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Women & Bicycles Tip: Learn Bike Etiquette From Your Legos

e6MXyK7ObZyMVaWZ7KTNlYi1U8M0BlyNV1r6XhihuwIThis entry is part of our Women & Bicycles blog series. Women & Bicycles is WABA’s outreach and encouragement initiative to build a stronger women’s bike community and get more women on bikes. These posts certainly aren’t exclusive to women, but they’re produced with and through the Women & Bicycles’ programming and staffing. Click here to learn more and get involved.

 

The city of Edmonton created these five fun bike shorts that demonstrate some of the basic–and some of the esoteric–responsibilities of urban bicyclists. Take a look!

Riding and Driving Safely

The Case of the Dashed Bike Lane

Dial S for Sharrow

Get Behind It

Coaching Corners: left Turns for Cyclists

10 Reasons You Should Ride The Hains Point 100

e6MXyK7ObZyMVaWZ7KTNlYi1U8M0BlyNV1r6XhihuwIThis entry is part of our Women & Bicycles blog series. Women & Bicycles is WABA’s outreach and encouragement initiative to build a stronger women’s bike community and get more women on bikes. These posts certainly aren’t exclusive to women, but they’re produced with and through the Women & Bicycles’ programming and staffing. Click here to learn more and get involved.

 

HP 100 half poster

The Hains Point 100 is back for 2013! Here are 10 reasons you should ride 100 miles in circles around Hains Point on Dec. 22:

  1. It’s basically a choose-your-own-adventure ride. Start when you want. Ride as long as you want. Pause, snack, sprint, nap, and draft when you want.
  2. The route is riding in circles around Hains Point. It’s impossible to get lost or off-track and it’s unnecessary to have to rely on any kind of electronic device to find your away around.
  3. Did someone say potluck? You’re bringing snacks—brownies—right?
  4. Look at all the awesome ride sponsors! Must. Win. Raffle.
  5. You’ll ride with the finest of D.C.’s bike advocacy community, including all those people on Twitter you know only by icon, all those people from the forum you know only by signature, and all those people at advocacy meetings you know only by testimony. And you’ll bond over the fact that you’re still in D.C. three days before Christmas, riding your bike in circles in the wind around a peninsula.
  6. This is a locally organized, sustainable, homegrown, organic event, coordinated by one very dedicated supporter of the Women & Bicycles program.
  7. You’ll get bragging rights for riding (or attempting to ride) 100 miles around Hains Point.
  8. Riding 100 miles around Hains Point is a great opportunity to practice your counting. One hundred miles is 33 laps!
  9. Normalize winter riding!
  10. Your donations to the Hains Point 100 will help get more women on bikes. One hundred percent of the ride proceeds will be donated to WABA’s Women & Bicycles program, helping to fund another year of dedicated outreach.

This holiday season, give yourself the gift of an all-age, all-experience level, all-joyful, only slightly delusional century: the Hains Point 100. For more information on the ride, please visit the event website, find it on Facebook, and follow Hains Point 100 on Twitter.

Bicycling and Gender-Based Street Harassment: A Recap

e6MXyK7ObZyMVaWZ7KTNlYi1U8M0BlyNV1r6XhihuwI This entry is part of our Women & Bicycles Tips series. Women & Bicycles is WABA’s outreach and encouragement initiative to build a stronger women’s bike community and get more women on bikes. These tips certainly aren’t exclusive to women, but they’re produced with and through the Women & Bicycles’ programming and staffing. Click here to learn more and get involved.

 

Street Harassment

Last month, Women & Bicycles teamed up with Collective Action for Safe Spaces to host a two-hour workshop about street harassments. Attendees were given a safe space in which to share stories and experiences, and CASS affiliates were on hand to demonstrate empowering response tactics. The event was covered by the Washington Post and Elevation DC. See some excerpts below.

From The Post‘s “How Should Bicyclists Handle Street Harassment? D.C. Area Groups Teach Empowerment Tactics” (from Nov. 29):

“As a woman, I’m constantly operating with the low-level fear that any man might attack me,” said Kate, a resident of the Brookland neighborhood in Northeast Washington, who asked that her last name not be used because of safety concerns.

Once, a male cyclist pulled up alongside her on the C&O Canal towpath, presumably thinking she wanted company. He asked her to stop because he needed to urinate — not in the bushes, but on the trail, exposing himself for anyone to see. She sped away, but he chased her down. He asked her out; she declined.

“A lot of women start biking because it is empowering, but also because they can just get away from a situation,” said Zosia Sztykowski, 28, of Columbia Heights, the lead outreach coordinator for CASS, a grassroots organization dedicated to building awareness and ending sexual assault and harassment on the streets. The organization produces a blog that curates women’s experiences with street harassment. “A lot of people think street harassment happens just to them and that they’re alone,” she said.

Workshop participants were asked in an online survey about their experiences with street harassment and public transportation. “The most frequent type of street harassment seems to be having someone from a car or sidewalk shout rude and disrespectful things at you,” whether the victim’s on a bike or a pedestrian, one person said. A CASS study in May found that 90 percent of women and members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community had experienced some form of harassment while biking.

 

SH Workshop

From Elevation DC’s “Fighting for Safer Streets for Women Bike Commuters” (Nov. 26):

For Nelle Pierson, like many women in D.C., the decision to become a bike commuter was partly for safety.

“For me, I feel infinitely better on a bike than I do on foot,” Pierson, the outreach and programs coordinator for the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA), tells Elevation DC. “There are streets I avoid on foot that I’d bike through in a heartbeat.”

Even so, Pierson has been catcalled on her bike too many times to count. And so on November 20 at the Mt. Pleasant Library, along with Collective Action for Safe Spaces (CASS), an organization that aims to end public sexual harassment in D.C., Pierson helped put on a workshop geared toward helping women cyclists in the district feel safer on the streets.

“The environment around a perpetrator can make a difference. It has the power, over time, to change culture.”
According to WABA, women only comprise a quarter of cyclists in D.C. Pierson says that in a survey of 49 women distributed by WABA before the event, more than two thirds said they have experienced street harassment while biking. Many women are harassed at least once a week. But 41 percent surveyed say there’s no safer mode of transportation in the city.

Women & Bicycles Tip: Add These to Your Shelves

e6MXyK7ObZyMVaWZ7KTNlYi1U8M0BlyNV1r6XhihuwI This entry is part of our Women & Bicycles Tips series. Women & Bicycles is WABA’s outreach and encouragement initiative to build a stronger women’s bike community and get more women on bikes. These tips certainly aren’t exclusive to women, but they’re produced with and through the Women & Bicycles’ programming and staffing. Click here to learn more and get involved.

 

Recently, we posed this question to the WABA staff: “What books have enriched your understanding of the power of bikes and your approach to bike advocacy?”

Here are some titles we heard in response. They’re a well-rounded look at planning and advocacy for the curious reader, and could make for great holiday gifts! That said, this list is in no way comprehensive. Do you have a favorite urban studies, planning, or bike-related book? Tell us on Facebook or Twitter (or leave a comment on this post).

Bike-blog-Books-and-bicyc-003

Asphalt Nation, Jane Holtz Kay

City Cycling, John Pucher and Ralph Buehler

Death and Life of Great American Cities, Jane Jacobs

Edge City, Joel Garreau

Everyday Bicycling, Elly Blue

High Cost of Free Parking, Donald Shoup

Geography of Nowhere, James Howard Kunstler

Pedaling Revolution, Jeff Mapes

Sprawl, Robert Bruegmann

Stir it up, Rinku Sen

Traffic, Tom Vanderbilt

The Third Mode, Jeff Olson

Walkable Cities, Jeff Speck

Walking Home, Ken Greenberg

Women on Wheels, April Streeter

 

Women & Bicycles Tip: Download WABA’s Free Bike App

e6MXyK7ObZyMVaWZ7KTNlYi1U8M0BlyNV1r6XhihuwI This entry is part of our Women & Bicycles Tips series. Women & Bicycles is WABA’s outreach and encouragement initiative to build a stronger women’s bike community and get more women on bikes. These tips certainly aren’t exclusive to women, but they’re produced with and through the Women & Bicycles’ programming and staffing. Click here to learn more and get involved.

 

We’ve got a smartphone app. It’s free and available for iPhone and Android. Download it and use it with abandon! You can track crashes, input personal information, and access D.C.’s bike laws. (We hope to add Maryland and Virginia’s laws at some point in the near future.)

It’s been a while since we’ve touted the usefulness of this resource. How about a screenshot tour of the app’s capabilities to remind you why you should use it?

Know who to contact when you’re in a crash.

Bike App

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Women & Bicycles Tip: Reflect On Your Bicycle

e6MXyK7ObZyMVaWZ7KTNlYi1U8M0BlyNV1r6XhihuwI This entry is part of our Women & Bicycles Tips series. Women & Bicycles is WABA’s outreach and encouragement initiative to build a stronger women’s bike community and get more women on bikes. These tips certainly aren’t exclusive to women, but they’re produced with and through the Women & Bicycles’ programming and staffing. Click here to learn more and get involved.

The days are shorter, commutes home are darker, and those bike rides are getting a little colder. Let’s talk about staying warm and staying safe. If you haven’t already, check out this cold-weather riding infographic from GoDCGo and BikeArlington.

Click to enlarge

We could all use some simple, low-cost tips on biking through these colder months: How do you layer? How do you protect the extremities? How do you stay flashy?

This week, our focus is on the flashy. Reflectivity is important for all road users, and it’s becoming an trend—sometimes, even fashionable. There’s reflective gear for all kinds of mobile beings, from runners to cyclists to dogs.

Why stay flashy? As vulnerable users of the road, cyclists must do what we can to be most visible. It’s our responsibility to position ourselves in the road properly, use bike lights, and adorn our bodies in vivid, vibrant clothing and accessories to further our visibility powers.

Your local bike shop likely has plenty of high-viz gear in stock. Here are some of our favorite products:

Another affordable approach? Purchase some rolls of reflective tape and go to town.

Here’s what you should aspire to:

Women & Bicycles Tip: Share Your Street Harassment Stories

e6MXyK7ObZyMVaWZ7KTNlYi1U8M0BlyNV1r6XhihuwIThis entry is part of our Women & Bicycles Bi-Weekly Tips series. Women & Bicycles is WABA’s outreach and encouragement initiative to build a stronger women’s bike community and get more women on bikes. Click here to learn more and get involved.

Most women and woman-identified people have stories about gender-based street harassment experienced while walking—and while riding a bike. Whether it’s cat-calling, pick-up lines, gestures, being followed, grabbed, or even chased down, street harassment is frighteningly common.

If you’re comfortable doing so, we encourage you to share your stories to help grow awareness and shape local initiatives to end street harassment. Submit your experiences to the Collective Action for Safe Spaces website, or tweet them to @safespacesDC.

CASS, a local nonprofit working to end street harassment, wants to know how biking empowers you to navigate the frequent gender-based street harassment women and women-identified people in D.C. experience. According to a study by Stop Street harassment, 69 percent of women in D.C. avoid making eye contact in public because it may lead to street harassment, and 40 percent of women avoid being out alone.

We constantly hear from Women & Bicycles participants about how bicycling makes them feel more safe and in control when it comes to street harassment—but we understand that riding a bike doesn’t erase the potential of street harassment, either. Please read some of the stories CASS has collected so far, and share your own.

Tell CASS your stories about bicycling and street harassment.

Women & Bicycles’ Yoga Rides, in Photos

This season, the Women & Bicycles program paired up with local yogi Cory Grace to combine appreciations for bicycling and yoga, and to continue sharing the bike love.

After gathering at theYards Park, we rode the scenic loop around the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail. It’s a flat, paved trail, with lots of surprises, like the Skate Pavilion, Pirate playground, river overlooks on the new 11th Street bridge, and Kingman Island! Following our rides, Cory Grace treated us to her yoga practice tailored for bicyclists.

Click here to check out Cory’s work, like her upcoming beginner’s workshop, and click here to learn more about our upcoming Women & Bicycles events.

 

Group

See more photos below the jump.

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Women & Bicycles Tip: Know The Power of Shifting

e6MXyK7ObZyMVaWZ7KTNlYi1U8M0BlyNV1r6XhihuwIThis entry is part of our Women & Bicycles Bi-Weekly Tips series. Women & Bicycles is WABA’s outreach and encouragement initiative to build a stronger women’s bike community and get more women on bikes. Click here to learn more and get involved.

 

Shifting gears; important for greater comfort, power, and in general for being a more confident bicyclist. Instead of reinventing the wheel, we’re consulting Bicycling magazine to get you shifting like a pro. Want some in-person assistance? Check out a WABA City Cycling class, or ride with us this Sunday!

 

Photo courtesy of Microvector and Bicycling Magazine

Photo courtesy of Microvector and Bicycling

Here’s what Neil Bezdek wrote for Bicycling:

1. The Gears
Most bikes have two or three chainrings in the front and anywhere from 7 to 11 gears, or cogs, in the back. Moving the chain from the smallest rear cog to the largest eases your pedaling effort incrementally. Moving it between the chainrings in the front results in a more noticeable change—pedaling feels easier in a smaller chainring and harder in a bigger one.

2. Shifter Savvy
The left-hand shifter changes the front gears; the one on the right controls gears in back. If you get flustered on the fly, remember: RIGHT = REAR.

3. It’s Okay To…
• Use only the rear cogs and the small or middle front chainring when you’re just getting comfortable on a bike.
• look down to see what gear you’re in.
• shift whenever a more experienced rider does.

4. When to Shift
The reason bikes have gears is so you can pedal (relatively) comfortably no matter what the terrain. Shift to an easier gear on climbs or when you’re riding into the wind. Use a harder gear on flats or if the wind is blowing from behind. When in doubt, shift before the terrain changes. When you shift, ease up on the pedals, especially on hills; if you’re pushing hard, the chain may skip or fall off.

5. Avoid Cross-Chaining 
That means the chain is at an extreme slant, either in the big ring up front and the biggest cog in back, or the small ring up front and the small cog in back. This not only stresses the hardware, but it also limits your options if you need to shift again.

6. Cheat Sheet
For: Uphills and headwinds
Use: Small or middle front chainring + bigger rear cogs

For: Downhills
Use: Large front chainring + a range of rear cogs

For: Flat terrain
Use: Small or middle front chainring + ­smaller rear cogs

We searched the internet high and low for an effective video tutorial on shifting gears, and we came across Ken here from Landry’s Bicycles:

Women & Bicycles Tip: Find a Local Group Ride

e6MXyK7ObZyMVaWZ7KTNlYi1U8M0BlyNV1r6XhihuwIThis entry is part of our Women & Bicycles Bi-Weekly Tips series. Women & Bicycles is WABA’s outreach and encouragement initiative to build a stronger women’s bike community and get more women on bikes. Click here to learn more and get involved.

 

Crabcake ride 2

Photo courtesy of Karen White

If you’re new to the area, new to bicycling, or want to get more of your friends out on bikes, here are some of the countless group rides in the D.C. metropolitan area. Group rides are an excellent opportunity to get to know a new area, new people, and your bicycle.We crowdsourced our Women & Bicycles forum for group-ride suggestions, and many members gave personal endorsements in addition to general information. Feel free to share your own suggestions!

See the full list below the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

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