Celebrating 15 Years of 50 States

On Saturday, September 8th, WABA hosted the 50 States Ride!

Despite wet weather predictions, hundreds of riders joined us to pedal one of three routes and explore the District by bike! While the rain eventually did materialize, it did nothing to dampen spirits—riders made their way around the city, ticking off state-named avenues one by one on the 50 States, Route 66, and 13 Colonies routes. Afterward, participants celebrated the ride’s 15th year at Mellow Mushroom, collected a free drink and t-shirt, and basked in the glow of the day’s accomplishments—and plenty of hills.

To all the riders: thank you for supporting WABA! Like all signature rides, the proceeds from the 50 States 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 Cider Ride on November 3rd!

We’ve collected some photos from the ride below, but, first, a final shoutout to our sponsors:

Enjoy these highlights from this year’s 50 States Ride!

 

What’s new with 50 States?

This year marks the 15th anniversary of WABA’s legendary 50 States Ride. First started in 2003, the 50 States Ride holds many superlatives. It’s WABA’s longest-standing signature event. It’s WABA’s biggest and most popular ride. It’s a local institution, coming in at #1 in Andrea Sieger’s “111 Places in Washington That You Must Not Miss”. For anyone new to the ride, it’s best described as an “urban scavenger hunt, by bike”.

The 50 States Ride is a well-loved tradition, but we think there’s room for some updates to keep things interesting. So, this year, we’ll be adding a few new features:

Route 66: If you’ve already registered, you saw that we’ve added a third route option. Route 66 is a 35-mile route that tours 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. Route 66 is a middle distance option between the two classic routes, 50 States and 13 Colonies. But, don’t worry, there are still plenty of hills. Welcome to the new American road trip! We hope you enjoy it.

“State Style” Costume Contest: With Tour de Fat not coming to DC this year, there’s a vacuum where silliness on bikes is concerned. We want to recapture some of that silliness, so we’re running a contest: dress up in a costume, show off your style, or highlight your wacky or unique bike. The theme is *states*, so you can choose to show off your home state, or you can interpret the theme more broadly: state of mind, stately, etc. Full costumes may or may not be your thing—full costumes, team tutus, helmet decorations, or a simple state-themed jersey are all welcome*.

Rules: To enter the contest, just post a picture of yourself, all costumed up, during the ride to Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, with #statestyle #50statesride by 6pm on the day of the ride. We’ll decide on the best costume, and the winner will get a free one-year membership, a 50 States VIP cycling cap, and a social media shoutout that will bring them everlasting fame and fortune.

*Please don’t dress up as anything offensive. This contest is for fun, and we’d really hate for you to bring the mood down for other people.

Scavenger Hunt: The 50 States route has always been a bit of a scavenger hunt. You explore the city, get lost, and find your way again, seeing new places in the city along the way. But unless you have the world’s greatest sense of direction, you don’t always really know where you are, or anything about the place. We want to give you the chance to know the District even better and add another level of fun—through an actual scavenger hunt! The hunt will be included in your cue sheet booklet. It’s totally optional, but it will be a fun way to connect with the neighborhoods you’re riding through.

Here’s to the next 15 years of riding 50 States!

Newsflash: WABA in the Wild is amazing!

Last week, we finished WABA in the Wild, a peer-to-peer fundraiser and supported bicycle tour of the C&O Canal towpath. Riders cheerfully wheeled through 184.5 muddy, dusty, gravel-y, and sweaty miles, from Cumberland, MD to Georgetown, DC over three-and-a-half days. They marked the end of the trip with one rider’s toothy family tradition: a WABA in the Wild “power smile”.

All smiles at mile zero!

Donations are still coming in, but so far 11 riders have raised a whopping $15,197 for WABA. Their efforts are helping to make bicycling better for everyone in the region—we owe them a huge thank you!

Here is one rider’s take on their ride:

“I enjoy riding long distances, so riding the towpath was right up my alley and having WABA with me was the best idea ever. WABA has been educating me for several years on riding safely in the region, so I trusted them to guide me on this ride down the towpath. It was much harder than I imagined, but when I was tired and couldn’t go another step there was a staffer cheering me on that I could do this.

I would do the WABA in Wild ride again just to be out with nature, going through the Paw Paw Tunnel, seeing Great Falls and Harpers Ferry. But being with other like-minded riders and the WABA staff made this a truly memorable experience. I loved every minute of it!”

We’ll let the pictures below tell rest of the story of our trip, but, if you’re interested in joining us for WABA in the Wild, we are running the trip again in October! Put your name on the interest list for early access to registration.

That’s a wrap for the Vasa Ride (plus photos!)

On Saturday, April 7th, WABA hosted the Last Vasa Ride! Riders joined us for a wonderful spring ride and celebrated the, ah, “wonderful spring weather” with blueberry soup and meatballs at REI afterwards. It was cold, but the cherry blossoms in full bloom, Swedish treats, and vibrant community brought warmth to the day.

To all the riders that attended: thank you for supporting WABA! Like all signature rides, the proceeds from the 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 a spring event. Otherwise, we’ll see you at the 50 States & 13 Colonies Ride in September!

We’ve collected some photos from the ride below, but, first, a final shoutout to our sponsors:

 

You’re invited: WABA Member Holiday Party!

 

When: Wednesday, December 13th, 6-9pm

Where: Bar Roubaix, 1400 Irving St NW, Washington, DC 20010 (former location of Acre 121)

Who: WABA members (don’t worry, you can join at the door!)

RSVP: Join the Holiday Party event on Facebook and invite your WABA friends

All WABA members are invited to join the WABA Staff, Board of Directors, and your fellow WABA members on Wednesday, December 13th at Bar Roubaix in Columbia Heights for an evening of bicycle cheer.

Come eat, drink, and be merry with us in celebration of this year’s successes and mingle with fellow WABA members. The party is free and there will be drink specials available for you to purchase at the bar.

Bar Roubaix (a new, bicycle themed bar!) has generously agreed to match the first $1,000 you donate to WABA at the party! And, 20% of the proceeds from the night go to WABA, so come ready to support better bicycling and enjoy some drinks!

Want to volunteer to help sell WABA merchandise and keep the night running smoothly? Sign up here.

This party is for WABA members (don’t worry, you can join at the door). WABA is a member-supported nonprofit organization and your yearly membership dues and donations fund our ongoing advocacy, education, and outreach work. We can’t do this without your financial investment. If you have friends who are not WABA members, bring them and encourage them to join at the party! And, if you’re not sure if you’re a current dues-paying member, email membership@waba.org or check a recent email from WABA—there will be a note at the bottom.

Questions? Email events@waba.org or call 202-518-0524 x218.

WABA Membership: An All Access Pass to Adventure

Maybe you ride because you want to spend more time exploring parts of the region beyond your usual pedaling grounds. Maybe you want to make new friends to bike with on the weekends, or share a ride with your family. Perhaps you have always wondered what a gravel trail feels like. WABA members get to enjoy all of this and more through WABA signature events!

Our signature events gather bike communities from Maryland, Virginia, and DC several times a year to celebrate better bicycling for everyone in the region—and they’re a blast!

If you like riding past the first flowers of spring, you want to try Vasa Ride. Perhaps scavenger hunts are more your scene? The 50 States Ride would make you happy. Whatever kind of riding you are into, we have a signature event for you to plug into the larger bike community and put miles under your wheels.

Our signature events are designed with you in mind, and are only open to WABA members!

Join

Last week, we finished up a very special signature event: our only multi-day ride, WABA in the Wild. WABA in the Wild explores one of the bicycling gems of our region, the C&O Canal Towpath, where riders pedal all 184.5 miles and camp along the way. WABA in the Wild also exemplifies the dedication of our members to WABA’s work in the region. By the end of the ride, participants raise a minimum of $1,000 to support WABA. This year’s twenty riders collectively raised a whopping $25,314.47… and the donations are still coming in!

Yes, those are custom WABA in the Wild jerseys.

WABA in the Wild is a bucket list ride for many folks, and we make easy for you to focus on pedaling by taking care of food, lodging, and getting vehicles to and from Cumberland and DC.

But, you don’t have to commit to a three-day ride to support WABA. Since all of our signature events make a direct impact on WABA’s work, supporting better bicycling in the region can be as simple as buying a beer at Tour de Fat, making a donation at the Bicyclist Choice Awards, or registering for The Cider Ride, which is coming up on Saturday, November 4th!

And, we’re working hard to make our events better and support more riders in the region. Since WABA works everywhere in the region, we’re looking to host an event in each jurisdiction with fewer barriers to entry. WABA is expanding our Sponsor-a-Rider program to all the rides in 2018, and hopes to provide bicycles and helmets to riders otherwise unable to participate.

Wherever you are in the region, we want to make it easy and safe for you to ride your bicycle. Join WABA as a member, and then join us at a WABA signature event to meet new friends and enjoy a great ride. In fact, with beautiful fall weather just around the corner, why not make it to The Cider Ride?

Hot cider and donuts included.

Last chance to support a WABA in the Wild rider!

On Friday, twenty-two WABA in the Wild riders will depart for their 184.5 mile trip down the C&O Canal towpath. In the leadup to this trip, they’ve collectively raised $24,449.47 for WABA and better bicycling in our region. Each rider has a minimum fundraising goal of $1,000, and some are still working on theirs! For many riders, WABA in the Wild is their first time fundraising this much and/or riding this far — an incredible personal challenge. All of us at WABA feel deeply privileged to be a part of this experience and the beneficiary of their hard work, and can’t wait to celebrate with them on the trail.

Riders come to this event for a patchwork of reasons, but what unites them all is their commitment to WABA. They believe in WABA’s ability to effectively and efficiently work towards better bicycling in the DC region and they are putting in the hard work of raising money and awareness so that we can build on our success. This year, WABA has already doubled the number of adults we taught to ride a bike, opened the region’s first protected intersection in Silver Spring, and helped bring Capital Bikeshare to Prince George’s County. These riders are making it possible for WABA to push even further in the next year, and we are so grateful for their support.

This is your last chance to build on their momentum! The WABA in the Wild riders are hoping to exceed their collective fundraising goal of $25,000 by the end of the ride on Monday. Help them get there by donating to a rider below!

What in the world is WABA in the Wild?

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!

 

FRIDAY: Tour de Fat Battle of the Bands

Can’t wait until “Fat Tire presents the Tour de Fat” to show your support for WABA by listening to great music while drinking great beer?

Come check out New Belgium Brewing’s Battle of the Bands this Friday at Penn Social! Local bands Stone Driver (DC) and The Muddy Crows (Silver Spring) will be battling for the chance to play with Vintage Trouble at “Fat Tire presents the Tour de Fat” on July 22nd. You vote with your dollar (while supporting WABA!) to send the winner to the Tour de Fat stage!

Join us!

Show your support for the band you like best by putting a donation in their tip jar. The band with the most cash at the end of the night wins and will play at “Fat Tire presents the Tour de Fat” with Vintage Trouble! The best part is, all the cash will be donated directly to WABA to support better bicycling in our region!

Penn Social
801 E Street NW
Washington, DC 20004
Friday, July 7th at 8pm

RSVP

Meet the new WABA development team!

Kristin

Meet Kristin, our new Development Director!

After years of supporting WABA as a member, donor, instructor, volunteer, and 50 States Ride enthusiast, I am thrilled to take the next step and lead WABA’s new development team.

I started bicycling in the city when Capital Bikeshare came to town in 2010 (I still have my black key!), and fell in love with DC as I learned how much more lies beyond Metro’s footprint. I joined WABA as a member in 2012, and realized immediately I had found something special. The next year, I started following the Women & Bicycles Facebook page (what started as an online group is now growing WABA program) and began to understand the barriers to bicycling in the DC region. Many people felt they lacked the resources and support they needed to feel empowered to get on a bike and ride safely with traffic, a sentiment the online group underlined.

In 2014, I jumped at the chance to become a League Certified Instructor with WABA to help people through and over those barriers. Teaching Learn to Ride classes for adults, oftentimes women who grew up in a community where girls couldn’t ride bikes, was transformational. Just as it is for children, learning to ride is thrilling and delightful and changes everything. Those women, many of whom became bike commuters and advocates, inspire me every day.

Throughout those same years, I was building a career in development, fundraising for a community-based organization in Ward 8, and then a national conservation organization. I also serve on the board of Gearin’ Up, a nonprofit community bicycle shop and WABA partner.

I’ll be leading our new development team to deepen the value of membership, deliver the quality events so many riders enjoy, and grow our base of financial support so we can get more people riding safely and happily on bikes throughout the region.

If you’re interested in deepening your relationship with WABA, or have thoughts or questions about where we’re headed, I’d love to connect! My email is kristin.frontiera@waba.org.

 

Cyrus

Meet Cyrus, our new Events Coordinator!

I’ve been on a bicycle since I was a toddler, riding in a special seat attached to my Mom’s bike rack, and I’ve been exploring roads and bike trails in the DC region ever since. My relationship with biking deepened when, in 2015, I rode across the country from DC to Seattle with two of my friends to raise money for a national environmental nonprofit. Pedaling across the country gave me a thorough lesson how cyclists are treated in different places and how we develop transportation infrastructure and policy for bikes, pedestrians, cars, and transit all across the US.

The thing I love most about biking is the ability to get from one place to another under my own steam. I love sharing that joy and freedom with new and seasoned cyclists alike. I strongly believe in WABA’s mission of promoting bicycling for fun, fitness, and transportation and, having previously worked in the environmental field, I believe that improving people’s transportation options will lead to a healthier, more livable region.  

I’m thrilled to be part of WABA and the DC bike community and am looking forward to planning safe, accessible rides to bring the community together! If you want to talk to me about events, bikes, or what we can do to make better bicycling in the region, reach out to me at cyrus.chimento@waba.org.

 

Laura

Meet Laura, our new Business Partnerships Coordinator!

An Indianapolis native, I conquered the Crossroads of America via bike. In a city where a driver’s license is the epitome of youthful freedom, I found independence in my summers and afternoons at an early age. I used the bicycle as my primary mode of transportation since age 10, and continued to bike commute throughout high school, where I was voted “Most Eco-Friendly” for that simple act. Upon attending Indiana University, I turned my love of being on the bike into sport by participating in the Women’s Little 500, racing on an independent women’s team.

Through my time working in a local bike shop, friends in the Bloomington bicycling community pulled me out of the racing bubble and introduced me to the world of bicycle advocacy, where I found my most meaningful relationship with cycling: I helped implement city safety initiatives, led beginner rides for women, worked with the University on their development plan for safer campus cycling, and volunteered at the Bloomington Bike Project’s Ladies Night as a mechanic.

Hailing from the marketing, growth, and fundraising side of technology startups, I couldn’t be more excited to advance WABA’s vision and impact through local and national business partnerships. If you own or work for a company that is looking for partnership or sponsorship opportunities, I would love to go for a ride, have a coffee, or set up a call! You can reach me at laura.miller@waba.org.

 

Tara

Meet Tara, our new Membership Coordinator!

Hello, everyone!

I am very excited to introduce myself as the Membership Coordinator here at WABA!

I grew up in Philadelphia and moved to the Washington, DC area about four years ago. I love being able to explore the city, especially on a bike. For me, biking is a great way to stay engaged and to travel effectively in the area.

I am really excited to serve the WABA community in this role because without the support and dedication of our members, advocating for safer streets and sidewalks would be next to impossible. I am looking forward to getting to know our membership more deeply in order to best serve the needs of the community and WABA supporters.