Biking to High School (and Beyond)

William Diaz-Perez on his commute to school

William Diaz-Perez, a senior at Woodrow Wilson HS, on his commute to school.

Bike to School Day may be over, but for students in the District, biking can be an excellent, year-round way to get to wherever they’re going. We caught up with William Diaz-Perez, a senior at Woodrow Wilson High School who regularly bikes to school. His commute takes him from his home in Mount Pleasant to school in Tenleytown, as well as to his after-school job and elsewhere in the city.

Riding from Mount Pleasant to Wilson involves crossing Rock Creek Park, meaning a steep descent and a long climb back out. Diaz-Perez usually uses Tilden St. NW, which is known as a long steep climb in the city.  Nevertheless, he doesn’t mind the uphill.

“It’s hard,” he noted, “but I like it because every time I do it my legs get stronger.”

Diaz-Perez uses his student Metro pass to occasionally take transit, but his preference is always to ride. “It saves time [to bike], I don’t waste time waiting for the bus or Metro.”

His ride also helps him do better at school. “I feel different at school when I don’t ride. I feel lazy when I take the bus, but feel more energetic, more awake when I ride my bike.” That energy helps him pay better attention and do better in class.

So how does Diaz-Perez carry all the books and supplies he needs for school, not to mention clothes for work? He uses a waterproof backpack, which when paired with a jacket, lets him ride in the rain and keep his important stuff dry. He enjoys riding to Wilson; it has plenty of bike parking available for him to ride up, park, and roll into class on time.  

The thing that Diaz-Perez would most like to change about his commute?  The amount of car traffic he has to face. Nevertheless, he doesn’t let it faze him, and with any luck, he’s even inspiring other students to give biking a try.

With youth like Diaz-Perez who are growing up riding, the future looks to be one with at least one less car causing traffic.

Want your child to learn the skills needed to bike to school and beyond from experts?  Send them to WABA’s Bike Camp! where they will spend a week learning how to safely navigate the city from WABA counselors whilst having fun and exploring the city by bike.

Learn more!

We’re Hiring: Bike Camp! 2018 Camp Counselors

The Washington Area Bicyclist Association seeks two Camp Counselors and one Lead Camp Counselor with a love of riding bikes, experience with youth, and exuberance to spare for our 2018 summer Bike Camp!

Positions Overview

WABA’s Bike Camp! consists of four one-week sessions for kids to ride, explore, build, and have fun! Our Bike Camp! Counselor team will keep things running smoothly, help the campers ride and work together as a team, build rapport and community, and make this summer one to remember.

During training, Counselors will be taken through a thorough ride-safety course to learn the ins-and-outs of leading and supporting youths on bikes. Further training will include: security and safety procedures, emergency planning and management, behavior management, food and health safety, team training, and more.

The Counselor team will be the primary staff responsible for the day-to-day operations of Bike Camp! and will report to our Camp Director, Jeff Wetzel.

These are temporary, seasonal, full-time positions (40 hours/week). The season runs from Wednesday, June 13th to Monday, July 16th. There will be no camp on the 4th of July.

Hourly rate: $15 per hour for Camp Counselor positions, $17 per hour for the Lead Counselor position

Responsibilities

Camp Counselors:

  • Ensure the safety, well-being and health of Bike Campers (ages 8-14).
  • Lead and/or support bike rides ranging from 1 mile to 15 miles in length in summer weather.
  • Organize group activities and team-building exercises.
  • Provide engagement, humor, and positive spirits as a role model for the Campers.
  • Evaluate and provide feedback on Bike Camp! afterwords.

Lead Counselor:

  • All of the above, plus:
  • With the Camp Director, plan safe routes for bike rides and adapt to changing on-road conditions.
  • Provide detailed daily reports of Camp Activities with input from the Camp Counselors, including incident/injury reports.
  • Act as the primary point of contact on-site for activity/program partners.

Qualifications

Camp Counselors:

  • 0-2 years experience working with youth, preferably in a summer camp environment or similar.
  • Must be able to provide a working bike and helmet.
  • Must be able to ride a bike in city traffic with competence and confidence enough to pay attention to the actions and well-being of other riders.
  • Understanding of and ability to communicate safe biking practices.
  • Must be able to pass a criminal background check.
  • High school diploma or equivalent strongly preferred.

Lead Counselor:

  • All of the above, plus:
  • Group bike riding and/or ride leader experience preferred.
  • Staff supervision experience preferred.
  • Must be CPR and First Aid certified, or willing to obtain a certification prior to camp.

About WABA

The Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) is working to create a healthy, more livable region by promoting bicycling for fun, fitness, and affordable transportation; advocating for better bicycling conditions and transportation choices for a healthier environment; and educating children, adults, and motorists about safe bicycling.

WABA’s programs, from youth education to grassroots community organizing, engage residents in Prince George’s County, Montgomery County, Alexandria, Arlington County, Fairfax County, and Washington, DC. Six thousand dues-paying members and thousands more generous supporters have helped WABA transform bicycling in the region again and again over its 46 year history.

WABA is building a region where, in 2020, we’ll see three times the number of people riding bikes. And, by 2035, every single person will live within one mile of a dedicated safe place to bike. We envision a region in which biking is joyful, safe, popular, and liberating; supported by the necessary infrastructure, laws, activities, and investments; and where bicycle ridership mirrors the incredible diversity of our communities.

Employment

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.

How to Apply

Please submit a one-page resume and briefly answer the following questions:

  • How you meet the qualifications listed above
  • What makes you a great Bike Camp! Counselor
  • A positive experience you had while working with youth

Send application materials to jobs@waba.org and include “Bike Camp Counselor” in the subject line. No phone calls, please.

Bike Camp is back!


Bike Camp! is back and bigger than ever!

We are excited to offer four sessions this year:

City Explorer’s Camp Sessions:

  • 8-11 year olds | June 18-22
  • 12-14 year olds | July 2-6 *No camp July 4

City Explorers Camp will focus on building bike comfort and skills, route creation, group riding, and longer rides.

Campers will ride every day (weather dependent), and as much as 20 miles per day!

Campers will bike to different field trips and volunteer opportunities across the city.

This camp will include basic bike maintenance, such as how to fix a flat tire.

This is a great camp for campers who want to see the city, visit new places, and build community.

While campers outside of the age ranges will not be turned away, the activities at each session will be geared to those ages.

Bike Build Camp Sessions:

  • 8-11 year olds | June 25-29
  • 12-14 year olds | July 9-13

Bike Build Camp will focus on mechanics training and mastery of bike parts.

Campers will build a bike from the frame up under the guidance of Gearin’ Up Bicycles.

Campers will have the opportunity to go on multiple shorter rides during the session.

This camp will include at least one hands-on visit to a local bike shop maintenance department.

This is a great camp for campers who want to work with their hands, make a bike that they can keep, and explore a little too.

Hours: 9 a.m. – 4 p.m., Monday – Friday

Location: KIPP DC Shaw Campus, 421 P St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20001

Click here for all the details on Bike Camp!, including how to register.

If you have any questions, please email bikecamp@waba.org or call 202-518-0524 x222

Thanks for your patience. Bike Camp! Details Are Coming Soon

We could not be happier at how excited you all are for Bike Camp! this summer. Judging by the number of emails we’ve received asking about Bike Camp!, 2018 it’s going to be our most popular year yet! We are as excited as you are, if not more so. We’re mapping out new places to visit and new adventures to be had.

But we’re not quite ready to open registrations, due to an unexpected speed bump in securing a space for the camp on the dates we’d like. It should be resolved soon, but until it is, we’re not going to accept registrations.

We understand that many families are already working diligently to plan their summers and had hoped to have registration open before now, and we know that some folks have had to already make the decision to forego Bike Camp! this year. We are sorry for the delay, and for any extra hassle it has caused. As soon as we can lock in dates, we will share those and open registration up.

Want to be notified as soon as Bike Camp! details drop?  Yes!



Don’t Get Left in the Cold, Use Your Layers!

We’ve had a warm fall, but with winter the cold weather is coming. This doesn’t mean you have to put away your bike and stop riding, we were outside teaching at Bridges PCS this morning! However, the colder it gets, the more attention you have to give to what you and your children are wearing. We’ll cover some typical tips below, but the key is to find what make you feel comfortable riding and that your children stay warm enough.

Youth on bikes at Bridges PCS

Youth on bikes at Bridges PCS

If you are an experienced year-round rider, then you will know the secret to cold weather riding is layering. This is super helpful for days on the edges of winter, where your evening commute might be 20 degrees warmer than your morning. I’ll talk about three layers, base, warm, and outer.

Base Layer
This is the innermost layer you wear. Ideally, it will be a soft wool or a wicking fabric (often referred to as “tech fabric”) and not cotton. Cotton will not keep you warm if it gets wet from rain, snow, or sweat. I wear light leggings under my pants most days during winter. This layer is less important for your children if they are passengers and not pedaling.

Warm Layer
This is the layer(s) that (surprise!) will keep you warm by trapping air and your body heat. Again, wool is a top performer here, and wool sweaters come in a wide variety of thickness and warmth. Fleece is also a good option. (Budget tip: wool sweaters can be found for cheap at thrift shops, if only for commuting a hole won’t matter under your outer layer!) Passengers will need more warm layer than you, as you’ll be working to move the bike but they will just be sitting there in the cold breeze.

Outer Layer
The most important part for your outer layer is to block the wind, with a close second to be waterproof, to keep your warm layers dry. When you ride, you are in a constant breeze, and that can steal your heat fast. This is especially important for children as passengers. If they are in a seat on your handlebars, they will be catching the full force of the wind and need to be bundled up more than if they are on a rear seat riding behind you. Snow suits work as great outer layer for kids, and they are warm and waterproof, and can be easy to pull off when you arrive where you’re going. Another option for smaller children is to wrap them inside a blanket or use a stroller snuggle. A bungie cord can help keep these in place and out of your wheels and chain.

Head, hands, and feet
Don’t forget the rest of you! A balaclava is a great option for a child to wear over their head and neck, but under their helmet. A scarf can we wrapped around neck, face, and ears and held in place with the helmet straps. Waterproof (and therefore windproof) boots also work well with thick socks on inside of them, or even rain boots pulled on over the top of regular shoes. I use thicker hiking socks for winter riding. Windproof gloves are key, and as it gets colder or the rides get longer, than lobster gloves or mittens become more important to keep your hands warm. Make sure that your gloves are not so bulky that you can’t use your brakes!

 

If you are looking for a time to test your winter layering skills, the super fun Hains Point 100 is December 17th, and is a fundraiser for WABA’s Women and Bicycles Program.

Support the 2017 Youth Bike Summit!

WABA is committed to building the capacity of our communities to advocate for themselves.  The Youth Bike Summit helps our community of youth to find their voice to speak up for their needs now, and develop their skills for a lifetime of civic betterment.

This year, the National Youth Bike Summit will be held in Crystal City October 6-8.  The Youth Bike Summit is a three-day conference geared toward youth, bikes, education, advocacy, and leadership. People from across disciplines, backgrounds, and ages gather to learn, share, network, and explore how bicycling can be a catalyst for positive social change.

The Youth Bike Summit will feature keynote speakers, hands-on workshops, panel presentations, and other opportunities for youth and adults to exchange ideas about what biking can mean for children, teens, families, schools, communities, and our planet.  This national event will also feature a dynamic and thought-provoking visioning session where youth and adults can articulate, share, and develop new ideas to bring back to their local communities.  By creating a space where voices of all bicyclists can be heard, the Youth Bike Summit fosters an inclusive national dialogue that address the issues, rights, and concerns of all bicyclists.

Learn more about how to attend or volunteer here:

youthbikesummit.org/support-ybs17/

Strong Women of the Future

WABA’s youth education team recently spent several hours with a girls empowerment group at Capital City PCS on a cool early spring day.  We worked in a safe, paved, off road space at the school to build confidence and skills. Starting from how to properly fit and adjust a helmet, we progressed through checking the bike for basic mechanical issues to combining more advanced looking and braking skills to successfully navigate the chaos box without a crash.

With increased confidence from skills development, we then went on two short rides of about two miles each out into the community.  When told how far we had gone, the group of 6th-8th graders were amazed at how far they were able to carry themselves on their bikes.  They were excited about the opportunities and freedom presented by traveling by bike and not having to rely on parents to drive them or what bus transfer they would need to take to get to a friends house. Watch for them to pedal on by headed to great things.

 

Capital City PCS Young Women on Bikes

Work for WABA: Bike Camp! Counselor Openings

The Washington Area Bicyclist Association seeks 2 Camp Counselors and 1 Lead Camp Counselor with a love of riding bikes, experience with youth, and exuberance to spare.

Positions Overview

WABA’s Bike Camp! is four one-week sessions for kids to ride, explore, build, and have fun! Our Bike Camp! Counselor team will keep things running smoothly, help the campers ride and work together as a team, build rapport and community, and make this summer one to remember.

During training, Counselors will be taken through an intensive ride-safety course to learn the ins-and-outs of leading and supporting youths on bikes. Further training will include: security and safety procedures, emergency planning and management, behavior management, food and health safety, team training, and more.

The Counselor team will be the primary staff responsible for the day-to-day operations of Bike Camp! and will report to our Camp Director, Jeff Wetzel.

These are temporary, seasonal, full-time positions (40 hours/week). The season runs from Monday, June 12th to Friday, July 21st. There will be no camp the week of July 3rd, and the counselor team will not be paid for that week.

Hourly rate: $15-17 per hour

Brake adjustments during Bike Build Camp

Responsibilities

Camp Counselors:

  • Ensure the safety, well-being and health of Bike Campers (ages 8-14).
  • Lead and/or support bike rides ranging from 1 mile to 15 miles in length in summer weather.
  • Organize group activities and team-building exercises.
  • Provide engagement, humor, and positive spirits as a role model for the Campers.
  • Evaluate and provide feedback on Bike Camp! afterwords.

Lead Counselor:

  • All of the above, plus:
  • With the Camp Director, plan safe routes for bike rides and adapt to changing on-road conditions.
  • Provide detailed daily reports of Camp Activities with input from the Camp Counselors, including incident/injury reports.
  • Act as the primary point of contact on-site for activity/program partners.

Qualifications

Camp Counselors:

  • 0-2 years experience working with youth, preferably in a summer camp environment or similar.
  • Must be able to provide a working bike and helmet.
  • Must be able to ride a bike with competence and confidence enough to pay attention to other riders.
  • Understanding of and ability to communicate safe biking practices.
  • Some bicycle maintenance knowledge preferred.
  • Must be able to pass a criminal background check.
  • High school diploma or equivalent strongly preferred.

Lead Counselor:

  • All of the above, plus:
  • Group bike riding and/or ride leader experience preferred.
  • Staff supervision experience preferred.
  • Must be CPR and First Aid certified, or willing to obtain a certification prior to camp.

How to Apply

Please submit a one-page résumé and briefly answer the following questions:

  • How you meet the qualifications listed above
  • What makes you a great Bike Camp! Counselor
  • A positive experience you had while working with youth

Send to jobs@waba.org

Bike Camp! 2017 registration is now open!

Bike Camp! is back and bigger than ever! We are super excited to offer four sessions of Bike Camp! this year, three sessions of City Explorers and a week of Bike Build. City Explorers focuses on having a blast and building the skills take longer group rides and discover fun activities across the city. Campers at the Bike Build Camp will (surprise!) build up a bike from an empty frame to a safe and ride-able bike that they will get to keep! Registration is only available while space lasts.

For all of the exciting details, including how to register, visit the Bike Camp! page.

city explorrers
Session I | June 19-22 | Ages 8-10 | $300/child
Session II | July 10-14 | Ages 10-12 | $300/child
Session III | July 17-21  | Ages 12-14 | $300/child

  • City Explorers Camp will focus on building bike comfort and skills, route creation, group riding, and longer rides.
  • Campers will ride every day (weather dependent), and as much as 20 miles per day!
  • Campers will bike to different field trips and volunteer opportunities across the city.
  • This camp will include basic bike maintenance, such as how to fix a flat tire.
  • This is a great camp for campers who want to see the city, visit new places, and build community.
  • While campers outside of the age ranges will not be turned away, the activities at each session will be geared to those ages.

bike build camp
 Bike Build Camp | June 26-29 | Ages 8-14 | $400/child

  • Bike Build Camp will focus on mechanics training and mastery of bike parts.
  • Campers will build a bike from the frame up under the guidance of Gearin’ Up Bicycles.
  • Campers will have the opportunity to go on multiple shorter rides during the session.
  • This camp will include at least one hands-on visit to a local bike shop maintenance department.
  • This is a great camp for campers who want to work with their hands, make a bike that they can keep, and explore a little too.

Hours: 9 a.m. – 4 p.m., Monday – Friday
Location: KIPP DC Shaw Campus, 421 P St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20001

Click here for all the details on Bike Camp!, including how to register.

If you have any questions, please email bikecamp@waba.org or call 202-518-0524 x222

When physical education becomes bike education

 

Youth on a bike stopped at a stop sign.

Students at Center City Public Charter School in Petworth discovered the ins and outs of bike riding during WABA’s Bike Week Takeover

Kids around DC are discovering biking indoors this winter thanks to WABA’s Bike Week “takeovers” of Physical Education classes. We recently completed at two Center City Public Charter School campuses—Brightwood and Petworth. WABA coordinated with City Center’s PE teachers to provide a full week of bike-centric education for every 2nd-8th grade PE class.

Each class of students had a wide range of abilities, from those who had never sat on a bike to one tremendous 7th grader who could wheelie or track stand for days. Our curriculum is designed to help every student progress and learn, no matter where they start out. We are able to put all students on a bike by removing the pedals to turn some into balance bikes. Balance bikes work to engage students in learning to ride, without excluding them from the class. While participating, they are also starting down the path to being safe and competent riders. For those that already know how to ride, we help them improve their control and teach them specific skills like the quick stop.

The curriculum includes basic traffic safety, where the students learn how to respond to traffic signals and other road users in safe, predictable, and legal manner. By the end of the week no one was saying that you had to wait for the stop sign to turn green to go!  Students also get to practice their handling skills on an indoor course that includes traffic signals and crossing bike traffic.

Our youth program in DC is supported by DDOT’s Safe Routes to Schools programming, but with your membership and support we can expand to other areas. Join WABA today!

If you work for or know of a public charter or private school that might be interested in hosting our program, please email youth@waba.org and let us know.

Bike Week at City Center PCS by the numbers:

  • Number of schools: 2
  • Number of students: 276
  • Number of class periods taken over: 35
  • Number of student-hours ridden: 604.5
  • Number of smiles: Unlimited

 

Center City PCS Petworth PE Bike Week

Center City PCS Brightwood PE Bike Week