Lights, Coffee, ACTION!

This week’s weather theme has been GO RIDE YOUR BIKE! Today’s 80 degree weather is no different. Since Daylight Savings Time ending caught many of our friends off guard, we decided to catch up with them while they’re out riding! DC Bike Ambassadors set up friendly bicycle light sting operations around town to equip lightless bicycle riders with their very own pair of bicycle lights.


DC Bike Ambassadors set up in front of the Columbia Heights Metro on 14th Street NW…AT NIGHT!


DC Bike Ambassadors stop bicyclists on the 15th street cycletrack

DC Bike Ambassadors stop bicyclists on the 15th street cycletrack at P Street NW…AT NIGHT!

It gets dark so early these days, that 6 pm looks like midnight…AT NIGHT! Check out these handy tips about riding at night…AT NIGHT!

Aside from handing out bike lights, Ambassadors love giving out free coffee, bike maps, and law guides to our unsuspecting friends! Your smiling faces brings us joy that lasts all day long! Be on the lookout for our bicycling experts who ride around the city in bright red Ambassador shirts spreading the love of bicycling to all.


DC Bike Ambassadors give a bicyclist a cup of coffee and a new copy of the DC Bike Law Guide


Want to become a DC Bike Ambassador? Email for upcoming trainings.


Meet Annmarie Hansen, our new PAL Ambassador Coordinator!


The PAL Ambassadors had fun with the Burma Shave Signs today.

Annmarie Hansen (far right) and the PAL Ambassador team doing some streetcorner outreach. Photo by Pete Beers.

Hello! My name is Annmarie, and I am so excited to be WABA’s new PAL Ambassador Coordinator! (PAL stands for Predictable, Alert and Lawful).  I was drawn to this job because I have lived most of my life in Arlington and Washington. I’ve been riding here since I was a kid, and I’m passionate about safe cycling all over the area. I feel so fortunate that my job involves being nice to people, and helping them feel safe.

On Wednesdays growing up, my father, inventor of the “powerboost”, (which, he said, gave me no excuse to walk my single speed up hills) would pick me up from school and I’d perch myself on the seat of his road bike and he would wheel me home. I rode my first bike as much and as far as I could, and spray painted the purple thing black when I decided I wanted to be a tomboy.

When I became a grown-up, I didn’t ride my bike for fun anymore. I had places to go, and people to see. And riding a bike was the best way to do all those things. Riding a metro was okay. the bus was always too slow. And cars, well, it didn’t seems to be all it was cracked up to be. But riding a bike? Now that let me feel truly free. I felt in control of my body and my destiny when I was on a bike, and it was awesome.

When I was eighteen, I started riding a pedicab, which, at the time was a fun way to make money while riding a tricycle. It’s an exhausting job however, and after 5 years, I decided I wanted to work in bike advocacy. I did this by volunteering a bit with WABA and then all the time at Gearin Up Bicycles.

Pete Beers left me some big shoes to fill, but I’m excited to share my own enthusiasm with Arlington and the WABA community. I hope you’ll join me in making the streets of Arlington safe for everybody.

If you want to be a PAL Ambassador, sign up here:

The DC Bike Ambassadors Are Back! And they brought backup!


Early this morning DC Bike Ambassadors and Ward 1 Councilmember Brianne Nadeau teamed up to promote bicycle safety along the 14th St. NW corridor. The Bike Ambassador program was created by WABA & DDOT to encourage bicycling as an alternative form of transportation and recreation for DC residents.  Do not be alarmed if an Ambassador offers you a high five for riding your bike to work, or hands you a free bike light when you’re riding at night in the dark. It’s all a part of the plan to make DC the greatest bike town in the country.

If you would like to join this team of awesome and happy people, you’re in luck! The DC Bike Ambassadors are currently looking for enthusiastic volunteers. We’re hosting an orientation on Tuesday July 7th, 2015 at 6:00 pm at the WABA headquarters (2599 Ontario Rd. NW). You can RSVP here. Food and drinks will be provided.

Why become an Ambassador?
1) To advocate for better bicycling in your neighborhood.
2) To share your bicycling experience with people who feel uncomfortable with the idea of riding a bicycle in the city.
3) To make bike friends who like bicycling almost as much as you do.

See you July 7th?

The First Anacostia Bike Clinic of the Season was AWESOME.

Clinic Takeover!

This season’s East of the River Bike Clinics are off to an awe-inspiring start!

During these clinics, co-organized and co-hosted by District Public Libraries, The Bike House, WABA, and Capitol Hill Bikes,  we provide bike tips, tricks and trivia, and get people engaged in the bike advocacy process. Thanks to our great team of coordinators and partners, clinic patrons get paired up with a mechanic and gain wisdom from their “each one teach one” approach. They learn how to work on their own bike and get it ready to go!

This past Saturday, with the help of 12 volunteers (including special guest mechanic MPD Officer Bear and Eric) we were able to get 48 bikes up and running and folks out to ride!

Negatives into Positives: A PAL Story

I lead a wonderful group called the PAL Ambassadors. PAL stands for Predictable, Alert, Lawful. It is a cooperative program between Washington Area Bicyclist Association and BikeArlington to promote street safety and responsible behavior, while building a fun, volunteer-based community of ambassadors. It is fun and EXTREMELY effective at making the region more safe. You should join us!

At our monthly PAL Outreach Block Party we were talking pedestrian and cyclist safety issues at one of the more dangerous intersections in Arlington County… Lee Highway and Lynn Street in Rosslyn.

Now to my story
A woman who works nearby and walks to and from work daily was quite angry and a little bit confrontational about how cyclists behave around pedestrians. Often times people expect me to reply to aggressive comments “with attitude”, so they open up with confrontational words and hands on their hips. She is more afraid of cyclists than she is of cars in that intersection. This fear and anger had built up over years! Now she’s got someone to point it at…. ME!

Over the years I’ve developed a very good technique for making this kind of interaction positive. Listen —> Find common ground —> Share the solution —> Enlist their help = WIN!

Here’s how it went
Listen: Pretty easy. Be attentive. Make eye contact. Listen… I mean really listen. Don’t interrupt. Just listen! She talked for almost a minute non-stop. It seemed like a lot longer. It always does. I just listened and waited for her to relax a little and breathe. She felt MUCH better when she got to the end of her talk. I could see her visibly relax.

Find common ground: I totally agreed with her, so common ground was easy to find. Many cyclists behave badly in and around that intersection. I slipped in a little comment that many of us in that intersection could behave a lot better. I was helped by a pedestrian that ran out into busy traffic and a motorist that ran the red light. SHE brought up that pedestrians are horrible there too. We have common ground and she helped find it!

Share the solution: I gave a 15 second pitch for the PAL Ambassador program. I had 6 amazing volunteers talking the talk and walking the walk all around me. She could see people talking to pedestrians, cyclists and drivers. She liked it!

Enlist their help: I handed her a Kind Bar that had a PAL Ambassador sticker on it with all the info she needed to get involved. She got a snack and the ball is in her court to become a force for good!

WIN! I got a smile, a sincere handshake and a new force for good in the PAL Ambassador program. I hope she follows through.

Everyone wins!

You should come out and join us! We have our monthly PAL Pizza Night on April 16th, and our next big block party on April 23rd!

This entry was originally posted on my blog

Announcing The Arlington PAL Ambassador Program

We know you love bikes. If you’re like us, you’ve probably spent some time daydreaming about how to show that love to your community—

Maybe you’ve brainstormed slogans. Maybe you’ve imagined cheery chalk messages to write in bike lanes. Maybe you’ve coined a clever bumper sticker for your fender or a patch for your pannier.

Maybe we’ve got the perfect volunteer gig for you.

Become an Arlington PAL Ambassador! 

Sign says "Be a Pal" on bike Trailer

Pete shows off the PAL trailer.

Would you hold a homemade sign? Would you recruit your fellow bike-lovers to brandish them? Would you stand on a Streetcorner exclaiming “Hello everyone! Be a PAL! A Predictable, Alert, Lawful Road-user!”?

Would you consider being an awesome volunteer for an awesome new program?

BikeArlington and WABA are putting volunteer PAL Ambassadors on the streets across Arlington county, and we want you!

What’s a PAL Ambassador?

Well, you are! PAL Ambassadors are folks who care about their community and are passionate about making our streets safer. In fact, PAL Ambassadors are the driving force behind our initiative to change the culture on our roadways. They’ll be the smiling faces behind the handlebars. They’ll stress the importance of being more predictable, more alert, and more lawful. And they’ll lead eye-catching and interactive campaigns to improve roadway behavior, etiquette, and interactions- especially interactions between drivers and bicyclists.

Become a PAL Ambassador! There are four ways to get involved:

  1. Agree to be a PAL; a more predictable, alert, lawful road user.
  2. Come to a monthly block party! We’ll select a message, get creative, and take to the streets at an Arlington intersection to promote our message, and have some fun.
  3. Join us at our monthly PAL Pizza Party to hang out, brainstorm, and prepare for our next event.
  4. Or PAL around with us! Join our coordinator for a bike ride and pull the PAL bike trailer.

The best way to learn more and find out where and when we’ll be meeting is to join our Facebook group. Click here to join the conversation!



BikeArlington launched the PAL campaign 2 years ago with the strong sentiment that no matter who we are or how we choose to get around town, our roadways depend on a social contract that everyone is following the rules and paying attention. Whether we’re walking, driving, or biking we rely on our fellow road-users to be PALs; Predictable. Alert. Lawful.

The mission of the Washington Area Bicyclist Association is to create a healthy, more livable region by promoting bicycling for fun, fitness, and affordable transportation; advocating for better bicycling conditions and transportation choices for a healthier environment; and educating children, adults, and motorists about safe bicycling.



Ambassador Program Coming To The Streets Of Arlington!

Starting next week we’re partnering up with BikeArlington to launch a new bike ambassador program.

We can’t give full details yet, but you can expect energized outreach campaigns in Arlington to encourage road-users to be predictable, alert, and lawful, and improve interactions between pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers.

Much like the D.C. bike ambassadors we’ll have rolling billboards, clear messaging, and streetcorner outreach. We’ll have a solid community of volunteers and that’s where we’ll need your help.

Keep your eye out for our billboards and more information next week!