Unlimited s’mores, miles of gravel, and this super sweet limited edition jersey

You can support better bicycling in just 184.5 miles while enjoying unlimited s’mores and trail snacks, miles and miles of stress-free and car-free gravel riding with scenic river views and vistas, and a new super sweet limited edition WABA in Wild adventure jersey!

Jersey

Be Part of this Epic Adventure

The registration deadline for signing up for WABA in the Wild is September 23rd (that’s tomorrow) at Midnight. Register today to save your spot!

The Details

WABA in the Wild is a fully supported peer-to-peer fundraising ride that raises support for WABA’s advocacy and outreach efforts in the DC region. The tour will take place on the Chesapeak and Ohio Canal Towpath from Friday, October 7th to Monday, October 11th.

WABA will bus riders and all their stuff (all you need to bring is your bicycle, tent, sleeping bag, and a couple changes of clothes) to Cumberland, MD on Friday. We’ll camp in Cumberland on Friday night, Hancock, MD on Saturday night, and bunk or camp at the Harper’s Ferry Hostel on Sunday night. We’ll spend three days (Sat, Sun, Mon) bicycling downhill on the canal towpath going about 60-65 miles each day, with plenty of snack breaks in between the miles.

It is a peer-to-peer fundraising ride, so every dollar you raise goes to support WABA – that means that if we get 35 riders to join us for WABA in the Wild, over $40,000 will go directly to support WABA’s efforts to make bicycling better.

We Will Downright Pamper You

We know bike touring, camping, and biking 65 miles a day can be a bit intimidating. That’s why we want to make it as easy as possible for you to check this off your bucket list. If you’ve never biked the entire C&O Canal – or even if you have and you’ve been wanting to do it again – this is your chance to do it.

  • We plan all the super boring and annoying logistics for you so all you have to do is show up
  • We arrange transportation to the tour start in Cumberland
  • We build the fire and cook delicious campfire meals for you
  • We load up and carry and your camping gear and luggage to each campsite
  • We take you out for lunch and dinner one day in Canal Towns along the towpath
  • We have a SAG vehicle ready to meet you at a trail access point just in case
  • We bring the bug spray, lanterns, candles, s’mores, music, clotheslines, evening story times, camp chairs  – and if it’s muddy we’ll even wipe down your bike for you

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You can #beapal just by being yourself (and volunteering)

Arlington PAL

There are many ways to enjoy an autumn weekend—yard work, football, washing the car—but now you can add “Reminding bicyclists, motorists, and pedestrians to get along” to the list!

Arlington’s PAL ( Predictable, Alert, Lawful) program aims to keep people safe as they travel to and from work, school, or play in the nicest way possible. Instead of going around yelling “BE CAREFUL!” at one another, the PAL program takes a non-aggressive approach.

Our job isn’t to make people feel bad, it’s to give them tips and info to change their habits, to encourage them to think of their fellow drivers, bikers, and walkers as people, friends, and neighbors.

We all have to get along out there, and being Predictable, Alert, and Lawful (PAL) makes it easy!

We rely on our volunteer PAL Ambassadors to help out and spread the word. Sometimes, we’ll hold up signs, smile, and wave as cars and pedestrians slowly roll by a library in the afternoon. Other times, we’ll give away lights and reflective vests to people jogging and biking at night on a local trail.

It’s hard to feel like a hero sometimes while reminding people to be safe–we’re not running into burning buildings or pushing people out of the way of speeding cars—but we are making a difference. The people of Arlington let us know when they take our advice to heart. Whether that takes the form of a friendly wave from the inside of a car, a conversation in a bike lane, or a smile and nod at a crosswalk, it always feels good to be a PAL.

Upcoming opportunities to #BEaPAL

September Pizza Party!
Thursday, 9/22 from 6:30pm to 9:30pm
Come join us to eat pizza and brainstorm good ideas for future PAL events and outreach.

Sign up here!

September Block Party!
Thursday, 9/29 from 6pm to 8pm.
Once a month, PALs get together to send a message to road users. This month, we’ll be in Pentagon City.

Sign up here!

Fewer trail obstacles on the Suitland Parkway

It was a busy morning on the Suitland Parkway Trail last Monday. The WABA Trail Rangers, District Department of Transportation (DDOT) Urban Forestry Administration and Earth Conservation Corp’s crew were out giving the trail a fall cleanup. The pole loppers, pruners, bow saws and chainsaw were out in full force as we worked to give more buffer between the trail and the encroaching hillside.

Built over a gasline to Andrews Air Force Base, the trail is on DDOT’s long term rehabilitation list. But in the meantime, the trail is still a more pleasant connection from the Anacostia River up the hills of Ward 8. As such, our goal was to make the trail as safe and pleasant as we could by making the entire trailbed passable. Parralleling a greenspace has many advantages but also a many challenges from invasive plants that are too good at growing sideways into the trail – mulberry, honeysuckle, porcelainberry. Good riddance!

Big storms tend to create a stream on the trailbed – we uncovered two storm drains that should reduce how much overflow happens.

Want to help out improving the city’s trails? We are looking for volunteers for our next cleanup on Ward 7’s Marvin Gaye Trail on September 24th!

Sign up here!

Contributory Negligence clears another hurdle!

Great news!!  After nearly three years of persistent organizing and advocacy by the WABA community, the DC Council just voted unanimously for the second time to pass the Motor Vehicle Collision Recovery Act to fix contributory negligence!

Thank your Councilmembers!

This was something that, three years ago, we were told couldn’t be done. Together, we have changed what is possible.  It will now go to Mayor Bowser for a signature, and afterwards undergo thirty days of Congressional review. We aren’t across the finish line yet, but we are closer than ever. This could not have happened without strong leadership on Council, especially Councilmembers Grosso, Cheh, and McDuffie.

Click here to send a quick thank you email to all your representatives on DC Council.

 

Becoming a biking instructor

Understanding the paths that people take to get to where they are fascinates me. I’m constantly asking people how they got to today. Teaching a City Cycling class recently I was chatting with the Lead Instructor for the class, Jason. The lead instructor is responsible for the entire class that day. They have to manage the team of instructors and the students to ensure that the educational experience meets or even exceeds students’ expectations. It’s a tough but rewarding job!

While watching Jason work I wondered how he got to this place—leading a group of participants through a City Cycling class. I was curious why he joined WABA in the first place and how that led him to not just teach classes for WABA, but become a lead instructor. Some of the details are unique to Jason, but I imagine that many of his greater points resonate with you, too.

When I moved to DC in 2006 to start a new career, I chose a location close to the free shuttle bus to Georgetown University.  For years I would walk to the bus stop and would arrive on campus a short time later.  One day in 2008, the bus turned a different way, the long way.  Come to find out, the Advisory Neighborhood Commission had voted to prevent any private busses from running through the neighborhood for fear that the old row houses were being shaken to the ground.  Needless to say, I was not happy about the extra time it was taking to go to the same location. The very next day I rushed to the local bike shop—I walked through the door just before closing. I selected a bike and when going to pay for it, noticed WABA membership flyers behind the register. I inquired and noticed that a benefit of being a member of WABA was a discount at local bike shops. The opportunity to save money immediately is how I entered the DC bicycling community.  Before moving to DC, I had a bike which collected dust in my garage where I left it for the new owner.

I started to get emails. I learned about the City Cycling classes WABA offered in the community.  Having never biked in a city before, I decided to sign up for a class.  At the time, there were 2 distinct classes. One class focused on the fundamentals of riding a bike while the other offered bicyclists an opportunity to learn and hone hazard avoidance maneuvers. I took both.

In the second class, the lead instructor, Glen, mentioned that WABA was looking for instructors to help teach classes—there were hundreds of adults requesting lessons. Who knew? What a great way to help more people feel safe on their bikes! After all, one way of achieving better bicycling is by having more bicyclists on the road.

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In December 2010 I completed the League Certified Instructor (LCI) seminar and became a nationally recognized cycling instructor with the League of American Bicyclists.  Since that time I have been helping WABA teach people how to ride and those that knew, how to ride better and become a “driver” of their wheeled vehicle.  After all, we share the roads with cars and should be just as predictable and respected for the safety of everyone.

After teaching classes with WABA for several years, I was asked to become a Lead Instructor.  Lead Instructors are in charge of the classes and work closely with the education staff to ensure quality and consistency.  Leads allow WABA to teach classes simultaneously instead of only one class being held on each day. I appreciate the opportunity I have to teach with WABA and feel honored to be a Lead instructor.

Do you want to help make a difference in the region’s bicycling community?

Are you ready to make bicycling better in the region by helping more bicyclists get out on the road?

Come and teach with WABA!

Bike Back to School

Family Portrait by Matilda R, age 5

Family Portrait by Matilda R, age 5

It’s back-to-school time, and for some of our members back-to-school means regular bike trips with their child(ren). We spoke with one of members who regularly takes his children to school on a bicycle, you can read the conversation below.

Hiya! Who are you and your passengers?
I’m Jon Renaut. I’ve lived in Columbia Heights since 2007. My passengers are my daughters, a third grader and a first grader

What’s been the biggest challenge biking with kids?
I’m not sure I can pick one biggest challenge. Sometimes it’s the weather. Sometimes it’s just being tired at the end of a long week. Sometimes the girls won’t stop fighting on the back of the bike. Often it’s bad drivers not paying attention, and DDOT refusing to enforce the Safe Accommodations Act.

Where and when do you ride?
Everywhere and all the time. Unless we’re leaving the city (and sometimes even then), our Xtracycle is our primary means of transportation. Sometimes we have to take the sidewalk (slowly and carefully), like if we go to Brookland and have to pass the hospital. Sometimes we take the long way or the flat way because it’s safer or easier.

Where and when don’t you ride?
Snow and ice usually keep me off the bike (except for the big snowstorm last winter. I left the kids at home for that, though). There’s pretty much no place I won’t ride, but I’m definitely more likely to take a sidewalk on a road I don’t feel is safe when I’m riding with the kids.

Why do you bike your children to school?
When my older daughter started school, the building was in a temporary space at 20th and S, which meant a bus ride and a long walk for 3 year old legs. We bought a trailer from some friends who had outgrown it and I started biking the kids to school and daycare. It was mostly because it was easy and because getting two kids under 4 onto the 16th Street bus at rush hour isn’t a lot of fun. Eventually the kids outgrew the trailer and we upgraded to the Xtracycle.

We bike to school because it’s faster than driving or the bus (the school’s new location requires a bus transfer for us). One day I had to pick up my wife from DCA right after school dropoff so I took the car. We had gone a block before the kids started complaining how slow it was. And all the neighborhood groups around the school love the school except for one big complaint – parents parking illegally at dropoff and pickup. So we’re also doing our part to be good neighbors.

Even on a bike, you are still a parent.
The bags on the Xtracycle are exactly like the complaints you hear about the back seat of a minivan. Old snack wrappers, odd bits of clothing, random treasures the kids forgot about. I probably have more bungee cords in there than most minivans.

Does WABA made a difference in your bike experience?
In a broad sense, WABA makes a difference by being a voice of reason and having the ear of politicians to get changes made to how we do bike things in the area. In a specific sense, it’s little things like Greg Billing reaching out to me after I’ve been begging DDOT for literally months to enforce Safe Accommodations and being ignored. Greg talked to me on the phone, reassured me of some things WABA is doing to make things better, and made me feel a lot better about the whole process.

 

If you are interested in riding with your children and have questions, WABA can help!  Visit our Family Biking page  to learn more and sign up for email updates!

 

Wave when you see us out and about!

Jon and his two daughters riding on 14th Street NW

Jon and his two daughters riding on 14th Street NW.

 

 

 

DC, Maryland, and Virginia’s only Platinum Bicycle Friendly Business℠ is…

The Washington Area Bicyclist Association!

BFB platinum sealWe are proud to announce that WABA has received a Platinum Bicycle Friendly Business℠ (BFB) designation from the League of American Bicyclists! With this highest honor WABA joins just 33 Platinum Bicycle Friendly Businesses out of the 1,232 local businesses, government agencies, and Fortune 500 companies across the country recognized by the League for their commitment to transforming the American workplace and making bikes work.  We’ve been working hard to practice what we preach and be a model for businesses in the DC area.

But we don’t want to hog all of the glory!  We couldn’t do what we do without the WABA Business Members that have shown their commitment to making the DC area a better place to ride and commute by bike, and we want to make sure they get the recognition they deserve as well.  That’s why, along with many other great benefits, we offer support in applying for Bicycle Friendly Business recognition from the League of American Bicyclists to all of our Leadership Level Business Members.

Find out more information about the League’s Bicycle Friendly Business Program at bikeleague.org/business, and contact us at membership@waba.org for information on BFB application assistance for your business. The next BFB applications are due in by October 13, with the next round of awards to be announced in December. We’re excited to see what other DC area organizations will be joining us on the list!