WABA in the Wild


WABA in the Wild is a way to make bicycling better by going for an amazing bike ride.

We held our inagural WABA in the Wild bike tour from October 7-10th, 2016 and it was a huge success!

WABA in the Wild is three days and three nights on one of the nation’s best long-distance trails: the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Towpath. That’s three days and 184 miles of car-free gravel happiness. We provide food, campsites, SAG support and gear transportation, so all you have to do is ride and enjoy the wildlife. If you’re an experienced bike tourist or if this is your first bike overnight, this guided scenic journey from Cumberland, MD to Washington, DC is perfect for you.

Stay tuned for the announcement of 2017’s WABA in the Wild dates!

This adventure is a peer-to-peer fundraiser ride to support WABA’s mission to get everyone within one mile of a safe, dedicated place to ride a bike.What you Get:

Throughout the WABA in the Wild weekend, riders will:

  • Depart on the adventure of a lifetime
  • Bike a total of 184.5 (plus a few) miles
  • Learn about the history of the lock houses, the canal, towpath, and future plans for preservation and maintenance (perfect for all you history buffs and touring geeks)
  • Be escorted by experienced bike tour guides on a fully supported trip with all meals and transportation included for your gear (great for those new to bike touring or those looking for awesome camaraderie)
  • Enjoy s’mores and good conversation around a campfire and under the stars
  • Have the opportunity to think deeply and chat about bike advocacy in the Washington region
  • Help make bicycling better in the DC region!

WABA in the Wild FAQs:

Q: How many miles per day will we ride?

A: Day 1 is 61 miles. Day 2 is 65 miles. And Day 3 is 62 miles.

Q: Wait, that’s more than 184.5 miles. What gives?

A: There are a few extra miles on the beginning to get from the campsite in Cumberland to the start of the Canal, and a few extra miles to get to the campsite/bunkhouse in Harper’s Ferry.

Q: Do I have to carry all my stuff?

A: Nope. We’ll load up your luggage and camping gear each morning and have it ready to unload each evening at the next campsite. Just make sure you can carry some snacks and water bottles with you on your bike – we suggest a small handlebar bag, saddlebag, or putting things in pockets.

Q: Why does it cost $1,250?

A: This is a fundraiser ride for WABA!  Over $1,000 from each rider goes directly to support WABA’s mission. That means 80% of your fundraising goes to support WABA, and only 20% goes to cover costs of the tour itself.

If this isn’t your cup of campfire-brewed tea, other tour groups offer similar 3-day Canal tours ranging from $350 to $700, or you can do the tour by yourself and take Amtrak to Cumberland. But trust us, it will be much more fun to join WABA in the Wild!

Q: I’m not used to biking that much – should I still sign up for the ride?

A: Most likely, yes! We will be bicycling at a fairly slow pace and it will be no drop, though we do encourage everyone who signs up to be in good physical condition and able to finish each day. If you have experience biking 30+ miles and could do so a few days in a row, then with a good pair of bike shorts and a some chamois cream, you can probably do 60 miles a day. We’ll also circulate a “training” plan for you to work up to that many miles.

Q: What type of bike do I need?

A: A bike that is comfortable (you’ll be on your bike basically all day for three days) and that has wider tires – but it can be a hybrid, a touring bike, a road bike with wider tires, a cyclecross bike, a mountain bike, etc. We recommend that you have tires that are at least 28mm wide – but wider tires (32mm or wider) would be best! We also recommend you use cyclocross, mud, dirt, or mountain bike tires that are a bit tougher and knobby – this is because thought the canal is mostly smooth dirt and small crushed rocks, the canal does have some larger rocks, potholes and ruts.

Q: What if I don’t have the right bike? What if I don’t have a tent, sleeping bag, or sleeping pad?

A: We’ll provide you with a list of bike rental partners and you can arrange to rent a trail bike for the tour. We’ll also provide you with a list of local retailers you can borrow or rent camping gear from. We also think that camping gear is a worthy investment and you can find an affordable tent and sleeping bag – or borrow them from a friend.

Q: Are there vegetarian or vegan food options?

A: Yes, once you register, we’ll ask you for your dietary preferences.

Do you have other questions or concerns?

Please ask us. Contact Event Manager Michelle Cleveland at michelle.cleveland@waba.org.

Primal Logo

Each WABA in the Wild rider will receive a new 2016-edition WABA Jersey! Thanks to our friends and official Merch Sponsors Primal Wear. The colors are bold, the design stands out, and the quality endures. Based out in Denver, Colorado, Primal supports biking at all levels, from multi-day road races to advances in local bike infrastructure. Thanks to Primal’s support we’re able to offer WABA members 20% off jerseys, socks, and t-shirts and use the funds to support our work for better biking.