Bike to Work Day 2014: Thank you!

**Update: If you were unable to attend Bike to Work Day on Friday due to the bad weather and you previously registered for the event and would like to get your t-shirt, please contact your individual pit stop manager. Pit stops may have leftover t-shirts; WABA does not at this time. The list of pit stops can be found here. Click on your pit stop name to view your pit stop managers name and contact info. Pit stop managers may also be emailing registrants to inform them of when and where they can pick up their t-shirts.**

Thank you to everyone who participated in Bike to Work Day today and to everyone who signed up for the event.

We understand that with forecasts leading into Bike to Work Day of potentially dangerous weather, the heavy rains that occurred early this morning, and flooding in some areas, many folks chose another commute option for getting to work. That is ok.

We high-fived those who did bike this morning, and we hope those who did not will choose to bike to work again soon. Many pit stops across the region today still welcomed smiling (and wet) faces of people biked, walked, bussed, and even drove to their local stop.

WABA is talking with our regional partners, MWCOG, and pit stop mangers to find a feasible way of providing another t-shirt pickup option for those who didn’t make it to their pitsops. (But please note that shirts were distributed to the pitstops throughout the region, so stopping by the WABA office won’t get you one.)

As the rain moves out of the area today (there are blue skies out there now!), consider stopping by one of the afternoon pit stops and Bike to Work Day events. But please note that these pit stops will NOT have t-shirts for you to pick up if you had not previously registered for their stop, but they are a great way to still join in on the BTWD festivities.

Afternoon stops will be at Columbia Heights, College Park Metro, Arlington East Falls Church at the W&OD Trail, Silver Spring East West Highway at The Blairs, and Malmaison in Georgetown.

 

Preparing for a Rainy Bike to Work Day

The weather reports are calling for rain during our celebration of biking but don’t let that stop you from celebrating Bike to Work Day!

When you’re prepared to be out in the rain your experience can be refreshing, relaxing, and downright adventurous. So here are some tips for rain preparedness:

Bike to Work in the Rain Day!

Rain gal STAYING DRY 
Fenders: These plastic shields frame your front and rear wheels and single-handedly prevent many wet behinds and soaked shoes.

Second change of clothes: At minimum pack a second change of clothes, and even a change of underwear. Pack anything you may need to freshen up your hair, and if you need to really freshen up, pack wet wipes to wipe yourself down.

Rain jacket or poncho: You can pick up a cheap poncho to store in your bike bag, or invest in a lightweight rain jacket (this option avoids heat-trapping plastics). The more breathable the better because you can pretty easily get more wet by sweating than by the rain; pit-zips are a plus. Specifically designed rain ponchos, often called rain capes, provide better opportunities for airflow, but are still compact.

Rain pants: Rain pants are a major plus, especially because these can be used in cold snowy conditions as well. If you aren’t up for buying a new pair of rain pants and it’s warm out, try out athletic shorts that you can change out of once you get to your destination.

Cycling cap or bandanna: If you want to keep your hair dry, try out a cycling cap or bandanna under your helmet.

Glasses: Clear-lens glasses shield your eyes from heavy rain and help with visibility.

Breathable shoes or shoe covers: You can purchase some cheap booties that cover just about any kind of shoe, and still give you the grip and range of motion you need. Plastic grocery bags are a cheap solution.

Bike bag: Consider investing in a waterproof backpack, messenger bag,  purse, or pannier to keep your everyday essentials dry and cared for.

 

Bicycling in the rainSTAYING VISIBLE 
Brightly colored clothing: This is where the bright neon colors and reflective accessories in your closet can come in handy. A lightweight reflective vest is a low-cost accessory that’s easy to carry with you at all times.

Bike Lights: Front and rear lights are required on your bikes even in sunny weather, but in the rain it’s even more important to have lights on your person and your bike.

Lane placement: Most of your visibility power is in your position on the road and how you communicate with other road users. Do what you can to make yourself the most visible and most predictable among your fellow road users. If there are no bike lanes present, position yourself in the middle of the lane. If there are bike lanes present, ride to the far left-hand side of the bike lane to avoid the door zone. If you’re on a trail, always yield to walkers and joggers. When communicating passing and turning to drivers, other bicyclists, and pedestrians do your best to use hand signals make eye contact, and use verbal cues if necessary. This is all basic bike know-how, but having it under your belt will make your rain-riding experience more safe, and therefore better.

STAYING SAFE 
Be cautious: if you haven’t already, you will certainly figure out your rain riding style with time. It may mean you need to ride a little slower to feel more alert and in control.

Avoid slippery surfaces and puddles: Do your best to avoid street car tracks, gutters, grates, white street markings, piles of leaves, and anything that becomes slippery when wet. You do not have to worry about bike lanes that are painted green; the green paint is not the same as slick thermoplastic white street markings and instead has a granular texture to help prevent slipping.

Lightly use your brakes: Also called “feathering your brakes” which means, avoid quickly pulling your brake levers too hard. Instead lightly pulse both front and rear brakes equally with consistent pressure as needed.

Follow your Gene Kelly intuitions: You will probably find yourself singing more in the rain, and you may hear the occasional, “WEEeeeeeEEE!” and some “WoooIiiPEEE!’”s  Because as usual, your bike ride should be fun. If it’s not, you’re doing it wrong.

 

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Become a WABA Member this Bike to Work Day

Bike to Work Day is a great day for bicycling. It shows how many people enjoy and support a better bicycling network (and  how many of them like free t-shirts) and why having an organization like WABA is essential to our region. If you haven’t already registered for Bike to Work Day, you can do so here.

One of the big perks of Bike to Work Day is that you can become a member of for the reduced rate of $25 (normally $35). Becoming a WABA member is the best way to support our advocacy efforts, and contribute to the growth of the region’s safe bicycling networks. By showing our strength in numbers we can show our cities, governments, and business that biking is growing and safe bicycling infrastructure is in demand. If you joined on Bike to Work Day last year, your membership is about to expire, so now is a perfect time to renew it!

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We got over 300 new members last Bike to Work Day. With your help we can get even more this year! Photo By: MrM

Still on the fence? Take a look at some of our victories from the past year:

-          Protected bike lanes on M St NW and First St NE.

-          Expanding Capital Bikeshare to over 200 stations in DC, Virginia, and Maryland, including Alexandria & Montgomery Co.

-          Pushing for the completion of the Metropolitan Branch Trail from Brookland to Downtown Silver Spring.

-          Passage of the 3 Foot Passing law in Virginia in 2014.

-          Passage of the Bicycle Safety Amendment in 2013 & the Access to Justice for Bicyclist Act of 2012 in DC

More members means we can amplify our voice and impact region-wide.. That’s why we need you to become a member today. Already a member? Refer a friend!

On Bike to Work Day members of our staff, board, Bike Ambassador team, and volunteer crew will spread out across the region to cover as many pit stops as possible. Currently, we plan to be at: Rosslyn, Freedom Plaza, Downtown Bethesda, Old Town Alexandria, Ballston, Crystal City, Adams Morgan, National Geographic, NoMa, Eastern Market, Vienna, Georgetown, Columbia Heights (in the afternoon), Golden Triangle at Farragut Square, Silver Spring Discovery Place, Mt Vernon Triangle, Falls Church, and Capitol Riverfront.

Stop by and say “Hi” to WABA on Bike to Work Day and become a member!

You can also become a member right now by visiting our website!

 

Take a Trail this Bike to Work Day

Dandies ride by Gravelly Point

Photo by Flickr user joeflood

So you’ve heard that Bike to Work Day is coming up on May 16.  Maybe you heard that it is the one thrilling day that our region celebrates biking as an everyday form of transportation.  Maybe you heard that there are 79 pit stops with BTWD shirts, snacks, raffles, and giveaways.  Perhaps that is all the convincing you need.  Be sure to register.

But if you do not already bike to work regularly, then all the pit stop goodies and the support of thousands of other people biking along with you might not be enough.  You still have to find your way to work, and at first glance there may be a lot of busy streets between where you live and where you’re headed.

The DC area is fortunate to have an extensive network of trails that allow a near seamless off-street ride for much of your trip.  For the first time bike commuter, trails alleviate many concerns of riding with car traffic and can simplify finding a route through the web of streets.  For the regular commuter, trails are the highways of bike infrastructure offering direct routes that pass over and around busy intersections from as far as Vienna, Alexandria, Bethesda, Silver Spring and College Park.  Where these trails end, they often connect to streets with bike infrastructure like bike lanes and even cycletracks which form a network of bike friendly routes.  If you are an infrequent rider, these too will make getting to work a little less stressful.  Consult Google Maps bicycling layer to find a route or join one the BTWD Commuter Convoys that follow trails.

Click here to explore the area's bike facilities

Dark green lines are trails. Light green lines are on street bike lanes.

Regardless of your experience, Bike to Work Day is the perfect time to try out a trail near you.  With pit stops on or near many trails, you’ll find plenty of company and ample opportunities to exchange congratulatory high fives when you pick up your BTWD shirt.  Below are a some of the most popular trails with pit stops nearby.

Anacostia Riverwalk Trail: South Capitol St to Benning Rd on both sides of the Anacostia

  • Anacostia at Martin Luther King Jr Ave & Good Hope Rd SE
  • Canal Park at M St & 2nd St SE

Capital Crescent Trail: Bethesda to Georgetown

  • Downtown Bethesda at Reed St.
  • Georgetown Waterfront Park at K St. & Wisconsin Ave NW

Custis Trail: I-66 to Rosslyn

  • Roslyn at the Rosslyn Gateway Park

Metropolitan Branch Trail: Ft Totten to Union Station

  • Edgewood at Rhode Island Ave NE
  • NoMa at First St & Pierce St NE

Mount Vernon Trail: Mt Vernon to Rosslyn

  • Old Town Alexandria at Fairfax Dr & King St
  • Crystal City Water Park

Washington & Old Dominion Trail: Purcellville to Shirlington Village

  • Merrifield at Sandburg St
  • Fall Church at Grove Ave
  • Falls Church at East Falls Church Metro

Click here to register for Bike to Work Day and find a full list of pit stop locations.

Go Intermodal this Bike to Work Day

Now that you’ve signed up for Bike to Work Day, it’s time to plan your route! (Click here to sign up if you haven’t already.)

For some commuters,a bike ride to work isn’t a pragmatic option. That’s why we recommend  incorporating other forms of transportation into your bike routine. Intermodal bike trips make your work commute a little shorter, your ride home a little faster, or your rainy day a lot less soggy.

Plus, it’s good to have backup transportation options. We’re fortunate to have so many transportation choices in our toolkit (and our region), and it’s all about finding the right tools for the right job.

Park and ride: Bike the last leg of your trip! Pack your bike in your trunk, drive, and leave your car parked at a nearby Metro station or a friend’s house.

Bike car

Metro: Thanks to a WABA victory, you can take bikes on Metro during non-rush hours, at no additional charge. Metro’s rush hours are from 7-10 a.m. and 4-7 p.m. I became a folding bicyclist because thanks to another WABA victory, folded bikes are allowed on Metro cars during all hours of service, and don’t need to be stored in a bag.

Some things to keep in mind: You must use the station elevators, never the escalators. If the train is full, wait for the next. Always give priority to passengers in wheelchairs. Bikes aren’t allowed at the center doors of a train, so find a spot at the front or rear of the Metro train, where you can hold onto the railing and your bike.

If you don’t want to take your bike on the Metro, check to see if your area’s station has bike lockers. Most stations have lockers you can rent for $200 a year. Check out WMATA’s bike page for more information on riding the rails.

Bike Metro

Buses: Buses are a simple option for multi-modal bike commutes throughout the region. Bring your folding bike inside the bus, or store your non-folding bike on the bus’ front bike rack. The process of loading up your bike on the bus rack can be intimidating at first, but all it takes is some practice. Click here for the bestvideo tutorial on bus bike racks.

Bike Bus

Trains: For those who regularly use commuter trains like Amtrak, MARC, or VRE, folding bikes are allowed on all trains in lieu of luggage. On Amtrak and VRE, non-folding bikes can be taken on board if the train has walk-on bicycle service (in certain instances there’s a nominal fee). Be sure to check your chosen rail line’s website before planning your trip for details.

Bicycle on Train

Combining bikes with other forms of transportation certainly isn’t difficult—and it isn’t cheating! It’s a way to fully maximize your time. The choice to make your commute more easy, affordable, and enjoyable is a good choice, and that’s, in part, what biking is about: celebrating good choices.

 

Help grow bicycling by volunteering on May 16

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Volunteer with WABA on Bike to Work Day!

WABA is a regional organization with thousands of members in Maryland, Virginia, and the District. Bike to Work Day on May 16th is an amazing opportunity for us to help grow bicycling by being at pit stops across the region and talking to people about the advocacy work that WABA does to build biking infrastructure and culture throughout the region. We are the voice of the region’s cyclists, pushing for improvements.

That’s why we need your help on May 16th. Spend a few hours with us at a pit stop talking to people about WABA, telling your bicycling story, and helping us bring in new WABA members to the bike community!

If you can volunteer, please sign up here.

Note: If you live, work, or can travel to the following pit stops, we really need volunteers at these stops:  Rosslyn, Bethesda, Crystal City, Alexandria Old Town, Silver Spring Discovery Place, Mt Vernon Triangle, Golden Triangle L Street, Capitol Riverfront at Canal Park, Edgewood, and College Park City Hall.

 

Why NOT to register for Bike To Work Day

1.  I ride my bike to work every day anyway.  It’s just like any other day.

2.  I definitely do NOT need another t-shirt, water bottle, other free goodies OR the possibility of winning a bike.

3.  I am sure the Transportation Departments already know how many people are commuting to work via bikes these days.

4.  I’d much rather ride by myself and go to work the same way I always do.  I know everybody who rides my route.

Okay, yeah, you got us.  We put the wrong list up.  Take all of those things above and switch them to the opposite. WE WANT YOU TO REGISTER FOR BIKE TO WORK DAY!

In all seriousness, we do need you to register. Even if you ride every day, even if you don’t want that special BTWD 2014 commemorative t-shirt.

We need numbers.  We need to show the growth every year. At some point, maybe we won’t be able to have Bike To Work Day because it will have become so huge that even 79 Pit Stops can’t hold us.  Bike To Work day will be everyday. Biking to work will be such an easy, convenient and safe occurrence that no one will even remember that we ever celebrated Bike To Work Day.  But until we get to that point, we really need your help. So register for Bike To Work Day and help us show strong numbers that convince area decision makers that we need safe trails, and lanes and other infrastructure in order for us to continue growing bicycling in the DC area.

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Bike to Work Day is Friday, May 16th: What to Expect

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Bike to Work Day is the one day our region celebrates what you love to do: ride your bike! And WABA wants to make sure you register and participate in the big day!

You get to wake up a little earlier (maybe even catch a beautiful sunrise), get on a bicycle, and smile. You’ll stop by a pit stop on your way to work, enjoy a free breakfast, grab that sought after free t-shirt, and then ride your bike to work. You get to be counted as a bicyclist. You get to be part of the tremendous growth in bicycling ridership in our region.

The event is organized by MWCOG, the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, in partnership with WABA. Check out COG’s Commuter Connections Bike to Work Day website for helpful resources, like finding a buddy to ride with. Bike to Work Day is meant to promote bicycling as a healthy alternative to driving along to work.

This year, the event is going to be huge. Last year there were 14,500 registrants. This year 79 pit stops are spread across DC, Maryland and Virginia. The backbone of Bike to Work Day, these pit stops help create a more concrete and visual bicycling community.

So here’s what you need to do in the next few weeks before May 16th:

1. Register. Seriously, it’s SO important that you register so you can be counted as a person who bikes in the region. These numbers will help show growth in ridership and will help further and direct WABA’s advocacy in the future. You can register here. (And did we mention, BTWD is a FREE event!) If you need to figure out which pit stop is on your way to work, check out this handy map.

2. Ready that bicycle. If you haven’t ridden your bike in a while, there’s still a few weeks left for you to take it out of the garage and dust it off, give your ride some TLC (lube that chain and tighten the brakes), or take your stead to a local bike shop for a quick tune up (WABA members get discounts at many local shops). If you don’t have a bike, borrow one from a friend. Bicyclists are very friendly. Or rent one from somewhere like Bike and Roll.

3. Invite a friend or coworker to ride along. Riding your bike (and drinking free coffee) is always more fun with a friend. So shoot out some texts, Gchat your office buddies, or make a few phone calls. And make sure they register too! Then make plans to meet up that morning and ride to your pit stop together.

4. If you’re one of those over achiever types then consider joining WABA today (or renewing your membership!) or volunteer with us.  Sign up here to volunteer with WABA at your local pit stop on Bike to Work Day to help spread the bicycling love.

A shot from the Bike to Work Day crows at the Freedom Plaza pit stop. Even in the rain, people had a great time!

You may notice the abundance of bright yellows, greens and oranges. Allow not required as cycling apparel, we’ll let you in on a little hint: Hi-vis is very fashionable right now. Hi-vis is in!

 

Have a happy Bike to Work Day!

Happy Bike Month: Do something to celebrate!

Happy Bike Month from WABA staffers.

Happy Bike Month from WABA staff!

Happy National Bike Month to you!

May was established as National Bike Month back in 1956. That means our nation has been celebrating bicycling for 58 years this month!

Together we have accomplished some major wins for people who bike in the last year so we have a lot to celebrate. WABA’s recent victories and current priorities include:

  • Protected bile lanes on M St NW and First St NE.
  • Expanding Capital Bikeshare to over 200 stations in DC, VA and MD, including Alexandria and Montgomery counties.
  • Securing funding for snow removal on Arlington bike trails.
  • Passage of the 3 Foot Passing Law in VA
  • Passage of the Bicycle Safety Amendment in DC

To read more about these advocacy wins and WABA’s current priorities check out our blog.

Bike Month is also a great time to join WABA or get a head start and renew. And if you join or renew and also register for BTWD, we’ll give you $10 off your membership this  month!

To celebrate and show YOUR love for bicycling, join us at one of WABA’s many Bike Month happenings in May:

  • May 3: ABCs of Family Biking – Join WABA, DC Safe Routes to School and Kidical Mass DC, 11am-2pm for a free and fun event about biking with kids. We’ll even have a special bike course for the little ones.
  • May 7: Bike to School Day – If you have little ones, or can borrow some for the day, take them on a bike ride to school. WABA will be joining along with some of the day’s bike trains to schools. Our Bike Ambassadors will also have a helmet decorating station at Lincoln Park on Capitol Hill in the morning.
  • May 9: Free Coffee on the Met Branch Trail – Join our Trail Rangers for free coffee on your morning commute, 7:30-9am on the MBT at 4th and S St NE.
  • May 10-11: City Cycling – Bike like a pro. The weekend before BTWD, take a City Cycling class with WABA to learn more about riding confidently in traffic.
  • May 12: Bike to Work Diva Happy Hour- If you’re a lady, you should grab a beer with our Women and Bicycles group to prep for BTWD. At the happy hour: you can meet a friend to bike with if it’s your first BTWD, or if you’re a BTWD pro then you can help guide a newbie.
  • May 12: Everyday Bicycling Seminar – Attend our FREE seminar at the MLK Library to learn more about urban biking and how to become a pro at your bike commute.
  • May 16: Bike to Work Day – Join more than 14,000 area cyclists and register today to reserve your free t-shirt.
  • May 31: Tour de Fat – THE best way to end your Bike Month. Come out for a bicycle festival with New Belgium Brewing (so yes, there’s great beer!) where proceeds benefit WABA.
Logo image courtesy of The League of American Bicyclists. For more info on Bike Month go here: http://bikeleague.org/bikemonth

Logo courtesy of The League of American Bicyclists. Check out their site for more info on Bike Month.

Have a very happy Bike Month this May and enjoy the ride!

Ride Your Bike for Earth Day & Register for Bike to Work Day

photo (15)Happy Earth Day!

The tie-in between Earth Day and bicycling is obvious. Biking, as a means of transportation, is better for the air (no emissions), the water (less polluted runoff), and natural resources (no petroleum) than driving.  Today, this seems obvious, but in the 1970′s our predecessors at WABA consistently fought to gain public recognition of the environmental importance of changing our transportation behavior.

In 1980, WABA led an Earth Day Bike-In that received significant press coverage and sparked what would eventually evolve into Bike to Work Day–which is still, at its core, an event designed to improve the region’s air quality by getting new and longtime riders to travel by bike more frequently.

This year, all of WABA’s programs are working together to push Bike to Work Day registration beyond 17,000 riders and continue to show that biking for transportation is a critical tool to for regional and urban sustainability.

Help us continue growing bicycling and growing Bike to Work Day by registering for the event here.