Announcing the Tour de Fat 2016 line up!

Tdf Jenga Promo

Tour de Fat is the coolest bicycle festival you will ever attend.

There’s really great craft beer, funky bikes that you can test out, and FREE music and entertainment! PLUS, Tour de Fat is one of WABA’s biggest fundraisers of the year, so you’ve definitely got to make it!

Announcing the 2016 Line Up:

We’re excited to announce that Los Amigos Invisibles and Esmé Patterson will be performing at on Saturday, May 21, 2016 at the Tour de Fat at Yards Park!

TDF poster 2016

Los Amigos Invisibles have developed a sound based on the “gozadera,” an irresistible fusion of Latin rhythms with fiery funk and lounge music.


Esmé Patterson plays soulful dream-rock tunes and hails from Denver, Colorado.

Esme Patterson

RSVP and invite your friends, your dog, and your Mom on Facebook here!

Tour de Fat Schedule:

10:00 am – Ride Registration opens (pre-register here!)
11:00 am – Parade-style Bike Ride departs from Yards Park
12:00 pm – Fashion! Show and Tapping of the Kegs
1:00 pm – Esmé Patterson Band
2:15 pm – The Bike is Right! Game Show to win a 2016 New Belgium bike
2:45 pm – Car For Bike Trade
3:40 pm – Los Amigos Invisibles
5:00 pm – Adios Amigos! (curfew)

Did you Know?!

We also wanted to make sure you knew everything you needed to know in preparation for this year’s Tour de Fat so that we can all make it the BIGGEST and BEST Tour de Fat that DC has ever seen:

  • Did you know that wacky costumes are the norm? The sillier and more outlandish, the better!
  • Did you know that you can pre-register for the kick-off bike ride so that you can skip the lines and crowds the morning of?
  • Did you know that you can get some SWEEEEET New Belgium swag, like sunglasses, a limited edition 2016 patch, or a license plate for your bike, when you pre-register for the ride?
  • Did you know that New Belgium Brewing will have TONS of craft beer at the festival for sale for just five bucks?
  • Did you know that ADMISSION AND HIGH FIVES ARE FREE at the Tour de Fat?!
  • And did you know that all the proceeds from the event benefit WABA?

We’ll see you on Saturday, May 21st for the Tour de Fat at Yards Park in DC!


The Contributory Negligence Bill is Moving!

Big news! We have heard from Councilmember McDuffie and Judiciary Committee staff that they plan to bring the Motor Vehicle Collision Recovery Act of 2015 (B21-0004) to markup, this Thursday.

The doctrine of contributory negligence is a legal dinosaur. This unfair legal standard is used to deny a bicyclist or pedestrian access to compensation for medical bills and property damage suffered when a negligent driver inflicts injuries on a less-negligent road user.  This doctrine unfairly compounds legal vulnerability upon physical injury and limits bicyclists access to justice. When a bicyclist or pedestrian is involved in crash with a driver, he or she should be able to focus on recovering from injuries without worrying that medical and property damage claims will be denied due to an outdated legal doctrine.

Contact your Councilmember 

The District of Columbia is a national outlier, as it is one of only five states that still use contributory negligence to allocate fault. The vast majority of states have updated their negligence standard to a fairer system.

WABA has been advocating for reform of this antiquated law since early 2014. The bill before the Judiciary Committee would change the law so that if a bicyclist or pedestrian is less than 50% at fault for the crash, he or she would not be automatically barred from recovery. Passing this law will give people a chance at having their expensive medical bills and damaged property covered.

The current version of the bill represents a good compromise between many powerful stakeholders and we hope it will pass out of committee without any changes that would jeopardize the widespread support it enjoyed when it was first introduced last January.

Click here to tell your Councilmember that you support passage of this bill without amendment, to give bicyclists a fair chance at justice after a crash.

Are We There Yet?


How close are we to the completion of the Metropolitan Branch Trail (MBT)?

When completed, the MBT will be a 8-mile multi use trail from Union Station in the District to Silver Spring, MD. The finished segment we have today is the result of over 25 years of  steadfast effort from committed residents, advocates, and planners through a lengthy public process. But we aren’t there quite yet.

As many trail users know, the segments from Brookland to Silver Spring are not yet complete. Read on for an update on what remains to be done, and what it will take to get the MBT across the finish line.

Trail Development: DC

There are two segments that the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) is currently engaged in. The first is from Bates Road to Fort Totten Metro Station. The  30 percent engineering designs for that segment are completed. DDOT should be issuing a final design and building contract soon, with construction anticipated to begin in 2017.

The second segment is from Fort Totten (specifically Riggs Road) to Takoma Park, MD. This will bring the MBT to the DC-Maryland border. DDOT is still working on the 30 percent design for this segment, but anticipates that that design process will be completed in June of 2016.

On the completed sections of the trail, users have been vocal about the need for lighting improvements. DDOT is working to address those concerns.  To date, new lights have been installed and wired from the Franklin St. entrance almost to T St. We’ll keep you updated as the plan progresses.

Trail Development: Maryland

From the Maryland line to the Silver Spring Transit Center, the designs look good, with one exception: the B&O train station just off of Georgia Avenue in Silver Spring. Montgomery Preservation Inc (MPI), the nonprofit that controls this site, has spent years resisting proposed solutions, rejecting compromise design alternatives, and declining the County’s attempts to compensate them for the space the trail requires.

MPI’s insistence on replacing a proposed bridge over Georgia Ave—a solution that will keep bike riders and pedestrians far away from that corridor’s heavy traffic—with an at-grade crossing shows that the safety of trail users is low on their list of priorities. It has become increasingly clear that MPI is not interested in being a good neighbor and is not interested in public safety.

The Montgomery County Council’s Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy and Environment (T&E) Committee has the ability to put an end to MPI’s antics. Reassuringly, during a budget work session last month, members of the committee expressed frustration with MPI’s obstruction. The Committee understands the importance of the completion of the trail—not just for Silver Spring, but for the regional connections that the trail will provide, and for the many residents that will benefit from the closing of the gaps in the MBT.

A formal review of the design, timeline and budget for the trail is on the agenda for the Montgomery County Planning Board meeting on May 19. The Planning Board will weigh in on the overall project and provide their recommendations.  

Trail Ranger Program

The season has officially kicked off for the Trail Ranger team! Trail Rangers are a consistent and helpful presence on four of DC’s paved trails, including the MBT. Their charge is to assist trail users with directions and minor bike maintenance issues, improve trail conditions, and work with city agencies to keep the trails properly maintained. The Trail Ranger program is funded through a grant from the Urban Forestry Administration of DDOT.

Keep an eye out for them in green shirts, pulling trailers stocked with tools. (Usually they’re also grinning ear to ear.) The Trail Rangers have tons of knowledge about the Met Branch Trail and other DC trails, and are happy to answer questions, distribute maps or suggest route alternatives. They help make the city’s trail network welcoming and enjoyable; be sure to say hi when you see them on the trail.

You can also join the Trail Rangers on the second Friday of every month for coffee in the morning at the pocket park at 4th and S St. NE.

Want to know more about what’s happening on the Metropolitan Branch Trail? Sign up to receive updates from WABA about the Met Branch Trail.

Alexandria Bike Campus – We’re Halfway There!

Quick update: we’re 50% of the way to having enough money to build the Alexandria Bike Campus –thanks for helping us get this far!

Help the bike movement reach new heights at the Alexandria Bike Campus!

bike campus thankyou


Quick rundown: here’s what makes the Alexandria Bike Campus awesome: 

  • It’s the first of its kind in our region! Baltimore has one, Austin has one, Santa Monica has one. We deserve one!
  • Anyone can go learn, practice, teach, anytime, any day – especially the days we’re teaching classes.
  • The design is simple. It’s paint and instructional signage. And it’s a pilot. Over time we’ll try to build it out to a 3D streetscape!
  • We’re grateful to partner with National Park Service, and plan to get to work and launch this fall.
  • We’re grateful for any leads on other potential bike campus locations and partners. You know you want one in your neighborhood!

We need $20,000 to make the Alexandria Bike Campus a reality.

Draft Alexandria Bike Campus Design


DC Bike Ride Update: Great Music, Great Cause, Great Ride.

From our partners at DC Bike Ride

Act Now to Support WABA and Grow Cycling
We are about 6 weeks away from DCBR! Ride down Pennsylvania Avenue exclusively traffic free. That’s right, you’ll get the city streets (17 miles to be exact) all to yourselves.

DCBR’s positive impact stretches beyond 17 miles. Together, we can showcase the region’s biking landscape, make progress in improving street safety for all and demonstrate we are a vibrant part of the region’s community. DCBR was dreamed-up and planned in collaboration with WABA and other key partners. The ride is and will continue to be a mainstream platform for us to promote bicycling and create a healthy, more livable region. Join us – show your support by registering today!

Get your friends and family to join the cause. Introduce new folks to the two-wheel lifestyle. Ease skepticism and invite hesitant individuals to DCBR – help us break down barriers, unite the region and get as many people on bikes on May 22! And, don’t forget, proceeds from DCBR will fund WABA’s Vision Zero Community outreach.

DCBR2 copy

Star-Studded Finish Festival
After the ride, celebrate with us at the Finish Festival. Hear music from Questlove (of a certain in-house band from The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, among other things) and musical performances by White Ford Bronco (get your 90’s on) and more! Additionally, after the ride, join KIND and Grip the Mat for a post-ride yoga session. Explore the outdoors and get inspired at the REI Village, a backyard-style party area full of games, giveaways, and lots to discover. Check out the full Finish Festival lineup here.

Not Convinced?
We’ll let your fellow WABA members show you the way! Find out why other members have joined DCBR and why you should to. Read their stories here.

Want a Guaranteed First-Wave Start?
Our limited VIP package includes an official DCBR jersey, a post-ride lunch, and a guaranteed first wave start. Show your bicycling pride. For $195, be in the leading group of the ride and be the first to experience the unique views of the city on two wheels.

Standard ($60) and youth ($30 for ages 3-7) rates are also available. For group rate, please contact

Thousands have registered!
It’s simple: the more participation in DCBR, the more WABA and we can help you in achieving your #bikegoals. Will you join thousands of DCBR riders to represent our community on May 22? Don’t miss this opportunity. Register now!

Create the Silver Spring Circle: A New Campaign for Montgomery County

Photo from CDOT

Improvements are Needed in Downtown Silver Spring

Downtown Silver Spring is growing. Young adults, families and older residents are attracted to the convenience of living near the places where they work and play. And with the dense mix of transit, offices, entertainment, shops and homes, it should be a paradise for walking and biking. But, it’s not. With high speed traffic and a lack of dedicated space for bikes on the busy streets in downtown Silver Spring, most residents don’t feel safe biking in the road.  Some ride on sidewalks, mixing with people on foot. But they too must contend with wide and intimidating intersections. There is a desperate need for safe and comfortable bike routes and intersections.

Today, WABA’s Action Committee for Montgomery County is pleased to announce a campaign to Create the Silver Spring Circle. Our goal is to make downtown Silver Spring a more bikeable, walkable place.

The Silver Spring Circle would convert excess road space in and around downtown Silver Spring into protected bike lanes, and place parked cars or vertical barriers between bicyclists and car traffic. Lanes on Second Ave, Wayne Ave, Spring St, Cedar St, Fenton St, Cameron St and Ellsworth Dr, along with new wayfinding and bike parking would make most destinations safe, comfortable and accessible by bike. It would also represent a first step in connecting downtown Silver Spring to the many existing bike trails already in our region. Read all about the campaign and sign our petition here.

Come to our Campaign Kickoff!

On Saturday, May 14, join the Action Committee in Silver Spring for a walk around the first arc of the Silver Spring Circle to see for yourself how protected bike lanes will make Silver Spring a more bikeable, walkable, and livable downtown. Starting at Spring and 2nd Ave, we will make our way along Spring St, stopping to discuss tricky intersections, design challenges, and innovative solutions. We cannot wait to share and discuss our vision for a connected, low-stress bike network in Silver Spring.

When: May 14 9:30 am
Where: 2nd Ave & Spring St

Click here to RSVP

Can’t attend? Sign our petition and stay in the loop.

Map of the proposed Silver Spring Circle. Click for an interactive map

Map of the proposed Silver Spring Circle. Click for an interactive map

Parts of Spring St will look something like this. Image from Streetmix

Parts of Spring St will look something like this. Image from Streetmix

Encouraging Developments

In February, Montgomery County’s Department of Transportation (MCDOT) unveiled plans to install protected bike lanes on Spring St and Cedar St in downtown Silver Spring, stretching almost one mile from Second Avenue to Wayne Avenue. In March, the Montgomery County Council’s Committee on Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy and Environment (T&E) voted unanimously to support design and construction of a complete network of protected bike lanes in Silver Spring. These are two crucial steps, but we’ll need more than encouragement to see it through.

Want help make this happen? Come to our next Action Committee Meeting (the 4th Monday of the month at 7pm at the Silver Spring Civic Center more info)

Meet Nick, our new Events Coordinator

Nick Russo2

Hello! I’m Nick Russo, WABA’s new Events Coordinator. I have long cared deeply about bikes, community, and infrastructure, but until now have not had the pleasure of working directly on these three issues at once. That’s why I am so psyched to dive into the awesome and engaging events we put together for our members and the larger Washington bicycling community.

I grew up on a bike, have used bikes as my primary transportation for years, and have encouraged friends, family, and strangers alike to do the same. I value bicycles for many of the same reasons I imagine others do: simplicity, affordability, fitness, greenness, and lastly, community. One of my main goals at WABA is to sustain and grow the bicycling community in our area, and I plan to do that by putting together really fun and exciting events!

I come to WABA with a background in policy research and advocacy, focused mostly on technology and broadband internet issues. I have also worked in national and local events coordination for a variety of non-profit organizations and, in another life, I worked in public and community radio. I love to talk about all of these things as well as bikes (duh), so feel free to get in touch with me at or on Twitter at @nickjrusso.

Stay tuned for more from me and the events team—we’ve got big things in store for you!