Negatives into Positives: A PAL Story

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Preface
I lead a wonderful group called the PAL Ambassadors. PAL stands for Predictable, Alert, Lawful. It is a cooperative program between Washington Area Bicyclist Association and BikeArlington to promote street safety and responsible behavior, while building a fun, volunteer-based community of ambassadors. It is fun and EXTREMELY effective at making the region more safe. You should join us!

At our monthly PAL Outreach Block Party we were talking pedestrian and cyclist safety issues at one of the more dangerous intersections in Arlington County… Lee Highway and Lynn Street in Rosslyn.

Now to my story
A woman who works nearby and walks to and from work daily was quite angry and a little bit confrontational about how cyclists behave around pedestrians. Often times people expect me to reply to aggressive comments “with attitude”, so they open up with confrontational words and hands on their hips. She is more afraid of cyclists than she is of cars in that intersection. This fear and anger had built up over years! Now she’s got someone to point it at…. ME!

Over the years I’ve developed a very good technique for making this kind of interaction positive. Listen —> Find common ground —> Share the solution —> Enlist their help = WIN!

Here’s how it went
Listen: Pretty easy. Be attentive. Make eye contact. Listen… I mean really listen. Don’t interrupt. Just listen! She talked for almost a minute non-stop. It seemed like a lot longer. It always does. I just listened and waited for her to relax a little and breathe. She felt MUCH better when she got to the end of her talk. I could see her visibly relax.

Find common ground: I totally agreed with her, so common ground was easy to find. Many cyclists behave badly in and around that intersection. I slipped in a little comment that many of us in that intersection could behave a lot better. I was helped by a pedestrian that ran out into busy traffic and a motorist that ran the red light. SHE brought up that pedestrians are horrible there too. We have common ground and she helped find it!

Share the solution: I gave a 15 second pitch for the PAL Ambassador program. I had 6 amazing volunteers talking the talk and walking the walk all around me. She could see people talking to pedestrians, cyclists and drivers. She liked it!

Enlist their help: I handed her a Kind Bar that had a PAL Ambassador sticker on it with all the info she needed to get involved. She got a snack and the ball is in her court to become a force for good!

WIN! I got a smile, a sincere handshake and a new force for good in the PAL Ambassador program. I hope she follows through.

Everyone wins!

You should come out and join us! We have our monthly PAL Pizza Night on April 16th, and our next big block party on April 23rd!

—Pete
This entry was originally posted on my blog

Introducing Two Wheel Valet, a WABA Business Member

WABA’s Business Members understand the importance of a community that bicycles. Their membership supports our advocacy, outreach and education. Our business members are committed to a sustainable future of our region and are adding their voice to a growing number of bicycle-friendly businesses supporting WABA. Today meet Two Wheel Valet.

Two Wheel Valet was founded by Jonathan Weidman in 2013. Since then you may have even parked your bike at a Two Wheel Valet. Freedom Plaza on Bike to Work Day? The Kingman Island Bluegrass Festival? The Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Miler? Or maybe the Arlington County Fair? Two Wheel Valet provides secure and easy-to-use bike parking services for events in the Washington DC area. They bring bike racks, signage, trained attendants, and logistical support in order to improve your attendee’s overall experience.

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Secure bike parking is a beautiful thing

 

The Washington Post wrote a story about Two Wheel Valet last year. In that story Weidman calls the need for a secure place to park your bike as essential as trash cans or porta-potties at big events. We could not agree more! We are proud to call Two Wheel Valet a WABA Business Member!

Do you own, work for, or patronize a business that is a good candidate for our business membership? For just $300 or $800 per year, you can show your support for a bike-friendly region and WABA’s advocacy and get all sorts of perks, including your very own blog post! Details here.

We’re so close! Help Women & Bicycles get to $10,000 by midnight!

UPDATE: We did it! Thanks to everyone who contributed!

 

We’re a 77% of the way to our $10,000 goal thanks to supporters like you!

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We have big plans for the Women & Bicycles program this year. Watch Nelle’s  video to see how your $10 helps fund a part-time coordinator run 80+ events and recruit and train 50+ Roll Models in 2015.

When you get right down to it, your donation gets more women on bicycles. Don’t take our word for it—here are some comments from our survey last fall:

“It’s great to be part of an inclusive, enthusiastic community of women. When I’m going somewhere that I could bike or take public transit, I think of Women & Bicycles and choose to ride. It’s an inspiration.”


“The tone of Women & Bicycles is one of compassion, understanding, and support, which fosters a really incredible community. I love that it’s a non-competitive atmosphere, and where ladies will “cheer” for your accomplishments, whether that’s riding to work one day a month or riding across the country. I’ve gained so much from having a supportive community that I can reach out to for bike-related or non-bike-related questions and concerns.”


“We hear again and again how the group has made so many women confident to ride in all conditions and distances. I also think it’s remarkable how the program has led non-WABA staff to step up and become volunteers and bicycle advocates on their own time and dime. If one believes there is power in the “each one teach one” model, this is absolutely the way to go.”


 “I love Women & Bicycles. Probably the best thing about the group is how empowering it is for women in general, not just on the bike.”

Please help use reach our $10,000 goal by midnight tonight!

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Women & Bicycles is proudly supported by The Potomac Pedalers Touring Club; hosts of the region’s most robust all-level group ride calendar and bike tailgates. We’re also supported by all our friends who donated through the Hains Point 100 ride.

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Help us recruit and train 50 Women & Bicycles Roll Models this year!

Thanks to the more than 200 people who have already donated to our Women & Bicycles fundraiser, we’re two thirds of the way to our $10,000 goal!

Click here to donate soon. Our fundraiser ends tomorrow at midnight!

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In 2013 our ten Roll Models shared their experience and expertise with 130 women in their lives. Last year a new group of Roll Models acted as mentors to more than 250. And this year our goal is to mentor 500 women!  We’ve got some new ideas up our sleeves and we’re taking on a new approach to track all their success.

Roll Models are the heart and soul of our Women & Bicycles program. Your donation helps us reach our goal of recruiting and training 50(!) of these heroic volunteers to act as mentors to their friends, family and coworkers as they start biking around town.

Click here to donate soon. Chip in before tomorrow at midnight.

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Women & Bicycles is proudly supported by The Potomac Pedalers Touring Club; hosts of the region’s most robust all-level group ride calendar and bike tailgates. We’re also supported by all our friends who donated through the Hains Point 100 ride.

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We hope you enjoyed the blueberry soup!

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Hundreds of WABA members joined us at the House of Sweden last Sunday for the 2015 Vasa Ride. Riders chose from a 59-mile, 31-mile, or 16-mile ride. Although the weather was windy and chilly, the sun came out as the day progressed and ride participants returned to the house of Sweden exhausted, but with smiles on their faces, to enjoy the warm blueberry soup.

A huge thank you to the House of Sweden and the Swedish Embassy for hosting our Swedish-themed ride event for the 9th year in a row. And thank you to District Cycle Works for providing bike maintenance to riders at the start, and to KIND Snacks for donating granola bars.

The Vasa Ride is named after Sweden’s famous Vasaloppet, the world’s longest running cross-country ski race. The Vasaloppet ski race honors the trial of a renegade Swedish king who, in the 16th century, led the rebellion to free the country after a long pursuit on skis. For nearly a century, blåbärssopp—warm blueberry soup—has been served during the Vasaloppet to keep riders warm.

WABA’s Vasa Ride brings together riders from D.C., Maryland and Virginia and is a fundraiser ride to help support WABA’s work. When people participate in our rides, they fuel WABA’s mission to make riding a bike safer and more accessible for all.

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Check out photos from this year’s Vasa Ride below:

Your $10 for 80+ Women & Bicycles Events in 2015

We’re nearly halfway to our $10,000 fundraising goal!  Click here to chip in your $10 today and help us grow our cycling sisterhood in 2015.

Women & Bicycles is a uniquely diverse community that comes together to share skills. We bring out our friends and teach and learn and laugh and bike and eat and sometimes we can squeeze 7 people and their 7 bikes into a Metro elevator. And sometimes we can’t.

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This skillsharing is ingrained in our culture. We’re committed to sharing all the tips and tricks of all things bike-related we picked up along the way; from how to feel safe biking in heels,  and how to position yourself safely in an intersection, to testifying in front of council for safer streets.

Our community is committed to deliberate skillsharing because we remember what it was like to learn the intricacies of biking in the city and we want to expedite that sometimes daunting process and make it fun. Because biking should be fun.

Click here to chip in your $10 today.

Your financial support allows us to facilitate skillsharing through events. In 2014 we organized 72 events. Check out what we’re creating in 2015!

  • Bike Advocacy Workshop
  • Coldest-est Day of the Year Ride
  • Brake Breakdown Workshop
  • Spinning Workshop
  • Fix-a-Flat Boot Camp
  • Women’s History Ride
  • Mountain Bike Workshop
  • Women’s Appreciation Ride
  • Beach Drive Picnic Ride
  • Bike to Work Day Pro and Protege Social
  • Bike From Work Party
  • Family Biking Workshop
  • Bike Touring Workshop
  • Intro DIY Bike Maintenance Workshop
  • Biking and Street Harassment Workshop
  • Bike Laws, Etiquette, and Need-to-Knows Workshop
  • Little Tips and Tricks of Biking Workshop
  • Ladies and Lady-Identified Bike Polo Night
  • DC United Ladies Night Ride
  • Arlington Loop Ride
  • Ice Cream and Cycletracks Ride
  • Women’s Health, Mind, and Body Workshop
  • Farm Tour Ride
  • Multi-Modal Silver Line Ride
  • Winter Riding Workshop
  • Plus! Monthly storytelling hours, weekly coffee clubs, and 50+ Roll Model Dinner Parties!

 

Click here to chip in your $10 today and check out the slideshow of events we led, participated in or supported in 2014!

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Women & Bicycles is proudly supported by The Potomac Pedalers Touring Club; hosts of the region’s most robust all-level group ride calendar and bike tailgates. We’re also supported by all our friends who donated through the Hains Point 100 ride.

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Watch our Women & Bicycles video, you won’t regret it

Ready to donate? Click here to grow our program. Hurry though, we’re only fundraising til next Tuesday!

Your donation will help us bring on a part-time coordinator to run our monthly rides, workshops and socials, and make our communications even better.

Most importantly, your contribution strengthens the heart and soul of our program: Roll Models! We recruit and train these heroic volunteers to mentor friends, family and coworkers as they start biking around town.

It’s a hugely successful program that builds confidence, builds community, and gets more women on bikes.

 


Women & Bicycles is proudly supported by The Potomac Pedalers Touring Club; hosts of the region’s most robust all-level group ride calendar and bike tailgates. We’re also supported by all our friends who donated through the Hains Point 100 ride.

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