700 Bicycles Parked at the Solar Decathlon Bike Valet

035Whoever said that cyclists in Washington, DC can’t deal with rainy weather never made it out to see all the bikes parked at the Solar Decathlon this past weekend. Cyclists ignored the cold and layered up as they brought along their families to check out the innovative solar powered houses at the National Mall West Potomac Park. With this year’s event being located far away from the closest metro station and long lines to board the free shuttle bus to get to and from the Solar Decathlon, getting there by bike was the best option. WABA would like to extend a huge THANK YOU to all the volunteers who came out and helped park 700 bicycles at the 2011 Solar Decathlon.  We would also like to thank the US Department of Energy and Perkins + Will for your support.

WABA Teaches at the Achieve Kids Triathlon Summer Camp

WABA staffer Henry Mesias guides kids through the avoidance weave drill.
WABA is extremely happy to have been able to work with the Achieve Kids Triathlon Summer Camp for a second year in a row.  This year’s Achieve camps took place at Benning Park Community Center, Deanwood Community Center, Ferebee Hope Recreation Center, and Turkey Thicket Recreation Center. WABA’s participation in the Achieve summer camps not only allowed us to continue our youth education efforts in DC throughout the summer,  but it also let us focus the majority of that work in Wards 7 and 8, coinciding with our ongoing East of the River Initiative. Achieve campers range in age between 9 and 14 and each camper is provided with all the necessary equipment to participate in camp activities, including helmets and bicycles. With the basics taken care of by the Achieve coaching staff, we were able to set up more complex and advanced skills courses. When planning for the classes, WABA wanted to find a good balance of skills that campers would be able to use both in the race and outside of camp on the streets of DC. “We were hoping that our young athletes would gain a better understanding of their bicycles and how to properly use them,” said Jeff Horowitz, Achieve Program Director. We decided to take our Confident City Cycling 1 and 2 material (our interpretation of the Bike League’s Traffic Skills 101 Curriculum), usually taught to adults, and tailor it for a younger audience to provide a challenging and engaging experience for the campers.  We started slow with a simple starting and stopping drills, then moving onto scanning and signaling. Then we upped the ante by seeing if they could handle our avoidance maneuver drills. The achieve kids were fearless! In no time we had them nailing quick turns, avoidance weaves and emergency stops like professionals. “Teaching the full Confident City Cycling material to kids is an excellent opportunity to cover the curriculum in depth.  The kids are engaged, excited and soak up the material like sponges.  It’s exciting to see,” said WABA staffer Greg Billing.  After visiting each camp twice WABA turned the achieve campers into confident cyclists ready for their race at the end of the summer. WABA would like to thank Jeff Horowitz, Michelle Hardberg, and all the Achieve coaches for making camp memorable for the kids and WABA staffers. Be sure to check out the  race Friday August 5th, 8am to 12pm at the Anacostia Park & Aquatic Facility. To learn more about the Achieve Kids Tri summer camp or to volunteer for the race on August 5th visit: http://achievekidstri.org.

WABA Bike Ambassador Daniel Hoagland acts as a spotter during the quick stop drill.

Where Did You learn to Ride That Way?

Recently you started noticing some of your co-workers arriving in the morning with bicycle helmets, bike racks seemed to be magically appearing in front of all the restaurants and stores you frequent, and you started asking yourself “what’s up with all those red bikes?” So one day you decided to start riding a bike again. You couldn’t even remember the last time you had considered bicycling.  After all, that’s kids’ stuff, right? So you pulled your old bike out of storage, pumped up the tires, and took to the streets. You started thinking back to when you first learned how to ride and the advice mom and dad gave you, but then you realized that after they taught you how to ride without training wheels they didn’t say too much else except for “stay on the sidewalk,” and “wear a helmet.” Not dwelling too long on this thought, you decided that the best way to learn was to just get out there and start riding and you were right…….well, mostly right. For whatever reason, even though you had been through drivers education and have a stellar driving record, you decided that the way you would ride your bike on the streets would be drastically different than the way you drove a car. You started getting a lot of dirty looks on the road and it wasn’t just coming from automobile drivers. By this point, you have learned to ignore all the honking horns and shaking fists. What you still can’t get used to is the consistent embarrassment that comes with getting in minor bike accidents when you do things like pass other cyclists on the right, ride the wrong way down a bike lane, forget to use hand signals when riding with groups of your friends, and failing to check behind you before changing lanes. It’s getting to the point where saying “I’m sorry” is starting to feel a little empty. It doesn’t have to be this way. If honking horns and shaking fists from both pedestrians and cyclists is part of your daily bike ride, then you just might not be doing it right. Never fear, WABA is here! We’ve got some upcoming classes that will not only help you get around by bike, but change the tone in peoples voices next time they say “Where did you learn to ride that way?” WABA’s Bike Ed Classes: Confident City Cycling 1 (CCC1): This class is great for beginners. Still trying to figure out what size/type of bike might be best for you? We’ll help you find the answer. Need some feedback on what to wear while riding a bike? No problem, WABA’s instructors are great bicycle wardrobe consultants (we are not exclusively sponsored by spandex). Most importantly, you will have time to practice some very important parking lot drills like starting/stopping, scanning, and signaling. Finally, we will even show you how to fix a flat tire. Register for our next CCC1 class in Arlington, VA on July 7, 2011>> Confident City Cycling 2 (CCC2): You’re pretty good at this whole bike riding thing. You may even think that you don’t need a class at all, but let’s be real for a moment. Did you really feel prepared that last time a car failed to yield the right of way and turned in front of you? Here in the bike education world we like to call that the “left hook.”  WABA can help you with that too. CCC2 is where you will truly understand the meaning of vehicular cycling. There’s a lot of on-bike stuff happening in this class that will keep you engaged. You will master avoidance maneuvers like the rock dodge, quick turn, avoidance weave, and quick stop. There’s also a short group ride at the end that will help you practice lane positioning, speed positioning, and some of the stuff you learned in CCC1 like scanning and signaling. Register for our next CCC2 class in Alexandria, VA on July 16, 2011>> It’s never to late or to early to sign up for a class so be sure to visit our online course calendar for a full schedule of our summer classes.

The Cherry Blossom Family Bike Rally & Ride is Still On!

Don’t let the government shutdown ruin your weekend! Shutdown or no shutdown you can still celebrate the last weekend of the National Cherry Blossom Festival on bike. The American Diabetes Association Cherry Blossom Family Bike Rally and Ride is a fun and FREE event featuring a kids bike rodeo, kids learn2 ride area, balloons, a signed family ride, live entertainment and more!

Date: Sunday, April 10, 2011 Time: 11:00AM – 3:00PM Location: Yard’s Park, 10 Water Street SE, Washington, DC 20003, (Yard’s Park is a new location, if your GPS has trouble locating “Yard’s Park” please use the address: 4th St SE and Tingey St SE, Washington D.C.) Admission: FREE! Volunteer: Want to help put kids on bikes at our rodeo course? Email henry@waba.org