Women & Bicycles Photo Series: Adina Forbes Crawford and Sherri Joyner

The Women & Bicycles Photo Series (#WBPhotoSeries) is a new project in the program that aims to demonstrate and promote the great and diverse group of women that make up the W&B community.

As well as appearing on the group’s Facebook page and on Instagram, these features – a brief quote and accompanying photograph of the woman participating – will be published in a periodic consolidation of the portraits right here on this blog! I am handing off this project to the wonderful Women & Bicycles Program Coordinator, Renée Moore, so for more information about the project, send her an email at renee.moore@waba.org.


Adina Forbes Crawford, Germantown, MD

The first big bike event I did was Bike NY, four or five years ago. Oh, and it was amazing. And going in, you know, I was wondering how I was going to do 44 miles when I hadn’t even done 20. But, you know what? I put my head to the grindstone and I said yes – I’m gonna get a bike and I’m gonna train and I’m gonna do it. And I did it.”

 

Sherri Joyner, West Hyattsville, MD

“I used to ride around all over D.C. Now, we’re talking back in the 80s, you know. And it just felt so simple. I just jumped on a bike and was off riding. We, me and my riding friends, also had a penchant for riding at night. Yeah, that was great.

Then, flashing up to now, bicycling’s like this major subject. It feels like there are so many more categories of riders and types of bikes and all sorts of things. And it’s so true that in this group, Women & Bicycles, I see all of it; there’s the serious riders, the “just having fun” riders, the cool “messenger” type, all of them. Just everything is out there, and it makes me so delighted!”

(Thanks for sharing this photo with us, Sherri!)

(Thanks for sharing this photo with us, Sherri!)

 

Women & Bicycles is proudly supported by The Potomac Pedalers Touring Club; hosts of the region’s most robust all-level group ride calendar and bike tailgates, Chipotle our delicious dinner party sponsors, and we’re supported by all our friends who donated through the Hains Point 100 ride.

chipotle-logo waba_women_logo_commuter potamac pedalers logo

Women & Bicycles Photo Series: Ann DeSanctis, Allison Hasser, Nicole LaFragola

The Women & Bicycles Photo Series (#WBPhotoSeries) is a new project in the program that aims to demonstrate and promote the great and diverse group of women that make up the W&B community.

As well as appearing on the group’s Facebook page and on Instagram, these features – a brief quote and accompanying photograph of the woman participating – will be published in a periodic consolidation of the portraits right here on this blog! For more information about the project, send me an email at emily.janas@waba.org.


 

Ann DeSanctis, Brightwood Park, Washington, D.C.

“Anytime you’re in a city, you’re not necessarily, right away connected to people, even though you’re surrounded by people all the time. so the thing about this group that I think is amazing is knowing that there are other people going through the same thing I’m going through, or something much worse or much better; it equalizes the experience. And it really does seem to be that support is the underlying message and theme, and people have stuck to that even through their differences.”

ann desanctis

 

Allison Corke Hasser, Takoma, Washington, D.C.

“So last summer, I got off work and I was going to bike down to the Mall to meet my friends for Jazz in the Sculpture Garden. I was biking down North Capitol, which is a little bit of a thrill in itself anyway, you know – no bike lanes and it’s crowded and all that. But the weather was perfect and I was going to meet my friends and I knew I didn’t have to find parking or deal with Metro. I just felt like I was a part of the city. You see the Capitol building and you’re on the road – it feels like you’re on to something great. I can go anywhere, I’m not limited. That feels pretty empowering.”

Allison Corke Hasser

 

Nicole LaFragola, Ballston, Arlington, VA

“My love of bicycling is something I really want to share with others, mostly because it was a huge life change for me. Coming from Florida, with always driving and being so isolated from other people and from the outside to where I am now, when it’s regular for me to bike everywhere – it’s just changed who I was.

So especially when I started feeling that rush of ‘this is amazing!’, like once I got over the initial fear of getting on the streets, I started talking with so many friends about it, and I’ve seen it take effect there, too. And that’s it, I want to share that with folks.”

 

 

Nicole LaFragola

 

 

Women & Bicycles is proudly supported by The Potomac Pedalers Touring Club; hosts of the region’s most robust all-level group ride calendar and bike tailgates, Chipotle our delicious dinner party sponsors, and we’re supported by all our friends who donated through the Hains Point 100 ride.

chipotle-logo waba_women_logo_commuter potamac pedalers logo

 

How to deal with bike lane blockages and other road obstacles

photo credit:www.nydailynews.com

photo credit:www.nydailynews.com

Riding your bike through the city streets is exhilarating and fun, no doubt. But it can also be filled with the daily obstacles and chaos that unfortunately come along with traffic everywhere…like this:

Photo credit: Greg Billing, Twitter (@gregbilling)

(Photo credit: Greg Billing via Twitter @gregbilling)

or this…

Photo credit: Ursula Sandstrom

(Photo credit: Ursula Sandstrom)

or even this…

In the protected bike lane?! | Photo credit: Ursula Sandstrom

Yes, even in a protected bike lane! (Photo credit: Ursula Sandstrom)

Mayhem, right? Here’s how you as a cyclist can safely and effectively maneuver through blocked bike lanes and other obstacle-filled circumstances on the road!


Passing:

1. Be a PAL, especially when moving out of the bike lane to avoid an obstacle. Make it a point to be Predictable, Alert, and Lawful while you’re riding. This is especially important when passing into a traffic lane from a bike lane to avoid an obstacle, such as a parked car. When you notice the obstacle:

  • Slow down
  • Look over your shoulder and make sure the driver of the car behind you is aware of your attempt to pass, getting eye contact if possible.Image via BikeSense
  • Signal your intent.
  • Pass confidently, merging back into the bike lane once you have passed the obstacle.

 

2. Be careful with buses! Sarah Goodyear of The Atlantic‘s “City Lab”explains the complicated relationship that bicycles and buses share on the road:

“It’s one of the most disconcerting interactions on urban and suburban streets: the uncomfortable, out-of-sync dance between bicycles and buses traveling in the same direction. Often, the person riding a bike will have to leave the bike lane and go out into car traffic to pass a bus that has pulled into a stop—only to be quickly passed again by the bus driver, who then has to pull in for the next stop just as the cyclist is coming up from the rear again.” (Full article here.)

As the cyclists, you can make this dance a little smoother by making yourself as  visible to the person driving the bus as you can by making eye contact,  staying out of their blind spots, and not trying to pass too closely or dangerously.

Image via trimet.org

Image via TriMet

You should also follow the same signaling and predictable behavior as mentioned  above. Be patient and don’t try to rush by with risky or dangerous moves.


Reporting:

Reporting parked cars, debris, or other obstacles in the bike lane is important! For one, it helps get things fixed – the city cannot do anything about a road problem if they don’t know it exists, and they certainly cannot have eyes and ears everywhere, all the time. Reporting issues also helps add to data that can help track the frequency and scale of problems, again, helping them to be noticed and (eventually, we hope) get fixed!

 

1. Debris: If there is debris – like glass, litter, branches or whatever else – in your path, immediately call 311 to report it. Additionally, f it is possible and safe to do so, you can take action yourself by removing the branches or picking up the litter.

Image via Flickr user Mr.TinDC

Image via Flickr user Mr.TinDC

2. Parked cars: If driver of the car is present, kindly inform them that they are blocking the bike lane and ask them to park somewhere else. While it is frustrating when a car is parked in the bike lane, it’s best when confronting the issue with a driver not to be aggressive or disrespectful.

(Photo credit: Ursula Sandstrom)

(Photo credit: Ursula Sandstrom)

*In fact, many people are not even aware that it’s illegal to park in the bike lane!

If the driver isn’t present or you do not feel comfortable confronting them, call 311 to report it.


Indeed, riding in the city can be difficult and full of obstacles, but knowing how to deal with the mayhem safely and effectively will help you continue to enjoy your rides and make the streets better for everyone!

 
Women & Bicycles is proudly supported by The Potomac Pedalers Touring Club; hosts of the region’s most robust all-level group ride calendar and bike tailgates, Chipotle our delicious dinner party sponsors, and we’re supported by all our friends who donated through the Hains Point 100 ride.

chipotle-logo waba_women_logo_commuter potamac pedalers logo

 

Women & Bicycles Photo Series: Barbara Bitondo, Renu Singh, Harum Helmy

The Women & Bicycles Photo Series (#WBPhotoSeries) is a new project in the program that aims to demonstrate and promote the great and diverse group of women that make up the W&B community.

As well as appearing on the group’s Facebook page and on Instagram, these features – a brief quote and accompanying photograph of the woman participating – will be published in a periodic consolidation of the portraits right here on this blog! For more information about the project, send me an email at emily.janas@waba.org.


 

Barbara Bitondo, Washington, D.C:

“W&B supports empowerment and emancipation of women specifically, which is why I participate. Learning any new skill gives a woman freedom and independence, and, if the skill is cycling, well, in gets her where she is going faster!”


Renu Singh, Glover Park, Washington, D.C:

“So, I was thinking about this the other day. I am a minority, a woman, and I was an immigrant for a while while I was living in London. All of these things coming together. And I feel like weirdly, bicyclists are treated as a minority similarly in that people have these stereotypes about them. When you don’t know something, you tend to misunderstand it. So for us especially in this group, I just feel like it’s important to stick together and get the word out there. The more people you reach, the less there’s going to be an ‘us them’ situation. There just shouldn’t be an ‘us, them’ situation.”

Harum Helmy, Takoma Park, MD:

“Biking is definitely empowering for me, and it’s such a good feeling. I have these moments sometimes, where I’d be going really fast, or actually trying to go fast, and I’d look down and see my thighs going and I’d think – I’m propelling myself forward. Me, my body. It’s kind of neat, you know? And being that happy and feeling so powerful in your body and all is awesome, and it’d be great if more people – more women, really – could feel that, too.” 

Women & Bicycles is proudly supported by The Potomac Pedalers Touring Club; hosts of the region’s most robust all-level group ride calendar and bike tailgates, Chipotle our delicious dinner party sponsors, and we’re supported by all our friends who donated through the Hains Point 100 ride.  

   

 

How to Go Multi-Modal

Have no fear—just because you can’t bike the whole way doesn’t mean you can’t ride at all! If your commute is long, if you live in an area that doesn’t have great bike infrastructure, or if you can’t find a comfortable route to pedal from point A to point B,  you can still go multi-modal. (That means using more than one mode of transportation to get you where you need to go). Check out these tips:

multimodalblog(1)

Metrorail

Taking your bike on Metro is easy. Just make sure you are familiar with these basics:

  1. Avoid rush hour. Bikes are not allowed on trains during weekday rush hour times (7am-10am and 4pm-7pm). Also be sure to check about bike allowances on special occasions, such as holidays.
  2. Folding bikes are SUPER Metro-friendly. Folding bikes are convenient, cool, and are allowed on Metro ANYTIME! If you will be traveling multi-modally on the train, investing in a folding bike may be well worth looking into.
  3. Use the elevator. It’s easier and safer than trying to get your bicycle up and down on the escalator. Be sure to be courteous and respectful of other elevator users, particularly giving first priority to seniors and persons with disabilities.
  4. Do not use the center car doors. Instead, enter and exit using the first or last door on the train car. *Bonus tip: The first and last cars of the train are usually the least crowded!
    Image via WMATA.

    Image via WMATA.

  5. Do not block aisles or doors. Maintain control of your bike and try to stand in a place that does not block access to doors and seats.
  6. Bike storage lockers. If you’re riding to the Metro station, it might be a good idea to look into renting a secure bike storage locker.

For more details and information on bikes and Metro, check out WMATA’s website here.

Bus

Yes, it can be intimidating to use the bicycle rack on the bus for the first time. But when you try, you’ll find that it is not too difficult and just takes some practice. Don’t be scared to try or to ask for help from the driver if you’re having trouble. And be sure to check out this awesome video tutorial so you can be a bus bicycle rack pro in no time! Note that all Metrobuses and local service buses across the region have racks.

Image via Flickr user Elvert Barnes

Image via Flickr user Elvert Barnes

Drive and go!

You can always bike the last part of your trip! You can pack your bike in your car and drive to a Metro station or other secure spot and simply ride from there.

If a bike rack seems cumbersome, try Capital Bikeshare for the second leg of your commute. Check out their website for station locations and other info here.

Also, for all of you Arlington folks, be sure to check out this cool, online multi-modal trip planning tool here.

Going multi-modal is certainly not cheating. It’s a fun and efficient way to get around—and you still get to ride your bike! With just a little planning and knowledge, you can become a routine multi-modal commuter.

wandblogoThis blog post is part of a weekly Women & Bicycles series of tips and helpful information that will answer frequently asked questions, provide helpful advice to common problems, and make bicycling a more accessible, widely-chosen means of transportation, exercise, and fun! To learn more about WABA’s Women & Bicycles program, click here to learn more and get involved.


 
Women & Bicycles is proudly supported by The Potomac Pedalers Touring Club; hosts of the region’s most robust all-level group ride calendar and bike tailgates, Chipotle our delicious dinner party sponsors, and we’re supported by all our friends who donated through the Hains Point 100 ride.

chipotle-logo waba_women_logo_commuter potamac pedalers logo

 

Riding in the Heat

Let’s face it. Summer is here. It feels like an oven outside and you can’t walk a block without looking like you’ve just gotten out of a personal training session. It’s almost impossible to ride your bike in these temps, right?

Wrong! You can ride in the heat and arrive wherever you’re headed comfortably and okay. Don’t believe me? Here are some tips to help get you pedaling all the way through the summer:

    1. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Drink a lot of water – before, during, and after your ride. And make sure to start sipping before you’re thirsty. An insulated water bottle (like the one pictured below) will help keep your water refreshingly cool. Also, look into local TapIt locations on your route so you know where you can fill up your water bottle for free!
    2. Protect yourself from the sun. Wear sunglasses – they’ll help you to see through the sun’s glare, shield your eyes from dirt and dust, and protect your eyes from harmful UV rays.  Be sure to apply plenty of sunblock before you get on your bike, reapplying every 2 hours or so.
    3. Shade is your new best friend. For a more bearable and comfortable ride, plan your ride along shady routes and scout out some possible resting places along the way to take a breather and relax if needed.
      Image from Flickr via user

      Image from Flickr via user Digikiki

    4. Plan ahead! Plan a route that generally avoids major hills and other strenuous riding obstacles. Find places that you could stop and refill along the way. Give yourself extra time and go at an easy, relaxed pace. Most importantly, be honest with yourself and know your limits! It’s okay if the heat is too much. Just make sure to have an alternative travel plan. You can even split up your trip and plan a multi-modal commute, like bringing your bike on the Metro or bus.
      Image taken from Metro

      Image taken from Metro

    5. What you wear counts. Make sure to wear clothes that are moisture-wicking and comfortable. Light-colored fabrics that reflect the sun are ideal. Try to stick to polyester-type fabrics and flowy clothes that are breathable – you’ll appreciate the extra breeze! It also helps to wear a cycling cap under your helmet to keep your hair looking great despite the humidity.
    6. Don’t be afraid to sweat. Sweating is virtually unavoidable. So while you can’t stop your body’s natural way of cooling you down, you can prepare for how you deal with it. If you’re riding to work, try to leave your work clothes at the office and bike there in more comfortable, lighter clothing. You could also invest in some panniers or a basket to carry a change of clothes with you on your ride.
      Image from The Active Times

      Image from The Active Times

      It’s a bonus if your destination has showers. But if not, pack a towel, washcloth, or baby wipes and some deodorant – and make sure to give yourself some extra time to wipe down and cool-off.

And most importantly…

7. HAVE FUN!

Copy of PAL - Arlington ride with Pete 3

 

wandblogoThis blog post is part of a weekly Women & Bicycles series of tips and helpful information that will answer frequently asked questions, provide helpful advice to common problems, and make bicycling a more accessible, widely-chosen means of transportation, exercise, and fun! To learn more about WABA’s Women & Bicycles program, click here to learn more and get involved.

Greetings from the Summer Women & Bicycles Fellow!

Hello, everyone!

My name is Emily Janas. I am an undergraduate social work major at the Florida State University and the summer Women & Bicycles Fellow here at WABA!

Thanks to a service scholarship I won through my university, I am able to be here in Washington to work within the W&B program for the next twelve weeks on various projects, including expanding outreach efforts to neighborhoods and populations in the greater D.C. area that are currently underrepresented in the Women & Bicycles group. I’ll also get involved with other facets of the program and participate in our packed calendar of rides, workshops, and mentorship meetups.

Needless to say, I am looking forward to getting to know this wonderful bicycling community all summer long. I am grateful and excited for the opportunity to learn and grow here at WABA, and hopefully do some important and impactful work.

Until then, happy riding!

[Editor’s Note: Welcome, Emily! We’re so happy you’re here!]