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.




That’s a wrap for the 2016 Bike Camp!

Bike Camp 2016

Bike Camp! 2016 wrapped up last week. Over the 10 days of the City Explorers program, we rode over 120 miles, visited sites in all four quadrants of the city (and beyond!). Our team of students developed a better understanding of D.C. geography and history, and learned how to navigate the city, taking advantage of protected bike infrastructure like on 15th St NW, trails like the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail, and to identify lower stress streets and when to use the sidewalk to arrive safely at where we were going.

We took tours of the Kennedy Center, Frederick Douglass’s House, RFK Stadium, the National Zoo and more. We had lunch under the airplanes at Gravelly Point, on a boat on the Anacostia and under the tree canopy at the National Arboretum.  We rode here and there, nearly melted in the heat, and ran through more than one sprinkler.

We had so much fun and can’t wait for Bike Camp! 2017.  There may be changes for 2017, with the potential for a younger camp and an older camp. To get Bike Camp! Updates sent directly to you, sign up below!

Want to get updates about Bike Camp 2017? Yes!

Bike Camp 2016 climbing Einstein

Bike Camp 2016 at the Einstein Statue

Bike Camp 2016 Anacostia

Bike Camp 2016 looking at the  Anacostia River

Bike Camp 2016 R St

Bike Camp 2016 R St

Bike Camp 2016 Gravelly Point

Bike Camp 2016 at Gravelly Point

See you next year!

To commemorate the life and history of civil rights advocate Frederick Douglass, WABA partnered with local community members and organizations to co-host the first “Lion Ride” through historic Anacostia and Anacostia Park. The heat and humidity of early August Washington weather didn’t deter the hundreds of attendees who roamed the grounds of the Frederick Douglass Historic Sitebeing treated to free ice cream and popcorn, dancing, music, games, tours, and family bicycle portraits with none other than Frederick Douglass himself. Local cyclists had the opportunity to comment on cycling infrastructure and where improvements might be made in their neighborhoods on an enlarged DC Bicycle map. “The Lion Ride” was a new component of the National Parks Service’s 5th annual Frederick Douglas Family Day.

With help from local community members Kellie Armstead and Adrienne McCray who inspired and sparked this event, WABA helped to bring Capital Bikeshare and Bike and Roll bicycles to the community of Anacostia. Nearly 100 cyclists cruised down the majestic streets, homes and businesses of MLK Ave to the breezy banks of the Anacostia Riverwalk trail. Metropolitan Police officers helped escort the caravan to and from the Anacostia Skating Pavilion. Over a dozen riders from Artemis Bicycle Racing Team provided integral support to help riders navigate the route as well as lend a hand in the intense summer heat. Volunteers from the Far Southeast Family Strengthening Collaborative helped our bike check out run smoothly and efficiently. Residents got a chance to see just how close natural outdoor amenities are to their homes via bicycle. Older residents remarked on how this event helped them get back on a bicycle for the first time in years. Younger residents remarked on how this event helped them to get on a bicycle for the first time in their lives.

The Lion Ride, named after Frederick Douglass’ moniker, the Lion of Anacostia, marks a tremendous achievement of advocacy and community support for cycling East of the River as a safe, viable, affordable and sustainable form of transportation. To echo the sentiments of Mr. Douglass’ thoughts on reading, “Once you learn how to [cycle], you will forever be free.”

Please join WABA August 25th at St. Elizabeths East for a day of cycling, education, repairs and more.

The Cherry Blossom Family Bike Rally & Ride is Still On!

Don’t let the government shutdown ruin your weekend! Shutdown or no shutdown you can still celebrate the last weekend of the National Cherry Blossom Festival on bike. The American Diabetes Association Cherry Blossom Family Bike Rally and Ride is a fun and FREE event featuring a kids bike rodeo, kids learn2 ride area, balloons, a signed family ride, live entertainment and more!

Date: Sunday, April 10, 2011

Time: 11:00AM – 3:00PM

Location: Yard’s Park, 10 Water Street SE, Washington, DC 20003, (Yard’s Park is a new location, if your GPS has trouble locating “Yard’s Park” please use the address: 4th St SE and Tingey St SE, Washington D.C.)

Admission: FREE!

Volunteer: Want to help put kids on bikes at our rodeo course? Email

Spring 2011 WABA Youth Bicycle Education in Washington, DC

With the support of the District of Columbia Department of Transportation (DDOT), WABA maintains a cargo van containing bikes, helmets, and all materials necessary for delivery of the youth bicycle education program for schools participating in the Safe Routes to School program. WABA staff schedule and teach classes in DC elementary schools and in DC Department of Recreation Centers in the summer months.

In past years many DC schools have participated such as: Amidon-Bowen Elementary School, Bancroft Elementary School; Capitol Hill Cluster School, Watkins Campus; DC Preparatory Academy, Eaton Elementary School, E.L. Haynes Public Charter School, Montgomery Elementary School, Murch Elementary School; Oyster/Adams Bilingual School, Oyster Campus; Patterson Elementary School, Two Rivers Public Charter School, Whittier Elementary School. In 2011 six additional public, public charter and private schools will receive planning assistance to help make biking and walking a fun and healthy way to get to school. If you are interested in improving safety for walkers and bicyclists at your school, get help from DDOT to create a plan for doing so. For more information, contact the Safe Routes to School Coordinator, Jennifer Hefferan, at 202-671-2227 or

WABA also offers fee-for-service youth bicycle education classes and bike rodeos for community organizations, private firms or non-profits. A great example of this is the training WABA provides for the Casey Trees water-by-bike program for summer youth interns. Another example is the ADA Cherry Blossom Family Bike Rally where WABA provided a bicycle skills “rodeo”, a Learn how to Ride youth bike
clinic and short signed bike ride routes; or the upcoming Town of Chevy Chase Bike Day where a number of fun bike activities, such as a bike mounted smoothie blender, as well a WABA bike rodeo will be helping to promote community bicycling.

To find out more about these opportunities call WABA’s Bicycle Education Director, Glen Harrison, at 202-518-0524 x212 or email to schedule us for your event.

Alexandria SRTS: Training Wheels Off!

A Safe Routes to School Bike Rodeo  in Alexandria produced some promising new riders at Tucker Elementary School this past weekend. After educating approximately 60 student riders (and parents) about the basics of smart bicycling, handing out free helmets and ushering riders through a long skills course, WABA education staff started removing training wheels from some of the youngest rider’s bikes. The results were pretty amazing and after a few minutes of “pedals-off” scooting one 7 year old girl was ready to put her pedals back on. To the amazement of her father she took-off like she had been riding for years, a real pro!

Happy dad watches as daughter rides for the first time.

Three more riders were liberated from their training wheels and several more made real progress towards freedom on 2 wheels. Glen Harrison, WABA bicycle education staff, encourages more parents to teach their children how to ride a bike by using this simple, effective method.

1) Lower the seat and remove the pedals (the left one is reverse threaded)

2) Have child scoot their bike with both feet on smooth, level surface (don’t hold the bike or rider, this will only hinder progress)

3) Insist on practicing until the rider can balance and steer in a straight line with both feet off the ground for 20-30 feet.

Student rides!

4) Raise the seat and re-install pedals.

5) Show rider how to step down on one raised pedal to create forward movement.

6) Rider should sit up, arms straight (but not locked) and looking out in front of the bike about 20 feet (don’t look at feet or front wheel).

7) Give gentle push on back to help get started until rider’s feet can “find” the other pedal.

8) Teach rider how to stop! 🙂

International Walk (or Bike!) to School Day!

Tomorrow, October 6th, is International Walk and Bike to School Day. Thousands of schoolchildren in Maryland, DC and Virginia will be gathering in parks, school yards and cul-de-sacs and then walking or biking to school. In the District of Columbia, 13 schools are hosting events. They include: Payne Elementary, Tyler Elementary, Watkins Elementary, Whittier Elementary, Peabody Early Learning Center, Maury Elementary, EL Haynes PCS, Brent Elementary, Janney Elementary, Eaton Elementary, Kimball Elementary, Leckie Elementary, Stuart Hobson Middle School and the Lowell School. WABA has supported all of these schools with Safe Walking and Biking classes and bike rodeos to encourage more children to walk or bike to school.

In an era where childhood obesity has become a national epidemic, WABA has embraced and promoted the Safe Routes to School Program as a very effective tool in what should be an arsenal to combat this troubling trend.  DDOT has won federal funds to repair or install sidewalks, install traffic calming measures, paint crosswalks, and make many other hardscape improvements to make the roads and sidewalks around schools much safer for children to walk. WABA’s role includes the encouragement and education portion of Safe Routes and we’ve been a proud partner with DDOT since the inception of the Safe Routes to School program. With Safe Routes to School in place, WABA hopes that children and adults will view walking and biking as a lifelong healthy habit.