- Ride start – the corner of S. Union St. & Prince St. in Old Town Alexandria
- Start time – 6:30 PM
- End time – 8:00 PM
- Ride end – Los Tios grill, 2615 Mt. Vernon Ave.
- Distance – approx. 6 miles
- Bike KINDly outreach
- DC Bike Ambassador trailers, light giveaways, and activities
- Adult bike classes
- In-school bike education
1. Confidence = Knowledge + ExperienceThe more you know about riding (knowledge) and the more time you spend on a bike (experience), the better you’ll be able to handle yourself. You can find knowledge all over the internet or you can come to one of WABA’s City Cycling classes. Other options might include asking your friends or that one coworker of yours who rides everyday (you know who I’m talking about). Have a situation you’re curious about? Ask for advice on the forum or email us, we’re happy to help! What’s more, you already have more knowledge than you think. Your experiences as a driver and a pedestrian will help you build confidence as a bicyclist. Remember the last time you drove a car or walked in the city? What did you see that made you nervous? Were you confident driving? Walking? Where did that confidence come from? And all of your biking experience is valuable, whether you were on streets, sidewalks, or trails. Confidence gained: Knowing that there are resources and people out there who can help. Your experience moving around the city has prepared you for biking.
2. Get ready the right wayStand over your bike. No, don’t sit on the seat, just stand over the top with the seat behind you. Good. Now use a foot (whichever one you prefer) to lift a pedal up and forward until it rests at a 45-degree angle upwards. This is called the Power Pedal Position. Go ahead, put your foot up on the pedal. With your other foot flat on the ground, you should feel pretty stable (you can squeeze a brake, if that helps). This is your new ready position, remember it! From now on, every time you come to a stop on your bike, your first priority is to put yourself back into this position so you can get moving when you need to. Move the bike between your legs and notice that you don’t move with it. You’re independently stable (and that’s a good thing)! Confidence gained: Knowing that if the bike wobbles, you won’t. When it’s time to go, you can simply go without fumbling for the pedal since it’s already under your foot.
3. Start with powerIf you’re in Power Pedal Position (see #2 above), we can jump right in. If not, go back a step and read instead of skipping ahead. All set? Good. From here, starting with confidence is easy! All you need to do is step down on the Power Pedal, using your momentum to sit up on the bike seat at the same time. But what about the other foot? Glad you asked! Since your Power Pedal foot is now at the bottom of its arc, the other pedal will be sitting right on top. You don’t even have to look for it, it’s right there. Seriously, don’t look. Trust us. Here’s a video. (via Sheldon Brown) Confidence gained: No more worrying about starting your bike in traffic. You can start with total confidence that you aren’t going to fall, wobble, or bump into anything. Bonus confidence! You look more in control and that projects confidence even when you’re not feeling it. Fake it ’til you make it!
4. Stop smartYour bike has two brakes, one on the front wheel and one on the back (if your bike has fewer than two brakes, don’t freak out). They’re designed to work together, so from now on use both of your brakes when you want to stop. Squeeze them gently but firmly at the same time. How firmly? Imagine you’re squeezing a ketchup bottle but you don’t want your plate covered in red. When you are almost stopped, you can slide forward off of your saddle and place a foot (either one, but not your Power Pedal foot) flat on the ground. Then reset to Power Pedal Position. Confidence gained: Stopping with authority gives you authority. No wibbles and wobbles means no worries.
5. Get to know your bikeHow can you be confident in your bike if you don’t know what to expect? Get to know your bike when it’s working well–immediately after a tune-up at the local bike shop would be nice. Learn how it looks, sounds and feels when it’s ship-shape: tires full of air, brakes aligned and squeal-free, chain lubricated and quiet. That way, as soon as something starts to look dirty, feel squishy or sound scrape-y, you know it’s worth paying attention to. Confidence gained: Knowing you can trust in your bike to get you where you need to be. Knowing which sounds/sights/feels are okay and which are warning signs. Bonus confidence! Being able to explain at least a little better what’s wrong at the bike shop.
6. Take a City Cycling class!Confidence levels still a bit low? Come on out and join us at a City Cycling class! We’ll take you from zero to hero (or at least as far as you want to go in one 3-hour class). Every City Cycling class is divided into two tracks. The Intro track is for folks who want to practice the basics and bike handling, while the Confident track is for folks who want to dive into the thick of things on city streets. Both tracks will help you feel better about your riding and get the most out of your time on a bike. Keep your eyes on our calendar; fall 2014 classes are coming soon. Or you can sign up here to be notified when new classes are available. Confidence gained: All of the above, and then some!
- Sat, Sept. 7 in Arlington
- Sat., Sept. 14 in D.C.
- Sat., Sept. 22 in D.C.
- Sat., Sept. 28 in Arlington
- “As I have been cycling for a number of years I was wondering if the class would be too basic for me, but it was not. I was very pleased (and surprised about how much I didn’t know!)”
- “All of the instructors are attentive and encouraging and helpful.”
- “Taking a bike ride around the city streets after [the class] made me feel more secure (and confident!) riding around cars.”
- “The instructors were top notch. They taught me what I needed to learn in a happy, down to earth way and did not make me feel stupid for not knowing basic things.”
- You are at least 18 years old
- You have never tried to learn how to ride a bike
- You have tried to learn and have not been successful
Though winter is keeping skies gray and temperatures low, the groundhog missed his shadow. Spring is around the corner, and WABA’s education department is getting ready to go. The requests are flooding in for classes and seminars and youth events. Our calendar is filling up fast.In D.C., the youth education program, aimed at kids in kindergarten through fifth grade, will be in schools across the District starting in March. WABA instructors bring bikes and helmets into classrooms to teach kids about riding well, staying safe on the streets, and to have a little fun while they’re at it. Any school that takes part in the Safe Routes to Schools program through the District Department of Transportation receives WABA’s bike classes for free. This spring is also shaping up to be a record season for our Adult Education programs. In addition to classes in the District, we’ll have classes in Arlington, Alexandria, Bethesda, and more! Our Adult Learn to Ride classes can help anyone learn to ride a bike in just one afternoon. It may sound too good to be true, but we have a more than 75 percent success rate—and if one class doesn’t do it for you, we’ll put you into a second one for free! If you’re looking to get on a bike for fun or transportation, you should take our Confident City Cycling class for all the tips and techniques you’ll need to ride more comfortably and confidently. And we’re always looking for organizations who are interested in bringing in WABA instructors for a lunchtime Bike Commuter Seminar. If your coworkers have questions about bike commuting, we’ll bring the answers during a one-hour brown-bag presentation. Be sure to bookmark our handy education calendar for all the latest updates. As soon as our classes are scheduled, you can be the first to sign up for them. Until then, feel free to drop us a line at email@example.com and we’ll be happy to answer your questions.