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Posts Tagged ‘outreach’

Save Your Third Thursday Morning for the BA Coffee Club

This morning, the D.C. bike ambassadors met at Chinatown Coffee Company to welcome those biking to work in the area or anyone generally interested in the bike ambassador program. This was the first-ever BA Coffee Club!

The BA Coffee Club will change locations, but will always be on the third Thursday of the month. Stay tuned to our blog and social-media platforms (are you following us on Twitter and Facebook?) to keep abreast of the locations. If you can’t make it to one, no worries–there will be plenty of opportunities to meet our BAs!

Women & Bicycles Tip: Be Prepared for Bike Theft

e6MXyK7ObZyMVaWZ7KTNlYi1U8M0BlyNV1r6XhihuwIThis entry is part of our Women & Bicycles blog series. Women & Bicycles is WABA’s outreach and encouragement initiative to build a stronger women’s bike community and get more women on bikes. These posts certainly aren’t exclusive to women, but they’re produced with and through the Women & Bicycles’ programming and staffing. Click here to learn more and get involved.


You’re an expert at locking your bike.* But are you an expert when it comes to finding your stolen bike?

bike thief

Here’s what you can do if your bike gets stolen:

Mourn. Your baby is gone–for the time being.

Immediately file a police report. Call your local police department and provide the date, location, and approximate time of the theft. Give the police officer a detailed description of the bike including serial number, make and model, general description of its aesthetic, and any small and noteworthy details that might distinguish your bike from someone else’s (ex: parts, add-ons, flare, stickers). It’s important to take note of the officer’s name and contact information and the case number.

Notify your network. push a picture and a description of your bike to your friends who can help be on the lookout. Send out an email, post an update on Facebook, and tweet to #bikeDC.

Research.  Scan local Craigslist and eBay sellers for your bike, and check out sites in other nearby cities.

Don’t get confrontational. If you or someone you know sees your bike on the street, notify the police immediately. If the bike is locked up outside, lock it up with your own lock until the police arrive. For your safety, we do not recommend confronting the person riding your bike. Anecdotal evidence indicates it’s entirely possible that the person riding you bike has purchased it from the person who stole your bike.

Most importantly, be proactive.  First, see if your homeowners’ or renters’ insurance covers your bicycle. Second, take the time right now to print off and fill out WABA’s Bicycle Record Sheet. Don’t put this off–you will sorely regret it if you do. The National Bike Registry will also aid your bike’s return. For $10 you can register your bike for 10 years. After submitting your bike information to the Registry’s national database, you receive a tamper-proof label with a unique tracking number. If your bike turns up with the police, they will know exactly who it belongs to. Click here for more information.

*Click here to become an expert at locking your bike. Please.

How We Biked KIND-ly in 2013

Last week, we announced that the Bike KIND-ly program—during which our bike ambassadors hand out Kind bars stickered with a helpful tip about bike etiquette—is back on for 2014.

On a monthly basis, the ambassadors selected a different location and crafted a message to distribute to cyclists riding near it. Individual snack bars were adorned with a short reminder to share the road, yield to pedestrians on sidewalks, basic bike-lane etiquette, and to ride lawfully. Read the full list of last year’s Bike KIND-ly tips below:

  1. Don’t be a bike ninja! Position yourself to be seen, and be visible with bright bike lights, bright colors and reflectivity.
  2. Avoid bicycling on the sidewalks! You’re safest when you ride on the road and go with the flow.
  3. Be extremely KIND to your fellow trail users. When passing slow down, ring your bell, give an audible warning, pass on their left.
  4. Communicate lane changes and turns to drivers with hand signals, eye contact, and your positioning on the road.
  5. Show respect for fellow road users. Yield to pedestrians in x-walks and follow traffic laws.
  6. Tune into your surroundings, not mobile devices. Don’t text or make phone calls by bike.
  7. First in, first out. Wait behind cyclists already stopped at lights. Don’t crowd beside or blow through without warning.
  8. Thanks for Stopping By. Obey traffic signs to help prevents injuries and improve bicyclists’ image. Be a Roll Model!
  9. Claim the lane! A cyclist is entitled to the road, take what is yours! Riding in the middle of the lane makes you more visible to drivers.

And here’s a list of Bike KIND-ly locations:

  • Columbia Heights Metro station
  • Met Branch Trail
  • 15th Street cycletrack and M Street NW
  • R Street and New Jersey Avenue NW
  • East Capitol and 4th streets NE
  • 11th and W streets NW
  • 11th Street Bridge SE
  • 16th and U streets NW
  • Kansas and 5th streets NW

Have a suggestion for the next Bike KIND-ly location or message? Let us know! Email the D.C. Bike Ambassadors at dcba@waba.org.

Trail Rangers Returning in 2014

Though the days are finally lengthening, the temperature seems to keep on dropping.  And with weather like this week’s, it’s easy to find  excuses to keep your bike indoors. But here’s a reason to keep riding through the winter: WABA’s Trail Ranger program is back for 2014!  With so much momentum built over the summer, we are thrilled to once again support and encourage the growing community of trail users in the District!

This past summer, we began a four-month pilot of the program. Through daily patrols, rangers logged over 2,000 miles on and between D.C. trails, making improvements to trail corridors, addressing (and helping to resolve) safety concerns, and helping riders with directions and unexpected mechanical trouble along the way. We met some incredible folks and got to know them as we crossed paths almost daily. And with the help of over 60 volunteers, we tackled large cleanup projects on the Met Branch and Suitland Parkway trails, carting away more than 100 massive bags of garbage, glass, overgrown vegetation, and debris. By all accounts, the pilot was a success.

In 2014, we want to do even more. In addition to continuing the projects of last summer, we’re turning our focus to more active encouragement of trail use and giving neighbors and trail regulars a chance to get to know each other. We’re excited to announce two initiatives starting this month on the ever-popular Met Branch Trail.

MBT Trail Patrol

Starting next Tuesday, Jan. 14, we’ll be taking a weekly, evening ride up the Met Branch Trail and welcome anyone who wants to tag along. Part social commute, part community patrol, these Tuesday Trail Rides will be a great opportunity for someone looking for company through the dark months or encouragement on that new year’s resolution.  Join us for an hour, a conversation, or as far as your commute takes you. Tuesday Trail Rides will begin Jan. 14 at 5:30 p.m. near Union Station (F and 2nd streets NE).

Coffee Outreach

And since we know that people who ride bikes also tend to love coffee, we’ll be on the Met Branch Trail the second Friday of every month offering trail users a free cup. We encourage you to stop by, warm up your hands, and introduce yourselves. You can find us at the park at S Street from 7:30-8:30 a.m. starting this Friday, Jan. 10.

These two opportunities are just the start.  When spring comes knocking, we’ll have more trail events and many ways to get involved.  To sign up to receive email updates on future Trail Ranger initiatives and events, click here.

Bike KIND-ly is Back for 2014!

Bike KIND-ly is back for the 2014 season!

Last year, WABA’s Bike Ambassadors partnered with KIND Snacks to create a Bike KIND-ly campaign. Each month, a different “tip” geared towards bicycle safety or etiquette was stuck on a snack bar and given out at various locations around the city as a reminder to riders to be kind on the roads. We reached over 2,000 bicyclists last year and are hoping to have an even bigger impact this year.

Catch the Bike Ambassadors tomorrow morning, Jan. 8, at Kansas Avenue and 5th St. NW rom 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. Stop by to learn more about the program, how you can get involved, or just to grab a snack!

If you missed the 2013 Bike KIND-ly season, stay tuned. We’ll be back here with a full list of last year’s tips. For now, check out some photos below the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

Pete and FABB’s Absolutely Merry Holiday Shopping Expedition—By Bike!

Pete Beers is one of our part-time bike ambassadors. Pete lives in Virginia and spends a lot of time biking in D.C.’s suburbs and, as a BA, has worked tirelessly to make getting around WABA’s suburban jurisdictions by bike easier and more accessible. Recently, Pete led a holiday shopping trip by bike to Tyson’s Corner and the Mosaic District in conjunction with Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling. We’re reposting his account of the day–which was, by all accounts, exceedingly enjoyable–on our blog. You can read Pete’s blog, I Love My Commute, here.

The best response that I got when I proposed this ride was “Ho Ho NO. I’ll follow you to Certain Death, Pete, but not to Tyson’s Corner (a fate worse than . . . ).”

I think many people dread crowds and parking problems associated with holiday shopping at the mall the week before Christmas.  The mall can get a bit crazy this time of year.  My goal was to make it fun.  I did this by getting there by bicycle and by bringing  along as many friends as I could.  I’ve also wanted to share how amazingly easy it is to ride to Tyson’s Corner by bicycle.  That was the genesis of the Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling (FABB) / Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) Holiday Shopping Ride.  Both FABB and WABA are all about showing people that it is easy to live by bicycle.

Tyson’s Corner Center jumped in immediately as a sponsor.  Mosaic District enthusiastically supported this too.  Freshbikes Mosaic provided both shopping bags and bicycle security services (me with a bunch of U-locks and cables) to make this all possible.  I rode the cargo bike with buckets on the back to help people with transporting their purchases.  In the end, I was the only one filling the buckets with stuff that I’d bought.  It wasn’t that others didn’t shop.  They brought their own means for carrying their purchases home.

The route was simple.  Nine of us rode from Vienna, Virginia to Tyson’s Corner and completely bypassed the lines of cars waiting to get into the parking garage.  We picked up two more riders along the way.  Bicycle Parking is right next to the mall entrance in spot that had Mall Security and a police officer right next door for added bicycle security.  The outdoor German Market was really nice!  The local artisans and bakeries were the backbone of my shopping for the day.  We got a lot of shopping done before even setting foot in the mall.  We enjoyed two hours of shopping inside and a nice lunch before loading up our purchases and heading south.

The second stop on our shopping ride is the Mosaic District.  This eclectic group of shops and restaurants is quickly becoming one of my favorite hangouts.  In addition to being home to my favorite local bike shop (Freshbikes) there are many small local shops, MOM’s Organic Market and plenty of restaurants, Target and the movie theater make it a great place to be.  It is quite easy to get to by bicycle and has good bike parking in the garages and out on the street.  We spent an hour there shopping and getting coffee before heading back to Vienna.

What was my favorite reaction after the ride?  ”Thanks for organizing and leading the ride, we got a lot of shopping done. We’ll be riding to Tysons instead of driving again in the near future.”

This was the first of many, many rides of this kind.  Many thanks to Tyson’s Corner Center, Mosaic District and Freshbikes for making it possible.

Women & Bicycles Tip: Learn Bike Etiquette From Your Legos

e6MXyK7ObZyMVaWZ7KTNlYi1U8M0BlyNV1r6XhihuwIThis entry is part of our Women & Bicycles blog series. Women & Bicycles is WABA’s outreach and encouragement initiative to build a stronger women’s bike community and get more women on bikes. These posts certainly aren’t exclusive to women, but they’re produced with and through the Women & Bicycles’ programming and staffing. Click here to learn more and get involved.


The city of Edmonton created these five fun bike shorts that demonstrate some of the basic–and some of the esoteric–responsibilities of urban bicyclists. Take a look!

Riding and Driving Safely

The Case of the Dashed Bike Lane

Dial S for Sharrow

Get Behind It

Coaching Corners: left Turns for Cyclists

All I Want for Christmas is a Bike!

Might a kids’ bike make its way to your home this holiday season? Santa and his elves teamed up with  WABA and the D.C. Bike Ambassadors for this exclusive video, which shares information on how to select the right bicycle for your child and safety tips to help get you started.

Santa Bikes from Washington Area Bicyclist Assoc. on Vimeo.

For more information about bike safety and tips for beginners, see these pages:

Happy holidays from the D.C. Bike Ambassadors!

The Cap City Bike Expo, in Photos

2013 Cap City Bike Expo

On Nov. 16, 2013, WABA concluded the third year of its seasonal East of the River grant program with the inaugural Cap City Bike Expo.

Held at the Anacostia Arts Center, the Expo brought entertainment, activities, and conversations about what it’s like to bike east of the river to the grant zone, which includes Anacostia, Congress Heights, and St. Elizabeths. The Expo was intended to foster dialogue about riding in wards 7 and 8 and help residents of nearby neighborhoods have a better understanding of how bike advocacy and outreach works.

Workshops addressed topics such as biking with children—during which Kidical Mass D.C.’s Megan Odett talked parents through some of the obstacles and barriers to biking with their kids—and provided an introduction to advocacy—which saw WABA Advocacy Coordinator Greg Billing and the League of American Bicyclists Policy Director Darren Flusche describe local and national transportation initiatives that will affect biking in and around wards 7 and 8.

2013 Cap City Bike Expo

Additionally, the Cap City Bike Expo convened a group of local bike shop owners to discuss how to improve access to bike facilities east of the river. Capitol Hill Bikes, Phoenix Bikes, Velocity Co-Op, the Bike House, Maryland Park Bikes, City Bikes, and the Daily Rider met with WABA staff to get the ball rolling for the Black Thumbs Collective, a group that will work to provide resources, outreach, and education on how to fix bikes in what’s currently an amenities desert.

The highlight of the Expo was the revealing of a Dero Fixit station, graciously funded by employees of CH2M Hill. The Fixit station is the first to be installed outside of a building that’s not a bike shop. It lives outside the Anacostia Arts Center and is available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week for passerby to use to repair their bikes.

2013 Cap City Bike Expo

WABA staffers, volunteers, and those involved with making the Expo happen had ample time to chat with people who dropped into the Anacostia Arts Center. We heard from a number of residents that they bike or are interested in biking, because it’s a low-cost, easy way to get around. And attendees of the panels and workshops came away from the Expo with a larger knowledge base of what it takes to make biking better, especially east of the river.

The Cap City Bike Expo was the final activity funded under this year’s East of the River grant. Many thanks to the employees of CH2M Hill for donating the Fixit station and to BicycleSpace, Capitol Hill Bikes, and Velocity Co-Op for donating bikes as raffle prizes. Maryland Park Bikes, the Bike House, City Bikes, Capitol Hill Bikes, Velocity Co-Op, Bicycle Space, Phoenix Bikes, the Daily Rider, Honfleur Gallery, ARCH, Congress Heights on the Rise, and the Anacostia Arts Center contributed their staff’s time and expertise to the Expo (including by fixing bikes!). Our awesome volunteers helped make the event run perfectly.

See more photos of the Expo below the jump, and continue to read our blog for updates on the East of the River program. Read the rest of this entry »

Women & Bicycles Tip: Reflect On Your Bicycle

e6MXyK7ObZyMVaWZ7KTNlYi1U8M0BlyNV1r6XhihuwI This entry is part of our Women & Bicycles Tips series. Women & Bicycles is WABA’s outreach and encouragement initiative to build a stronger women’s bike community and get more women on bikes. These tips certainly aren’t exclusive to women, but they’re produced with and through the Women & Bicycles’ programming and staffing. Click here to learn more and get involved.

The days are shorter, commutes home are darker, and those bike rides are getting a little colder. Let’s talk about staying warm and staying safe. If you haven’t already, check out this cold-weather riding infographic from GoDCGo and BikeArlington.

Click to enlarge

We could all use some simple, low-cost tips on biking through these colder months: How do you layer? How do you protect the extremities? How do you stay flashy?

This week, our focus is on the flashy. Reflectivity is important for all road users, and it’s becoming an trend—sometimes, even fashionable. There’s reflective gear for all kinds of mobile beings, from runners to cyclists to dogs.

Why stay flashy? As vulnerable users of the road, cyclists must do what we can to be most visible. It’s our responsibility to position ourselves in the road properly, use bike lights, and adorn our bodies in vivid, vibrant clothing and accessories to further our visibility powers.

Your local bike shop likely has plenty of high-viz gear in stock. Here are some of our favorite products:

Another affordable approach? Purchase some rolls of reflective tape and go to town.

Here’s what you should aspire to:

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