In 2018, we added a third route to the offerings for the 50 States Ride. It was called Route 66, and, at about 35 miles, we created it to provide a good middle ground between the 50 States route (60 miles) and the 13 Colonies route (15 miles).
Route 66 leads you on the eight streets named for states that the original US Route 66 passed through. You’ll ride these states in geographical order, east to west, without riding on any other state streets in the District. There are still hills. You still see a ton of the city. And, it’s still a really fun time!
Take a look at this year’s draft route for Route 66!
This year, we’re bringing Route 66 back and making it part of the regular lineup of 50 States Ride routes. Why? You loved it!
Nearly a third of all 50 States Ride participants in 2018 chose to ride Route 66, which tells us there was significant demand for a middle-ground route like Route 66. And, we got a ton of great, positive feedback about the route:
“Loved the new Route 66 option. I’ve done 50 states in the past and, for lack of a better way of putting it, it was like a 50 states experience quite so many stupid hills :)”
“I loved the new route — 33 miles is the perfect distance. I feel accomplished, saw parts of the city I don’t usually see, and still had energy to enjoy the after party.”
“Bravo to those who designed The Route 66 course! A job well done!”
“I loved the middle distance option – it made inviting a “new-to-cycling” friend MUCH more enjoyable. 15 would have been too short, 60+ would have been way too long, but 35 was just right.”
This isn’t surprising. The 50 States route has a reputation for being incredibly difficult, and, while the challenge is part of the fun, sometimes you don’t want to go on a ride quite so…intense.
We’re hoping that continuing to provide a number of different route length options at our signature ride events will open them up to bicyclists of various comfort levels and styles of biking, and make our community bigger. And we hope you’re part of it!
Note: Details of WABA in the Wild 2020 are subject to change as the COVID-19 crisis continues to develop.
Join the interest list (below) for updates.
Ready to invest in something bigger?
Join WABA for the best long weekend of the year. On this four-day fundraising ride, you’ll journey 184.5 miles from Cumberland, MD to Georgetown on the C&O Canal Towpath—and, in the months before the trip, raise a minimum of $1000 to support WABA’s work for better bicycling in our region.
Don’t let the mileage or the fundraising goal daunt you: WABA staff will be there with snacks and support every mile of this life-changing ride. New friends, great meals, camping under the stars…and, after seeing this gorgeous wild region by bicycle you’ll never look at it the same again. We’ll take this journey together—and WABA will take care of everything so you can focus on the ride and meeting your fundraising goal.
Registration will open in summer 2020.
Got questions? Join us for a virtual interest meeting on Wednesday, June 3 at 5 pm.
Sign up for the interest list to receive the meeting link the week of the virtual meeting:
Can’t make the meeting? Email email@example.com to schedule a call where you can ask all your questions!
Cost: $250, due at registration
Fundraising Commitment: Minimum $1000 by Monday, October 5, 2020
Included in Registration: Meals, snacks, and beverages; mess kit; 3 nights of accommodations; transportation for you, your gear, and your bike to Cumberland, MD from Rockville, MD; and a WABA in the Wild Jersey for you to wear on the ride and beyond.
Accommodations: Camping (bring your own gear or borrow from a friend; WABA does not provide gear.)
Showers: All 3 nights
Start Date: Friday, October 9, 1 PM
Start Location: REI Rockville (910 Rose Avenue, North Bethesda, MD)
End Date: Monday, October 12, 5 PM (Georgetown, DC)
End Location: Thompson Boat Center (2900 Virginia Ave NW, Washington, DC)
Over the summer, you’ll engage with WABA and your fellow riders a few ways:
At a pre-ride orientation at the WABA office one evening;
During a group ride, followed by dinner or drinks;
Via phone and email, with the WABA in the Wild staff, who will support you with everything from what to pack to how to reach your fundraising goal; and
In a Google Group, where you can chat with fellow riders and ride alumni and organize additional meetups or plan fundraisers.
Day 1 Friday, October 9th. Cumberland. 0 miles.
We will gather as a group at REI in the early afternoon. You will meet the WABA tour staff, check in and review and finalize paperwork, pack your bike into a Uhaul, and get on a bus with the other riders to Cumberland. (You’ll have dropped off your gear at WABA earlier in the week.)
At camp, you’ll set up your tent and get to know the other riders before your first camp dinner, cooked by your friendly WABA tour staff! After dinner, we’ll have a fireside chat to talk about WABA’s work and the ride ahead.
Day 2 Saturday, October 10th. Cumberland to Hancock. ~62 miles.
After breakfast, we’ll hold our first safety circle, and head to the C&O Canal trailhead together to take a group photo. Our ride will begin with the beautiful Appalachian mountains as a backdrop. You’ll ride the whole morning, with a snack break, before you hit the lunch stop in Paw Paw. After a delicious meal, you’ll get back in the saddle and head through the Canal’s most famous feature: the Paw Paw Tunnel. After a full afternoon of riding (and another snack break) you’ll hit Hancock, one of the Canal Towns. After setting up camp, you’ll dine at the renowned local establishment, Buddy Lou’s Eats and Antiques, before heading back to camp.
Day 3 Sunday, October 11th. Hancock to Brunswick. ~69 miles.
You’ll hit a rhythm on your second day of riding: breakfast, safety circle, ride, snack break, ride—of course, admiring the scenery and getting to know the riders along the way. For lunch, we will stop in unique Williamsport, another Canal Town that will make you want to return for second helping, before heading on towards Brunswick. Here, you’ll be thankful for a hot shower to wash the mud off you and a gourmet meal provided, once again, by your talented WABA tour staff.
Day 4: Monday, October 12th. Brunswick to Georgetown. ~55 miles.
Hopefully, you’ll rise on your final day well-rested, ready to take on the last stretch of the towpath. Touring will be old hat by this time: you’ll breeze through the safety circle and ride through the day, enjoying every last minute of your pedal-powered adventure. Once in Georgetown, you’ll feel like the trip both slipped by and lasted forever, but one thing’s for sure: you’ll be hooked on bicycling, and WABA, like never before.
Sample Daily Schedule
7:00 AM Wake-up call!
7:30 AM Breakfast, prepared in camp by WABA staff (e.g., build-your-own-oatmeal bar or bagel sandwiches, and hot tea, cocoa, and coffee)
8:30 AM Break camp (pack your tent, sleeping bag, and the rest of your gear so WABA staff can load it into the gear vehicle)
8:45 AM Safety Circle + review of the day ahead and daily cue sheet, led by WABA staff
9:00 AM “Tortoise” Group rolls out
9:30 AM “Hares” Group rolls out
10–10:30 AM Snack Break #1 (about 10-15 miles from the start. Roll in to cheers from waiting WABA staff! Grab a snack, refill your water bottle, and catch your breath before you continue your ride.)
2:30-3:30 PM Snack Break #2 (about 10-15 miles from lunch. Roll in to cheers from waiting WABA staff! Grab a snack, refill your water bottle, and catch your breath before you continue your ride.)
5:00 PM Arrive at camp! WABA staff are waiting with your gear, snacks, and water.
5:30 PM Set up camp, shower, relax and chat.
6:30 PM Dinner, prepared in camp by WABA staff (e.g. spaghetti with meatballs or chickpeas, garlic bread, green salad, water, gatorade)
8:00 PM Evening Program (e.g. Q&A with a WABA advocate, campfire s’mores, card games). Hot tea, cocoa and coffee are available.
10:00 PM Quiet hours begin.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much does registration cost?
The member rate for WABA in the Wild registration is $250. For non-members, registration costs $275 (and includes an annual WABA membership!)
The registration fee covers all of the costs to put on the ride for you (transportation, lodging, and meals), meaning that 100% of what you fundraise directly supports WABA’s mission.
Will I have to take any time off of work to do this trip?
Probably. This trip takes three-and-a-half days: we will leave for Cumberland on Friday afternoon and return to Georgetown on Monday evening (which is Indigenous Peoples’ Day—a holiday). It will be worth the time off, though!
How much do I have to fundraise?
WABA development staff will work with you to set a goal you can meet! The minimum fundraising goal is $1000.
Where do people send donations?
We will set up a personal fundraising page for you through the WABA website, using a photo and narrative that you provide. People who want to donate to your campaign can do so by credit card through this page. Fundraising through your page is not optional—this is how we track your progress towards your fundraising goal. While you may receive donations by cash, we ask that you make those donations through your own fundraising page in the name of the person, event, or group that provided them. We can work with you on any other logistics, including taking donations by check.
When is the fundraising deadline?
You must meet the fundraising minimum of $1000 by Friday, October 2nd in order to participate in the ride.
What happens if I don’t meet my minimum fundraising goal?
We know that fundraising can be intimidating – especially if it’s your first time! We will do a lot to support you along the way. You can attend an in-person fundraising workshop, where we will walk you through developing a strategy; we’ll send you ample resources to help brainstorm how you will raise the money; and we will be available for check-ins by phone or email to make sure you have the support you need.
We expect that everyone will meet, if not exceed, their personal fundraising goal. However, if you don’t fundraise the full amount by the start of the trip, you will complete a pledge form and your credit card will be charged for the difference after the trip.
How many miles per day will we ride?
You will ride about 65 miles per day. That adds up to more than 184.5 miles: you’ll bike a few extra miles over the course of the trip to get between the towpath and campsites, restaurants, and other sites.
I’m not used to biking that much—should I still register?
Most likely, yes! Our general rule is that if you have experience riding ~30 miles and you can do so a few days in a row, then, with a good pair of padded bike shorts, you can probably do ~65 miles a day. You also have plenty of time to get into shape for riding the distance (we’ll even provide a training plan!).
On the ride itself, people self-select into the “tortoise” or “hare” group based on their usual riding speed—the tortoise group will leave a little earlier in the morning to give you more time to reach each stop. Additionally, we will have a sweep rider to make sure that nobody gets left behind and give you a little extra encouragement if you need it to finish the last few miles.
And, keep in mind that over the trip, the only thing you have to do each day is ride—we’ll take care of almost everything else.
Do I have to carry all my stuff?
Absolutely not! Each morning, you’ll pack up your gear (in one soft-sided bag, such as a duffel, weighing no more than 50lbs) and pile it near the gear vehicle. We’ll load up your gear into the van each morning and have it ready for you each evening at the next campsite. You will need to carry water, snacks if you need to eat more than every 10-15 miles, and any other supplies you need to feel comfortable while riding.
What type of bike do I need?
You’ll need a bike that is comfortable for you, since you’ll be on your bike all day for three days—but it can be a hybrid, touring, road, cyclocross, or mountain bike! We don’t recommend using a racing, triathlon, BMX bicycle. E-bikes are not permitted on National Park Service trails, which includes the C&O Canal towpath. You may want to read about bike fit or get a professional bike fit before the trip. We also recommend you use wider tires (ideally 32mm or wider) that are a bit tougher and knobby. Although the Canal towpath is mostly smooth dirt and small crushed rocks, it does have larger rocks, potholes, wet spots, and ruts and wider, tougher, knobby tires will resist puncture and reduce slipping.
Can I bring multiple bikes?
No. Each rider can only bring one bicycle on WABA in the Wild.
Will there be a bike mechanic on the ride?
No. While there are bike shops in Cumberland, Hancock, and Brunswick, there will not be a mechanic associated with the trip. Because of this, it’s important to make sure your bike is in top condition before the ride. In the event of a mechanical failure, we will carry some basic supplies to fix it yourself or you can take your bike to one of the shops if necessary.
Do I have to wear a helmet?
Yes. You have to wear a helmet every moment you’re on your bike. WABA’s insurance requires it. This is standard for organized rides across the country.
What other major pieces of equipment will I need?
Other than a bike and helmet, you’ll need a tent, sleeping bag, and sleeping pad. Read over our suggested packing list from 2019 to see what else you might need!
What if I don’t have a bike, tent, sleeping bag, or sleeping pad?
You can rent the gear or borrow it from a friend! Let us know if you need some recommendations.
Will I need a lock?
We will lock all the bikes together each evening using a long cable lock and U-lock. However, if you prefer to use your own lock, please feel free to do so.
Do I need to bring food and water?
No. WABA will provide all meals, snacks, and water. However, if you like having extra snacks while riding, like granola bars, or if you have specific tastes in food or drink when you ride, you may consider bringing those yourself.
Are there vegetarian, vegan, or gluten free food options?
Yes! Once you register, we’ll ask you for your dietary preferences and needs. Our menu is vegetarian, with gluten-free options.
Can I stay in a hotel?
No. WABA in the Wild is incredibly special as a shared experience between riders, volunteers, and staff, and we do not have the capacity to account for riders splitting off from the main group at camp.
Will I get to shower on this trip? What about bathrooms?
There are shower facilities on all nights. There are permanent bathrooms at each campsite and at some points along the way. There are portable bathrooms available consistently during the ride.
Will campsites have electricity?
All three campsites have limited electrical outlets that will be set up with a phone charging station (or other small electronics). We strongly discourage bringing any large electronics, such as laptops or tablets. Priority use of electrical outlets will be given to WABA staff for meal preparation and any riders who need electricity for medical reasons, such as CPAP machines.
How do I get to and from the start and end locations?
Can I drop off my bag beforehand at the WABA office?
Yes. In fact, any gear you want us to transport for you, you must drop off in one soft-sided bag, such as a duffel, weighing no more than 50lbs, at the WABA office (2599 Ontario Rd NW, Washington, DC) no later than Wednesday, October 7th at 7:30pm. We will transport your gear directly from the office, and you will not be able to access it until we arrive at camp in Cumberland on Friday evening.
Do I get anything to commemorate this huge personal challenge?
Each WABA in the Wild rider will receive a new, custom WABA in the Wild jersey, thanks to our friends at Primal Wear. Primal supports biking at all levels, from multi-day road races to advances in local bike infrastructure.
What is the cancellation policy?
Registration for WABA in the Wild, like our other signature events, is nonrefundable and happens rain or shine.
If you cancel before registration is over (July 30), you are not liable for the $1,000 fundraising commitment.
If you cancel after registration closes, you are liable for the $1,000 fundraising commitment, except in situations with extenuating circumstances. We’ll address these on a case-by-case basis. This ride will sell out, and dropping out will not only impact fundraising for WABA, but will take away another member’s opportunity to participate.
I have more questions.
Please ask us! Contact the WABA events team at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-518-0524 x218 with any questions.
On Saturday, June 15th, WABA hosted the first annual Sweet Ride & Shindig, presented by Conte’s Bike Shop.
Friends: it doesn’t get any better than this. Perfect weather, ideal location, and great company conspired to make this an incredibly fun bike ride and party. (And, we gave out some pretty great bandanas.)
Riders chose from 5, 15, 30, or 50 mile routes that many described as full of discovery, with new trails to learn about and unfamiliar connections to find that stitched together a picture of how to get around Northern Virginia by bike. (Depending on the route, there may have been some surprise hills, too.)
After the ride, attendees returned to the Shindig. With token from WABA in hand, they were treated to either a beer from Port City Brewing or an ice cream cone. With tunes from Chasing Autumn, yard games, and a mini-expo of bike-related businesses onsite, the Grounds in Crystal City provided the perfect setting to while away the afternoon, hanging out with old friends, making new ones, and basking in the glow of a great summer day.
To all the riders: thank you for supporting WABA! Like all signature rides, the proceeds from the Sweet Ride & Shindig directly fund the hard work that WABA is doing to make bicycling better for everyone in the region. Your support helps us advocate for better trails and more bike lanes—safer conditions for all. Thank you.
We’ve collected some photos from the ride below, but first, a final shoutout to our sponsors:
After a successful first Sprouts Ride, the Sweet Ride & Shindig, presented by Conte’s Bike Shop, is our second new signature event launching this spring. Hopefully we’ll see you there on June 15th in Crystal City!
There are two main parts to this event.
First, the Sweet Ride. Riders will get to choose from four routes around Northern Virginia: approximately, 5-miles, 15-miles, 30-miles, and 50-miles. (We’re still working on them, but we’ll update you as we get the routes pinned down.) Whichever one you choose, you’ll get the classic WABA signature ride experience: bustling check-in, ride marshals, snack-filled pit stops, and nice people. It’s a great ride to bring your friends, throw together a picnic to share at a pit stop, and enjoy the ride!
But, the fun doesn’t stop when you get off your bike. When you arrive at the Shindig, you’ll check-in with WABA to pick up your free ride swag and a ticket (this will get you a freebie—either beer or ice cream!). Then, you can enjoy the rest of the afternoon jamming out to a live band, grab snacks at a food truck, sample offerings from a local brewery (the proceeds will support WABA!), engage with other local organizations and businesses, and continue basking in the glow of an awesome summer ride.
Oh, one more thing: the Shindig is open to public. You won’t get all the great freebies if you don’t sign up for the ride, but you can still be part of the event, meet some neighbors, enjoy the afternoon with your friends, and support WABA!
As with all WABA signature rides, the Sweet Ride & Shindig is a fundraiser for WABA. We organize five big rides per year to convene our bike community, have a good time riding together, and raise money for WABA’s advocacy, education, and outreach across the region.
So, let’s recap:
You can ride…or not. Anyone is welcome to come have fun.
Spend the afternoon with us—there’ll be plenty of stuff to do.
Give money to help WABA make bicycling better for everyone.
Sound like a sweet deal? We think so, too. Register for the Sweet Ride & Shindig today!
On Sunday, April 28th, WABA hosted the first annual Sprouts Ride!
A dreary start to the morning broke open to reveal balmy sunshine and the grins of riders as they discovered—or rediscovered—how much fun it is to go for a low-stress, casual bike ride around the city.
Riders could choose from two routes: the 6-mile “Bean Sprout Root” and the 14-mile “Sapling Root”. Many riders enjoyed that the routes showed them how to ride their bikes to and from local destinations that they would visit in the course of everyday life: Kingman Island Park, Audi and Nationals Stadiums (Stadia?), and Anacostia Park, while also showcasing the federal DC, with views of the Capitol and the mall.
After a fun ride, participants returned to REI to catch live music from Roan Gap, a local bluegrass band, play games and learn about bike maintenance from REI staff, pick up a free beer or kombucha, and eat tacos! Some riders also took action: after having ridden nearby the K St corridor, riders signed a petition to make K St a better place to bike, walk, and live.
To all the riders: thank you for supporting WABA! Like all signature rides, the proceeds from the Sprouts Ride directly fund the hard work that WABA is doing to make bicycling better for everyone in the region. Your support helps us advocate for better trails and more bike lanes—safer conditions for all. Thank you.
We’ve collected some photos from the ride below, but, first, a final shoutout to our sponsors:
Happy first day of spring! We have some very exciting news: we are launching two new signature events this spring! You heard right. Two. New. Events.
First comes the Sprouts Ride, on Sunday, April 28th. For those of you who have been attending WABA events for awhile, you probably remember that this the time of year when we usually hosted the Vasa Ride. Well, 2018 was the last Vasa Ride, and the Sprouts Ride is not just a rebrand—it’s a whole new thing!
As with all WABA signature rides, the Sprouts Ride is a fundraiser for WABA. We organize five big rides per year to convene our bike community, have a good time riding together, and raise money for WABA’s advocacy, education, and outreach across the region.
The Sprouts Ride is going to be FUN. Starting at REI’s flagship store in the NoMa neighborhood of Washington, DC, we’ve planned 5-mile and 15-mile routes, rolling past iconic local landmarks, premier regional multi-use trails, and wonderful city neighborhoods. These routes are the perfect chance for you to relax and enjoy some springtime biking in the city, to bring your kids along, or invite a friend who is new to biking. (We’ll also set up pit stops, so you can get that perfect photo op.)
A great thing about the Sprouts Ride is that your day doesn’t end after you get off your bike. We’ve got you covered: REI’s flagship store in NoMa is hosting a celebration of all things bicycling that will feature food, drinks, and music from a live band for the afternoon. Hang out and enjoy the afternoon at REI, grab a drink at Red Bear Brewing next door, or explore the many offerings of the surrounding NoMa neighborhood.
So—start spring off on a good foot, get your friends and family together, and get outside for some two-wheeled urban fun!
We held our fifth annual Bicyclists’ Choice Awards event on Wednesday, February 13th at the Josephine Butler Parks Center.
It was humbling—so many people, working all over the region, are putting in hard work to make getting around this region better. That work couldn’t be more important. We need a transportation system that makes people feel safe and empowered to get around by bike. We are so happy that we got the chance to recognize the people making it happen. Take a look through the slideshow below to see all of these everyday superheroes!
Our host, Christina Sturdivant Sani, a freelance journalist and DC native who has long covered transportation in the region, walked us through the evening that brought together 200 excited and passionate bicyclists, advocates, WABA supporters, and award winners to celebrate the amazing achievements made in 2018 to make bicycling better in our region.
Thank you to everyone who came out to watch and support the awards show: the event could not have happened without you—your votes, your enthusiasm and encouragement, and your own hard work and support to make bicycling better in our region.
We also want to give a big thanks to our sponsors for the event:
Open to the public. This is your time to mix and mingle with WABA members, staff, and board.
7:30pm – 9:00pm: Bicyclists’ Choice Awards
Open to the public. Help us celebrate the people working hard and making progress on building a better region for biking.
9:00pm: Gathering at Bar Roubaix
Open to the public. Head to nearby Bar Roubaix to keep the celebration going!
We’ll send an email by January 21 with the details to RSVP to this event ($10 recommended donation for a beer and snacks). And, look out for the chance to vote on who you think should win this year’s awards—coming soon.
We threw our annual Holiday Party for WABA members last week, on Wednesday, December 12th!
Members, WABA staff, board members, and our bike-curious friends, family, and neighbors shared an evening of good cheer and celebrated all that we’ve accomplished together over the last year. Check out the photos below!
A huge thank goes to Bar Roubaix and Arturo (manager of Bar Roubaix and WABA member since 2011) for hosting us! A special thanks also goes to New Belgium Brewing for buying a round of drinks, and Sugar Shack, Big Wheel Bikes, Rapha, Evo Cycle Works, CAVA, VeloFix, 3 Stars Brewing, Capital Bikeshare, REI, and the Daily Rider for all the raffle prizes. We are so grateful for the the deep commitment of our community to building a region that’s better to get around in.
Here are a few of our wins this year:
These victories aren’t possible without you. You and the thousands of other people who support WABA are a fiery reminder of how much power we have to make our region a better place to ride a bike.
On Saturday, November 3rd, WABA hosted the Cider Ride!
The rain stopped and sunny, blue skies opened up just in time for hundreds of riders join us in a celebration of fall! Riders chose one of three routes, all of them showcasing our region’s incredible multi-use trails, colorful fall foliage, and delicious cider and pie along the way.
Fall foliage on the trails makes us this happy, too.
Many riders took the chance to advocate for more trails; we worked with local businesses in Hyattsville to host a pop-up pit stop at a gap in the Hyattsville Trolley Trail. Along with sampling the offerings of several nearby businesses, riders wrote postcards to Maryland state officials to ask for quality trail design and accelerated construction of the trail extension, which would fill a critical gap in the regional trail network. Click here to sign up for future updates on the Trolley Trail.
Afterwards, participants celebrated the beautiful ride, ate more pie, and drank another cup of steaming cider at Dew Drop Inn. Biking, advocacy, treats, and friends—it can’t get any better!
Riders at Dew Drop Inn, enjoying donuts and the snazzy Cider Ride mugs!
To all the riders: thank you for supporting WABA! Like all signature rides, the proceeds from Cider Ride directly fund the hard work that WABA is doing to make bicycling better for everyone in the region. Your support helps us advocate for better trails and more bike lanes. Thank you.
If you want to get more involved with WABA, sign up for our advocacy alerts, join us for a City Cycling class, or volunteer at an event. Otherwise, we’ll see you at the Holiday Party in December.
We’ve collected some photos from the ride below, but, first, a final shoutout to our sponsors: