WABA in the Wild is the newest addition to our signature ride series and a prime example of how the pieces of WABA’s mission fit together. This peer-to-peer fundraising campaign for WABA culminates in a fully supported, three-day tour of the C&O Canal Towpath, from Cumberland, MD to Georgetown, DC. Generations of riders have been humbled and inspired by the trail’s unique combination of wilderness and engineering, and WABA is thrilled to bring that joy to 25 riders. Riders must not only prepare for the unpaved, 184.5-mile trip along the towpath, but they also raise a minimum of $1,000 for WABA. Both challenges are a first for many of the riders. Along the way, riders dive deep into bicycle advocacy, develop strong community connections, and prove to themselves that they can rise to the challenge. But why take the challenge in the first place? Everyone has a different story. Here are a few from this year’s cohort: “For almost my whole life, I’ve felt just a little freer while riding a bicycle. Like many of us, one of my earliest memories is the exhilarating moment I realized I could ride a bike without training wheels. But unlike many of us, I also know what it’s like to have that feeling abruptly taken away. Just before my 30th birthday–after several years of increasing commitment to, and reliance on, bicycling as transportation, as exercise, and as a social outlet—I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder that suddenly rendered me barely able to walk, let alone ride a bike. Nearly three years later, I’m back to being someone very like my old self, only more appreciative of my restored health and ability to participate in activities that make me happy. To once again be a little freer.” (Adam Gould) “I’m not one for quoting quotes or tacking inspirational words to my wall or tattooing lofty mantras on my lower back. I don’t even do erudite email signature sayings. Another thing I am not — a risk taker. I’m afraid of heights. I don’t do extreme sports. I return carts at the grocery store. I don’t swim after eating. As I get older and wiser (and humbler!), I realize I don’t have many second chances. And, life is short. Sometimes I do regret not taking a chance. Sometimes I wish I made time for a long ride. And, sometimes I regret not doing more to support the organizations that do good work and that improve the infrastructure and policies that directly impact me and my daily commute. I signed up for WABA in the Wild because I don’t want to regret not supporting WABA and having some fun on the trails!” (Julie Lawhorn) We are so proud to introduce the WABA in the Wild 2017 riders. Click through each name to read their stories, and consider chipping in to one or more of their campaigns to make bicycling in our region better! Want to join us next year? Sign up for our interest list!