Meet the new WABA development team!

Kristin

Meet Kristin, our new Development Director!

After years of supporting WABA as a member, donor, instructor, volunteer, and 50 States Ride enthusiast, I am thrilled to take the next step and lead WABA’s new development team.

I started bicycling in the city when Capital Bikeshare came to town in 2010 (I still have my black key!), and fell in love with DC as I learned how much more lies beyond Metro’s footprint. I joined WABA as a member in 2012, and realized immediately I had found something special. The next year, I started following the Women & Bicycles Facebook page (what started as an online group is now growing WABA program) and began to understand the barriers to bicycling in the DC region. Many people felt they lacked the resources and support they needed to feel empowered to get on a bike and ride safely with traffic, a sentiment the online group underlined.

In 2014, I jumped at the chance to become a League Certified Instructor with WABA to help people through and over those barriers. Teaching Learn to Ride classes for adults, oftentimes women who grew up in a community where girls couldn’t ride bikes, was transformational. Just as it is for children, learning to ride is thrilling and delightful and changes everything. Those women, many of whom became bike commuters and advocates, inspire me every day.

Throughout those same years, I was building a career in development, fundraising for a community-based organization in Ward 8, and then a national conservation organization. I also serve on the board of Gearin’ Up, a nonprofit community bicycle shop and WABA partner.

I’ll be leading our new development team to deepen the value of membership, deliver the quality events so many riders enjoy, and grow our base of financial support so we can get more people riding safely and happily on bikes throughout the region.

If you’re interested in deepening your relationship with WABA, or have thoughts or questions about where we’re headed, I’d love to connect! My email is kristin.frontiera@waba.org.

 

Cyrus

Meet Cyrus, our new Events Coordinator!

I’ve been on a bicycle since I was a toddler, riding in a special seat attached to my Mom’s bike rack, and I’ve been exploring roads and bike trails in the DC region ever since. My relationship with biking deepened when, in 2015, I rode across the country from DC to Seattle with two of my friends to raise money for a national environmental nonprofit. Pedaling across the country gave me a thorough lesson how cyclists are treated in different places and how we develop transportation infrastructure and policy for bikes, pedestrians, cars, and transit all across the US.

The thing I love most about biking is the ability to get from one place to another under my own steam. I love sharing that joy and freedom with new and seasoned cyclists alike. I strongly believe in WABA’s mission of promoting bicycling for fun, fitness, and transportation and, having previously worked in the environmental field, I believe that improving people’s transportation options will lead to a healthier, more livable region.  

I’m thrilled to be part of WABA and the DC bike community and am looking forward to planning safe, accessible rides to bring the community together! If you want to talk to me about events, bikes, or what we can do to make better bicycling in the region, reach out to me at cyrus.chimento@waba.org.

 

Laura

Meet Laura, our new Business Partnerships Coordinator!

An Indianapolis native, I conquered the Crossroads of America via bike. In a city where a driver’s license is the epitome of youthful freedom, I found independence in my summers and afternoons at an early age. I used the bicycle as my primary mode of transportation since age 10, and continued to bike commute throughout high school, where I was voted “Most Eco-Friendly” for that simple act. Upon attending Indiana University, I turned my love of being on the bike into sport by participating in the Women’s Little 500, racing on an independent women’s team.

Through my time working in a local bike shop, friends in the Bloomington bicycling community pulled me out of the racing bubble and introduced me to the world of bicycle advocacy, where I found my most meaningful relationship with cycling: I helped implement city safety initiatives, led beginner rides for women, worked with the University of Indiana on their development plan for safer campus cycling, and volunteered at the Bloomington Bike Project’s Ladies Night as a mechanic.

Hailing from the marketing, growth, and fundraising side of technology startups, I couldn’t be more excited to advance WABA’s vision and impact through Business Partnerships and Corporate Sponsorships. If you own or work for a business that is looking for partnership or sponsorship opportunities, I would love to go for a ride, have a coffee, or set up a call! You can reach me at laura.miller@waba.org.

 

Tara

Meet Tara, our new Membership Coordinator!

Hello, everyone!

I am very excited to introduce myself as the Membership Coordinator here at WABA!

I grew up in Philadelphia and moved to the Washington, DC area about four years ago. I love being able to explore the city, especially on a bike. For me, biking is a great way to stay engaged and to travel effectively in the area.

I am really excited to serve the WABA community in this role because without the support and dedication of our members, advocating for safer streets and sidewalks would be next to impossible. I am looking forward to getting to know our membership more deeply in order to best serve the needs of the community and WABA supporters.

Tour De Fat Is One Month Away!

Did you get your tickets to Tour de Fat yet? It’s one month away! What are you waiting for?!

New Belgium is bringing the party back, bigger than ever this year! Fat Tire Presents “Tour de Fat” is coming to the DC region on Saturday, July 22nd.  The band Vintage Trouble is headlining the show, along with local musicians and your regular Tour de Fat carnival entertainment.

Plus, there will be so much beer! Proceeds from beer sales benefit WABA and other bicycle non-profits, so join us to fundraise for better bike lanes, better protected bike lanes, better bike trails, better bike education, better bike laws… You get the point!

Learn More »  Get tickets » 

What is Tour de Fat?

Tour de Fat, presented by New Belgium Brewing Company, is a roving philanthropic beer, music, and bike festival.

We partner with New Belgium Brewing Company, along with four DC-area bike non-profits (Black Women Bike DC, Fairfax Alliance for Better Bicycling, Phoenix Bikes, and Mid-Atlantic Off-Road Enthusiasts) to bring this event to town and make it the most fun thing you’ll do all summer. This super fun event helps us fund WABA’s bicycle advocacy and outreach efforts.

On top of all that, the band Vintage Trouble is headlining! Plus a touring ensemble of artists, cirque performers, and general mayhemists will appear alongside local buskers and street performers. New this year: New Belgium Brewing will host a battle of the bands and the winner will get to play at Tour de Fat!

Because we’re ramping up the activities, the event is ticketed. Tickets are available in advance online. Ticket prices will increase a few weeks before the show, so make sure to get your tickets early!

RSVP for Tour de Fat on Facebook here, and don’t forget to get your tickets to the show.

Event: Fat Tire Presents “Tour de Fat”
When: Saturday, July 22nd, 2017 from 4-9pm
Location: 136 N St SE, Washington, DC (exciting new venue!)
Tickets: Buy your tickets here (remember to purchase tix ahead of time!)
More Info: www.waba.org/tourdefat

Learn More »  Get tickets » 

What do Shenandoah sunsets and better bike lanes have in common?

The 2017 Climate ride, of course!

Ride to make our region a better place to bike!

When you join the WABA team on the Red White and Blue Ridge Ride, you join a lively group of people who support you from the moment you click register to the moment you set foot on the Capitol lawn. We’ll be your teammates in organizing, fundraising, preparing, and planning for our ride.

Here are six reasons to go in and register today!

  1. 100% of participants on our 2016 team would recommend it to friends and family.
  2. We heard some pretty nice feedback. Like, “I LOVE WABA!!!” and, “Dang, I love WABA and so enjoyed getting to know everyone on the ride,” and “We had amazing discussions about WABA’s efforts in bike advocacy while on Climate Ride. This will definitely strengthen our individual advocacy within our own neighborhoods and communities.”
  3. On the team, we’ll help you out when it comes to fundraising, training, packing, and all the hearty morale-boosting fun along the ride!
  4. Your funds raised directly support WABA’s campaigns and projects in your backyard.
  5. There are less than 10 spots left on the ride! Hurry!  Sign up as soon as you can in order to have the maximum time to complete your fundraising!

To join WABA’s Climate Ride Team

  1. Fill out our form.
  2. Register for the 2017 Red White And Blue Ridge Ride
  3. During registration, select “Team WABA” as your team, and WABA as one of your designated beneficiaries.
    • If WABA is your only beneficiary, you’ll get to rock a Team WABA jersey and socks!! If you select multiple beneficiaries, great! Share the love. We’d still love to have you on Team WABA.

Women & Bicycles Demystifies Cogs, Chains, Cassettes

“So what happens when you hit a hill and you’re still in a high gear?”

“You say swear words!” yells one woman.

“Yes!  And what else?”

Shifting Gears–a Women & Bicycles workshop put on by Proteus Bicycles in College Park–is all about the what else. Led by owner Laurie Lemieux, the workshop put the emphasis on asking questions, finding answers, and helping one another with a part of bicycling that’s as intimidating as it is necessary.

Most bicyclists are eventually going to have to change the gears on a bike. Nevertheless, many bicyclists don’t for fear of getting it wrong, messing it up, or breaking something. Shifting gears, to the novice cyclist, looks and feels complicated, comes with lots of odd noises and jarring motions, and as often as not, has opposite results from what they intended.


Want to learn about future Women & Bicycles events and rides?  Yes!






So we set out to tackle the greasy, clanky challenge. At the start of the workshop, we learned that shifting helps us keep better control of our bicycles, which makes us more confident cyclists. Here’s a little of what we learned:

The Basics

  • Pedaling feels easier in a small chainring and harder in a big one (chainrings, by the way, are the toothy gears that are attached to the right crank, aka, the thing your pedal is attached to). The correct chainring for you is the one where you can pedal comfortably on the terrain you face–and that’ll differ depending on your strength, fitness, and preference.
  • Because that’s not complicated enough, in the back of the bike pedaling feels easier in a big cog and harder in a little one (cogs are the toothy gears that are attached to the rear wheel; stacked together they’re called a cassette). Just like on chainrings, the correct cog for you is going to change depending on the terrain and your comfort and fitness levels.

Shifter Smarts

  • When you shift gears on your handlebars, the cables get longer or shorter, and the chain moves to a different cog (or chainring).
  • Your right hand controls the rear of your bike. (For both brakes and gears, Right = Rear.)
  • It’s okay to do most of your shifting in the back (with your right hand), especially if you’re new to this whole shifting thing.

Quick Cheats

  • Uphills and headwinds? Oh, geez. Use: small or middle front chain ring + bigger rear cogs.
  • Downhills? Wheeeeee! Use: Large front chainring + a range of rear cogs, while humming a happy tune.
  • Flat roads? Use: small or middle front ring + smaller rear cogs. Go ahead and use that big chainring if you are comfy!

What the heck is cross chaining?

  • Cross chaining means your chain is at an extreme slant from side to side. It can happen on any chain ring, and it means that you might be on your big ring in front and the biggest cog in the back, or son the smallest cog in front and back.
  • Cross chaining limits your shifting options, and puts a lot of strain on the chain (this is not a great idea).
  • If you notice you are cross-chaining, it’s a good indication that you could shift your front derailleur to give yourself access to more gears.

How and when do I shift?

  • When the terrain changes or a wind kicks up, or when pedaling seems harder. Are you going uphill? Facing a sudden headwind? Feeling tired?  That’s a good time to shift.
  • Try to shift before you get to the hill–shifting under pressure is hard on our bikes, and shifting when you are pushing hard is a leading cause of chains falling off. If you can shift before the hill starts, you win!
  • A great tip- if you are in your front big chain ring and see a big hill coming up, try shifting to your front small chain ring. You may find you have access to more gears on your rear cassette if the hill gets longer or harder than you anticipated!
  • When you shift going towards a hill, ease up on the pedals for a turn or two to lighten the load.
  • On a flat road, if the wind is behind you, or if you are going downhill- shift to harder gears. Downhills + harder gears = free speed!

What’s next?

Did you find this post helpful? Come try out those new gears skills on our next group ride, June 24, when we take on the rolling hills in the Women & Wine ride with Potomac Peddlers Touring Club!

 

Trails connect communities

June 3rd was National Trails Day, and we hope you had as much fun as we did.

Our Trail Ranger team joined the National Park Service, the District Department of the Energy and the Environment, goDCgo and a host of other community partners to celebrate the Anacostia River Trail.

In addition to lovely weather and a beautiful trail, the event sported a native fish exhibit at Anacostia Park, health screenings at River Terrace, trail trivia at Kenilworth, and fantastic flora and fauna at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens.

As part of their biannual Doc in Day Festival, Stone Soup Films came out to make a short film about the trail. Have a look:

The Kenilworth section of the Anacostia River Trail opened in October of 2016. It is a game-changing addition to our region’s trail network, reconnecting neighborhoods that have been cutoff for decades providing a safe, car-free trail experience from Anacostia Park to the ends of the Anacostia Tributary Trail System in Greenbelt, College Park, and Wheaton.

WABA would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to Stone Soup Films’  extraordinary crew – Madeleine Cook, Kaitlin Puccio, Asia Taylor, Josh Weiner and Chris Zarconi, and also to the District Department of Transportation and National Park Service for funding the DC Trail Ranger Program. And also:

  • Thanks to the Rails to Trails Conservancy for additional support for the trail etiquette signs!
  • Thanks to volunteer Will!
  • Thanks to Urban Arrow for the cinematography assist.

Want to stay up to date on our trail advocacy work?  Yes!





More photos below:

 

Attend A Meeting for Better Bicycling in DC

This month, District and Federal agencies want feedback on a number of projects that could benefit or negatively impact bicycling in the city. Consider attending a meeting and speaking up for better bicycling.

C&O Canal Workshop
Wednesday, June 14 | 6:00 – 8:00 pm
Canal Overlook Room at Georgetown Park | 3276 M Street NW

The National Park Service (NPS) and Georgetown Heritage are kicking off a project to restore and revitalize a mile-long section of C&O Canal in Georgetown. They aim to “create active public spaces for people to relax or get active and enjoy history and nature, make it easier and safer for people to get to and enjoy the popular towpath, address maintenance needs, and look at ways to beautify and enliven the space through Georgetown’s Historic District.” The June 14 workshop will focus on the scope of the project and developing exciting concept designs.

RSVPs are encouraged, but not required: Georgetowncanal.eventbrite.com

Southern Ave. Reconstruction Project
Thursday, June 15 | 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm
United Medical Center Hospital | 1310 Southern Avenue SE

The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) is planning changes to Southern Ave to improve vehicular, bicycle and pedestrian safety. The project will be split into two phases between South Capitol St and the United Medical Center. Improvements include replacing the Winkle Doodle Branch bridge, wider sidewalks, and a climbing bike lane on Southern Ave. Please attend to make sure this project makes Southern Ave safer for people on bikes.

See the project flyer here.

Downtown West Transportation Study Community Advisory Group
Tuesday, June 20 | 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm
George Washington University’s Funger Hall (Room 223) | 2201 G St NW

DDOT is proposing installing protected bike lanes and major sidewalk upgrades on Pennsylvania Ave NW between Washington Circle and the White House and a contra-flow bus only lane on H St. NW. At the meeting, DDOT will provide an overview of the three alternatives, share the results of the alternatives analysis, and solicit feedback. The Citizens Advisory Group meetings are open to the public and all are welcome.

Learn More

VRE Midday Storage Yard
Tuesday, June 27 | 7:00-9:00 pm
Presentation at 7:15 pm
Holiday Inn | 1917 Bladensburg Rd NE

Virginia Railway Express (VRE) is proposing a midday train storage facility on the north side of New York Ave NE in Ivy City to replace its current storage space leased from Amtrak. VRE is promising to work with members of the community, stakeholders, and property owners to assess potential impacts and determine ways VRE can be a good neighbor. However, as envisioned, this project would preclude long-term plans for a multi-use trail on New York Ave between Eckington and the National Arboretum. Please attend to hold VRE to its promises.

Learn More

New York Avenue Streetscape and Trail Project
Thursday, June 29 | 6:00 – 8:00 pm
Presentation at 6:30 pm
REI Co-Op | 201 M St. NE

The purpose of New York Avenue Streetscape and Trail Project is to develop implementable design solutions to enhance safety and aesthetics along New York Avenue NE. (You can see WABA’s analysis of the most recent designs here.) At this meeting, DDOT will present draft final design concepts and gather comments from the community.

Learn More

C Street NE Rehabilitation Project
Wednesday, June 28 | 6 – 8 pm
Rosedale Community Center | 1701 Gales Street NE

This project is designed to improve safety and connectivity for all users on C Street NE from 22nd Street NE to 14th Street NE; and on North Carolina Avenue NE from 16th Street NE to 14th Street NE. At the meeting, the 30% design plans will be discussed to further refine the recommendations provided during the final design phase. This project includes a road diet on C St, new curb-protected bike lanes, and raised crosswalks for a much improved biking and walking experience.

Learn More

Be A Better Bike Advocate
Wednesday, June 28 | 6:30 – 8:30 pm
WABA Office | 2599 Ontario Rd NW

Are you interested in attending a meeting, but not sure what to do when you get there? Do you wish you could learn about and improve bike projects before they break ground? Do your eyes glaze over when city planners start talking about design alternatives, curb extensions or complete streets? Come to our free training to take the first step in becoming a better bike advocate. Every transportation project is an opportunity to make bicycling safer and more convenient. Come learn how to engage in the process.

Register

Fairfax County Advocacy Updates

There are a few big projects in Fairfax County that we’re working on this month that you should know about:

The I-66 Trail

Thanks to the hard work of a number of advocates, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is extending the Custis Trail from Dunn Loring to Centreville as part of the Transform I-66 project, but the designs we’ve seen don’t look good. In many sections, the trail is squeezed between the highway and the sound barrier, which limits access and makes for an extremely unpleasant trail experience.

Like this, but without the grass. Doesn’t that look fun?

VDOT needs to hear that this design is not good enough.

The agency is hosting three meetings next week, if you’d like to tell the project managers that the design needs to be improved.

Monday, June 12, 2017
6-8:30 p.m. A brief presentation will be held at 7 p.m., followed by a Q&A session.
Oakton High School Cafeteria
2900 Sutton Road, Vienna, VA 22181

Wednesday, June 14, 2017
6-8:30 p.m. A brief presentation will be held at 7 p.m., followed by a Q&A session.
Stone Middle School Cafeteria
5500 Sully Park Drive, Centreville, VA 20120

Thursday, June 15, 2017
6-8:30 p.m. A brief presentation will be held at 7 p.m., followed by a Q&A session.
Piney Branch Elementary School Cafeteria/Gym
8301 Linton Hall Road, Bristow, VA 20136

You can find more information about the Transform I-66 project here.

Support Bike Lanes on Rose Hill Drive:

Despite having almost no impact on parking or existing travel lanes, the County has received vocal pushback to proposed bike lanes on Rose Hill Drive.

The comment period is open until June 19, so share your support for bike lanes in Fairfax today: http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/fcdot/bike/rosehillbikelanes2017.htm

Also some good news: Have you seen Fairfax County’s new bike map?

You can obtain a free copy of the print version of this map at a variety of locations around the County, or you can see the online version here.

You can provide feedback, too! If you have input or feedback on the map, give the bike team a call at 703-324-BIKE (2453).