At the beginning of the month, WABA hosted its yearly fundraiser, BikeFest, at Eastern Market’s North Hall. BikeFest is a way to financially support WABA’s efforts to make D.C.-area bicycling better by attending a great party. This year, our members and friends were treated to live jazz, swing, and rockabilly from Atomic Swing Club; table games; a buffet by Chipotle; and a variety of New Belgium beers.
As in past years, BikeFest involved the bike-build contest, for which four local groups—Phoenix, City Bikes Adams Morgan, Papillon Cycles, and The Bike House—donated one-of-a-kind, specially built bikes. Phoenix took home the first-prize silver saddle, and all the bikes were auctioned off to new, loving owners.
Silent-auction and raffle items were graciously donated by a slew of local businesses. All proceeds from the bike-build auction, the silent auction, and raffle tickets directly support WABA’s mission. We also presented awards to superstar volunteers and advocates who have helped WABA achieve major successes in the past year. We can’t do our job without your continued support, and it’s our dedicated volunteers, friends, and supporters who truly help us make bicycling here better.
BikeFest 2013 was especially important for WABA. The cancellation of BikeDC brought us an unexpected financial challenge. We’re happy to report that proceeds from BikeFest will go directly back to our work advocating for better bike infrastructure, reaching out to communities to encourage them to bike for transportation, and educating kids and adults on safe cycling.
Noted local photographer M.V. Jantzen took some great shots of our guests. See more on Flickr.
Many thanks to David Markman for running the ad-hoc photo booth. Did you get your photo snapped with that charming vintage bike by the entryway? Look for yourself below!
We couldn’t have pulled BikeFest off without our generous sponsors. Food and libations were provided by Chipotle and New Belgium Brewing. Entertainment Sound Productions and EcoPrint provided in-kind donations. BikeFest was made possible by Boeing, Signal Financial, Toole Design Group, and CH2M Hill. And a shoutout to 9:30 Club, whose donated tickets kicked BikeFest’s own ticket sales up a notch.
Our thanks again to those who came out to BikeFest. By attending events like BikeFest, you help us to continue our great advocacy, outreach, and education work across the D.C. region. Bicycling as a mode of transportation is growing rapidly here, in no small part thanks to you. We hope to see you at our next big event, Tour de Fat, on Sat., June 1.
Want to see more photos from BikeFest? We shared tons on Flickr! If you’ve got any, add them to our Flickr pool.
Join WABA’s East of the River Associate Kim Davis and several friendly ride marshals for the first East of the River Easy Riders this Saturday. Meet at 10 a.m. in Anacostia Park for a slow cruiser ride through the park and surrounding neighborhoods. Parental supervision and helmets are required.
The East of the River Easy Riders ride is scheduled for several Saturdays throughout the summer. Stay up to date here.
This Week in Bike Reads was busy with Bike to Work Day obligations last Friday. It’s back now and hopes you are still riding your bike to work.
What do you think about Slate’s proposed peace treaty for pedestrians and cyclists?
Twitter is a great way to get your point heard. Maybe your point shouldn’t be that you hit a cyclist.
NBC4 gets in on the problem of illegal u-turns on Pennsylvania Avenue.
And in general, despite major progress, D.C.’s bike lanes could be better.
Capital Bikeshare is a gateway drug.
But even if you stick to CaBi, you’re making trips you otherwise wouldn’t, are less likely to use a car or other forms of transit, save around $800 per year on personal travel, and feel healthier.
Ride, to die
What’s Tour de Fat?
Tour de Fat is an all-day festival at Yards Park on Sat., June 1 for those who enjoy bicycles and beer (the event is sponsored by New Belgium Brewing). It’s silly, whimsical, and packed with activities, but also a great opportunity to celebrate the region’s growth in, commitment to, and love for bicycling.
The day kicks off with a bicycle parade at 11 a.m. (registration and check-in begins at 10 a.m.). Costumes are highly encouraged. The beer starts flowing aoon. There will be music and entertainment, merchandise sales, a bicycle pit, and local shops and nonprofits staffing interactive tables and booths from noon to 5 p.m.
Why you should go:
It’s hard to properly explain what Tour de Fat is (though you can see an overview of last year’s here). It’s an experience. It’s a daytime party that’s also family friendly. It’s a way to give back to area bike-advocacy groups. It’s a chance for you and hundreds of others to ride your bikes dressed in crazy, wacky costumes. It’s a reason to drink a beer at noon on a Saturday. And there’s plenty of great entertainment.
It’s also free. We do ask for a $5 donation to participate in the preceding bicycle parade, but there’s no admission fee to Tour de Fat itself. Beer and merchandise sales, as well as parade donations, go directly to improving bicycling in the D.C. area.
Who should come to Tour de Fat?
People who ride bikes—often, occasionally, and rarely. It’s a bicycle celebration, but you don’t have to ride your bike there. You don’t even have to have ridden your bike in the last ten years. We want anyone who’s tangentially interested in bikes to come out for the parade and festivities.
People who drink beer—or not . Just because New Belgium is sponsoring Tour de Fat doesn’t mean you have to drink to be there. There are plenty of other ways to enjoy yourself and many other food and drink option at the festival and around Yards Park.
Families and children. Tour de Fat is a family-friendly event. There will even be a side tent running puppet shows for the event’s youngest guests.
Music and art lovers. There will be bands, spoken word, storytelling, and other performances around the Yards Park grounds all day long. Prepare to be amazed! You may even win the Thousand Person Dance Contest and receive a New Belgium cruiser bike for your efforts.
What does Tour de Fat support?
Proceeds from the event go directly back to five local bicycle organizations: WABA, Black Women Bike DC, Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling, the Mid-Atlantic Off-Road Enthusiasts, and Phoenix Bikes.
WABA (that’s us!) works in the greater D.C. area to get more people on bikes, make bicycling safe, and expand and enhance bike infrastructure. We want to make getting to places by bike easier and a more viable transportation option.
Black Women Bike DC is a rad group of ladies who build community and interest in riding bikes among black women through education programs, advocacy, and bike rides.
Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling works to make bicycling an integral part of the transportation network in Fairfax County, Va. They sponsor social rides throughout Fairfax and work on numerous advocacy issues to make bicycling there more accessible.
Mid-Atlantic Off-Road Enthusiasts represents the area’s mountain bikers and works to maintain regional trails. MORE organizes hundreds of rides and events per year.
Phoenix Bikes is local bicycle co-op that supports youth in the D.C. metro area, providing a safe, nurturing, and educational environment that reinforces teamwork, hard work, and entrepreneurship through bike maintenance and education programs.
We’ll see you June 1st at Tour de Fat!
Yesterday, long-simmering displeasure with the pattern of illegal u-turns across the Pennsylvania Avenue bike lanes netted considerable media attention from NBC4. Reporter Mark Segraves was most interested in a video by Bill Walsh of a police officer actually pulling someone over for u-turning. However, this is far from standard; more often, drivers u-turn with impunity.
It has been difficult for WABA to get information about Pennsylvania Avenue. We know that the bollards that once lined the cycletrack would be removed for the winter, due to the threat of snow as well as plans for the inauguration. We know that DDOT was working on ideas for better, and perhaps more, bollards. But as to why the bollards have been left in a pile and not been reinstalled? We’re as perplexed as everyone else. Additionally, we haven’t gotten a clear description of exactly what sort of enforcement MPD has done since it and DMV agreed that u-turns were illegal.
After Justin Antos counted and documented thirty U-turns in thirty minutes on Pennsylvania Avenue, I forwarded his photos to Mayor Vince Gray’s office with a request for explanation and assistance. I received the following response:
MPD and DDOT have been working to improve enforcement and protection. It’s my understanding that flexposts are on the way to replace the ones that have come down, and that DDOT is working with the Federal Highway Administration, the Planning Commission, and the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts to find a suitable perimeter divider. We’re hopeful that the divider we’ve presented to them will be accepted. If they are, we will move quickly to install.
As of today, MPD has written approximately 62 improper turn citations and approximately 70 warnings. Prior to yesterday, we were doing targeted enforcement during selected rush hours and special events. Today’s AM Officer observed no violations and wrote zero citations during the scheduled enforcement. It should be noted that yesterday was a special situation because of the sinkhole at 14th and Pennsylvania. Our resources were deployed to direct traffic around this traffic blockage. Moreover, some where cars were allowed to turn around on PA Avenue to mitigate what was a significant traffic/public safety incident.
As you are aware, Pennsylvania Avenue is a special case because of the intersecting jurisdictions. But, we remain committed to expanding cycling in the District and making our streets safe for those who use bicycles.
We now know that the new flexposts are on the way and that DDOT is engaged with the federal planning and fine arts entities that have a say in what happens on Pennsylvania Avenue. We hope that these conversations—especially those involving the Commission on Fine Arts—will be open to the local, affected public. If they aren’t, we’ll find other ways to ensure the CFA understands that its decisions could place the community in physical danger.
We also know that MPD is doing enforcement. I think we can all agree that when a guy with a camera can document thirty instances of unlawful behavior in thirty minutes—and repeat the exercise daily—that enforcement mechanism is failing. But enforcement exists. That said, we want to see it improved, and we want to better understand its timing and method so that we are better able to communicate to the bicycling community what is being done.
From a policy standpoint, the worst possible result would bicyclists losing so much confidence in the safety of biking facilities like Pennsylvania Avenue that those facilities fail to enable more people to bike safely. We are on the verge of that with Pennsylvania Avenue’s bike lanes, and we need prompt improvements to both the infrastructure and enforcement mechanisms. Either alone won’t be good enough.
In the meantime, we need DDOT to rush the procurement of those new flexposts, or put the old ones back until the new ones arrive. Installing a flexpost isn’t a big job. It’s OK to do it twice to prevent crashes and save lives.
Image via DDOT on Flickr
Our event partner, BikeMS, is seeking volunteers for the ride this weekend. SAG support drivers are especially needed.
BikeMS: Ride the Riverside is an exciting and fun two-day cycling event on June 9 and 10, 2013 that starts and finishes at Maryland’s National Harbor, just 15 minutes from the heart of D.C. and across the Potomac River from Alexandria, Va. Funds raised by BikeMS cyclists and volunteers will drive vital research to identify the cause and cure for multiple sclerosis, as well as support programs and services for local people living with MS now. For more information and to register, see https://www.facebook.com/BikeMSDC/info or www.BikeMSDC.org/.
Sign up to volunteer (or to ride) today!
Last Friday’s Bike to Work Day was a great success, setting a new record for registered riders and number of pit stops. Thanks to the beautiful weather and great activities provided by pit stop sponsors, the over 14,500 riders who came out were treated to a fantastic celebration of biking to work.
This weekend, I started looking through Bike to Work Day’s final registration tallies and data. And all figures pointed in the same direction: Bicycling is growing in the entire region, so we need to continue our ability to grow our regional advocacy approach accordingly. Hopefully, the expansion of our advocacy work in recent years and the launch this winter of our suburban outreach program has helped to dispel any remaining notion that WABA is only about biking in D.C.
We have increased our efforts in suburban jurisdictions, just as Bike to Work Day has expanded its pit stop offerings away from downtown and into all parts of the region. We can see the results. Bike to Work Day’s top three overall pit stops were evenly spread: one in Virginia (Rosslyn), one in Maryland (Bethesda), and one in the District (Freedom Plaza). This makes sense given the region’s employment density, and, in my view, reflects that the decision by the Bike to Work Day organizers to better cover the region with pit stop opportunities was the correct one. What we lose in the optics of everyone in a giant gathering at a single location, we gain back in overall growth and attraction of new riders throughout the region who want pit stops convenient to their commutes.
Of course, no discussion of regionalism in transportation can go far without addressing the elephant in the room: WMATA. Previously, though it’s engaged on transportation issues that affect bicyclist and pedestrians, WMATA had played a limited role in Bike to Work Day. Since the completion of its excellent Bicyclist & Pedestrian Access Study, WMATA has taken steps to further encourage integration of bicycling and Metrorail/Metrobus commuting. This year, it hosted two pit stops at two Metro stations, West Hyattsville and Cheverly. The choice of these stations was especially important, because they’re in areas of relatively low Bike to Work Day registration. Additionally, West Hyattsville is a major destination for Spanish-speaking bike commuters who are more difficult to reach through traditional marketing, outreach, and education channels; Cheverly is in the region east of the city that notably underserved in biking infrastructure. WMATA’s pit stops didn’t break attendance records, but they helped us broaden the event demographically and geographically and provide additional outreach on bicycling to communities we might not have reached otherwise.
Next year, we hope to work further with WMATA to encourage non-cyclists to try bicycling by better marketing the multi-modal commute—and ensuring that people understand that biking to Metro counts for Bike to Work Day.
Finally, the final tally did allow us to compare participation by jurisdiction to see where we have more work to do to encourage greater bike commuting. In total, Virginia had the most registered riders, followed by the District, with Maryland slightly behind. Given the relative populations of the jurisdictions, we would like to see higher numbers from Maryland relative to the District and Virginia. These Bike to Work Day numbers confirmed a concerning trend we’ve already recognized in our own membership and supporter data. As a result, in the past week we have submitted proposals to Montgomery and Prince George’s County to expand education and outreach activities, in hopes of growing ridership in Maryland. One measure of our success will be next year’s state-level breakdown of Bike to Work Day data.
Thank you to everyone who registered and rode on Friday. We’ve all heard the phrase “don’t be a statistic,” implying that “being a statistic” is only applied to bad outcomes. In biking, where our governments are often unwilling or unable to invest in generating the data and statistics that would help us make the case that bicycling is important to the region’s transportation, health, and economy, being a statistic—especially on Bike to Work Day—is incredibly helpful.
We can’t thank you enough for being a living, breathing person who came out to celebrate bicycling with us. And thank you for being a statistic who will help us demonstrate the demand for bicycling and push for better bicycling in the coming year.
Tour de Fat is back! The East Coast’s biggest and most fanciful of all things bicycling, Tour de Fat is part costume party, community bike parade, music and arts festival, and celebration of good biking and good beer! All proceeds from the event, which is put on by New Belgium Brewing, support local bike advocacy. This year, all revenue generated will benefit WABA, Black Women Bike DC, Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling, the Mid-Atlantic Off-Road Enthusiasts, and Phoenix Bikes.
Tour de Fat begins with a parade (parade check-in is at 10 a.m. and it kicks off at 11 a.m.) to Yards Park, where fun awaits.
Tomorrow night, noted bike activist Elly Blue, author of Taking the Lane zine, will present Dinner & Bikes along with Joshua Ploeg and Joe Biel. This is the first time that Dinner & Bikes, a somewhat regular touring event, will visit Washington, D.C. Dinner & Bikes is on Tues., May 21 at All Souls Unitarian Church. Tickets are $20.
Attendees will enjoy a gourmet vegan and gluten-free buffet by Joshua Ploeg while participating in an interactive presentation about transportation equity by Elly Blue—followed by a near-complete excerpt from Joe Biel’s forthcoming documentary Aftermass, a history of bicycle activism in Portland. After, we’ll have some time to purchase books and get them signed at the Tour’s traveling food- and bicycle-themed pop-up bookstore.
This year’s stop in D.C. is sponsored by the Capital Spokeswomen and WABA’s Women & Bicycles program, who are the beneficiaries of the evening.
For more information and to purchase tickets, go here.
Many thanks to all who registered for this year’s Bike to Work Day and got to work on two wheels last Friday! This was a record-breaking year for Bike to Work Day participation, with over 14,000 people registering for the event.
We put together some infographics based on registration data. We always encourage people who identify as regular bike commuters to register for Bike to Work Day even if they can’t ride on that specific day, because it’s a way to generate numbers about bike-commuting patterns in the region.
Also in the category of “Bike to Work Day infographics” is this set from Fitness for Weight Loss, which illustrates some of the health benefits to be reaped from bike commuting.