I’d Like to Bike, But…

People have their reasons for not biking. We’re here to change some perspectives!

Since becoming the Outreach Coordinator at the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA), I have attended a lot of expos, wellness events and festivals. I love meeting new people and talking with them about what we do at WABA. I also like hearing from people about why they do or don’t bike in the city.

So I decided to create two boards to take with me to my events. One of the boards says, “I bike because…” and the other says, “ I’d like to bike but…”. Although I love reading the responses about why people bike, I am even more intrigued by why people don’t. I read each one as people write them and use those responses as a way to jump-start a conversation about what we do and how we can help them. Here are the top reasons I see and hear about why people don’t bike and how WABA can make you a little less apprehensive to biking.

#1 – “I don’t know how to ride a bike.”

I learned to ride as an adult (as did one of my co-workers), so I completely understand how that hinders someone from riding a bike. And as you get older, you realize that you are further from the ground so falling off a bike becomes pretty scary. If you or someone you know is in this situation, we can help.

WABA offers adult Learn to Ride classes throughout the year. We have certified instructors who will spend time with each student getting them comfortable on a bicycle and learning to ride in under 3 hours. And you are never to old to learn. Last season, we had a 76 year old woman learn to ride so you have no excuse! You can learn more about our Adult Learn to Ride Classes here.

#2 – “I’m scared of being hit by cars.”

I must admit, I always find this answer funny. These are drivers who are afraid to bike because of…drivers? But I also get it because I was in their shoes. After I learned to ride, I always rode on trails. I was terrified of being hit by a car, or more specifically, by a taxi cab.

I overcame that by taking a City Cycling class with WABA! I learned to not ride in the gutter, how to signal for turns and how to confidently take the lane when biking to make sure I’m seen by cars. Amazingly, these and other simple steps really do make you feel so much more confident on the road. You can learn how to ride confidently in the city too by taking our City Cycling class.

#3 – “I live too far away.”

This is a legitimate reason to not bike the entire way to work. However, you may be able to do multi-modal riding. For example, maybe you can take the Metro part of the way and take bikeshare the rest of the way. Or perhaps you bike rather than drive to the store or to run errands near where you live. Thinking of biking in these small ways can help build your confidence and get you biking more often.

#4 – “I’m out of shape.”

Biking is great exercise and helps to get you in shape. I often suggest just biking a mile or around the block. Or join one of our community rides so you can be social and ride with others. Often people don’t even realize they have biked 10 miles when they bike in a social ride. And it’s a great way to build up your endurance!

And #5? – “Hills!”

Hills are no joke. I grew up in Anacostia and it is HILLY. It can definitely prevent people from wanting to ride. But there are a couple of ways to conquer hills. One way is to bike down the hill and take Metro or the bus up the hilly part. The other way is to buy or rent an e-bike. These incredible bikes make hills seem flat by giving you the boost you need to roll up any hill with ease.

Now you know the most common objections I hear about why people aren’t biking. But we all have to start somewhere – consider this a step in the bike direction!

Put the Pedal to the Podcast

These days, podcasts are sort of a big deal. Especially since the breakout success of “Serial”—the 2014 true crime podcast from This American Life that explored a murder case in Baltimore in the Winter of 1999. Just four years later, podcasts are everywhere you look—oops, we mean listen!

Podcasts have become a way to consume news, learn new skills, connect with pop culture, and discover stories we might never have heard otherwise. If you aren’t familiar with podcasts, they are sort of like on-demand radio. Podcast topics can range from parenting to politics and everything in between.

There are even quite a few podcasts on bicycling! And here at WABA, we thought it was about time to explore some of the options.

Here are our favorites:

  • Shift Up Bike Podcast – This podcast is a new bike-industry focused weekly podcast where host Arliegh moderates healthy conversations to build a better bike industry!
  • The Bike Nerds Podcast – The Bike Nerds Podcast hosted on the OAM Network. The Bike Nerds is hosted by Kyle Wagenschutz and Sarah Studdard. Their podcast features community leaders, neighborhood advocates and urban thinkers on how bicycling makes cities better. They also nerd out on the aspects of their lives that influences their life on two wheels.
  • We Got to Hang Out – This podcast is hosted by four friends living in the Portland who have been biking or working in the biking industry for nearly a decade. They gather to tell authentic stories of biking in a casual storytelling style.  
  • Breaking Bike – This new podcast by Lanespotter is all about urban biking. It’s about bike lanes, bike tech, and people who bike telling bike stories.
  • The Slow Ride Podcast – three former bicycle messengers from Minneapolis, MN gather for an unscripted conversation about the bike racing and culture.

Download ‘em and take a listen, and if there’s a bike-related podcast you love, let us know on Twitter (@WABADC) or Facebook.

What in the World is a DC Bike Ambassador?

You may have been driving, walking or biking one day and noticed a group of enthusiastic, red-shirted people with bikes on the corner. Congratulations! You spotted the DC Bike Ambassadors in their natural habitat. They were most likely talking to people about being safe on the street. Maybe they were passing out bike lights to bicyclists. Or perhaps they shared a flier with you about upcoming bike events around town. DC Bike Ambassadors are volunteers who love bicycling and want to bring the benefits of bicycling to their communities. But the best part is, you can be one too!

Want to be a Bike Ambassador? Yes!

DC Bike Ambassadors with Brianne Nadeau

This year, we are adding another layer to the work of DC Bike Ambassadors. We want to spend more time in communities typically underserved by WABA and by the bicycling improvement efforts in the District. This includes communities in Wards 4, 7 and 8, seniors, the Spanish speaking community, deaf bicyclists, and blind bicyclists.

We’ll better engage with these communities by hosting rides and events, tabling at expos, fairs and festivals, and being present for community meetings that affect these communities. We’ll also work to build relationships with organizations in these communities to reach their members and share WABA’s resources with them. Finally, we’ll be biking with our public awareness trailer (if you see us, say hello!), volunteering our time with other organizations, and connecting them with the people they serve.

We want DC Bike Ambassadors to be a reflection of the region’s growing bicycling community; including all communities is key.

If you want to be part of this movement to attract more diverse bicyclists to the biking community, please sign up for our bi-monthly newsletter to learn more about our upcoming events and volunteer opportunities.

We’re Hiring: Part-Time Bike Ambassador

The Washington Area Bicyclist Association is looking for an outgoing, energetic, and motivated person to help run the D.C. Bike Ambassador program. The program’s goal is to establish WABA’s presence city-wide, to foster a positive impression of bicycling and bicyclists and to educate residents and local organizations about bike laws, roadway safety, and potential benefits of bicycling to individuals, families, workplaces, and communities.

The D.C. Bike Ambassador will promote WABA’s programs and the Bike Ambassadors’ core messaging, as well as coordinate volunteer Bike Ambassador outreach events, and help recruit local residents to become volunteer Ambassadors and attend WABA classes, programs, and events.

This position is part-time, 20 hours per week and compensation is $15 per hour.


  • Implement Bike Ambassador outreach, education, encouragement, and community organizing events for WABA.
  • Recruit and energize our team of volunteer D.C. Bike Ambassadors.
  • Distribute print resources to community members, such as D.C. bike maps, Quick Start Guides, D.C. Pocket Law Guides, Capital Bikeshare information, and WABA education and promotional materials.
  • Pull the WABA Bike Ambassador billboard bike trailer (up to 20 miles/week).
  • Complete administrative and reporting requirements.
  • Report to, communicate and coordinate regularly and effectively with supervisor about goals, planning and logistics, reporting, challenges and issues.
  • Other WABA duties as assigned.

Preferred Qualifications

The ideal candidate will have:

  • A strong commitment to WABA’s mission.
  • Willingness and excitement to learn bicycling safety, traffic law, skills, and WABA’s bike encouragement philosophy.
  • Experience planning events and coordinating volunteers.
  • Excellent presentation and public speaking skills.
  • A flexible schedule and willingness to work evenings, and weekends.
  • Experience with Microsoft Office, Google Apps (Gmail, Calendar, Drive/Docs/Sheets, Forms), Facebook and Twitter.
  • The ability to pull a bicycle trailer weighing 10 lbs. for 1-3 hours.
  • The ability to lift at least 40 lbs.
  • Organized, good time management skills and ability to multitask in a relaxed, fun environment.
  • Conversational fluency in Spanish (strongly preferred).
  • Familiarity with American Sign Language (ASL) a plus.
  • League of American Cycling Instructor (LCI) certification a plus.

About the Washington Area Bicyclist Association

Making bicycling better through advocacy and education, the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) promotes biking as a healthy, low-cost, and environmentally-friendly form of transportation and recreation. With 6,500 members region-wide, WABA serves the Washington, DC Metropolitan Area, including the District of Columbia and communities in Maryland and Virginia.

To Apply

Send a cover letter and resume to jobs@waba.org with “Bike Ambassador.” Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis; the position will remain open until filled. Interested candidates are encouraged to apply by or before Friday, March 16th. Only candidates selected for an interview will be contacted. No phone calls please.

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.

Little Known Black History of Blacks in Biking

It’s February and that means it’s Black History Month!

This month, I’d like to highlight a few little known black history facts about blacks in biking.

“Bicyclists’ group on Minerva Terrace. [Lt. James A. Moss’s company of 25th Infantry, U. S. Army Bicycle Corps, from Fort Missoula, Montana.] YNP.”
October 7, 1896.

Buffalo Soldier

Bob Marley’s song Buffalo Soldier is not just a great sing-along song with a wonderful bridge-Woe! Yoe! Yo!  It is a song that tells a story about the 25th Infantry United States Army Bicycle Corps. The theory is the name was given to them by Native Americans because their hair felt like a buffalo’s pelt. The name was embraced by the soldiers because they were familiar with the buffalo’s bravery and fighting spirit.

The soldiers were one of the many segregated units of the U.S. Army. They were testing if bicycles could replace horses in the military. Their biggest test came when they rode 1900 miles from Ft. Missoula, Montana to St. Louis, Missouri. They averaged 56 miles a day and completed the trip in 34 days. To learn more about the Buffalo Soldiers contribution to the U.S. Army, check out the book Iron Riders: Story of the 1890s Fort Missoula Buffalo Soldiers Bicycle Corps” by George Niels Sorensen (Pictorial Histories Publishing Co., 2000)

Vélocipede + Tricycle

In 1888, Mathew A. Cherry invented and received the patent for the vélocipede. The vélocipede was a metal seat with frame set on top of two or three wheels. This design was a big improvement over previous designs. The rider would propel themselves along with their feet on the ground in a fast walking or running motion.

This design eventually evolved into the bicycle and tricycle. In May 1888, Cherry received the patent for the tricycle. In the U.S., the tricycle is used mostly by children. However, in Asia and Africa, it’s used for commercial deliveries and transportation.

Picture courtesy of patentpending.blogs.com


One of the things that makes biking a great form of transportation is the ability to carry stuff. In 1899, Jerry M. Certain created the first bicycle parcel carriers, designed to carry items via bike. Today, we call these parcel carriers panniers and they are essential to many riders who use bicycles for transportation and travel.

These are just little facts about African-American contributions to making bicycling better and accessible for all. Think about that the next time you load up your pannier for a ride!

What to give your bike loving sweetie for Valentine’s Day

WABA members and their bike loving sweethearts

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. This is the day we get to celebrate our love for our partners. For many that means dinner, candles, chocolate (of course), or flowers. But if your partner loves to ride a bicycle, we have some gifts that you may want to consider giving instead. No guarantees, but we’re pretty sure they’ll love them.

WABA merchandise

Your partner loves to ride their bicycle, so make sure that they become a member of WABA (it’s only $35/year to join and get a lot of great perks). If they already are a member, then why not outfit them with some of our WABA merchandise? We have socks to keep their toes warm during a winter ride and cool in the summer, t-shirts that let everyone know they love biking, and jerseys to show off that WABA pride. Your purchase helps us continue to advocate for better bicycling across the region and supports our efforts to get more people riding bikes!


At some point, your loved one will need to have their bike serviced or repaired. But it can sometimes be inconvenient to take it to a shop and wait for the repair. There’s no need to do that when you could give them the gift of Velofix. Velofix is a mobile bike shop that can do any repairs or service needed on-site at your home or office. They even sell bikes in case you need a new one. Check out all the services they offer here.


Even though your loved one rides a bike, there are some times when a car is necessary. Maybe they need to go somewhere farther than they are willing to bike. Or perhaps biking in less-than-ideal weather just isn’t fun for them. Well, you can give them the gift of options with car2go. With a car2go membership, they can use the app to reserve a car nearby and unlock it when they arrive, then simply hop in and go. Even better, you can park it (almost) anywhere and end your trip. It’s perfect for one-way travel or even full-day trips. Learn more about why a car2go membership is a great gift for your honey.

Grip Unlimited

Most likely if your sweetie is biking, they need to carry stuff. It may be clothes or just a flat repair kit. No matter what it is, they will need a way to transport it. And Grip Unlimited is the perfect way to do that. Their products are made locally and attach to the frame of a bike. Check out their collection of bags here.


Let’s be honest, going out to eat on Valentine’s Day can be frustrating and expensive. But you still need to eat (and impress that special someone). Instead of going out this year, you could stay in and order a delicious meal via DoorDash. Download the app or order online and have your food arrive in less than an hour.

Urban Stems

And finally, if you want to go traditional on Valentine’s Day and send flowers, consider having them delivered by one of the wonderful bike couriers from Urban Stems. Who wouldn’t love beautiful flowers delivered by bicycle? It’s the best of both worlds. The flowers will also pair nicely with your meal from DoorDash.

When you love a person who loves bicycles you may as well get them something they will truly appreciate and you can’t go wrong with any of these gifts.

Get updates on all of the Bike Ambassador events that your bike loving sweetie (or you) will enjoy by joining our email list.


Resolutions you’ll keep (and that will make you feel good)

Do you make New Year’s resolutions on January 1st and then forget about them by January 18th? You’re not alone. The University of Scranton suggests that just 8% of people achieve their New year’s Resolutions.

Rather than lofty goals like “ride a century” or “win that segment of Strava,” Here are a few resolutions that are easy to keep. You’ll feel like a winner at the end of 2018 if you do just one of them!


Attend a City Cycling Class

If you are uncomfortable riding your bike on city streets, consider joining one of our City Cycling Classes. These classes are designed to help people who know how to ride feel more comfortable and confident on the road. Sign up here to be notified when the spring schedule is available.

Attend a Learn to Ride Class

If you don’t know how to ride a bike, it’s never too late to learn. (I learned to ride a bike when I was 25, while on a date!)

Last season, WABA’s instructors taught a 79-year-old, proving that nobody is too old to learn. Even better, the class is fun, and just three hours long. Don’t put it off any longer, sign up here to be notified when the spring schedule is available.

Renew your WABA membership

WABA represents more than 5,500 people who see bicycling as a solution to the traffic, health and environmental challenges we face in our community. We depend on area bicyclists like you to continue our work making bicycling a healthy and more sustainable means of transportation and recreation. Your $35 membership gives you member perks to area bike shops, car2go, Zipcar and many more! And your membership also allows you to sign up for member only rides such as the VASA ride, 50 States Ride and Cider Ride.

Join a Community Ride

These low key rides are a great way to get started riding comfortably and confidently on city streets. Our next community ride is January 27th- Ride to the Rink. We will be riding in Ward 7 to DC’s only indoor ice rink, Ft. Dupont Ice Arena to celebrate National Ice Skating Month. We’d love to have you join us.

Learn to be an advocate in your community

Have you always wanted to know how to get a bike lane on your route to work? Or how to get a bike rack in front of your building? All of that requires advocacy. Come join us on how to be an advocate for bikey things in your neck of the woods. Learn how to be an advocate at the next workshop.

Ride a Trail

We have a lot of beautiful trails in the area. Take some time to ride on one of them today (or when it’s nice out). Check out one of them below and post your pic on social media and tag @WABADC

    1. Mount Vernon Trail
    2. Custis Trail
    3. Four Mile Run Trail
    4. Capital Crescent Trail
    5. C & O Canal Path
    6. Metropolitan Branch Trail
    7. Oxon Run Trail – runs from 13th St SE to South Capitol St
    8. Washington, Baltimore, & Annapolis Trail
    9. Anacostia River Trail

Volunteer at a WABA event

Check out our volunteer hub and Bike Ambassador Facebook page to see what opportunities are available monthly and stop by our next Volunteer Night on January 24th!

Become a monthly donor to WABA’s mission to make biking accessible and fun for our entire region. You can donate to WABA using this link.

Sign the Vision Zero Pledge (you can do this one right now. It’s that easy to do. Seriously, take the pledge now)

Take your family on a bike ride.  Use one of the trails listed above or if you have children or know children who would be interested in biking, sign them up for BikeCamp!

You don’t need to do all of them (but that would be awesome), but these are easy resolutions to work into your year of biking. Go for a ride, get involved— make 2018 better for everyone on a bike and help WABA continue to do the work that matters most to you!

9 Reasons to Bike in the Winter

biking in the winter

When I first started riding at age 25, I only rode during the day and only if the temp was over 70 degrees. I was literally a fair weather rider. Now many years later, I find myself biking to and from work all year long. And I must admit it’s not nearly as bad as I thought. It sounds crazy, but I actually enjoy riding in the winter. Don’t believe me? Here’s what won me over:

1. Park anywhere

The spring and summer mean more people are biking. YAY! That also means fewer places to park your bike when you arrive at your destination. In the winter, you don’t have that problem. You can park almost anywhere.

2. Be #awesome

Biking to work in the cold and wind and snow leaves people in awe of you. While they were stuck in traffic in a warm car you were passing them, avoiding the traffic, braving the elements and being amazing.

3. Hains Point 100

Every December one of our amazing volunteers, Megan Jones, organizes the Hains Point 100 event to raise money for Women & Bicycles, WABA’s program to encourage and support more women to ride bicycles. The idea is to ride 100 laps, 100 miles, 100 minutes, 100 seconds, 100 anythings, etc. around Hains Point in East Potomac Park. And she raffles off incredible gifts and swag too. Register for the Hains Point 100, this Sunday on December 17th from 8:45 am-3:00 pm and help raise money for a great cause.

4. Stay healthy

Exercising throughout the winter helps to boost your immune system which can help you fight off colds and the flu and stay healthy. Plus, more biking means you can eat more holiday cookies.

5. Improve your mood

When the time changes we have a lot less daylight, leading to anxiety, crankiness, and even Seasonal Affective Disorder. One way to combat that is to bike to work. Being out on your bike is a great way to get a little more sun, fresh air, and daylight in your life during the winter.

6. Skip the shower

Summer riding is fun but can be sweaty and leave you feeling like you need to shower after every bike ride. But in the winter you can ride and arrive at your destination and not feel like you need to shower before your first meeting. But it never hurts to keep some wet wipes or a stick of deodorant in your office, just in case.

7. Bike Lanes are less crowded

(at least until everyone reads this post!)

8. Friendly competition

If you are one of those people who need a bit of motivation to ride through the winter you may want to try Freezing Saddles. It’s a friendly winter competition and the goal is to ride at least 1 mile every day from January 1 until the last day of winter. Each registrant is part of a team and there are fun (and sometimes meaningless) prizes that are given for the person and team that rides the most miles, rides the most often, visits the most coffee shops, and more!

9. Bike & Skate

Join us for our first ride event of 2018. We’ll be riding to ice skate at the Ft. Dupont Ice Arena on Ely Place SE. If you haven’t ice skated in a while or you ice skated last week, you should come join us for a fun bike ride and skating event.

Biking through the winter isn’t for everyone. And there are some days when it’s below freezing and you just don’t want to. There’s nothing wrong with that. But winter biking is worth a try occasionally. And you never know, you just may begin to like it.

Families Who Lost Loved Ones Come Together for World Day of Remembrance

On Sunday, November 19th, cities around the world hosted World Day of Remembrance to honor those who have lost their lives or sustained serious injuries due to traffic crashes. This year was the first year the Washington Area Bicyclist Association hosted an event to commemorate those who have been killed. We gathered at Grant Circle in the Petworth neighborhood of Washington, DC and had 4 families of loved one speak about the losing their family members to traffic violence.

We started with WABA’s Executive Director, Greg Billing, speaking about the importance and need for Vision Zero. 

Executive Director Greg Billing opening speech at World Day of Remembrance event

Our first speaker was Christina Quinn whose father was a bicyclist hit by a driver. She gave a heartfelt account of how her father, Timothy Holden’s death has left a hole in her life and the life of her family. She called for the city to make roads safer for travelers.

Christina Quinn speaking about the loss of her father, Timothy Holden.

David Helms, an avid bicyclist, spoke about losing his mother, Robert Pickle Helms. He gave a passionate plea to slow down when we get behind the wheel of a car and refrain from driving when we have had too much to drink or are sleep deprived. 

David Helms speaking about the loss of his mother Roberta Pickle Helms due to an intoxicated driver

The brave aunts of 6-year-old Xavier Luckey spoke about how raw the wounds are from losing their beloved child on his birthday. He was hit and killed before he could cut his birthday cake or open a single present by a driver who didn’t stop. He was about to graduate from kindergarten. They asked the city to do something about speeding cars in neighborhoods near schools so that no other parent will lose their child to a traffic crash.

Chernelle Luckey and Lachone Simms speaking about the loss of their nephew Xavier Luckey on his 6th birthday

Xavier Luckey killed May 2017

The sister and brother-in-law of Chaplin’s Restaurant, Armin Amin – Toomaji spoke. They remembered Armin as “a gentle giant who loved people.” He was a warm spirit, a man who cared for the homeless. He had always wanted to own a restaurant and his dream came true by opening Chaplin’s in the Shaw area of DC. He was struck and killed by driver while walking a customer to her car. 

Arzin Amin and her husband speaking about the loss of her brother Armin Amin-Toomaji

Tamara Evans, WABA’s Advocacy Director, read aloud all 57 names of the people who died in traffic crashes in the District from 2016- 2017. It was a somber moment as we reflected that each of those names represented a member of a community just like those that we’d lifted up.  A community that loves and misses them, even if they couldn’t join us to tell their story.


Street Smart team holding signs with the names of the 57 people who have died due to traffic fatalities from 2016-2017

The event ended with Renée Moore, WABA’s Vision Zero Community Organizer, speaking about the need to treat traffic fatalities as an epidemic and not as a disruption to our day on the way to our destination.

This event is a call to action for our city to make our roads safer for everyone and to make sure no one dies on our roads. You can show support by taking the Vision Zero pledge.

This week only: “How’s My Driving” Scavenger Hunt!

Help us make a case:

We’re looking for pictures and videos of professional drivers behaving unprofessionally. You know, blocking bike lanes, passing unsafely, blocking sidewalks and crosswalks. Stuff you probably encounter every day. We’re also on the hunt for photos of professional drivers parking, stopping, or unloading correctly on streets with bike infrastructure, and driving safely around bicyclists and pedestrians.

So we’re hosting a scavenger hunt and keeping a scorecard of sorts:

To sweeten the deal. We’ll be giving away a WABA t-shirt to the person who submits the most photos or videos. We’ll announce the winner on Friday, October 5th.

Here’s how to participate::

  • Post a photo or video of a Fedex, Mail, UPS truck in a bike lane (Or parked appropriately next to a bike lane) (1pt)
  • Post a photo or video of a driver in a bike lane picking up or dropping off someone(Or discharging passengers appropriately next to a bike lane) (1pt)
  • Post a photo or video of a delivery truck in a bike lane (or unloading appropriately next to a bike lane) (1pt)
  • You can post on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram and use the hashtag #StreetsForPeopleDC , and tag us (@WABADC) when you post
  • Double points for photos and videos in NE, SE, SW (unsurprisingly, we have a lot of photos of 14th St NW)
  • You can also submit pics with your name or Twitter handle via email to renee.moore@waba.org

Get your submissions in by Friday, September 29th at 6 pm

Here’s what we have so far: