This Week in Bike Reads took last Friday off. But it’s back in full force!
Bet you haven’t read about how great Amsterdam is for bikes yet
Longtime friend of WABA Pete Beers gets a commuter profile
Remember when D.C. was anti-Capital Bikeshare? Our recollection is fuzzy, too. New York’s Citibike, however, is enduring the same growing pains.
University of Maryland is encouraging students to swap their parking pass for a bike.
Like trees? Like bikes? Consider signing up for Casey Trees’ webinar on “bringing green interests together.”
Don’t forget to register for Bike to Work Day! It’s May 17. When you register, you can join WABA or renew your membership at a discount, $25!
RideOn is WABA’s quarterly newsletter. If you’re a WABA member, you receive it by mail. We make it available to nonmembers online, too. In this month’s issue, we ran a profile of Nancy Birdsall, founding president of the Center for Global Development and a longtime D.C. bike commuter. As Bike to Work Day approaches, we want to share Nancy’s story on our blog to inspire those of you who might still be on the fence about riding to work.
Register for Bike to Work Day (it’s next Friday, May 17!) and join or renew your WABA membership at a discount, $25. In addition to RideOns lovingly delivered by the U.S. Postal Service, WABA members have access to a host of great benefits.
By Catherine An
Nancy Birdsall, president of the Center for Global Development, is a longtime D.C. commuter cyclist. As WABA works to get more women on bikes through our Women & Bicycles program, stories like Nancy’s can be an inspiration.
It caused a small media sensation in some Latin American countries: headlines like “New leader bikes to work” swept across newspapers when Nancy Birdsall, incoming executive vice president of the Inter-American Development Bank, declined one of the perks of the prestigious new job: a car and driver—and a reserved parking space in the bank garage. But by 1993, when she assumed the position, Nancy had already been biking to work for 20 years and had grown both accustomed to and fond of the efficient mode of transportation.
“They were very kind about it,” she laughed, retelling the story and the flurry it caused. “The bank put a special bike rack in my spot in the garage.”
Today, Nancy is the founding president of the Center for Global Development, a think tank based in Washington, D.C. She’s been biking to work for over 40 years and encourages women to take up what she sees a surprisingly easy and convenient way to commute.
She got started as a young woman:
“I started commuting by bike in 1970 because there was no easy way to get from Glover Park (where I lived at the time) to Columbia and 18th (where I worked). I was very young and in a junior position and there was nowhere to park and no convenient bus route.”
And it was a good fit from the start:
“I was a bit of a jock in college—and I have no recollection of many problems getting started. I had some concern about how to organize myself – what to wear and how to carry things (I remember wearing slacks or a skirt and bike pants underneath, but those were pretty easy to solve.”
There were a couple of tough times:
“I’ve had two big accidents: Once while riding, I was hit by a car from behind, thrown backwards off my bike, and landed on the hood of the car. I remember it was during the Reagan administration because the guy who hit me worked in the White House and he was pretty freaked out. Everything worked out OK but the accident wrecked my back for a while.”
“The other time was when my youngest child was six weeks old and I was just getting back to work—it was my second, maybe third day back on the job and I was only working half-time and going in later in the day. By the time I left for the office, there were cars parked alongside the sidewalk so I was biking a bit further from the curb than usual. I hit a bump in the road, flew over the handlebars, and broke my elbow. Everything worked out OK, and the worst of the accident was not being able to pick up my six-week-old baby for a while.”
But it’s gotten better than ever:
“There’s been a huge upsurge in biking over the last 20 years. Workplaces have gotten more bike friendly; even the taxis—which used to be more aggressive—have actually gotten better now. Drivers are more accommodating. The challenges, if any, are easier to overcome than ever.”
And you should try it, too:
“Despite the number of people in the CGD office who bike to work (at least a handful), I’m the only woman who regularly commutes by bike. And of course it’s easier to bike if there are accommodations at work that allow for it (bike racks or storage, a place to change, etc.) but it’s not that big a challenge if you try.”
“It’s surprisingly easy. It’s easier than people realize. It’s just a matter of getting started.”
Nancy is the founding president of the Center for Global Development. CGD is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit think that that works to reduce global poverty and inequality through rigorous research and active engagement with the policy community. Learn more at cgdev.org.
Catherine An is the Center for Global Development’s media relations associate.
Bike to Work Day is just over a week away (it’s next Fri., May 17)! In our regular blog series about Bike to Work Day 2013, we’ve addressed how to handle the event if you’re a multi-m0dal commuter.
For those whose paths cross (or veer toward) Cheverly or West Hyattsville, consider registering for pit stops at those Metro stops. For the first time, WMATA is running Bike to Work Day pit stops for multi-modal commuters or for those who work around Cheverly or West Hyattsville. Show your support for WMATA’s efforts by making either one of these Prince George’s County stops yours on Bike to Work Day 2013.
Each stop will have giveaways and demonstrations of how to mount your bike on a bus’ front rack. Expect safety tips, too! See WMATA’s PlanIt Metro blog for more information.
WMATA has made a number of materials available to advertise its pit stops. Feel free to check out or circulate this banner and poster, as well as registration flyers (Cheverly, West Hyattsville) and smaller take-one sheets (Cheverly, West Hyattsville).
On Monday night, WABA hosted “Walk the Tracks,” in which District Department of Transportation staffers showed off to interested parties—from casual cyclists to ANC commissioners to councilmembers—how the forthcoming M Street cycletrack will work.
As an affiliate of Bikes Belong’s Green Lane Project, WABA is able to make its already strong, consistent push for dedicated bike infrastructure even more aggressive. Events like “Walk the Tracks” demonstrate that D.C.’s cyclists, elected officials, and agency staffers are on board with better, safer accommodations for bikes.
The M Street cycletrack, which will provide a westbound pair to the L Street cycletrack, is projected to arrive in August.
In addition to a number of elected officials, like councilmembers Jack Evans and Tommy Wells, DCist, Washingtonian, and WAMU covered “Walk the Tracks.” WAMU has plenty of details about how the cycletrack will look:
The M Street bike lane will share a similar design to its predecessor on L, but officials said it will be safer. For starters, the new bike lane will lie between the sidewalk and parked cars. On L Street, the bike lane is partially wedged between two traffic lanes.
“You will have the three foot separation that provides a little more comfort plus the parking lane adjacent to it. So actually the moving traffic will be 11 feet away from you in the cycle track and it will feel more like a trail,” said Mike Goodno, a bike planner at the District Department of Transportation.
According to DCist, Wells called the M Street cycletrack a “crucial artery.” We at WABA couldn’t agree more, and we look forward to its installation.
Back in January, WABA introduced our business membership program. Since the launch, the business community has been amazingly supportive. A total of 14 businesses have joined as members, and we’e are excited to welcome our newest business members. Both are groups well-known for their support of biking.
Planet Bike is a bicycle accessories company located in Madison, Wisc. You likely own some Planet Bike products—it sells everything from lights to pumps to racks. A strong supporter of bicycling advocacy, Planet Bike donates 25% of their profits to improving bicycling conditions. Since 2006, they have donated over $1,000,000 to bicycling advocacy.
Rails-to-Trails Conservancy is a nonprofit organization headquartered in Washington, D.C. 150,000 members strong, it works to build a nationwide network of trails from former rail lines and to connect corridors. You might have ridden on one of the trails they helped build, from the Capital Crescent Trail to the Metropolitan Branch Trail to the Rock Creek trails.
The Big Green Commute, a WABA event partnership, kicks off next Monday.
Do you bike to work? Do many of your coworkers bike, walk or use public transportation? Is your office up for a challenge? Registration is now open for the fourth annual Big Green Commute, presented by ZGF Architects LLP. Created to encourage awareness of commuting’s environmental impacts, the BGC is an inter-firm competition for offices in the Washington area in which employees adopt more eco-friendly modes of traveling to work for one week, coinciding with National Bike to Work Week. Each office receives a score that reflects their commutes, and the office with the highest average score in each category will receive the Greenest Commute Award. Find out more information and register your office for the BGC here.
The event partnership program is a paid promotional exchange between WABA and interested event operators. For more information on the event partnership program, visithttp://waba.org/events.
WABA attended the annual Congress Heights Day on Saturday. East of the River associate Kim Davis set up a table at the health and wellness fair with games for kids and bike-related quizzes for adults. See photos of WABA at Congress Heights Day below!
Come learn about the much-anticipated cycletrack on M Street NW at our “Walk the Tracks” event next Mon., May 6 at 6:30 p.m. WABA staff, members, and supporters will walk the length of project, starting at Thomas Circle, and discuss the proposed bike lane. Staff from DDOT and the Golden Triangle and Downtown BIDs will be present. This event is a chance to have your questions answered about the project, its design, and the timeline for its construction.
The proposed one-way westbound cycletrack will extend from Thomas Circle at 14th Street NW to 28th Street NW in Georgetown. The cycletrack will be 1.3 miles in length. Last fall, DDOT constructed a one-way eastbound cycletrack on L Street NW. When complete, the L Street and M Street cycletracks will be parallel routes that establish a major east-west crosstown corridor for bikes—and add to the growing network of physically separated Green Lane Projects in our city.
The event will start at 6:30 p.m. at the Capital Bikeshare station on the west side of Thomas Circle. We will walk 1.3 miles west along M Street NW, ending in Georgetown. After the walk, those interested in enjoying a cold drink can do so at a local Georgetown business. If you are planning on attending our “Walk the Tracks” event, please RSVP here.
We’ve spent the past few weeks preparing for BikeFest, our yearly fundraiser and celebration of bicycling. It’s finally here (and, lucky for any slackers out there, tickets will be available at the door)! Tonight, you’ll be supporting WABA’s advocacy, outreach, and education initiatives while enjoying all of the following:
Food and libations: A taco bar courtesy of Chipotle will pair with beer from New Belgium Brewery, representatives of which will be on-site giving free tastings and running a “beer school.” A well-stocked “speakeasy” bar will provide boozier alternatives to beer. Your ticket includes two gold drink tokens.
Live music: Local group Atomic Swing Club will provide a mix of jazz, rockabilly, lounge, big band, and of course, swing tunes. There will be plenty of space for dancing.
Casino games: Your ticket includes a voucher that can be exchanged for $200 in “fun bucks” to use at the professionally run casino tables. The minimum table bid is $25. When you stack up your chips, cash them out with the dealers—you’ll receive a green voucher that you can exchange for raffle tickets (see a volunteer or the WABA Bank). You can purchase additional buy-in vouchers at the WABA Bank. Sound confusing? You’ll be a pro after a few hands.
The BikeBuild contest and auction: We’ve told you about the four BikeBuild contest entries, all of which have been put together by local bike shops just for BikeFest. Check them out and cast your vote for your favorite with the blue token included in your ticket envelope. If you really love one of the bikes, it could be yours: Just participate in the live auction!
Silent auction: All proceeds earned from your bids on experience packages and items available in the silent auction go to WABA. There’s some great stuff on offer, much of it bike-related.
Raffle: Exchange your table-game winnings for raffle tickets, or buy some from the WABA Bank. Here’s a peek at what you might win.
Dress to impress: This one’s on you. BikeFest is a snazzy affair, and you may have noticed that our poster echoes the forthcoming remake of The Great Gatsby. Wear something sparkly, jazzy, and evocative of Casablanca. Own it. We’ll be taking pictures.
If you didn’t buy tickets, a limited number will be available at the door for $55. We will only take credit cards, so please prepare accordingly. BikeFest begins at 8 p.m. at Eastern Market’s North Hall. Dress in your sparkly best. We’ll see you tonight!
BikeFest is made possible by our generous sponsors
We know, we know. We said we would close BikeFest ticket sales at 11:59 p.m. last night and that tickets wouldn’t be available at the door this evening. But we realized we can squeeze a few more of you into Eastern Market’s North Hall, so if you slacked on buying a BikeFest ticket, you’re in luck!
We will sell tickets at the door tonight for $55. You may only pay with a credit card. We cannot take your cash or check, so please plan accordingly. BikeFest begins at 8 p.m. at Eastern Market’s North Hall. More information can be found here or on our blog. We look forward to seeing you at our signature fundraising party and celebration of bicycles!
BikeFest is made possible by our generous sponsors