Biking on the 4th of July: Closures, tips, things to know.

Not recommended.

Biking is a great way to get yourself to and from your preferred fireworks viewing point this holiday. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Bikes aren’t allowed on Metro at all on the 4th. You can still use the bike racks on buses.
  • Capital Bikeshare will have corral service at 10th and Constitution NW. Some stations will be inaccessible throughout the day. More details here.
  • Bring your lights. It’ll be dark when you head home.
  • Don’t bike drunk. Seriously. Call a cab or put your bike on the bus.
  • Expect trails to be very crowded, especially along the waterfront. Remember that it’s nobody’s job to get out of your way. Be patient, negotiate space, expect to dismount and walk a few times.
  • Plan to walk your bike on the bridges over the Potomac. They get very crowded.
  • The National Park Service has a good rundown of road closures and a handy map of restricted areas and services:

AND REMEMBER: Bike to the fireworks, but don’t set off fireworks from your bike.


Commuter Bike Lane Glossary


Have you eve been chatting with another cyclist and hear them talk about how someone was salmoning up the street? Or maybe a disgruntled bicycling commuter who hates when people are shoaling? Or how about your friend who advises you to take the contraflow lane on G Street to get over to 10th and H Street NE? Any of this sound a little like Sanskrit to you?

Well this blog post is for you! Below is a breakdown of some common terms you’ve probably heard out in the bicycling world.

Let’s start with the easiest.

photo credit

photo credit

Bike lane–  A bike lane is a striped area on the roadway usually with a bike painted on it showing that is a lane designated for bicycles.  It is illegal for drivers to park in bike lanes (though that doesn’t stop some). If a bike lane is next to parked cars, be careful to stay out of the door zone (see below).





photo credit

photo credit

Door zone– The door zone is the area where you are riding and a driver can swing open a door and possibly hurt you. To be safe ride as close to the outside white line as possible to avoid being hit by a vehicles door.





photo credit

photo credit

Sharrow– A sharrow is a shared lane marking which indicates where a bicycle may be in the road and also alerts drivers that bicyclists will be sharing the road with them.





photo credit

Protected bike lane or cycletrack- A protected bike lane is sort of like a sidewalk for bikes. The lanes are separated from the car traffic via a barrier, usually either a curb or plastic posts. Thevprotected bike lane in the photo at left is a bi-directional lane— it’s designed so that bikes can go in both directions in the protected space. Protected bike lanes can also be one way.





photo credit

Contraflow lane– A contraflow lane is a bike lane that goes against the flow of the surrounding traffic. Great examples are G and I Streets in Northeast DC, which offer a lower stress alternative to riding on the busy H Street NE.





photo credit

photo credit

Salmoning– Salmoning is riding your bike against the direction of traffic, either in a bike lane or a general travel lane. We don’t recommend it.






photo credit and Paul Krueger/Flickr

photo credit and Paul Krueger/Flickr

Shoaling- Shoaling is riding up to the front of the line when other bikes are waiting at a light. It’s considered bad bike etiquette. If you do need to pass another bicyclist, wait until you are moving.







Now when someone tells you to take G Street NE, but says you won’t have to salmon because there’s a contraflow lane, you’ll know what they’re talking about.


Women & Bicycles is proudly supported by The Potomac Pedalers Touring Club; hosts of the region’s most robust all-level group ride calendar and bike tailgates, Chipotle our delicious dinner party sponsors, and we’re supported by all our friends who donated through the Hains Point 100 ride.

chipotle-logo waba_women_logo_commuter potamac pedalers logo


Hey. Come ride with us!

Take on the fall with WABA’s education ride series!

When it comes to learning about biking, nothing beats real-world experience, so we’re embarking on a series of four rides — each covering a different topic or theme that will help you get around the city.

Our rides are certain to be a good time, but they’re also a safe space to practice riding with people who live and breathe (and teach) this stuff every day. Come to tour DC, come to ride, come to ask any of your deepest, darkest, secret-est bike questions, and come to have fun.

Still not sure? Did we mention that each ride will end at one of DC’s premier taco establishments?

Click on a ride below to register — advance registration costs 10 bucks a person, but you can join us for free on the day of, providing we still have space. Bring a bike, wear your helmet, and read the fine print here.


First up, we have our Ch-ch-ch-changes Ride on Wednesday, Sept. 17th! This ride is all about preparing for what comes next when you’re on your bike. We’ll be riding from trails to roads, from bike lanes to open lanes, and from Northeast to Northwest, all while summer changes to fall around us. Get ready to reinvent yourself and change the way you ride!

Starts at 6:30 p.m. @ M Street NE, between 1st Street NE and 2nd Street NE, in front of the NoMa Metro station

Ends at 8:00 p.m. @ Taqueria Nacional (14th and T Street NW)

Every other Wednesday, we’ll be setting off to explore riding in DC. And these rides are just the beginning. Next year, we’ll have a whole new series!

Check ’em out:

On Wednesday, October 1st:

gotta get up to get down

And on Wednesday, October 15th:

bike lane blitz

And finally, on Wednesday, October 29th:

round round get around


Women & Bicycles Tip: Your Helmet May Not Be Protecting You

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

We recommend and teach responsible, predictable, confident biking. We teach you to bike where you are most visible,  bike in visible clothing, and bike so that other road users can predict your behaviors.

We also teach that helmets are really your last line of defense on the road. So we definitely recommend them. But there’s a good chance your helmet isn’t protecting you at all, because so many people don’t know how to fit them properly.

If your helmet is not fit to your head properly, it’s not doing you any good.


Six Common Helmet-Fit Problems:

Helmet 11

Problem 1.)  You forget to buckle your helmet!
If it’s not buckled, it’s the same as wearing no
helmet at all.

Problem 2.) You have not adjusted the helmet clasps
(the plastic piece that joins the two straps on one side)
to fit below your ears. This woman’s helmet clasps are
nearly below her chin.

Problem 3.)You have not shortened the helmet straps
to sit snug around your face so that the buckle
sits securely below your chin. The straps should
be tight enough such that you can only fit two fingers
between your chin and the buckle.

Helmet 3Problem 4.) You’ve adjusted your helmet properly,
but you put it on backwards, a mistake countless
bicyclists in the D.C. area make every day.

Problem 5.) Your helmet straps are too loose,
so the brim of your helmet isn’t sitting level across
the top of your eyebrows.

Helmet 6
Problem 6.) Your helmet straps and clasps are too loose,
so the brim of  your helmet is not just above your eyebrows.
This woman’s helmet is sitting at the top of her forehead instead
of just above her eyebrows.  Her forehead would not be protected in a crash.

Perfect Helmet Fit Looks Like This:

The helmet is facing forward and buckled
The helmet clasps sit right below her ears
The helmet buckle is snug below her chin
The helmet brim is level and  just above her eyebrows


To make sure your helmet fits properly, click here to watch a tutorial by the League of American Bicyclists.

And please remember, just because you’ve strapped a helmet, doesn’t mean you’re any more safe on our roads. Fit your helmet properly and attend a WABA class to practice visible, predictable, and confident biking (classes are $10 and hosted throughout the region).




Women & Bicycles Tip: Bring Back The Romper!

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


All the buzz  over the Penny In Yo’  Pants #CycleHack has me buzzin over my personal preferred bike-friendly feminine formal wear: rompers.

Rompers are lovely to bike in. I own six or seven. Rompers are like dresses except the bottom half is shorts or pants. They’re comfortable, lightweight, and dress-like plus you don’t have to worry about pulling a Marilyn Monroe or getting your skirt caught all up in yo’ wheel spokes.

So, yes, by all means continue rocking your skirts and dresses on your commute, and if you haven’t worn a romper since 1987, bring it back!





Are You A Bike Ninja?


Bike Nin·ja noun \ˈbīk\ˈnin-jə, -(ˌ)jä\

Definition of Bike Ninja: Bicyclists who ride unlit at night, or under low visibility conditions. They can go undetected by other bicyclists and motorists…like a ninja. This practice puts many people at risk, and should be avoided whenever possible.

On Wednesday, July 9th, Bike Ambassadors are riding to the NoMa Summer Screen viewing of The Muppets to hand out surprise goodies to people who biked.

This is a great opportunity to meet REAL LIFE Bike Ambassadors. We’re the folks out on the streets promoting respectful everyday biking, and we thank other road users who share the road with us. Talk to us, find out what we’re all about, and consider becoming a Bike Ambassador yourself.

Join us for a Bike Ambassador Orientation on July 15, at 6 pm at the WABA office. To find out more or sign up, click here.

Women & Bicycles Tip: Steer Clear of Streetcar Tracks

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


DC Streetcars on Pennsylvania Ave

Image courtesy of Flickr user DC Streetcar

Even though  Streetcar won’t be up and running until 2015 (at the earliest), people who bike along the H Street corridor interact with the system on a regular basis. These interactions are not always friendly.

Since the  installation of tracks along the H Street corridor, WABA has received many reports of bike crashes involving the tracks. Here are the three most important tips for avoiding hazardous encounters with streetcar tracks:

1. Never ride between the tracks.


Image courtesy of Flickr user SeguiMI

2. Always cross at a 90 degree angle.

Streetcar tracks

Image courtesy of Flickr user Jonathan Maus

3. Use alternative routes.  Contraflow bike lanes on G St. and I St. NE offer safe alternatives for bicyclists going east and westbound.