Here’s What Makes Tour de Fat So Cool

Tour de Fat is such a cool event and you should go!

Allow us to convince you. Here are a few things you should know:

First, what is Tour de Fat?

Tour de Fat is an evening festival next to the Nationals Stadium on Saturday, July 22nd for those who enjoy music, beer, and supporting better bicycling. The event is put on and presented by Fat Tire and New Belgium Brewing. It’s a fun, silly, whimsical festival packed with good music, good beer, lots of activities, and is a great opportunity to celebrate the region’s commitment to and love for bicycling.

The party kicks off at 4pm. Costumes are highly encouraged (costumes of any kind! the sillier the better! trust us on this one!). Beer starts flowing at 4pm and music rocks until 9pm. Come say hi to WABA: we’ll have our tent set up at the festival selling WABA merchandise and sharing the bike love.

See the whole schedule Get tickets

And now, here’s what makes Tour de Fat so cool:

1. More than just a beer festival:

It’s wacky. It’s super fun. It’s kind of ridiculous.

It’s hard to properly explain what Tour de Fat is.

It’s an experience. It’s an evening party and concert. It has really, really good music (see the video below). It’s a way to give back to bike advocacy groups. It’s a chance for you to wear a wacky costume and drink beer outside. And there’s plenty to keep you entertained while doing so!

 

 

2. Support better bicycling:

Where else can you buy a $5 beer and support better bicycling?!

This event is so important to WABA because it is our BIGGEST fundraiser opportunity of the entire year: 100% of beer proceeds go directly to WABA and a couple other really rad bicycle non-profits in the DC area to support all of our work to make the region a better place to ride a bike. So when you attend Tour de Fat, bring your friends, and purchase some beers, you directly donate to WABA’s work to build out better (protected) bike lanes, trails, education campaigns, and policies.

3. Feel part of the family:

Whether this is your first or your fifteenth DC Tour de Fat, we guarantee you’ll get smiles and high fives from strangers and friends alike.

There is just something surreal about being surrounded by New Belgium Brewing carnies, bicycle lovers, craft beer aficionados, and rock and roll blues music fans that brings out the best in everyone, puts smiles on faces, and makes you feel like part of the New Belgium/WABA/BikeDC family. It’s a pretty incredible feeling, and we can’t wait for you to be a part of it.

Get your tickets now! Want to go with friends? Save some money by using this Groupon!

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!) or use the Groupon

See the whole schedule Get tickets

 

 

Further Delays for the Purple Line and Capital Crescent Trail

Purple Line and trail bridge over rock creek (Image by Maryland Transit Administration)

In May, Maryland’s Purple Line project received some bad news which further delays construction of the 16-mile light rail project and jeopardizes major improvements for bicycling in Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties.

On May 22, 2017, US Federal Judge Richard Leon ruled that the State of Maryland and the Federal Transit Administration must complete a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) before proceeding with construction of the Purple Line light rail transit project. The SEIS would address the issues the Judge found with regards to the future projected ridership on the Purple Line. The plaintiffs argued that future ridership would not be as large as modeled and thus not support building the transit project because its ridership depends in part on people transferring to or Metrorail. Metrorail ridership has declined in recent years from delayed maintenance and extended system closures for repairs. The Judge ruled the State of Maryland needs to reevaluate the ridership projections before the transit project can move forward. The Judge also ruled on May 30 that the other environmental issues raised by the lawsuit seeking to block the project were without merit.

The ruling means major construction on the 16-mile line connecting Montgomery and Prince George’s counties remains on hold until the lawsuit filed by Purple Line opponents is resolved. The State of Maryland has already appealed the ruling and there is still hope that a timely ruling by the DC Circuit Court of Appeals could reverse Judge Leon and allow the project to proceed.

The Purple Line is Great for Trails

WABA has enthusiastically supported the Purple Line for many years because it will vastly improve the trail connections between Bethesda and Silver Spring and along much of the transit corridor in Prince George’s County. The Georgetown Branch Trail, upon which the Purple Line will be built,  is an unpaved and incomplete trail that runs from the Bethesda central business district across Rock Creek to Stewart Avenue, still 1.5 miles outside of downtown Silver Spring. The trail crosses major roads, like Connecticut Ave and Jones Mill Rd, at grade which creates difficult and hazardous crossings for trail users. As part of the Purple Line project, the trail will see some major improvements.

The Purple Line project will finally complete the vision of a Capital Crescent Trail directly linking downtown Silver Spring to Bethesda to Georgetown. Alongside the rail line, the trail will be upgraded from a rutted gravel path to a paved 12 foot wide asphalt path with lighting and new neighborhood connections. New bridges and underpasses will take the trail across Connecticut Avenue, Jones Mill Road, and Colesville Rd to avoid cars on busy streets altogether.  At the Silver Spring Transit Center, the trail will connect directly to the Metropolitan Branch Trail, which will soon extend south 8 miles to Union Station in DC.

Without the Purple Line, the Georgetown Branch Trail will remain unimproved, disconnected from the regional trail network, and most useful only to the its immediate neighbors. WABA will continue to follow developments relating to this vital transportation project in Maryland. To help when it counts most, sign up for WABA advocacy alerts here and read Purple Line Now’s blog coverage of this ongoing legal process here.

FRIDAY: Tour de Fat Battle of the Bands

Can’t wait until “Fat Tire presents the Tour de Fat” to show your support for WABA by listening to great music while drinking great beer?

Come check out New Belgium Brewing’s Battle of the Bands this Friday at Penn Social! Local bands Stone Driver (DC) and The Muddy Crows (Silver Spring) will be battling for the chance to play with Vintage Trouble at “Fat Tire presents the Tour de Fat” on July 22nd. You vote with your dollar (while supporting WABA!) to send the winner to the Tour de Fat stage!

Join us!

Show your support for the band you like best by putting a donation in their tip jar. The band with the most cash at the end of the night wins and will play at “Fat Tire presents the Tour de Fat” with Vintage Trouble! The best part is, all the cash will be donated directly to WABA to support better bicycling in our region!

Penn Social
801 E Street NW
Washington, DC 20004
Friday, July 7th at 8pm

RSVP

Popsicle Pop-up makes for happy Arlington residents

With the temperature rising and the humidity, well…being humid, it was certainly harder to leave the AC and get outside in June.  For their monthly block party, the Arlington PAL Ambassadors decided to provide a little motivation and encouragement to trail users with some delicious frozen treats!

The PAL Popsicle Pop-up took place where the Custis Trail meets North Quincy Street near Washington-Lee High School in Ballston.  It was also Father’s’ Day, which meant a lot of families spending time outside with their kids! It was great seeing how happy people were to stumble upon our party, especially with the heat in the high 80’s that day.  Some folks followed our chalk signage on the trail, while some PALs made it a point to stop by while on their Sunday adventure.

The bike lanes on Quincy St serve as great connectors to not only the Custis Trail, but to Washington-Lee High School, downtown Ballston and several other Arlington connections, as well.  Quincy has been a central piece of the Bike Friendly Ballston campaign, which we hope to continue improving to enhance safety and comfort getting around town.

With more and more people, including families, getting out on the trails in the summer months, it’s never a bad idea to remind cyclists and walkers to be predictable, alert and lawful!  It was a lovely afternoon connecting with friends and neighbors, as well as meeting some new PALs. 

Want to become an Arlington PAL Ambassador?  Sign up

Help with this Research: How safe is this street?

To get more people biking in the region and connect area residents with a safe and low-stress bicycle network, governments need to invest more in building safe streets and trails, but we also need new tools to understand the network and set priorities. We are proud to share this guest post from the Urban Computing Lab at the University of Maryland about their research into bicyclist safety. We hope you’ll contribute to the project.

Over the past two decades, cities across the country have experienced a tremendous growth in cycling. As cities expand and improve their bicycle networks, local governments and bicycle associations are looking into ways of making cycling in urban areas safer. However, one obstacle to decreasing the number of bicycle crashes is the lack of information regarding cycling safety at the street level.

With a cycling safety map, we can select our cycling route wisely. Historically, Bicycle Level of Service (BLOS) models have been used to measure street safety. Unfortunately, these models require extensive information about each particular roadway section, which often times is not available. Instead, this project will provide innovative tools to automatically estimate street safety levels from crowdsourced citizens’ complaints as well as to shed some light into the traffic-related reasons behind such safety values.

Our goal is to build a cycling safety map that fits your perception of cycling safety. We assume that such perception is captured by crowdsourced complaints and concerns raised by citizens regarding bicycle and road-related issues. If this assumption holds true, we can use artificial intelligence (AI) techniques to build cycling safety maps with minimum human labor using crowdsourced citizens’ complaints. Our project uses citizens’ complaints extracted from platforms such as 311 or Vision Zero Input Maps. These platforms contain citizen-generated complaints and comments regarding cycling issues including but not limited to, traffic (e.g., speeding, missing road signs), cycling (e.g., street obstructions, lights) or infrastructure (e.g., pavement or curb conditions) at very detailed spatio-temporal scales.

But first, we need to teach our AI techniques about cycling safety levels per road segment, so that the AI techniques can determine how to make good use of the crowdsourced data. And this is where we need help from cyclists like you! Our AI techniques need to know the cycling safety levels to assess how well we can predict them. So, we are asking cyclists to watch and label as many videos as they can. These labels will be used to train our AI techniques and to develop models that will allow decision makers to automatically draw cycling safety maps exclusively using already existing public complaints (e.g, 311); as well as to understand the reasons behind why certain streets might be safer than others.

Ultimately, bicycle associations might also use these insights to support specific street re-designs based on the evidence from the models.  For this project, we are focusing on cycling safety in D.C as a case study, but we hope to expand to other cities in the near future!

Thank you for helping us and happy rating!

Rate Some Videos!

P.S. If you have any questions do not hesitate to contact us at umdcyclingsafety@gmail.com

 

Biking on the 4th of July: Closures, tips, things to know.

Not recommended.

Biking is a great way to get yourself to and from your preferred fireworks viewing point this holiday. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Bikes aren’t allowed on Metro at all on the 4th. You can still use the bike racks on buses.
  • Capital Bikeshare will have corral service at 10th and Constitution NW. Some stations will be inaccessible throughout the day. More details here.
  • Bring your lights. It’ll be dark when you head home.
  • Don’t bike drunk. Seriously. Call a cab or put your bike on the bus.
  • Expect trails to be very crowded, especially along the waterfront. Remember that it’s nobody’s job to get out of your way. Be patient, negotiate space, expect to dismount and walk a few times.
  • Plan to walk your bike on the bridges over the Potomac. They get very crowded.
  • The National Park Service has a good rundown of road closures and a handy map of restricted areas and services:

AND REMEMBER: Bike to the fireworks, but don’t set off fireworks from your bike.

 

A Bigger Trail Ranger Team

It has been a busy spring for the DDOT-funded DC Trail Ranger team – we’ve biked about 1,000 miles, removed more than 50 bags of trash from the trail corridors and talked with more than 750 people about trails. Our work doing outreach and maintenance along DC’s urban paved trails keeps folks rolling, walking and engaging with our fantastic trails.

In recognition of this impact, the Trail Ranger team is even bigger this summer thanks to additional funding by National Park Service. Same great program – now with more folks! Welcome Shira, Kemi, Daniel and Kevin!

What is your favorite snack?

“Hummus and pretzel chips.” – Shira

“Grapes all day and everyday.” – Daniel

“Yogurt + granola.” – Kevin

“Kit Kats and pita chips.” – Kemi

What is your bike story – how did you start and what has the journey been?

“I’ve been biking for as long as I can remember because my dad loves biking so much. I learned everything I know about bikes from him. He also encouraged me to pursue biking at college.” – Shira

“My bike story will start with WABA and the Trail Rangers Program. I have not biked extensively in the past, but love the idea of getting more into it.” – Daniel

“My brother left me his bike to commute to class in college. I ended up really enjoying it and started delivering for a sandwich company which lead me to buy my own bike and I started planning actual trips from there.” – Kevin

“I started biking early; my older brothers had bikes that they would ride around the neighborhood with their friends and I remember being so jealous and wishing I could go with them, but my feet couldn’t even touch the pedals. I learned easily after that and could not stop. I rode to the grocery store with my brother all the time and rode to friends houses after school. Biking is so much fun and as a young kid it gives a sense of freedom and independence.” – Kemi

What is your favorite thing about biking?

“ I love that is is passive exercise and it enables you to see much more of a trail or place than running or walking. It is also just really fun!” – Shira

“Feeling the breeze on my face as I ride. I also the the ability to stay active as I move from one area to another at a quick pace.” – Daniel

“I really don’t need a car. As long as I’m healthy I can get just about anywhere on my bike. That and it just feels so great to be outside.” – Kevin

“My favorite thing about biking is getting around freely, while getting in a workout, and reducing my carbon footprint” – Kemi

What are you excited to do as a Trail Ranger this summer?

“I am really excited to get out and learn about this city. I have lived right outside of D.C. all my life but haven’t explored it nearly enough.” – Shira

“I am excited to interact with my team and the local residents who use the trails. Biking for 8 hours a day, 3-4 days a week sounds pretty amazing as well.” – Daniel

“I’m coming from Indiana, so I’m really excited to get to the know the communities I’ll be working with. D.C. is a very historic place with a lot of cool to stuff to offer. It’s a pleasure to be here.” – Kevin

“Meet people and tell people about the trail while supporting an awesome grassroot organization that is doing awesome things. #WABA.” – Kemi

 

Interested in being a trail ranger? Sign up here to be notified of future opportunities and openings Yes!