Is this your first time participating in Bike to Work Day? We’re so excited that you’ve decided to join us! Lots of people who are new to bicycle commuting will be out and on the roads with you, figuring out how riding to work, well, works. To make things a little less tricky, here’s a little guide to help get you and your bike ready for the commute.
What is Bike to Work Day?
Bike to Work Day encourages commuters to try bicycling to work as an alternative mode of transportation. BTWD is a free event and open to everyone in the Washington area. It’s a yearly celebration of biking in our city! This year, it’s on May 17. For more information, see last week’s post.
Why bike to work?
Besides being one of the most convenient, least expensive ways to get around town, it’s fun! Bike commuting is better for the environment, your wallet, and your waistline.
How do I sign up?
Register using this link. If you’d like a free Bike to Work Day 2013 T-shirt, be sure to register early.
What’s a pit stop and what happens there?
When you sign up, you’ll be asked to select your pit stop location. Pit stops are organized meetups in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia where you can enjoy Bike to Work Day festivities. Each pit stop provides free T-shirts for pre-registered participants, food and drinks, and friendly staff and volunteers. Some locations will provide entertainment or raffle giveaways.
Hours vary by location, so be sure to check with your pit stop manager to find out what time yours is open. Find a pit stop on your route to work.
How do I prepare for Bike to Work Day?
Once you’ve signed up for the event, you’ll need to track down, rent, repair, or purchase a bike. There are tons of bike shops in the D.C. area, and WABA members get a discount at many of them. If you’re looking to rent a bike, Capital Bikeshare, as always, has short-term memberships available. Bike and Roll is providing complimentary rentals for Bike to Work Day riders on May 17.
If you normally drive or take public transportation, planning a bike-friendly route to work is essential. Several tools are available online, including Google Maps’ bicycling directions and bikeplanner.org.
Scope out the area near your office or school prior to riding to find out where bike parking is available. Wear comfortable clothing and shoes, and consider the weather before heading out. Sunglasses and sunscreen or a rain jacket are advised, depending on the forecast! Additionally, D.C. law requires cyclists under 16 years of age to wear a helmet.
Biking is more fun with good company, so invite colleagues, neighbors, friends, or family to participate with you. Consider it a challenge to get others out on the road with you.
My bike has been sitting in the garage for a while. What should I do to make sure it’s in proper riding condition?
If it’s been a while since you’ve been on your bike, that’s OK! Start off by doing a basic “ABC” check. Check for any small problems in your air, brakes, and chain. Have it looked at by a mechanic if you’re unsure if it’s safe to ride or if you need assistance with flat tires.
Make sure your bicycle is equipped with front and rear lights and a bell, which arerequired by law. A U-lock will be useful, and more substantial than a cable lock, once you arrive at your destination.
Should I ride on the road or the sidewalks?
Riding on the sidewalks is legal in D.C., except in the downtown central business district south of Massachusetts Avenue. While it is not recommended to ride on sidewalks, do whatever feels safe to you. Plan on using a route with bicycle lanes or if you’re comfortable, take the car lane. Still unsure about biking on the streets? Take a Confident City Cycling class with WABA!
What if it rains/snows/hurricanes/earthquakes?!
Bike to Work Day is a rain or shine event. Plan accordingly.
If you’re a first-time commuter or just a first-time Bike to Work Day participant, we hope we’ve helped you to feel a bit more confident. If you’re a Bike to Work Day pro, check back next Wednesday for a post for seasoned veterans like you! In the meantime, we challenge you to pass this along to friends, colleagues, and family members who have been hesitant to commute by bike and who would be able to take advantage of the safety-in-numbers support that Bike to Work Day provides.
Bike to Work Day pros, we’ll see you back here next Wednesday to talk ways you can make 2013 the best bike-commute celebration ever. Sign up for Bike to Work Day now!
The L Street protected bike lane has been open for a few months now. But its unique design–on the left side of L Street’s car lanes—is still causing confusion. And some drivers continue to disregard the lane’s numerous “no parking” signs.
D.C. bike ambassadors have teamed up with the city’s traffic control officers to educate drivers and cyclists the proper use of L Street’s facilities. Next Tuesday, we will be out on L Street, raising awareness about safety and enforcement issues related to the bike lane.
The L Street protected bike lane is a mile long and runs from New Hampshire Avenue to 12th Street NW. It’s a different design from other dedicated bike lanes in the city, so WABA and the D.C. bike ambassadors are making an effort to educate drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians on how to use the new facility safely and lawfully.
The Bike Ambassador program is a group of bike-loving volunteers who are dedicated to educating and encouraging people of the district to get on bikes. To learn more about the Bike Ambassador Program and volunteer outreach opportunities like this one, sign-up for a new bike ambassador orientation.
For questions, please contact the Bike Ambassador Program Coordinator, Megan McCarty, by email (email@example.com) or by phone (202.518.0524 ext. 200).
Our first bike ambassador orientation session of 2013 started out with a bang: We brought 17 new ambassadors on board! We’d like to welcome all of them to the team.
Bike ambassadors reach out to and educate cyclists, pedestrians, and drivers about what it means to ride a bike in the D.C. area. These enthusiastic volunteers are dedicated to promoting safe cycling for fun, fitness, and transportation and work to make bicycling more accessible to everyone in D.C.
This spring, you can expect to see the ambassadors out on the streets acting as mobile information booths, passing out D.C. bike maps, and attending community events, health fairs, and farmers markets. We are focused on being “roll” models throughout the community and hope to break down the barriers that prevent people from biking. Look for us in your neighborhood!
Orientation for bike ambassadors is held on the third Tuesday of the month from 6:30-7:30 p.m. at the WABA office at 2599 Ontario Road NW. Upcoming trainings will be held on:
- Tues., Feb. 19, 2013
- Tues., March 19, 2013
- Tues., April 16, 2013
Use the sign-up page to reserve your spot. Each session is limited to the first 10 people to register.
To learn more about what bike ambassadors do and how the program spreads the good word of bicycling in D.C., click here. Please contact Megan McCarty at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (202) 518-0524 x200 with any questions.
Confidential to existing bike ambassadors (if you’ve gone through a training, that’s you!): We’re throwing you a party tomorrow night. Come to our office from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. for free pizza and socializing in appreciation of your efforts to spread the word about better bicycling. If you missed the link to RSVP in the email we sent out last week, you can sign up here. Remember, this is for current ambassadors only; if you’re interested in becoming one, follow the instructions above.
Do you love bikes? Are you interested in educating others and sharing your passion? Consider volunteering as a bike ambassador!
You’re invited to attend the new bike ambassador orientation next Tuesday evening at WABA’s office. If all of the above—plus, pulling a trailer and explaining to others the virtues of cycling as transportation—sounds like an awesome time, you should sign up here.
At orientation, you will:
- Learn what, exactly, a bike ambassador does, and how you can do it, too
- Learn about the goals of the bike ambassador program
- Sign up for upcoming events and opportunities
- Plug into your local bike advocacy group (that’s WABA!)
- Make new biking friends and expand your community network
Orientation is next Tuesday, Jan. 15, from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at WABA’s office, 2599 Ontario Road NW. For more information, contact the Bike Ambassador Program Coordinator, Megan McCarty, at email@example.com or (202) 518-0525 x200.
You’re invited! Join WABA at Mayor Gray’s Press Conference as we say “Thank You” to DDOT and announce the opening of the new L Street NW Protected Bike Lane.
Date: Tuesday, December 4, 2012
Location: 15th and L St NW (Northwest Corner)
For more information about the project check out:
On Twitter? Show your thanks using:
Due to Hurricane Sandy, tonight’s new Bike Ambassador Orientation (scheduled for 6:30-7:30pm) is cancelled. Please stay safe and out of the storm!
Stay tuned for a rescheduled event date, and feel free to e-mail BikeAmbassador@waba.org with any questions or concerns, or to sign-up for the next orientation.
Have you recently spotted a bicycle enthusiast in a red DC Bike Ambassador T-shirt on your commute to or from work?
That’s because the Bike Ambassadors have kicked off a series of outreach events at some of the prime bicycling locations around town. We started last week at two locations, 16th & U St NW and 14th St & Clifton St NW, and were out on the Metropolitan Branch Trail yesterday morning. We have a few more locations picked out, but we would love to hear your suggestions for additional sites.
Upcoming Outreach Locations (Dates TBD):
- Rock Creek Park/Trail & Virginia Ave NW
- Capitol Hill
- 14th St and Park Rd NW
- You tell us!
The goal of our pop-up outreach is to become mobile information booths about all things bicycling. Stop by one of our upcoming outreach locations and grab a snack, a bike map, chat about WABA, bikes, and/or the Bike Ambassador Program. We can help you find a safe route to get you where you need to go or answer other biking-related questions you might have.
We will announce where the Bike Ambassadors will be via the WABA Facebook page as the dates are scheduled, so be sure to “Like” us to find out and stay informed! In the meantime, e-mail your questions or suggestions to Megan or Katie at BikeAmbassador@waba.org.
Thought about joining WABA but haven’t yet? Need to renew your membership? Stop by one of our outreach locations, learn more about the benefits of WABA membership, and join at the discounted rate of $30.
Hope to see you soon!
My name is Megan McCarty, and I recently joined WABA as the new DC Bike Ambassador Program Coordinator.
The Bike Ambassador program was designed to educate cyclists, drivers and pedestrians on safe use of roads, sidewalks, and trails. As the new program coordinator, I want to make sure I provide the Bike Ambassadors with the leadership, resources, and knowledge to help others make the choice to go by bike a safe and easy one.
My ultimate goal for the program is to encourage more DC residents and visitors to get on a bike, whether it is for fun, fitness, or transportation. Bicycling is an integral and growing part of the transportation system in DC, and I know that the Bike Ambassadors can play a huge role increasing the visibility of cyclists and welcoming all of the new riders out there to life on two wheels.
My first event as a Bike Ambassador was a Commuter Cycling class with an organization called Back On My Feet, a nonprofit group “dedicated to creating independence and self-sufficiency within the homeless and other underserved populations by first engaging them in running as a means to build confidence, strength and self-esteem.” They invited Bike Ambassador Katie Bolton and me to talk to some new bicyclists about bike safety, basic traffic skills, and taught them how to properly fit a helmet and use Capital Bikeshare. It was a great learning experience and hopefully more Bike Ambassador Volunteers will join me next time!
As a fairly new DC resident, I am excited to explore the city on my bicycle. I grew up biking around my neighborhood in sunny Tampa, FL and moved to Baltimore, MD after graduating from the University of Central Florida. My background is in Civil Engineering and Transportation Planning, and I have always had a passion for Bicycle and Pedestrian Planning, specifically. I fell in love with commuting by bicycle, and decided to switch gears and work full-time in bike advocacy.
In the coming weeks and months, you will probably find me at various community events, as well as biking around town with the Ambassador trailer – a moving bike advocacy billboard on two wheels! I hope you will join me!