand the demographics of bicyclists at the local level—are tough sells to foundations or governments that could potentially provide grant funding.

If we can launch a program and prove it works, we can then sell foundations and governments on the program’s importance and keep it going into the future. This was the case with our East of the River and Women & Bicycles programs, both of which have been overwhelmingly successful. They couldn’t have existed without the dollars we receive from workplace giving campaigns.

If you’ve already chosen WABA as your designee for your workplace giving campaign, we can’t thank you enough. If you’ve never participated in workplace giving and it’s something that your office makes available to you, please consider doing so this year and choosing WABA as your designee. Your donation will help support WABA’s advocacy and perhaps launch the “next big thing” in bike advocacy and outreach.

Help us spread the word about WABA as a participant in your workplace giving campaign. Print out and post the flyer to the right in your office (click here for a larger version). And if you make a contribution through a workplace giving campaign and would like a WABA membership to be included in your donation, please contact gina@waba.org.

Marriott International: A Bike to Work Day Pit-Stop Star

Every Wednesday leading up to Bike to Work Day, we’ll post here about ways you can get ready for the region’s biggest annual celebration of bike commuting. Register for Bike to Work Day now! 

Marriot International has always been a big supporter of bike commuting. For example: A few years ago, it turned an on-site gas station at one of its hotels into a dedicated bike pavilion with lockers, canopies, and storage. A 10-year supporter of Bike to Work Day, Marriott has its own bike club, MarrVelo, which encourages employees at Marriott’s headquarters in North Bethesda to start commuting by bike on a daily basis. Jim Young, vice president for facilities at Marriott International, says he knows that Bike to Work Day has been a way for many Marriott employees to convert to daily bike commuting.

Originally, Marriott hosted the BTWD pit stop at its headquarters, but as participation exploded about three years ago, it was moved near the White Flint Metro station. Over the years, Marriott has continued to incentivize participation by offering bike-commuting seminars and promoting Bike to Work Day itnernally.

Marriott goes over and above to have bike-happy employees: It offers a bike commuter subsidy, provides showers and lockers, and secure, covered bike storage. It keeps a bike information station loaded with bike maps, WABA information, and guides. But I’ve been most impressed by Marriott’s bike repair station, which is staffed by the company’s own garage mechanics, has a bike-mechanic stand, and is kept
stocked with the most-needed supplies for simple repairs, like bike tubes. Marriott even has two loaner bikes that their employees can sign out and bring back the next day. It’s the company’s own “bikeshare” system!

With Capital Bikeshare soon coming to 50 locations in lower Montgomery County, Marriott International has proven that a little encouragement can go a long way. The demand for bike commuting is increasing in Montgomery County and Marriott is already ahead of the curve: There, support for an alternative way to commute has been created and sustained by a thoughtful, progressive, green-minded employer.

On the verge of Bike to Work Day 2013, we hope that other businesses will gain inspiration from Marriott’s support of bike-commuting and follow its lead toward creating a truly supportive bike commuting environment.

See photos from Marriott International’s Bike to Work Day pit stop last year below the jump. Continue reading

Meet Team WABA Climate Ride California Member Leah Lemoine

In the lead-up to the Climate Ride California in May and Climate Ride NYC-D.C. in September, we’ll be introducing Team WABA members. Follow their progress, be inspired by their commitment, and find out why they’re taking on the Climate Ride for WABA. Today, meet Leah Lemoine.
Leah Lemoine
“Transportation accounts for nearly a third of our greenhouse gas emissions. Fifty percent of our car trips are less than three miles. Getting out of single-occupancy vehicles and onto bikes for even a just a quarter of these shorter trips could have large impacts on our greenhouse gas emissions. I am riding for WABA to help support their efforts in advocating for bike infrastructure that will make cyclists safe and comfortable on the roads so that hopping on a bike for transport is an easier choice.

I’ve been able to live out my personal pledge to reduce my carbon footprint by living car-free since I moved to DC four years ago. Using a bike as my primary mode of transport has been made much easier through WABA’s efforts. I am delighted to give back to WABA by riding in Climate Ride!”

Please consider donating to Leah’s ride! For her fundraising page, click here.

#93587

To download the above image, right click on the image and choose “save link as”.

Here’s a quick WABA quiz:

93587 equals:

A.  The number of WABA supporters

B. The number of schoolchildren who have received instruction this year through our bike education curriculum

C. The staff hours spent working on our 2012 advocacy initiatives

or

D. All of the above?

The Answer:

D-It’s something that helps make all of those things possible- It’s our Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) number.

Over the years, the Washington Area Bicyclist Association has been the lucky beneficiary of tens of thousands of dollars through the Combined Federal Campaign organized by the United Way for the National Capital Region. Our loyal supporters, many of whom are also federal government workers, make this possible every year by writing in the WABA CFC #93587 on their form, and then a set donation amount is taken out of their paycheck as often as they choose.  The United Way collects the money and sends WABA a check twice a year.  In the past, it’s been difficult to determine the individuals who give their hard-earned money through the CFC to support better bicycling throughout Washington DC.  But recently the United Way has improved their data collection process and it’s easier for us to track and thank those who support us so generously.

The CFC sign up season runs from September 1 to December 15th so we are right in the middle of this important annual ritual.  To those who have supported us through the CFC over the years, we thank you.  To those who are federal workers but have never signed up to donate through the CFC, please consider donating this year to WABA.  Every penny you direct to WABA will go to support our efforts in creating the most convenient, safe and reliable network of bicycle trails, cycletracks, bike lanes and routes.

CFC donations also pay for us to testify at a council hearing, weigh in on a plan at a transportation planning board session or send one of our League Certified Instructors to a local elementary school to deliver our bike education course.  Whether you choose to donate $1, $5, $25, or more every pay period, please know that any amount is very much appreciated and takes us a long way towards creating the transportation system our region deserves.

Help us spread the word about WABA and the CFC program.  Print out and post the attached flier in your office so that others will have the number handy when it’s time to sign up.

PS-If you make, or are making, a contribution through the CFC currently and would like a WABA membership to be included, please contact us.

Thanks to You, WABA Earns $10,000 in CLIF Bar 2 Mile Challenge

Thanks to our dedicated WABA members and supporters, we have reached 10,000 trips today on the CLIF Bar 2 Mile Challenge. This means we’ll receive the full $10,000 donation from CLIF Bar that will go to support our local advocacy work. We are so thankful to our members and other riders who dutifully logged an average of 550 trips every day over the first 18 days of July. Even through two record-setting heat waves, floods, thunderstorms, downed trees, and massive power outages we proved that getting around by bike is happening in DC, even in less than favorable weather conditions.

Now we’re going to help our fellow bike advocates in Kansas City and Los Angeles. Since they didn’t quite make it to the maximum donation, CLIF Bar has graciously agreed to allow us to continue to log trips after we reach 10,000 and split the difference between those two groups. We still have 13 days to help BikeWalkKC and the Los Angeles County Bike Coalition make it all the way to 10,000. They need a combined 4519 trips logged to help each organization reach the $10,000 mark. That’s only 347 trips per day. We know we can do it thanks to the amazing response we’ve already seen from all of the WABA 2 Mile Challengers.

There’s 13 days left in July to keep logging those trips and make a difference for bike advocacy in two other great cities. Let’s do it!

Track Your Trips in July to Help Raise $10K for WABA

WABA is thrilled to announce that we’ve been selected as the July beneficiary of the CLIF Bar 2 mile challenge!  Each month, CLIF Bar picks a different bicycling non-profit as beneficiary of its nationwide challenge to get people out of their cars for trips under 2 miles.  For every trip logged on 2milechallenge.com during the month of July, CLIF Bar will donate $1 to WABA, up to $10,000!  With thousands of WABA members and dedicated cyclists throughout the region, we are confident that we’ll hit that 10,000 trip mark!

We only need 165 cyclists to log 2 trips a day in order to reach 10000 trips by the end of July.  And since this contest is nation-wide, cyclists in other states and cities can log their trips as well to benefit WABA.  So call your sister in Chicago, your brother in law in Nashville, your nephew in Ann Arbor and ask them to register!

Create an account at 2milechallenge.com by clicking “Join the Ride” and filling out your information. Then you can easily enter your trips each day.

So please, today, go to 2milechallenge.com and register to begin logging your bike trips!  Every trip logged now will help the Los Angeles Bike Coalition reach their goal of 10,000 trips by the end of June.  And it’s good practice for July, when we’ll need every trip duly logged to raise funds to support our advocacy and outreach efforts in the Washington area.

(The GPS smartphone version is a bit more complicated, but provides a ton of additional features for those who want to map and share routes and track training statistics.  You can create an account on Bike Brain by downloading the app onto your iphone or Droid and entering your information. Then, when you start pedaling, click START TRIP.  After each trip, click FINISH TRIP, ensure “Log Miles to 2 Mile Challenge” is checked, and click SHARE.)

 

FCC wins Bicycling and Active Commuting Champion of the Year award!

With Bike To Work Day happening tomorrow, it seems fitting that WABA  shares the news that the Federal Communications Commission has won the first annual Bicycling and Active Commuting Champion of the Year award.  Reinvigorated last year by WABA member, Ed Fendley, FedBikes created a scorecard to evaluate federal agencies on their bicycle commuter friendliness.  FedBikes members then collected the scorecards and compiled the data, determining a winner and honorable mentions.  WABA is thrilled to have this resource available for all federal agencies and hope that it will inspire other agencies to accommodate, encourage and thereby tap the unlimited potential of bicycle commuters to their offices.

Read on for more details and information on how your agency can participate!

FedBikes Press Statement – FCC Named 2012 Bicycling and Active Commuting_ Champion FINAL 5-16-12

 

What a 12-Year-Old Can Teach us About the Importance of Bike Lights

WABA will be hitting the streets tonight to begin our “Got Lights?” program for 2012, giving away 1,000 free sets of front and rear lights (provided by DDOT). The program is designed to target bicyclists riding after dark without lights. This post is a personal story from Gina Arlotto, who handles WABA’s Planning and Organizational Development, about teaching her kids about bike safety and the importance of having lights (and other safety equipment) on bikes.

WABA's branded bike lights for the Got Lights? giveaway

One Parent’s Perspective

It will come as no surprise to you to learn that kids really don’t like being told what to do. And they dislike it even more when they hit adolescence. Trust me, having to repeat the same lessons (pick your battles!) a million times gets old from a parent’s perspective, too.

Happily, teaching and practicing safe bicycling habits is one of those battles that we pick. It’s how I combat the anxiety I feel about them riding to school alone every day. I know they have the skills to control what they can–by following the rules of the road, by signaling, by stopping at stop signs and red lights–and the proper safety equipment. And I hope they can handle what they can’t control, especially the drivers commuting through our neighborhood without regard for bicyclists.  My kids know that following the rules of the road and having the proper bike safety equipment is not only the law, it’s also the safest way to ride.

My son (15) has taken many of my lessons to heart, but he takes the Metro to school (and as a teenage boy, will be a safety work-in-progress for some time regardless). I usually ride with my daughter (9) to school before I head into work, so I am able to observe her bike behavior closely.

A Bike Safety Prodigy

But for my 12-year-old daughter MaryGrace, it is imperative that she follow our safe cycling rules as she rides the 10 blocks to Stuart Hobson Middle School alongside car commuters. If you’re at all familiar with middle schoolers, you know they especially don’t like being told what to do, and my daughter is no exception. For a long time, I couldn’t be sure if all our lessons on bike safety were sinking in.

Thankfully, I periodically get reports from neighbors complimenting her for stopping at red lights and riding safely around the neighborhood. And if I needed any more reassurance, I only have to think of her response when I praised her on a long ride about how well she was doing. “Mom, I’m a bike safety prodigy,” she said with all the attitude of a typical 7th grade girl. Nevertheless, I could tell she was proud of herself.

Bike lights as critical bike safety equipment is a common theme in our house. We installed lights on the kids’ bikes before they rode them for the first time, so the conversation mostly consists of reminding the kids to turn the lights on, even during the daylight hours. When we’re out and about on Capitol Hill we see a lot of bicyclists riding around without lights, and my kids are often the first to point them out.  “Wow. That’s not safe,” they say, “You can’t even see them!”

Needless to say, I was thrilled when, a few weeks ago, I came home to find MaryGrace out on the sidewalk installing a set of lights on her friend’s new bike. When MaryGrace saw the bike, she said the first thing she told her friend was that she needed a set of lights.  After school let out they rode to our house and, after rummaging around in my husband’s basement work bench, fortunately located a spare set.  Not content to just give the lights to her friend to mount on the bike later, MaryGrace had grabbed a screwdriver and they worked together to get everything attached for the now-dark ride home. A “bike safety prodigy” indeed!

Visibility is Your First Priority

All of this is to say that if a slightly stubborn (but always adorable) 12-year-old middle school girl can recognize the importance of a set of bike lights, then you probably should too. And to any other parents out there, sometimes you really do have to repeat an important lesson a million times before it sticks. If you’re very lucky, you’ll be there when it does.

WABA’s “Got Lights?” project begins today and will continue in various locations throughout the District until we’ve given away all 1000 sets.  We are committed to giving each and every light set to cyclists who are riding without lights when we find them. If you already have lights on your bike, please consider helping us put these lights on the bikes that need them. Call 202-518-0524 or email advocacy@waba.org to help out!