What to Expect at a WABA Ride!

Why come to a WABA Signature Ride? Well…a day spent outside riding bikes, eating snacks, and making new friends, all while knowing you’re supporting WABA’s mission to make bicycling better in our region? Sounds pretty good, right?

This year WABA is bringing you three bike ride events celebrating biking in Virginia, DC, and Maryland: the Sweet Ride (June), the 50 States Ride (September), and the Cider Ride (November). 

While each ride is a little different, they have a few things in common. Below is some information on what to expect at WABA’s rides. (Still have questions after you read? Drop a line to events@waba.org— we’re happy to chat.)

Come as you are—these rides are for everyone who wants to explore our region by bike! WABA’s Signature Rides are recreational rides, NOT races. There are 10-16  mile routes in addition to longer 30-50 mile options. You can ride in spandex and cleats if you want, but a lot of participants will be in t-shirts. It doesn’t matter what you wear! So dress comfortably, ride a bike that feels good to you,  don’t worry about the pace— and reach out to WABA staff at events@waba.org if you have questions about what to wear, bring, or ride. 

Check-in is important. When you register for a WABA ride, you’ll receive a start location and check-in time. This is where your ride will start—but when you arrive, make sure you go to the WABA tent first to check-in. This is where you’ll receive your cue sheet, ride swag, and the wristband that gets you into pit stops (access to snacks and water is clutch!) 

Pit stops are snack/water breaks. Along the ride route you’ll have the opportunity to stop at pit stops, where WABA staff and volunteers will have water, snacks, and cheers waiting for you. During COVID-19 pit stop snacks are pre-packaged, single-serving items. Be sure to bring your own water bottle to refill at pit stops— WABA does not provide plastic water bottles.

Ride routes are not marked or closed to traffic. WABA’s rides celebrate bicycling in our region using existing infrastructure. We don’t close any roads for our rides, and the routes go on trails and  streets with varying levels of bicycle infrastructure (protected bike lanes, painted bike lanes, and some roads without bike lanes. We do our best to plan the rides on low-stress streets, but you will be sharing the road with motor vehicles.  Feel like you want to practice before the ride? Sign up for a Confident City Cycling Class. Or, for a refresher, watch this webinar on How to Ride in Traffic

The ride is self-guided— here’s how to navigate!

  • Use your paper cue sheet. Participants navigate WABA ride routes using a paper cue sheet with turn-by-turn directions, which we’ll give you at ride check-in. This method of navigation means you need to consult the sheet every few turns. We recommend clipping it to your bike so you can glance down at a red light or stop sign and see what your next turn is. Feeling unsure about using a cue sheet? Here’s a helpful blog post on how to read a cue sheet, and one on how to attach your cue sheet to your bike.
  • Use Ride With GPS. If you have a smartphone, you can get turn-by-turn audio directions for the ride using the Ride with GPS app (after you register for the ride, you’ll get instructions on how to do this— you’ll need to make an account and join the WABA Ride With GPS club, which are both free, before the day of the ride) Registered for a ride and need help setting this up? Email events@waba.org.
  • You’ll probably take a wrong turn or two during the ride. Most people do! If you feel lost, remember that your cue sheet has a map in it, which can help you navigate back to the route or to the closest pit stop, where you can gather your bearings. 

You probably won’t ride with a group the whole time. Each check-in group at WABA’s rides has an optional group start. But not everyone will ride together, and even if you start with a group, you will probably spread out over the course of the ride. If you want to make sure you have a buddy for the whole ride, consider registering with the ride for a friend, saying hi to someone new at the group start, or chatting with a Ride Marshal.  Speaking of which…

Volunteer Ride Marshals are there to help! Ride Marshals are WABA volunteers who help you navigate and offer encouragement and support. Marshals receive a training from WABA staff before the event and know participants may look to them in their colorful vests with questions, for assistance, or to be a buddy. Marshals carry basic first aid supplies, and are instructed to call 911 in the case of an emergency on the ride.

How to Attach a Cue Sheet To Your Bike

So, you’re going on a bike ride…and you need to navigate using a paper cue sheet. But how are you going to attach that sucker to your bike so you can glance at it easily?

Here’s a low-tech solution that just might help.

Start by gathering your materials (if you come to a WABA Signature Ride, we’ll have these available along with your cue sheet!). You’ll need:

  • zip tie
  • binder clip
  • plastic bag
  • cue sheet

1. Thread the zip tie through the binder clip. 

2. Fasten the zip tie around your handlebar stem to secure the binder clip to the bike.  (The stem is the vertical bar underneath your handlebars!)

3. Clip the cue sheet into the binder clip!  (You’ll have to take it on and off to turn the page.)

4. If it’s raining: use the plastic bag to keep the cue sheet dry

5. To remove after your ride: cut the zip tie off the handlebar stem with scissors. You can also leave it on for your next ride! Either way, don’t throw away the bag or binder clip—use them for something else, too.

To learn more about how to read a cue sheet, check out this post: How to Read a Cue Sheet

Double your impact—today only— and empower even more people to ride.

The 2019 WABA in the Wild group, starting their journey on the C&O Canal towpath in Cumberland, MD. Today only, a generous group of WABA in the Wild trip alumni from multiple years and friends are matching your donations to WABA up to $10k!

Something exciting has happened: a group of WABA in the Wild trip alumni and friends have stepped up to match your donations, dollar for dollar, up to $10,000, today only.

These donors started off as strangers at a WABA event, motivated by everything from the love of a great ride to climate advocacy to safer streets. But after a weekend celebrating the ways bicycling brightens lives, they ended their ride proving the bonds bicycling creates.

That’s what WABA’s all about: not just riding bikes, but feeling safe and supported as you do, and helping  others feel that way, too. Together, we can build a region where everyone feels empowered to ride. 

Today, these donors are giving back to WABA for the long ride—and they’re asking you to join them.  Can you make a gift of $ or more today, and see your gift doubled— a testament to what we can accomplish as a community?

With 2020 almost behind us, we’re ready to roll strong into 2021 and meet whatever’s ahead in this new year. But we can’t do it alone. We need our friends riding beside us (even if it’s not in person). We need you: your energy, your support, and your investment. Can we count on you? 

Can’t stop this bicycling joy machine!

You know what’s even better than bicycles? Getting together with the people who ride them to learn new skills, discover a new trail, and chat over coffee about routes, bike shops, new bike lane projects, and any/everything else about this bike-life.

I’m not gonna lie— it was a bummer that we had to cancel and postpone so many in-person events and classes this year. But even 2020 couldn’t stop the WABA joy machine!

This year brought Virtual Bike Anywhere Week Bingo; digital coffee hours; covid-adapted 50 States and Cider Rides; and —who could forget?!— DC Bike Ambassador Trey Robinson’s how-to-wheelie videos (here’s part 1 & part 2). Because even when it’s from a distance, WABA staff love bringing you and the whole WABA community together fun on one, two, or more wheels.

We don’t know what 2021 will look like yet. But one thing’s for sure: in addition to advocating for better infrastructure and policies to support your ride, WABA won’t stop bringing the fun, the silliness, and the delight that make bikes and the people who ride them spectacular.

I hope to see you in 2021 for some good ol’ bicycling delight. You can see what we have coming up at waba.org/fun— and click here to join Event Hub, our monthly guide to fun on and off your bike.

Sweet Ride Kits

Let WABA send you on a Sweet Ride on Northern Virginia trails!

How does it work?

Sweet Ride Kits are available for purchase—see below.

Every Ride Kit includes PDF cue sheets, route maps, route files, and Ride Prep Guide by email, so you can ride as soon as you’re ready.

Some kits include exclusive swag mailed to your door! If you purchase a Baby Sweet, Sweet, Sweeter, Sweetest, or Bespoke Ride Kit you choose, we’ll mail you a package of exclusive ride swag. Mailings begin the first week of July and continue through August.

Where do I ride?

All registration levels include cue sheets and route files for FIVE ride routes (6 mile, 10 mile, 16 mile, 28 mile, and 45 mile) connected by Northern Virginia trails, so you can ride all summer long.

All the ride routes start and end at The Grounds in Crystal City, but you can hop on and off the routes wherever you want. 

Pack a picnic — these routes take you to destinations in Arlington and Alexandria where you’ll want to stop and take in the sunshine, like Teddy Roosevelt Island, Columbia Island, Glen Carlyn Park, and more.

We are grateful for your support.

While we’re disappointed we can’t celebrate the second Sweet Ride in person, we want to celebrate in spirit. In addition to getting you some great custom swag that won’t be sold again, your Sweet Ride Kit purchase supports WABA and better biking across the region.

Public Health Note

* These rides are meant to be done solo or with members of your household. Please be sure to follow guidelines for physical distancing, and stay home if you are sick. WABA will make reasonable efforts to communicate changes under COVID-19 restrictions, but may not provide an update to registrants with every change to local government policies and recommendations.

Ride Kits

The 2020 Sweet Ride Cotton Cap, available as part of the Sweetest and Bespoke Ride Kits!

Digital Kit — $10

Simple and sweet! This package will come to your email, and includes:

  • PDF cue sheet with five ride routes 
  • Digital route files (GPX, TCX, Ride with GPS) and maps 
  • PDF Ride Prep Guide, including guidelines for biking during COVID-19

Baby Sweet Ride Kit—$25

Digital Kit sent to your email, plus, mailed to your door:

  • Exclusive Sweet Ride spoke card

Sweet Ride Kit — $50

Digital Kit sent to your email, plus, mailed to your door:

  • Paper cue sheets with maps and directions for five ride routes
  • Exclusive Sweet Ride spoke card 
  • Blue and white gingham Sweet Ride bandana
  • WABA patch kit
  • Single-serving lemonade packet
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Voucher for a free chicken, sandwich, wrap, or pita from Nando’s Peri Peri 
  • Voucher for a 32 oz crowler of Port City Brewing Co’s Beach Drive Golden Ale

Sweeter Ride Kit — $95 (while supplies last!)

Digital Kit sent to your email, plus, mailed to your door:

  • Everything included in the Sweet Ride Kit


  • Gift card for specialty drink from Commonwealth Joe (fuel your ride!)
  • Gift card for a milkshake from Good Stuff Eatery (cool down after a hot day in the sun!) 
  • Gift card to Los Tios Grill (good food and cold drinks…what could be better? )

Sweetest Ride Kit — $150 (while supplies last!)

Mailed to your door:

  • Everything included in the Sweet and Sweeter Ride Kits


  • Cotton Sweet Ride cycle cap

Bespoke Ride Kit—$250 (while supplies last!)

Mailed to your door:

  • Everything included in the Sweet, Sweeter, and Sweetest Ride Kits


  • A bespoke route designed for by WABA’s Event Coordinator, customized to your desired start location and comfort level
  • A 30-minute call to discuss the route map and cues and how to prepare for your ride

Note: want a bespoke ride route designed especially for you… but not the other things that come with the Bespoke Ride Kit? Email events@waba.org to add a bespoke ride route to any level Ride Kit for $100.

Get your kit!

Thank you to these awesome sponsors!

Port City Brewing Logo
Nandos Logo

Frequently Asked Questions

I don’t understand what this is.

Because COVID-19 crisis means we cannot gather in person, WABA is offering Sweet Ride Kits: an alternative to a group ride so you can take a sweet summer ride on your own or with members of your household. We’ll be selling kits all summer so you can take the ride anytime, but some will sell out. 

Kits include ride routes, swag, and other goodies (differing based on registration level).

All Sweet Ride Kits include PDF cue sheets, route maps, route files, and a Ride Prep Guide. Some include physical items mailed to your door!

When does the ride take place?

There is no set date or time for this ride; you do it on your own time, any time after you register! 

You will receive PDF cue sheets, route maps, route files, and Ride Prep Guide by email when you purchase your Ride Kit, and can do the ride whenever you’d like after that. 

Sweet Ride Kits are for sale until August 31.

Our Baby Sweet Ride, Sweet Ride, Sweeter Rider, Sweetest Ride, and Bespoke Ride Kits include physical items mailed to your door. We will mail Ride Kits starting the first week of July, and then weekly through July and August. The last mailing will be the week of August 30 or when Ride Kits sell out. 

When will I receive my Ride Kit?

The date you receive your Ride Kit will vary based on when you purchase it.

We will mail out ride packages starting the first week of July. We are a small team being careful about social distancing, so thank you for your patience!

Kits will be mailed at the beginning of the week every week through July and August. The last mailing will be the week of August 30 or when Ride Kits sell out. 

You will receive the digital items (PDF cue sheets, route maps, route files, and Ride Prep Guide) when you purchase your Ride Kit, so you can start enjoying the ride routes as soon as you purchase your Ride Kit, even if your physical package hasn’t arrived yet.

If you have purchased a Ride Kit and have not received the digital items, or if you’d like to check on the status of your Ride Kit, check your spam folder and then email events@waba.org.

Can I upgrade my Ride Kit?

Sure thing— email Anna at events@waba.org, and she’ll make it happen.

Where does the ride take place?

All of the ride routes included with Sweet Ride Kits begin and end at The Grounds in Crystal City (1102 S Eads St, Arlington, VA 22202)

Do I have to be a WABA member to purchase a Sweet Ride Kit?

Nope! But we hope you’ll consider becoming one at waba.org/join.

Is it ok to go for a bike ride during COVID-19?

So far throughout the COVID-19 crisis, bicycling has been  included in lists of allowable recreation in Maryland, DC, and Virginia.  

WABA will make reasonable efforts to communicate changes under COVID-19 restrictions, but may not provide an update to registrants with every change to local government policies and recommendations.

If you have symptoms or believe you may have been exposed to the Coronavirus, please stay inside. 

If you go for a ride, please be vigilant about observing social distancing guidelines. When biking, leave a lot of room for passing, stop 6 ft behind others at intersections, and plan to ride more slowly than you usually might. See our blog post about Biking during COVID-19 for more details.

What is your refund/transfer policy?

Because this is a fundraiser there will be no refunds, exchanges or transfers for this event. 

All proceeds from this event benefit WABA and the work that we do to make bicycling safer and more fun in the region. 

Don’t know much about our work? Read about our latest projects on our blog, and follow along on Twitter @WABADC.

Is there a youth rate for this ride?


Do I have to wear a helmet?

Yes. WABA’s insurance requires that everyone riding a bicycle on a WABA ride wears a helmet while riding. This is standard for organized rides across the country. Learn how to properly fit your helmet here

Is this ride supported? 

No. When you purchase a Sweet Ride Kit, you receive several different ride routes you can do solo or with members of your household.

There is no set date or time for this ride; you do it on your own time, any time after you purchase your Sweet Ride Kit. 

There are no ride marshals, pit stops, or emergency support staff to assist with this activity. 

This means:

  • In case of an emergency, call 911.
  • There are no bathrooms or venues involved in this ride.
  • There is no food provided on this ride; please bring your own snacks and water. (Some of our ride packages do include vouchers for food items at businesses near the ride route start/end point!)

This ride is meant for individuals or people from the same household. Please follow developing CDC recommendations and guidelines from local jurisdictions, and do not gather in groups in private or public space.

Where can I find information about the routes?

You will receive PDF cue sheets, route maps, route files, and Ride Prep Guide in an email after you purchase your Sweet Ride Kit. Some Kits also include paper cue sheets and maps, which will be mailed to you.

If you are curious about where the routes go and would like to get an idea before you purchase a Ride Kit, you can check out last year’s Sweet Ride routes here.

The Sweet Ride Kit routes won’t be identical to the 2019 Sweet Ride Routes, but there will be similar options in terms of distance and difficulty.

Is the route marked with signs or arrows?

No, but we do our best to make the route directions clear and comprehensive. If you get lost, you can check the map on your phone, or (if your package comes with one) on the cue sheet you received from WABA in your Ride Kit.

Do I have to follow traffic laws?

Yes. We can’t control what you do on the roads, but, we ask you to ride safely, respectfully, and lawfully to maximize safety for all trail and road users. When you are on this ride, you are a representative of WABA. We ask you to:

  • Stop at all red lights and stop signs. 
  • Always yield to pedestrians. 
  • Use hand signals when turning.
  •  Communicate verbally with other riders. 
  • Do not ride more than two abreast, and do not take up more than one lane of travel. When riding on sidewalks, trails, or paths, be cautious when passing other users and slow down.

Will you feed me?

No. You should bring snacks and water to keep yourself fueled on your ride. Some of our ride packages do include vouchers for food items at businesses near the ride route start/end point!). Keep in mind that many businesses (and bathrooms) might be closed or operating through curbside pickup. 

Will there be marshals?

No. There are no ride marshals, pit stops, or emergency support staff to assist with this activity. 

In case of an emergency on the ride, please call 911.

Should I bring a lock?

Yes. Even if you don’t plan to stop during the ride, it’s good to have a lock with you in case of an unanticipated or emergency stop.

Don’t know the best ways to lock up? Check out this handy guide on preventing bicycle theft.

I have a question that you haven’t answered here.We are happy to help! Email your question to events@waba.org.

Meet this year’s Winners of the WABA Awards (and vote for more!)

2019 was a heck of a year for bicycling in the region. We’ve seen new protected bike lanes, Capital Bikeshare expansions, trail-improvements…and more!

At the 2019 Bicyclists’ Choice Awards on February 26th, the WABA community will honor the winners of the Choice Awards, voted on and awarded by you!

You can vote on Best Improvement: Maryland; Best Improvement: Virginia; Best Improvement: DC; and Best Social Ride here — and RSVP for the BCAs so you don’t miss the awards.


At the Bicyclists’ Choice Awards, we also recognize winners of the 2019 WABA Awards, honoring individuals whose dedicated work for better bicycling has made our community stronger, our streets safer, and brought us closer to our vision of a region where everyone can get where they’re going on a bike.

These awards are selected by WABA’s board and staff. 

Winners of the 2019 WABA Awards:

2019 WABA Super Volunteer Award 

Monica Morin, for her dedication to selling merchandise at WABA events, showing up to volunteer nights, making year-end phone calls, and overall being an incredible cheerleader for WABA everywhere she goes.

2019 WABA Public Leadership Award 

Emily Dalphy, for her work as an innovative public servant who listens responsively to community needs, and going above and beyond in supporting communities who need safe streets now. 

2019 Community Advocate Awards

Sean Neal, for his leadership organizing the site visit at South Capitol Street to demonstrate the need for safe crossing at Xenia Street— a much-needed safety improvement.

George Tobias, for his leadership encouraging elected officials to attend the Ward 8 Traffic Safety Meetings, where we organized around the need for safer routes to school, better sidewalks, and speed control in Ward 8 neighborhoods. 

2019 Trail Champion Award

Ravi Ganvir, for his work moving countless trails, walking and biking projects around the District forward this past year, including the Arboretum Bridge and Trail.

2019 Heart and Soul Award

Christy Kwan and Faith Cole-Hall, for their leadership in establishing the DC chapter of Families for Safe Streets, giving our community a place to support one another, remember and grieve those lost to traffic violence, and organize for action. 

2019 Vision Zero Award

Evan Glass, for his leadership on issues facing vulnerable road users across Montgomery County— including hosting a Vision Zero town hall and meaningfully engaging with Maryland State Highway and Montgomery County DOT.

2019 Youth Leadership Award

Amir Goodman, Oliver Krupa, and Siddharth Kravetz, for their courage in giving testimony at the DC Council Vision Zero hearing last October. 

2019 Educator of the Year Award

Carol Ann Pisciotta, for her enthusiasm and leadership in making the youth bicycle education pilot at Excel Beyond the Bell at Oakview Elementary a reality. 

2019 Biking for All Award

Fionnuala Quin for her leadership as a champion of bike and pedestrian education, including her work to implement traffic gardens at DC and Alexandria elementary schools. 

Congratulations to all of these champions of safer streets— and thank you for all of your work in 2019. 

Don’t forget to vote for your picks in the Bicyclists’ Choice Awards— and RSVP for the event to join in celebrating all we accomplished together in 2019.


2020 Bicyclists’ Choice Awards

The 2020 Bicyclists’ Choice Awards is over—thanks for coming.

Need more WABA in your life?Register for the Sprouts Ride on Sunday, April 26.

Join WABA, the board, staff, and members as we share our 2020 plans, hear from you, and celebrate some of the people who’ve made our region better for biking.

Voting is closed! See you on Wednesday!


Registration is now closed! But, you can still come to the Bicyclists’ Choice Awards and register at the door. See you there!

The Hill Center is located at 921 Pennsylvania Ave SE, Washington, DC 20003, 2 blocks from the Eastern Market Metro Station. There is some bicycle parking available at the Hill Center, and more at Eastern Market Metro Station.

5:30-6:30 PM: Member Meeting / WABA Expo

WABA members: meet and ratify the new Board of Directors and learn about WABA’s plans and vision for the rest of 2020 and beyond. This once-a-year meeting is an opportunity for you to ask questions of the Board and make your voice heard as an essential part of WABA’s work and community. 

If you’re not a member, you can attend the WABA Expo at the same time, in the same location: meet WABA staff, hear how our advocacy works, and learn how your volunteerism, participation, and donations make a difference in the work for better bicycling in our region. 

6:30-7:30 PM: Reception 

Mingle over light snacks and drinks — members, your first round is on WABA! 

7:30-9 PM: Bicyclists’ Choice Awards 

Celebrate the people and places that make our region such a great place to ride a bike! 



That “WOW WOW BIKE LANE” feeling

Last week, when I turned into the bike lane on 5th St NW to ride around McMillan Reservoir, I noticed something: a new string of flex posts. The painted bike lane suddenly was a protected bike lane. Instead of being a place where I felt begrudgingly permitted, 5th Street was a place I felt welcome. And you know what? That feeling was AWESOME. I actually shouted into the wind: WOW WOW WOW!

I hope you know the feeling I’m talking about— the joy and delight of a great place to ride. Will you make a donation to WABA today and invest in a future where you get that WOW WOW WOW BIKE LANE feeling all the time?

Riding our bikes shouldn’t be stressful! Everywhere we ride we should have designated space for us that’s separated from car traffic, whether it’s by concrete, or plastic, or old railroad ties, or very sturdy potted plants. Because when I’m riding in a protected bike lane I feel safer, and I suspect you do too. I feel seen. I feel like not only can I ride my bike to get around—I’m invited to ride. 

WABA wants streets where everyone feels invited to ride a bike—where feeling safe, and seen, and welcome on a bike are built into the very design of every road. But we can’t make that future happen without your financial support today.

Will you give today to join the fight for better, safer places to ride?

The icing on the donut: Cider Ride 2019

It’s been a great fall for WABA: Open Streets, progress on Long Bridge, more than 60 people showing up to testify for safer streets at the Vision Zero Hearing. Plus, the Presidents rode Capital Bikeshare bikes in the Nats’ World Series victory parade. Then, to put the icing on the cake donut: Cider Ride!

November 2nd dawned cool and clear — a little chilly for standing around, but good temps for a bike ride! Almost 500 bicyclists gathered at Dance Place to check in, get their Cider Ride carabiner mugs, and fill their water bottles, before setting off on WABA’s last ride of 2019.

The cider was hot, the pies were enormous, and our ride marshals looked glamorous in brand-new (!) marshal vests.

Spiffy new marshal vests!

Bicyclists of all ages enjoyed donuts at Proteus Bikes and our new pit stop at Bladensburg Waterfront Park before continuing their ride, and riders on the 55-mile Honeycrisp route took a loop around the Patuxent Research Refuge before resting at the 30 mile mark at Buddy Attick Lake Park.

A rider and their 2019 Cider Ride mug at Buddy Attick Park.

Staff and volunteers were ready with pie as participants rolled into the post-ride celebration at Brookland’s Dew Drop Inn,  where music, food, and drink kept the party going late into the afternoon.

So much pie. Which isn’t a terrible problem to have.

Thanks to everyone who came out for Cider Ride! I hope we’ll see you December 18th at our WABA Member Holiday Party at Franklin Hall. You can check out more photos from Cider Ride below— but first, thanks again to all our sponsors:

Gold Sponsor:

Bronze Sponsors:

Find a gallery of photos from Cider Ride 2019 below: