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.

 

 

 

Bike Theft is on the Rise. Take 10 Minutes and Do This Now.

Last week, we gave you a brief overview of what to do in the event that your bike is stolen. In that post, we mentioned WABA’s bicycle owner record sheet, which we’d like to discuss in a bit more detail today.

When a bike is stolen, the first thing you should do is to call the police and report the bicycle stolen. An officer will come and meet you to file a stolen property report. To file the report, they will need the following information: type of bike, color, serial number, a photo, etc.

To make sure you have this information available in the event that you need it, use our form. Download this PDF with fillable fields, enter all the relevant information, and save a hard copy in a safe place. Take some photos of your bike, making sure to capture any distinguishing characteristics (modifications you’ve made to the bike, damage or signs of wear and tear, stickers or other bling). Attach the photos to the record sheet. This information on this form will also be required by your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance if you decide to make a stolen property claim.

You can significantly reduce the risk of your bike being stolen by using proper locking techniques with a strong u-lock at secure parking spot in a well-lit area where there’s good foot traffic. DDOT, WMATA, private property managers, and others are working to increase the amount of secure bike parking in the region, but there is still a shortage—and still a chance your bike could be stolen.

The Washington Post recently covered the increase in bike theft in and around D.C., and Fox5 ran a story about an upcoming documentary about a professional bike thief. We hope you’ll never have to use this information, but if you do need it, providing the police with a complete record of your stolen bike could greatly help in its recovery.

Thank You for Joining Us!

Our yearly membership drive ended last Friday, and we’re pleased to announce that over 550 people joined us—some for the first time, some for the first time in a long time, and some for yet another few years. Membership dollars help us expand our advocacy, outreach, and education work, and we enthusiastically welcome and greatly appreciate financial support of what WABA does. If you joined or renewed during the drive, thank you!

2013 Staff Photo

We’re really excited about our new members!

We’d also like to thank to local businesses City Bikes and Lunar Massage for graciously donating materials to the drive. And a number of WABA supporters volunteered to help us solicit memberships throughout D.C., Maryland, and Virginia last week—we couldn’t have pulled off the membership drive without them!

You can engage with us in a number of ways in addition to being a WABA member: You can become a D.C. bike ambassador; get involved with our advocacy efforts; take a class (the last oneof the season is this Sunday!); join the Women & Bicycles group if you’re women-identified; follow us on TwitterFacebookInstagram, and Flickr (and contribute to our Flickr pool!); read our blog; ride your bike; and encourage your friends to join us, too.

If you didn’t join during the drive, that’s OK! You can join or donate to WABA at any time. Plus, WABA members get great perks.

We look forward to working with all our new members to better bicycling in the D.C. region.

2013 Membership Drive: This Is It

It’s the last day of our 2013 membership drive. Have you become a WABA member yet?

This week, we’ve told you about the great perks WABA members are eligible for, and about some of the specific endeavors that your WABA membership supports. We’ve had an amazing show of support from our current members; if you’re on Twitter or Facebook, you’ve likely noticed an abundance of gold icons, which represent an affiliation with WABA. And over 300 of you have joined since we kicked off the drive on Monday.

We hope that—if you haven’t already—you’ll make the choice to join us. If you join during this membership drive (which runs until this Friday, Oct. 25—that’s today), your membership is good through December 2014—that’s two free months of membership. And this week, joining at any level nets you sweet incentives*:

$35: Membership, plus sticker and notepad
$50: Membership, sticker, notepad, and a standard-issue WABA T-shirt
$100: Membership, sticker, notepad, and a special-edition gold WABA T-shirt
$500: Membership, sticker, notepad, and a WABA bike jersey

Today is the last day to join WABA and take advantage of the great incentives we’re offering during this membership drive. Join today

*Your notepad, sticker, T-shirt, or jersey will be mailed to you, along with your WABA membership card, in four to six weeks.

This post is part of our yearly weeklong membership drive. Your membership supports our advocacy, outreach, and education efforts, and you get great perksJoinrenew, or donate today.

2013 Membership Drive: What Does WABA Do?

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Among many other things, we teach people how to ride bikes—for the first time, or just better.

Today marks the home stretch of our membership drive. Today and tomorrow are the last remaining days to join us and get great incentives. This week, nearly 200 Washington Area Bicyclist Association supporters have become members or extended their commitment to help us improve bicycling in the D.C. region.

WABA members get great perks and discounts (see the full list here); can register early for our awesome (and frequently sold-out) events, like the 50 States and Vasa rides; and support our programming.

You may be wondering, however, what that programming is. Though we’ve previously put in bike racks throughout D.C. under contract from the District Department of Transportation, we generally are not responsible for the installation of bike infrastructure in the regions that we represent. We also don’t get the final say on where bike lanes, cycletracks, racks, Capital Bikeshare stations, and other pieces of infrastructure should go. That kind of work is the duty of local and state departments of transportation.

Rather, we provide the reasoning for why things should be built and why laws should be passed. Biking is a marginalized form of transportation, and demonstrating that WABA has a solid, engaged, informed, and active member base is necessary to convincing local and state departments of transportation that more and better infrastructure, laws, policies, and education and outreach programs are needed. Even if you bike for recreation or fitness, we speak for you when we advocate for better road conditions and clearer laws. We’re in the room representing the interests of bicyclists so you don’t have to (though we love it when our members become advocates with us!).

Here are some of the things we’ve done to better bicycling in the D.C. area in the past year:

You can see some of our historic gains here (scroll down).

For the past 40 years, WABA has worked tirelessly to improve policies, education initiatives, road infrastructure, and the cultural understanding of bicycling for transportation. WABA is the reason why D.C., Montgomery, Prince George’s, Arlington, and Fairfax counties and the city of Alexandria are bike-friendly. We are a member-supported nonprofit and lobbying doesn’t pay the bills—which is why we run campaigns like this one. Your membership and donations ensure that our staff can work for you.

If you join during this membership drive (which runs until this Friday, Oct. 25—that’s tomorrow), your membership is good through December 2014—that’s two free months of membership. And this week, joining at any level nets you sweet incentives*:

$35: Membership, plus sticker and notepad
$50: Membership, sticker, notepad, and a standard-issue WABA T-shirt
$100: Membership, sticker, notepad, and a special-edition gold WABA T-shirt
$500: Membership, sticker, notepad, and a WABA bike jersey

*Your notepad, sticker, T-shirt, or jersey will be mailed to you, along with your WABA membership card, in four to six weeks.

Don’t forget: Tonight, we’re hosting an open house for our new, old, and potential members. Please stop by for snacks and beverages! We’ll answer your questions and chat about biking in the D.C. area. RSVP here.

This post is part of our yearly weeklong membership drive. Your membership supports our advocacy, outreach, and education efforts, and you get great perksJoinrenew, or donate today.

2013 Membership Drive: An Open House, Just for You

Well, have you? Sign up on the MBT (4th/S NE) until 9:30 a.m.

Yesterday, we launched our 2013 membership drive. We’re continuing to push for new members, and we’d appreciate it if you joined! Your membership dollars support our education, outreach, and advocacy work.

A major success for area bicyclists, the Bicycle Safety Amendment Act of 2013, was passed by the D.C. Council and signed by Mayor Vince Gray last week. Read more about what the the bill does to make biking better and safer in D.C. Support like yours that enables us to not only advocate on your behalf, but distribute information about legal requirements for bicyclists.Becoming a WABA member ensures that we can represent you and let you know what we’re doing.

If you join during this membership drive (which runs until this Friday, Oct. 25), your membership is good through December 2014—that’s two free months of membership. And this week, joining at any level nets you sweet incentives*:

$35: Membership, plus sticker and notepad
$50: Membership, sticker, notepad, and a standard-issue WABA T-shirt
$100: Membership, sticker, notepad, and a special-edition gold WABA T-shirt
$500: Membership, sticker, notepad, and a WABA bike jersey

Today, we want to remind you that on Thursday night, Oct. 24, we’re hosting an open house for our new, old, and potential members. Please stop by for snacks and beverages! We’ll answer your questions and chat about biking in the D.C. area. RSVP here.

*Your notepad, sticker, T-shirt, or jersey will be mailed to you, along with your WABA membership card, in four to six weeks.

This post is part of our yearly weeklong membership drive. Your membership supports our advocacy, outreach, and education efforts, and you get great perks. Join, renew, or donate today.

Welcome to the 2013 WABA Membership Drive!

2013 Lion Ride

Your membership dollars help us get more people on bikes.

WABA’s annual membership drive begins today! We’re a member-supported organization, and we can’t do our work without you. Join now!

If you join during this membership drive (which runs until this Friday, Oct. 25), your membership is good through December 2014—that’s two free months of membership. And this week, joining at any level nets you sweet incentives*:

$35: Membership, plus sticker and notepad
$50: Membership, sticker, notepad, and a standard-issue WABA T-shirt
$100: Membership, sticker, notepad, and a special-edition gold WABA T-shirt
$500: Membership, sticker, notepad, and a WABA bike jersey

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This awesome T-shirt can be yours with a $100 membership.

On our blog this week, you can expect to hear more about our advocacy, outreach, and education successes over the past year. All of our programming works to support people who ride bikes in D.C., Montgomery, Prince George’s, Arlington, and Fairfax counties and the city of Alexandria, which is why our theme for this year’s drive is “I Bike, Therefore I Am…a WABA member.” Join today to make that a true statement!

We’ll also be opening our office on Thurs., Oct. 24 from 6-8 p.m. for new and old members. We encourage you to stop by, ask questions, and learn about what WABA membership can do for you. Please RSVP here so we can stock up on snacks and beverages.

Read more about the 2013 membership drive below the jump. Continue reading