The Strong Women Ride Makes an Impact

Who’s ready to ride DC? This group.

In February, our Women & Bicycles program led the Strong Women Ride. This city is full of women who shaped history–and who were law-breaking, sanctuary-providing, kidnapping scalawags at the same time. We figured folks would jump at the chance to shake off the winter cobwebs and learn something new at the same time.

Turns out we were right. So right, in fact, that we had to scramble to schedule a second ride in March! Both rides were big successes, with great weather, great company, and great education all at once.

Want to learn about future Women & Bicycles events and rides?  Yes!





Group in front of Belmont-Paul Womens Equality Monument

 

So who were these strong women?

Our three main historical women were the Rev. Paulie A. Murray, Dr. Carla Hayden, and Marion Pritchard. But along the way, we also stopped at the Lady Fortitude statue at Howard U, Anna J. Cooper circle (near her preserved home), the Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality Monument and House, the Eleanor Roosevelt statue at the FDR memorial, and the Vietnam Women’s Memorial.

Rev. Paulie A. Murray

In the 1940s, Paulie refused to sit in the broken seats of the colored section of a bus. Her subsequent arrest inspired her law career. She would later become one of the first women Episcopal priests, serving in Washington, DC and focusing on reconciliation.

Dr. Carla Hayden

Carla Hayden is the current Librarian of Congress, and both the first woman and the first person of color to hold that post.  During the Baltimore riots in the days after the death of Freddie Gray, as other businesses closed their doors, she insisted on keeping the libraries open so people had a place to go.

Marion Pritchard

Marion Pritchard was a Dutch resister during World War II. Special thanks to Marion’s granddaughters Abigail Pritchard and Grace Pritchard Burson, who shared stories of Marion’s resistance work with our riders. Our favorite story was one from near the end of the war. Marion was riding on rims, her bike tires long gone. With everyone starving, she traveled across a river to finagle some extra food beyond the meagre rations. On her way back, she was captured by a Nazi patrol. When questioned, she reportedly let them have it–she told them exactly what she thought of them, their regime, and their leader. The next morning, the soldiers drove her across the bridge where they had captured her. They returned her bike, and the extra food, and sent her on her way.

After that night of darkness, she saw some glimmers of hope and humanity.

After hearing these stories, the ride offered an option to show our own strength, with a ride to Meridian Hill Park that included the 15th street climb. Every rider who attempted the hill achieved the top… and a trip to cupcakes as a reward!

Climbing Meridian Hill like a girl. On a Brompton.

 

Serve WABA on the Board of Directors

The WABA Board in 2016

WABA’s Board of Directors is looking for people with a passion to help make the Washington area a safer and more welcoming environment for people using bikes. To this end, the WABA Board Nominating Committee is searching for director candidates with strong leadership skills and experience in helping non-profit organizations execute strategy and development plans.

WABA continues to enjoy a growing base of loyal members and a diversifying funding base. As we did last year, we have a particular interest in candidates who can help us further expand our partnerships with a broader pool of private organizations and individuals who share and will support WABA’s goal of making the Washington area the most bicycle friendly in the world. The ability to connect WABA to the broader Washington area network of donors with missions that overlap with WABA’s is a plus. We are also looking for a candidate who can help us ensure that our financial monitoring and oversight mechanisms are robust and efficient.

WABA continues to look for board members and partners who can help us ensure that our mission and programming serves the needs of bicyclists in low-income, underserved or local immigrant communities.  The WABA board’s commitment to diversity is real, and weight will be given to candidates that broaden the board’s views and experience.

WABA board members are volunteers who serve two year terms and are expected to participate in regularly scheduled board meetings (6-7 per year), serve on board committees as needed, provide counsel to WABA staff in their areas of expertise, and make WABA a significant part of their individual philanthropy.

WABA’s board also has a number of committees focused on areas that include advocacy, administration and finance, development, programming, and membership. Board membership is not required for membership on these committees, and some candidates may find service on these committees may be better suited to their time and interests. If you think that you might be interested in appointed (i.e., non-board member) service on these committees, please email mark@waba.org.

Candidates who are interested in exploring whether their skills and interests align with WABA’s are invited to make an initial expression of interest in board membership by filling out the form here.  If you have previously filled out an expression of interest, and remain interested, please email me at mark@waba.org.  While the search for director candidates is an ongoing one, the board expects to present a slate of candidates at the February 28th annual members’ meeting.

Mark Blacknell is the President of the WABA Board of Directors.

Yep, Over 2,000 Kids In 6 Months

Thank you for everything you do for WABA: the letter-writing, the petitions, testifying and staying in the know.  Thank you for all your time and financial contributions over the years.

Your support is paying off. On Tuesday we sent out our big wins in 2016 (link), your big wins, a list of a dozen updates on everything from 100 miles of new bike trails you’ll get to enjoy to the first protected bike lane in Silver Spring.

Today we want to highlight the outreach and education metrics that shape your experiences on the road. And today we ask you to contribute to WABA this fall so that, in addition to infrastructure wins, we can continue our relentless work for better bicycling. We want to tell you about the award-winning programs you support (some of which have been replicated across the country and world).

They are built around our three shared goals:

  1. Inspire more people to give biking a try.
  2. Inform all road-users about vital rules and roadway etiquette.
  3. Empower more people to create and grow biking in their communities.

Bike ClubRandle Highlands Elementary Bike Club

Your tax-deductible contributions to WABA are shaping the culture on your roads, creating more bike advocates in your communities, and introducing new generations to biking. Your donations fuel the programs, fill classes, fund the outreach, and foster the community that drives bicycle advocacy.

Here’s all the programming your contributions support:

  • Youth and family education: training up new generations in schools, workshops and rodeos, and our summer Bike Camp!
  • Adult education: teaching people how to bike confidently, legally, and respectfully through City Cycling classes, Adult Learn to Ride classes, and workplace Everyday Biking Seminars,
  • The DC Bike Ambassador and PAL Ambassadors: empowering volunteers to lead community-driven outreach,
  • Women & Bicycles: inspiring more women to bike, teach, engineer, plan, and advocate within the bike movement,
  • And the Trail Rangers: spreading care and caring for DC trails.

2016 Education By The Numbers

  • Adults taught how to ride a bicycle: 288
  • People taught to ride confidently, legally, and respectfully: 457
  • People taught how to bike to work: 330
  • Hours of teaching by WABA instructors: 541
  • Bike Camp! miles ridden by campers: 122
  • Kids taught to bike better: 2,145
  • Bike puns: [number redacted]

 

2016 Outreach By The Numbers:

  • Volunteer Ambassadors: 225
  • Miles ridden pulling our Bike PSA trailers: 284
  • Bags of debris collected by Trail Rangers: 223
  • Bells distributed on the trails: 100
  • Coffee distributed on the trails: 1,920 ounces
  • Days of the week the Rangers are out on trails: 7
  • One-on-one conversations at community events, fairs, and expos: 9,140 (yep, we count them!)

If you’ve already donated, thank you! Your bike rides improve when WABA succeeds. And we succeed because people like you choose to contribute your time and your hard-earned money to better bicycling. Please consider a mid-year tax-deductible donation to the persistent and critical action that will lead to a region that truly prioritizes bicycling.

 

 

 

Join the WABA Board of Directors!

As part of its commitment to ensuring that WABA is able carry out its new 2020 Strategic Plan, WABA’s board of directors is once again looking for people with a passion to help make the Washington area a safer and more welcoming environment for people using bikes. To this end, WABA’s Board Nominating Committee is searching for director candidates with strong leadership skills and experience in helping non-profit organizations execute strategy and development plans.

WABA continues to enjoy a growing base of loyal members and a diversifying funding base. Still, we have a particular interest in candidates who can help us further expand our partnerships with a broader pool of private organizations and individuals who share and will support WABA’s goal of making the Washington area the most bicycle friendly in the world. Direct experience with membership development, institutional giving, and major gifts a plus.

We are also looking for a candidate to assist our existing Treasurer in ensuring that our financial monitoring and oversight mechanisms are robust and efficient.

WABA continues to look for board members and partners who can help us ensure that our mission and programming serves the needs of bicyclists in low-income, underserved or local immigrant communities.

WABA board members are volunteers who serve two year terms and are expected to participate in regularly scheduled board meetings (6-7 per year), serve on board committees as needed, provide counsel to WABA staff in their areas of expertise, and make WABA a significant part of their individual philanthropy.

WABA’s board also has a number of committees focused on areas such as advocacy, administration/finance, development, programming, and membership. Board membership is not required for membership on these committees, and some candidates may find service on these committees may be better suited to their time and interests. If you think that you might be interested in appointed (i.e., non-board member) service on these committees, please email mark@waba.org.

Candidates who are interested in exploring whether their skills and interests align with WABA’s are invited to make an initial expression of interest in board membership by filling out the form here.  If you have previously filled out an expression of interest, and remain interested, please email me at mark@waba.org.  While the search for director candidates is an ongoing one, the board expects to present a slate of candidates at the February 25 annual meeting.

Mark Blacknell is the President of the WABA Board of Directors.

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.

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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.

IMG_2306

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 jon.gonzalez@waba.org 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: arlingtonpals.waba.org.

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

Bike-Ambassadors-with-Brianne-Nadeau

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

16936293685_eb7ab7d1c2_b
Preface
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!

—Pete
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!

PAL-logo

 


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.