What’s a Bike Ambassador, and Should You Be One?

A Bike Ambassador helps pull a trailer down in SE DC

A Bike Ambassador helps pull a trailer down in SE DC

The Bike Ambassadors are a group of volunteers who ride around the city in bright red shirts and serve as a bicycling resource for the community. We tow around that bright green trailer emblazoned with helpful reminders, table at events to promote responsible cycling in the city, and spread positive messages about bicycling out on the city’s roads and trails.  Outreach is fun on its own, but we also get together for social gatherings from happy hours to coffee clubs and even book clubs.

Count me in!

If you want to make DC bicycling happier (and you like bright red t-shirts),  join the Bike Ambassador team!

The next orientation is tomorrow evening from 6:00-7:30 pm. No experience required! All you need is a love for biking.

Visiting the Anacostia River Walk during a recently sunny day in SE DC.

Visiting the Anacostia River Walk during a recently sunny day in SE DC.

Bike Ambassador social bike ride to Union Market.

Bike Ambassador social bike ride to Union Market.

Bike Ambassadors flag down an ice cream truck after a long ride.

Bike Ambassadors flag down an ice cream truck after a long ride.

Bike Ambassadors tackle the Pennsylvania Ave. Cycletrack.

Bike Ambassadors tackle the Pennsylvania Ave. Cycletrack.

An evening enjoying food from Indigo on K St. NE and discussing the book Triumph of the City.

An evening enjoying food from Indigo on K St. NE and discussing the book Triumph of the City.

Monday Morning Outreach—Changing Bike Behavior One Intersection At A Time

Sharply dressed man respectfully rides down the sidewalk of 16th Street NW

Sharply dressed man respectfully rides down the sidewalk of 16th Street NW

16th Street is one of the scarier roads to bike down in the city. Regardless, it doesn’t stop hundreds of commuters from taking the popular route to downtown. It warms my heart to see a steady stream of bicyclists riding down the street with helmets that fit, stopping for red lights, and yielding to pedestrians. On the other hand, it is perfectly legal to ride on the sidewalk anywhere in the city (excluding the Central Business District). Bike Ambassadors were out on Monday morning asking bicyclists who using the sidewalk to bike politely and respectively. Guess what, bicyclists were respectful! The jury is still out on whether our signs and encouragement did the trick, but lets just say it didn’t hurt!

Upcoming Events

  • Thursday August 14 6 pm at the WABA Headquarter 2599 Ontario Rd — Kitty Litter Pannier Workshop. Learn how to make your own Kitty Litter Pannier to haul large amounts of groceries by bike. Sign up here.
  • Saturday August 16 Bike Ambassadors visit the Ward 8 Farmers Market. We will be promoting a Kitty Litter Pannier give away while passing out handy bike maps and law guides.

Kitty Litter Pannier Workshop

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Meet Kirby. He stopped by the Bike Ambassador’s tent last night at the National Night Out event and we got to talking about kitty litter panniers!

As you can see these containers are GREAT for hauling groceries from the store. If you’re interested in making your own kitty litter pannier, Bike Ambassadors are hosting a workshop on August 14th at WABA HQ (2599 Ontario Rd NW) at 6 pm. To register, or to find out more click here.

We are also requesting donations of empty kitty litter containers, as well as empty Costco laundry detergent containers. Anything helps! If you have any empty containers you’d like to get rid of, contact jon.gonzalez@waba.org

Safety in numbers? Better believe it. Bike Ambassadors visit the 14th Street Bridge.


If you’ve read this recent journal article (PDF) on accident analysis and prevention, you’re already aware that intersections that see more than 200 bicyclists a day have a substantially lower collision rate per cyclist than intersections that are not as busy.

DC Bike Ambassadors wanted to see this for ourselves so we went down to the DC side of the 14th Street Bridge, a busy spot during commuting hours. Lo and behold, about 125 bicyclist passed us in the 30 minutes we were counting. Although we didn’t technically see 200 bicyclists, we’re fairly confident at least 75 more bicyclists rode past after we left. While we were there, we saw cars slowing down for bicyclists attempting to cross the street, cars yielding to pedestrians and bikes way ahead of time, and even motorists looking over their shoulder for bikes before merging.  It was fantastic. It was glorious.

The Bike Ambassadors set out this morning intending to cheer on bicyclists who were riding safely through a pretty busy intersection, but by the end of our pop up outreach, we were celebrating everyone who was being courteous on the road.

 

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Tip of the day: Don’t forget your helmet at home! Even when using Capital Bikeshare. Click here to find out more about proper bike helmet fitting.

Are You A Bike Ninja?

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Bike Nin·ja noun \ˈbīk\ˈnin-jə, -(ˌ)jä\

Definition of Bike Ninja: Bicyclists who ride unlit at night, or under low visibility conditions. They can go undetected by other bicyclists and motorists…like a ninja. This practice puts many people at risk, and should be avoided whenever possible.

On Wednesday, July 9th, Bike Ambassadors are riding to the NoMa Summer Screen viewing of The Muppets to hand out surprise goodies to people who biked.

This is a great opportunity to meet REAL LIFE Bike Ambassadors. We’re the folks out on the streets promoting respectful everyday biking, and we thank other road users who share the road with us. Talk to us, find out what we’re all about, and consider becoming a Bike Ambassador yourself.

Join us for a Bike Ambassador Orientation on July 15, at 6 pm at the WABA office. To find out more or sign up, click here.

Meet Jon Gonzalez, Our New DC Bike Ambassador Program Coordinator!

15th Street Cycletrack

15th Street Cycletrack (photo: @SharrowsDC)

Hello! I’m Jon. As WABA’s newest team member I am excited to jump in head first and build upon the success of the Bike Ambassador Program this summer!

This morning, Bike Ambassador Dani and I were out on the 15th Street cycle track encouraging bicyclists to bike nicely and yield to pedestrians. It was a big hit! Many pedestrians came up and suggested we stop by 14th street next time to do the same, so stay tuned, you never know where we might end up!

We’ve got a few things on the calendar for July, starting with a “Bike to the Movies” event on July 9th in NoMa. We’ll be handing out bike lights to bicyclists without lights after The Muppets movie finishes. It’ll also be our first “Bike KINDly” event for July—we will hand out KIND bars with pro-bicycling tips, so come on out and join the fun!

If you’re interested in becoming an ambassador, or know someone who might be, sign up for the Bike Ambassador Orientation on July 15th at the WABA HQ. We’d love to have you participate and could totally use your help.