Meet the Climate Riders of Team WABA

Tomorrow WABA members begin the Red, White and Blue Ridge Climate Ride, a grand three-day bike adventure from the Blue Ridge Mountains in beautiful rural Virginia to the US Capitol in Washington, DC. Some of the highlights include the Blue Ridge Parkway, Shenandoah National Park, the Washington & Old Dominion Trail, and the National Mall ending with a hero’s welcome and rally at the steps of the US Capitol. The East Coast version of Climate Ride is more than a bike trip – it’s an inspiring journey with 200 like-minded people who are united by their passion for sustainability, renewable energy, and bicycles – the ultimate carbon-free form of transportation.

Here are some of the cool WABA members doing the Ride:

Cammeron Girvin


I moved to Arlington from Berkeley, California this April and wanted from the start to get more involved in biking—and the Climate Ride seemed to be a great way to throw myself into it! My morning commute along the Potomac, across the National Mall, and up Capitol Hill is the highlight of my day, and I would love to have more DC-area folks experiencing this healthy and grounding way of getting around. But in order to build up the community, bicyclists need to know that they can rely on safe, dependable infrastructure and strong protections for their rights and well-being on the road. WABA does excellent work in advocating for these goals, and I’m pleased to have the organization as one of my beneficiaries.

Darrell Chodorow

I live in Silver Spring, MD and I got started biking during middle school in response to a lack of other public transit options in Albuquerque. I’ve been doing it ever since. It’s a fun and predictable great way to get around DC, particularly during rush hour. I arrive at work energized rather than cranky.

Why are you doing the climate ride?

I’ve been concerned about preservation of natural resources for a long time, and recent shifts in US policies about climate change have created significant concerns for me. Climate Ride is a (really fun) way to help to address those concerns.

Why have you chosen to be on team WABA or to support WABA?

I’m riding to raise money for WABA because I’ve seen great changes in the DC area as a result of their efforts. When I started biking to work, options were extremely limited; now I have my choice of many different routes, all of which are safer. WABA was the key to helping make those changes happen.

Any other fun facts about you?

Every morning before I go, I look at the weather to pick out the necessary gear: long-fingered gloves (below 55º); long sleeves (below 50º); long pants (below 45º); shoe covers (below 35º); ski goggles (below 20º); car to metro parking lot (below 0º).

Grace Clegg

Grace “Kitty” Clegg is a transplanted Michigander who has resided in Arlington for the past 8 years. Upon arrival, she commuted to grad school, and then work by bike and Metro. Overtime she built up to being a daily, year-round bike commuter,  now relying on her Trek Crossrip, “Kali,” for nearly all of her transportation. Similarly, she gradually increased her recreational cycling on weekends–adding a few more miles each Saturday–until she eventually was able to attempt WABA’s 50 States Ride. It was the idea of that ride that prompted her to join WABA over 5 years ago. A decision which ultimately set her on the path of becoming a distance cyclist (completing the 13 Colonies ride lead to 50 States, then a Century, and so on), and opening the door to DC’s vibrant cycling community. She is now riding for Team WABA  for the Climate Ride. Like “50 States” was for her some years ago, this 230+ mile 3-day ride will be her greatest cycling challenge to date.
Mountain climbing and sore legs aside, she feels that WABA is worth every cent of the of support she raised this summer. “WABA is one of the rare organizations where I can see their positive impact with each passing year. I am able to swap my car for my bike precisely because of their efforts to make the roads, laws, and attitudes of the DC area more accommodating to bicycles. I chose to ride for WABA to help more of my friends and neighbors choose to ride wherever their daily lives take them.” Regarding climate change she added, “when facing a challenge of global magnitude, it is easy to be overwhelmed by the sheer scope of the problem. However, I believe that local-level actions can have a wider impact, and are where individuals can make a difference. Even if it’s as simple as picking up your helmet to go to the store instead of your car keys.”

Peter Gray

I live in Silver Spring, MD (10 miles north of The White House) and after not being on my bike for many years, I decided to get on my bike – first for short rides, and then building up to being a regular bike commuter. Now, with no car access for most of my now retired days, I find my bike to so useful to do short and long trips, shopping for groceries, going to the movies and visiting friends. I am doing the Climate Ride to help highlight to my family and friends the urgent need to support organizations, like WABA, that are organizing around climate issues, and to have fun on my bike with a couple of hundred other cyclists.

I am supporting WABA because we advocate to make bicycling a reasonable mode of transport for all ages and biking levels, from helping those who need to learn how to ride, to remaking the road fabric to carve out separated space for bicycles, not just in the city of Washington, DC, but also in the suburban areas of Maryland and Virginia adjacent to DC.

Meet the Climate Riders next Tuesday September 26

The Climate Ride Red White and Blue Ridge Finale, will be in Washington DC, September 26, 2017. This is one of the most thrilling parts of Climate Ride into Washington DC. Please invite your family and friends to pedal with us, or to meet us at the Upper Senate Park for the riders’ arrival.

You can invite your friends to gather at the pedestrian circle near the Thompson Boat Center, west of 30th St. NW. They can bring their own bike or pick up a Capital Bikeshare bike. Meet-up will be at 2:30.

Or, if your folks aren’t into cycling, have them meet you at Upper Senate Park to watch you and your crew role in! Details on the Climate Ride website.

Join us next year!

Here is a link to the Climate Rides in the next year – http://www.climateride.org/events

Support commuter benefits for bicyclists

In DC, more than half of residents walk, bike, or take transit to work. But our commuter benefits don’t match up. Right now, when an employer offers a commuter subsidy benefit, it might only be for driving and parking.

A new bill in the DC Council for flexible commuter benefits would change that. Instead of only a parking benefit, flexible commuter benefits give employees the choice to use the parking benefit or take the cash equivalent of a parking benefit to get to work another way, whether that’s transit, walking, or by bicycle.

Take Action

The Transportation Benefits Equity Amendment Act, introduced in March by Councilmember Charles Allen, will build upon the existing commuter benefits law in DC by providing employees more choice and flexibility in their commute.

Under the bill, employers who already provide a parking benefit* will be required to also offer the following:

  • Employer-paid transit benefit. If the transit benefit is less than the value of the parking benefit, then the employee receives the balance in taxable cash up to the value of the parking benefit.
  • Employer-paid, tax-free bicycle commuting benefit up to the federally allowable $20/month expense reimbursement, plus taxable cash up to the value of the parking benefit.
  • Taxable cash for employees walking to work, equal to the value of the parking benefit.

If an employee prefers the parking benefit offered by their employer, they can keep it.

This bill has the potential to create a national model for promoting sustainable commuter benefits.

Take Action

Giving commuters more choice in how to get to work has shown to decrease the number of drive-alone commutes by 10-12%, reduce traffic, improve air quality, and promote health and well-being.

Want to know more? Check out this fact sheet and list of FAQ prepared by the Coalition for Smarter Growth.

*This bill would not require all employers to provide a commuter benefit. Rather, if an employer voluntarily provides a parking benefit, this bill would require them to also provide an equivalent benefit to employees who walk/bike or take transit.

Tales and Trails: A season of rides

The DC Trail Ranger team partnered with the National Park Service this summer to lead a ride series exploring the rich history of the Anacostia River Trail. We had so much fun learning about the trail!

Which bridges were burned in the War of 1812? What is the story of the ship Pearl? Where in Anacostia Park did the Bonus Army camp? What led to the violence at the Anacostia Pool in 1968? Anacostia River Trail and Anacostia Park have seen both the freedom and oppression of people, to just and unjust decisions by those in power.

Check out all of the sights from our Tales and Trails ride series below:

May – A Monument to Civil Rights

Where did thousands of veterans live in Washington DC while demanding the payment of promised World War I bonuses? Anacostia Park! The park was home to the primary camp for the Bonus Army in 1932. Learn more from the National Park Service.

June – Legacies of the Nation’s River

We moved through a big timeline on this ride, starting with talking about the Nacotchtank village on the east bank of the Anacostia, the largest Native American village in the DC boundaries. John Smith sailed the river, the plans for Kingman Island kept changing and there was a big lawsuit about the appearance of the Navy Yard gate. We ended in the modern era on the 1949 riots at the Anacostia Pool over DC Recreation Board and white residents’ refusal to integrate.

July – Bikes, Blooms and Botany

Finally – plants! Lots of conversation about the fabulous Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens that are right off the trail, but we also saw the capped Kenilworth Dump sprouting monarch butterflies’ favorite food – milkweed, and talked about the silting up of the Anacostia due to deforestation to build Civil War forts.

August – War of 1812: Battles, Burning and Dueling

The British were here! It was a firepower team of WABA, Maryland Milestones, and National Park Service that led our August ride to learn about the Battle of Bladensburg and subsequent burning of the Capitol. We saw the American lines of defense, toured the dueling grounds and ended at the Navy Yard to cover the destruction of Fort McNair and the Navy Yard (Pro tip: Don’t destroy cannons within sparking distance of a well you recently dumped a military fort’s worth of gunpowder barrels down. The gunpowder might not be quite wet and likely to explode.)

Huge thanks to the District Department of Transportation for making the DC Trail Ranger team possible and the National Capital Parks East unit of National Park Service for telling the stories of the park with us.

We’d love your feedback on the ride series if you joined us this summer

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Help DDOT make dockless bikeshare a success

mobike

You’ve probably noticed.

The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) has begun a pilot allowing dockless bikeshare companies to introduce a small fleet of bikes in the District. From now through April 2018, DDOT will evaluate the benefits and impacts of dockless bikeshare, and develop appropriate regulations for allowing these systems in the city.

Unlike Capital Bikeshare, dockless bikeshare does not rely on fixed docks to check out and secure bikes. Instead, users check out a bike using a mobile phone application and end their trip wherever it is convenient, within limits set by the government and the company.

There are opportunities and risks involved in allowing private bikeshare businesses to operate in DC. As the first of multiple opportunities for the bike community and the public to offer feedback, DDOT would like to hear your thoughts on:

  • The appropriate number of bikes, both aggregate, or for any participating company;
  • Bicycle parking requirements, including geographic distribution and rebalancing;
  • Data access and transparency;
  • Reporting requirements; and
  • Safety and education of riders

Feedback on the demonstration period’s structure can be submitted via email to publicspace.policy@dc.gov.

Dockless bikeshare has met with mixed results in other cities around the world. We’re working with DDOT and other stakeholders to make sure that as these programs move into our region, they are structured and regulated such that their success makes bicycling better and more accessible to more people. If you have experience or suggestions, please share them with DDOT at publicspace.policy@dc.gov.

Top 10 Secrets of Arlington

When non-Arlingtonians think of Arlington, many only think of the chrome high-rises across the Potomac River where people occasionally commute to, but most of the time commute from. They may also think of that one time their friends invited them to play cornhole at a rooftop bar in Clarendon, or the occasional trip to the Pentagon City Costco to buy bulk everything.

There are so many unique pockets of the suburb that remain undiscovered by the masses–unlike some of the trendiest spots of DC. Here are my favorite hidden gems of Arlington.

#10 The Four Mile Run trail

Photo by Mrs. Gemstone

Want to escape from the city for a bit and get lost in the woods? Walk or bike along the Four Mile Run trail that runs adjacent to the Washington & Old Dominion trail (also an amazing trail that runs completely flat!)

#9 New District Brewing Co. & the Shirlington Dog Park

Right off of the W&OD trail is a hop-smelling bike-friendly brewery in an unassuming collection of warehouses. There’s even a sign for it on the trail! Just yards away is a dog park where tons of pups run and play, and in the warm months they frolic in the stream next to the park. It’s just a wonderful combination.

#8 The Fort Myer Thrift Shop

If you like to thrift, this is the place to go. It’s a massive building with endless clothing, home goods, fabrics, entertainment…you name it. There’s also a boutique next door for jewelry and finer things. The general public is allowed to shop here and bikers are sometimes allowed on base. However, hours are VERY limited, so check online before you go.

#7 Washington Boulevard near Pershing Drive

Photo by Alan Kotok

Just south of Clarendon is a special strip of small business and delicious international eats that includes an amazing BBQ joint, an adventure gear consignment store, a unique bike shop with a Penny-farthing in the window, a cozy Persian coffee shop, a locals’ favorite Salvadoran restaurant and more!

#6 Crystal City Spins (every Wednesday night during March)

© 2017 Bruce Buckley Photography

Nothing feels more underground than this underground event. A month full of bike races in a parking garage, including an “Anything Goes” race and a fixie race. You can also enjoy beer, coffee, pie and much more while you watch and/or participate.

#5 Columbia Pike & the Arlington Cinema Drafthouse

Known as one of America’s most diverse neighborhoods, the Pike is just authentic, down-to-earth awesomeness. There’s too much to list, but one place to check out is the Arlington Cinema Drafthouse, where they play second-run movies, local film series and host weekly comedy events.

#4 Eden Center (technically Falls Church)

While traces of what was known as Little Saigon still remain in the Clarendon neighborhood, Eden Center (located at the end of Wilson Blvd) is now where you can experience it.  You’ll find delicious Vietnamese restaurants, cafes and shops, as well as an enormous supermarket with an array of fresh produce, seafood and more.

#3 Phoenix Bikes

Phoenix is a well-known community and youth education bike shop amongst bicyclists in the area, but there are still folks that ask me “where can I buy a used bike?” or “where can I donate my bike?” Phoenix also offers monthly workshops, volunteer opportunities and, of course, youth education programs.

#2 Gravelly Point

Ever wonder what it’s like to stand underneath an airplane right before it lands on the tarmack? Travel down the Mount Vernon Trail towards Alexandria to Gravelly Point and you’ll find out!

#1 Bold, abstract art EVERYWHERE

Thanks to WABA and BikeArlington’s Taco’bout some Art community ride last season, I became aware of all of the really cool, often strange, art pieces around Arlington. There’s also the Arlington Arts Center that hosts classes and gallery events.


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Women & Bicycles and The Season of Trails

Many riders- whether they are new riders, experienced riders, riders with kids, riders trying out a new style of bike, and more- enjoy riding on bike and multi-use trails. A well-designed, well-maintained trail can offer a safe, beautiful ride, with many offering shady tree coverage, a beautiful view, a chance to connect with the community in a way that would be much more difficult from a car, and even bike amenities like little fix-it stations for minor repairs.

Women & Bicycles is making this fall the season of trails, partnering with the Capital Trails Coalition, and with WABA’s D.C. Trail Ranger program to offer a series of workshops and trail rides, to showcase great trail design, explore future trail possiblities, and teach women to become advocates in the movement to improve our trails network.

Help support the work of Women & Bicycles!

While you’re here, don’t forget to join the Women & Bicycles community on Facebook!

What’s going on this fall?

In September

  • Saturday 9/16 Derwood Family Bike Day on the new trail at Lake Needwood (families encouraged!)
  • Sunday 9/17 and Sunday 9/24: two options to polish your skills at one of WABA’s City Cycling classes! Choose the “fundamentals” track for a great trail ride. (open to all)
  • Saturday 9/23 Ride to Clarendon with WABA and PAL on a friendly no-drop community ride!
  • Every Friday, 7:30-8:45 A.M.: Coffee Club at Pleasant Pops in Adams Morgan. All you have to do is show up and hang out.

In October

  • Tuesday 10/3, 6:00-9:00PM: Who, What, Where Workshop (women only)
  • Friday 10/6 through Sunday 10/8: You’re invited to the National Youth Bike Summit! (all ages)
  • Wednesday 10/4, Wednesday 10/25, and Friday 10/27: Don’t miss the annual Community Spooky Rides, including the now-famous Haunted Hill Ride. These no-drop, open-to-all rides introduce you to the city you’ve been too spooked to discover!
  • Saturday 10/28 From the Ugly to the Good Ride (women-only, registration coming soon): this partnership with the Trail Rangers takes us on a tour of the bike trails in Anacostia, from the trails that need help to be great, to the ones that are great right now.
  • And you still have time to join us for class to polish your skills!

In November

  • Registration opens in early October for WABA’s Cider Ride (Saturday 11/4), a signature event! (open to all)
  • Saturday 11/11: Mind the Gap! Ride (women only, registration coming soon) We transport you to a start in Bowie, MD, and ride the WB&A trail. We’ll show you how to navigate a trail gap, and you’ll learn how better infrastructure can connect communities.
  • Thursday 11/16, join Women & Bicycles at the regional Trails Symposium hosted by the Capital Trails Coalition (open to all)

We hope to see you out on the trail this fall!


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Women & Bicycles is a program of WABA, specifically to encourage more women riding in a safe, confident, joy-filled manner. We strive to create a safe and welcoming space for women to build their skills, so we want to let you know that these particular events are open to women, GNC/Genderfluid and trans-identified folks.

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/