Even with a cold drizzle off and on throughout the day, our partnership with the Bethesda Whole Foods Market really warmed us up! When the receipts were totaled, Whole Foods Bethesda donated a whopping $4992 to WABA. We are so thankful for their generous financial support. Besides the donation it was great to visit with the folks shopping throughout the day and sharing with them our stories of Montgomery County bicycling and how we’re working to make it better. We handed out all our maps (even had to request an emergency delivery of more from our WABA staffers), let residents and shoppers know about our great set of classes and rides coming up, and even our newly announced Bike Camp for kids. So, thank you Whole Foods Bethesda and thanks to all who shopped that day to help support WABA. PS: the Bethesda Whole Foods Market is hosting a special AFTER Bike To Work Day party from 4-7pm on Friday May 15th. Celebrate on your way home via the CCT with $1 hot dogs, $1 freshly shucked oysters. Plus burgers and veggie burgers fresh off the grill for only $3 too!
Our friends at the Whole Foods Bethesda store, (conveniently located right on the Capital Crescent Trail) have selected WABA as the beneficiary of their next 5% day. This means that on Wednesday, April 8th, WABA will receive 5% of the store’s total receipts! The first 25 WABA shoppers who show their member card, buy a membership, or check in with our WABA staff to confirm status, will receive special Whole Foods swag bags, plus win other fun prizes. For all our family riders, there will be a fun scavenger hunt and healthy snacks and kids prizes too! So bring your shopping lists and get ready to stuff your panniers. After you stock up on groceries, meet and chat with WABA staffers (and a few guest star Board members) about WABA’s work in Montgomery County. Plus, we’ll have a table set up to hand out maps and other goodies for WABA supporters who say hi!
Recently, we welcomed Professor James Longhurst from the University of Wisconsin, LaCrosse to our offices for a special member lecture. He’s the author of Bike Battles: A History of Sharing the American Road and he shared with us a chapter from his new book on the fate of Victory Bikes during World War II, which happened right here in Washington DC. Space was tight, but cozy, for our inaugural “tiny space” lecture series. We all enjoyed his talk, complete with videos and never before seen photos that he was able to dig up from various archives. Professor Longhurst discussed the history of bicycles and how they have shaped American society. Unfortunately, just as they are often dismissed as a legitimate transportation mode, they are also not taken seriously as a research topic and therefore are almost completely left out of the social science canon. However, bicycles are clearly an important part of our country’s history. The history of bicycling in this country intersects, of course, with the history of automobile use at several critical points. And decisions that were made decades ago in favor of cars, still resonate and hinder how we move about on bicycles today. During World War II there was a brief moment where, with automobile production expected to be restricted to war vehicles only, and gasoline rationed, the US war office recommended the mass government production of what they nicknamed “Victory Bikes.” A heavy public relations campaign was envisioned, pitching daily bicycling as a patriotic duty. Unfortunately, another US war department intervened and instead, car production was saved, albeit restricted, and US production of bicycles plummeted. It was an early missed opportunity to establishing daily bicycling in this country as socially responsible, safe and sustainable, even in times of national crisis. James Longhurst’s book will be published later in April, but it is available now for pre-orders. The other chapters seemed just as interesting, including chapters on the Sidepath movement, bicycle taxation and more. The lecture was so successful that we are planning another. So tell us, who would you like to hear speak on the lost history of bicycles?
When you get to Biergarten House for the Membership Drive Happy Hour on Friday, raise a beer to Levi’s who is helping to sponsor the evening. They have also donated some terrific giveaways for a special member raffle! We’re so pleased that Levi’s has taken lots of input from daily cyclists and used that to create their Commuter series line. Designed with features that will allow bicyclists to pedal in comfort and style, it’s definitely worth checking out. There’s lots of cool features like a special hook for your lock, reflective cuffs, high-performance fabrics that are dirt resistant and water repellent too. Utility in fashion has been tough to find for our daily cycling needs. Cool to see that a major brand like Levi’s has seen the potential and is tailoring the product for this growing market. Come check out some of the goods for yourself Friday! Levi’s Bike Commuter line #commuter @Levis Levi’s plans to launch their women’s bike commuter jean in the spring.
At the end of last year, we offered up a list of things that was our “wish list” of projects we had on our minds for many months. Our most ambitious goal was to raise enough money to start planning for a Regional Trail Summit and Advocacy project And thanks to the generosity of our supporters, we came up with enough seed money to lay the groundwork. But this is what happens when people start hearing about what WABA wants to do: people get inspired, they get excited and they want to build on what we begin. After hearing about our vision, not just for a trail summit, but for a larger, longer term project, we got another big boost: REI, a nationally recognized leader in outdoor recreation, community involvement and global stewardship, invited us to apply for one of their grants. In January, we prepared an expanded grant proposal which included a full advocacy campaign, a summit with participants from all over the region, multiple trail tours, a concept plan for a new trail connection, public visioning sessions and online engagement. Over the summer, we were thrilled to learn that we did indeed receive a grant from REI to cover almost all the costs of this expanded trail advocacy and summit vision. With what WABA will contribute in staff time, we now have the resources to launch a very robust and focused trail advocacy campaign. Thanks to the REI grant, all of the resources that come from this effort will become advocacy tools that we can use to build a case for expanded trails for years to come. Without the REI grant opportunity, we would not have been able to fund such a comprehensive advocacy program. Thank you REI! To get the ball rolling, we’ve scheduled three tours with our advocacy team on three different trail systems. Please join us as we begin the process to help our trails get to the full potential of a completed and expanded trail circuit.
WABA is very happy to announce that Chipotle is our primary food sponsor in 2014! We’re extremely grateful to Chipotle for providing catering services and financial support for so many of our events throughout the year, including BikeFest and the 50 States Ride. And it’s not just the large-scale events! Chipotle liked the idea of our Women and Bike meetups so much that they provided food for those too. Thank you Chipotle!
East of the River and Women & Bicycles programs were both started up with workplace giving funds: Many new and untested programs with unproven results—like those that attempt to expand the demographics of bicyclists at the local level—are tough sells to foundations or governments that could potentially provide grant funding. If we can launch a program and prove it works, we can then sell foundations and governments on the program’s importance and keep it going into the future. This was the case with our East of the River and Women & Bicycles programs, both of which have been overwhelmingly successful. They couldn’t have existed without the dollars we receive from workplace giving campaigns. If you’ve already chosen WABA as your designee for your workplace giving campaign, we can’t thank you enough. If you’ve never participated in workplace giving and it’s something that your office makes available to you, please consider doing so this year and choosing WABA as your designee. Your donation will help support WABA’s advocacy and perhaps launch the “next big thing” in bike advocacy and outreach. Help us spread the word about WABA as a participant in your workplace giving campaign. Print out and post the flyer to the right in your office (click here for a larger version). And if you make a contribution through a workplace giving campaign and would like a WABA membership to be included in your donation, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.November typically marks various office rituals, like changing insurance plans, adjusting flexible spending accounts, or reviewing retirement account performance. Another yearly workplace tradition falls in November: committing to a workplace giving campaign. The biggest workplace giving campaign in the area is the Combined Federal Campaign for federal workers, which is managed by the United Way. WABA is extremely fortunate to be the beneficiary of several workplace giving campaigns, including the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC #93587), the World Bank Community Connections campaign, the DC One Fund, Network for Good, America’s Charities, the Commonwealth of Virginia Campaign (WABA #8469), among others. The money generated by our generous supporters through workplace giving funds many of our advocacy initiatives. In addition, it provides seed funding to launch new programs. Our
Every Wednesday leading up to Bike to Work Day, we’ll post here about ways you can get ready for the region’s biggest annual celebration of bike commuting. Register for Bike to Work Day now! Marriot International has always been a big supporter of bike commuting. For example: A few years ago, it turned an on-site gas station at one of its hotels into a dedicated bike pavilion with lockers, canopies, and storage. A 10-year supporter of Bike to Work Day, Marriott has its own bike club, MarrVelo, which encourages employees at Marriott’s headquarters in North Bethesda to start commuting by bike on a daily basis. Jim Young, vice president for facilities at Marriott International, says he knows that Bike to Work Day has been a way for many Marriott employees to convert to daily bike commuting. Originally, Marriott hosted the BTWD pit stop at its headquarters, but as participation exploded about three years ago, it was moved near the White Flint Metro station. Over the years, Marriott has continued to incentivize participation by offering bike-commuting seminars and promoting Bike to Work Day itnernally. Marriott goes over and above to have bike-happy employees: It offers a bike commuter subsidy, provides showers and lockers, and secure, covered bike storage. It keeps a bike information station loaded with bike maps, WABA information, and guides. But I’ve been most impressed by Marriott’s bike repair station, which is staffed by the company’s own garage mechanics, has a bike-mechanic stand, and is kept stocked with the most-needed supplies for simple repairs, like bike tubes. Marriott even has two loaner bikes that their employees can sign out and bring back the next day. It’s the company’s own “bikeshare” system! With Capital Bikeshare soon coming to 50 locations in lower Montgomery County, Marriott International has proven that a little encouragement can go a long way. The demand for bike commuting is increasing in Montgomery County and Marriott is already ahead of the curve: There, support for an alternative way to commute has been created and sustained by a thoughtful, progressive, green-minded employer. On the verge of Bike to Work Day 2013, we hope that other businesses will gain inspiration from Marriott’s support of bike-commuting and follow its lead toward creating a truly supportive bike commuting environment. See photos from Marriott International’s Bike to Work Day pit stop last year below the jump. Continue reading
In the lead-up to the Climate Ride California in May and Climate Ride NYC-D.C. in September, we’ll be introducing Team WABA members. Follow their progress, be inspired by their commitment, and find out why they’re taking on the Climate Ride for WABA. Today, meet Leah Lemoine.
“Transportation accounts for nearly a third of our greenhouse gas emissions. Fifty percent of our car trips are less than three miles. Getting out of single-occupancy vehicles and onto bikes for even a just a quarter of these shorter trips could have large impacts on our greenhouse gas emissions. I am riding for WABA to help support their efforts in advocating for bike infrastructure that will make cyclists safe and comfortable on the roads so that hopping on a bike for transport is an easier choice.I’ve been able to live out my personal pledge to reduce my carbon footprint by living car-free since I moved to DC four years ago. Using a bike as my primary mode of transport has been made much easier through WABA’s efforts. I am delighted to give back to WABA by riding in Climate Ride!” Please consider donating to Leah’s ride! For her fundraising page, click here.