Let’s Get Rolling! Internet Coffee Hour

Brew yourself a cup of coffee or tea and come hang out on the internet with us for a bit.

Conversation is open—we often chat about weekend plans to be outside but also take questions about getting into biking, what trails are being expanded, and topics not connected to bicyclists (donuts are good!).

We’ll use Zoom for the meet up. You can RSVP here.

Hosted by a WABA staffer, this is a great chance to ask any bicycling questions (especially if you’re new, Ursula is not a mechanical whiz and cannot answer super advanced mechanical questions)! Join us anytime between 8am and 9am – we’ll be on the Google lInk. And you are totally welcome to join voice or text chat only without video.

Let’s Get Rolling! Internet Coffee Hour

Brew yourself a cup of coffee or tea and come hang out on the internet with us for a bit.

Conversation is open—we often chat about weekend plans to be outside but also take questions about getting into biking, what trails are being expanded, and topics not connected to bicyclists (donuts are good!).

We’ll use Zoom for the meet up. You can RSVP here.

Hosted by a WABA staffer, this is a great chance to ask any bicycling questions (especially if you’re new, Ursula is not a mechanical whiz and cannot answer super advanced mechanical questions)! Join us anytime between 8am and 9am – we’ll be on the Google lInk. And you are totally welcome to join voice or text chat only without video.

Let’s Get Rolling! Internet Coffee Hour

Brew yourself a cup of coffee or tea and come hang out on the internet with us for a bit.

Conversation is open—we often chat about weekend plans to be outside but also take questions about getting into biking, what trails are being expanded, and topics not connected to bicyclists (donuts are good!).

We’ll use Zoom for the meet up. You can RSVP here.

Hosted by a WABA staffer, this is a great chance to ask any bicycling questions (especially if you’re new, Ursula is not a mechanical whiz and cannot answer super advanced mechanical questions)! Join us anytime between 8am and 9am – we’ll be on the Google lInk. And you are totally welcome to join voice or text chat only without video.

Let’s Get Rolling! Internet Coffee Hour

Brew yourself a cup of coffee or tea and come hang out on the internet with us for a bit.

Conversation is open—we often chat about weekend plans to be outside but also take questions about getting into biking, what trails are being expanded, and topics not connected to bicyclists (donuts are good!).

We’ll use Zoom for the meet up. You can RSVP here.

Hosted by a WABA staffer, this is a great chance to ask any bicycling questions (especially if you’re new, Ursula is not a mechanical whiz and cannot answer super advanced mechanical questions)! Join us anytime between 8am and 9am – we’ll be on the Google lInk. And you are totally welcome to join voice or text chat only without video.

Let’s Get Rolling! Internet Coffee Hour

Brew yourself a cup of coffee or tea and come hang out on the internet with us for a bit.

Conversation is open—we often chat about weekend plans to be outside but also take questions about getting into biking, what trails are being expanded, and topics not connected to bicyclists (donuts are good!). We’ll use Zoom for the meet up. You can RSVP here.

Hosted by a WABA staffer, this is a great chance to ask any bicycling questions (especially if you’re new, Ursula is not a mechanical whiz and cannot answer super advanced mechanical questions)! Join us anytime between 8am and 9am – we’ll be on the Google lInk. And you are totally welcome to join voice or text chat only without video.

Ways to Volunteer in your Community

Hey! We appreciate you existing and doing your best, whatever that means right now. We are so glad that you are here.

A number of us here at WABA have been doing what we can to help our neighbors out, and we wanted to share a few ways to get involved if you have the capacity and interest. 

We hear from our network of community organizations and mutual aid groups that their primary need is for dependable, problem-solving people. We’ve worked with many of you, and we know you’re awesome. Event after event, WABA volunteers have blown us away with your initiative, creativity, and ability to self-delegate when needed. Because of this, we think you could help!

We think this is important! Volunteer three times in your community for a WABA membership. Email membership@waba.org with subject heading “Community Support Membership” and a short list of what you did.

Regional Volunteer Efforts

The pandemic looks different in different communities across our region. It has brought longstanding inequities into stark relief: deaths from the disease are disproportionately African American, Latinx and Indigenous residents. Stay-at-Home orders have highlighted the unequal access to basic services—grocery stores, parks, public transit, internet—along race, gender and socio-economic lines. If you are able to travel safely outside of your neighborhood, these groups could use your help: 

Montgomery County

Prince George’s

District of Columbia

  • Martha’s Table is looking for volunteers for food packing and would love any donations of unopened PPE and cleaning supplies. 
  • Every DC Ward is organized within DC Mutual Aid, join your neighbors through ward signup. All links can be found here. Grocery delivery and mask productions are two major needs. 

Arlington

  • La ColectiVA is looking for food donations and some roles for grocery delivery (you must prioritize safety and privacy of many undocumented recipients). 
  • SURJNoVa is part of mutual aid coordination and also have connections to La ColectiVA, the Mayan League and NASEK. The coalition is also doing work in Fairfax. 
  • Arlington Magazine has a great compilation of community efforts (including masks) here

Alexandria

Fairfax

Self-Directed and Informal Things You Can Do

  • Reach out to loved ones and friends, mail postcards, send emails, give them a ring! People need human interaction and it can feel awkward to say hey, I’m kinda lonely right now.  Bonus: There are a variety of pen pal and mailing opportunities, including this senior home in Rockville
  • Watch your local neighborhood listservs for requests or post your own offer. Many existing neighborhood groups have requests and offers, including requests from groups and service agencies. Supply lines are disrupted right now and different routines have shifted what people use. Crayons, board games, bingeable romance books, food, clothes – you might have something to gift or loan.

TIP: Be proactive, specific, and actionable
One great model for support is making proactive offers based on efforts others are doing. “I saw you are starting some community meals, I have too much kale in my garden, would you like me to harvest some and walk it over tonight?” Concrete offers with details and an easy option to say “no thanks” reduces decision fatigue and require less emotional labor.

  • Check in with your neighbors. Going to the grocery store and have extra cargo space? Consider asking if anyone needs anything. There are 10 million immunocompromised people in the United States and 26% of US residents are disabled so it is quite likely you know someone who does not want to risk an errand trip right now. (Note: not everyone will be comfortable sharing why they don’t want to risk going out. That’s ok.)
  • Organize with your neighbors. Consider starting a neighborhood pod to support and coordinate with each other. It could be everyone on your block or apartment building. Direct Services agencies and nonprofits are overwhelmed – informal neighbor to neighbor mutual aid is one way to build community and spread work from formal networks. 
    • Here’s the handbook for DC Mutual Aid neighbor pod organizing
    • Vice has a good roundup of a few general neighbor organizing templates. 
    • Here’s a great guide to do the work safely
  • Sew masks. Especially if you have the supplies (sewing machine, cotton quilting fabric, thread, and a few other things), this is a great way to help. The need for them extends far beyond healthcare facilities—people who work in other essential businesses, frontline food support, immunocompromised people.  Each fabric mask takes ~30 min and the need is never-ending. (Note: if you have capacity and you are receiving/buying masks, pay a fair price for them! Sewing takes skill & time, and materials are not free).
  • Listen, read, and be patient. Volunteer management takes work! A lot of organizations have been flooded by offers to help and requests for support. Sorting, connecting and responding takes time. Many groups and organizations have clear requests they have posted on social media, newsletters and/or their websites. Help them by researching what they’ve already communicated before sending a general email about volunteering. 

Giving money is good too! 

Your local food bank, the Capital Area Food Bank, local fundraisers for service industry workers, local businesses, very large tips on deliveries, local restaurant fundraisers for donated meals and individual people in your networks – all excellent options. Here are some frontline organizations doing amazing work:  

What is Mutual Aid?

Mutual Aid is based on the principle and a long history of practice that everyone has something to give and receive, and that we all must work together for long-term structural change so that everyone can thrive. It is work that values the well-being and dignity of everyone. Many practitioners use the phrase “Solidarity, not charity” to describe it. Learn more about the history and practice of mutual aid in this webinar organized by the Highlander Center. If you are new to this framework, do a lot of listening and be mindful of how you take up space in conversations. 

And remember:

We appreciate you existing and doing your best, whatever that means right now. We are so glad that you are here.

Masks and biking

Note: We’re doing our best to stay up on current guidance, but we’re not public health experts, so please follow recommendations from your local government and the CDC.

We know that not everyone can self-isolate indefinitely, at some point you might need to go outside and ride a bicycle to go to work, get groceries, support neighbors and loved ones, or use being active and outside to support your mental and physical health needs.

Should I Wear a Mask When I Bike?

First, here is a summary of our Biking during COVID-19 post:

  • Ride alone, or with your household. The absolute best thing you can do is keep physical distance between you and anyone not in your household. 
  • You are responsible for the safety and health of everybody around you. It is clear that many people have COVID-19 and are asymptomatic. It is best to assume that everyone, yourself included, might be asymptomatic. 
  • Ride less trafficked routes or times.

So Yes or No?  

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) advises the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others. If you can, the best thing you can do when outside is still to keep your distance from others not in your household and avoid overcrowded areas. If you are in an urban environment where social distancing is difficult, it’s probably a good idea to wear a bandana, neck gaiter, or other covering —make sure it fully covers your mouth and nose. A mask can do a lot of good in keeping yourself and others safe with correct user behavior and if they are worn properly and made with proper materials. 

There is a lot we don’t know about how the virus spreads through the air, especially when you add people breathing deeply and moving. Acting overly cautious and giving a wide distance is a good idea. But there is a lot of speculation, scientific theories and dubious studies circulating as well. We’re not going to add to pronouncements about distance and what precisely is safe because we do not have any medical or public health background. There is a great Washington City Paper article about exercise here and Bicycling magazine also has some great coverage that both interview actual experts.

Here are some additional things to consider:

Masks are not perfect. If your mask is not cleaned properly, if you are constantly taking it off or touching it, if you take it off improperly, the mask can increase your risks. The other common way masks can spread COVID-19 is by making people feel overly secure. Wearing a mask is not a substitute from keeping physical distance if possible. Here are the CDC recommendations for using a cloth face mask and for social distancing.

There is a whole lot of make-it-up-as-you-go-along and better something than nothing. Most popular face coverings are based on what is commonly available or that people have at home, and has not been subject to rigorous flow testing. We do know COVID-19 is commonly spread by aerosolized droplets so having something that stops droplets from you going very far does make a lot of sense. Do coffee filters work? Cut up nylon stockings? There is some previous research into homemade face coverings for filtration. A decent place to start is here, and the CDC guidelines, which includes an ASL mask tutorial. 

Masks change our behavior. Masks are a great reminder to not touch your face, keep distance from other people and remind others to keep their distance. 

But, masks may change how others perceive you or how you perceive others. What people assume about a person wearing a mask is not the same for everyone. People are bringing their own lived experience into their decisions about mask-wearing. You or others might choose to not wear one because of fear of violence and that is completely valid. Racism is real. Since December, there has been a huge rise of anti-Asian hatred based on the incorrect assumption that any Asian person must be COVID-19 positive. People of color, particularly young black men, are especially vulnerable to racial profiling, discriminatory practices, and increased policing while wearing a mask.

But what about everybody else?!

Pandemics are scary. We are all experiencing this pandemic slightly differently and coping differently. Some people are hyper-focused on work, childcare, hobbies, reading a lot of pandemic coverage or no pandemic coverage, some folks feel completely calm and others are grasping for the things they can control. The loss of certainty over what you know is terrifying, and there are real public and personal health impacts to the decisions made by others. This lack of certainty and control can often manifest itself in telling other people what to do. This makes conversations about masks, especially on the internet, extremely challenging. 

We encourage folks to follow instructions from health and local government officials. But telling other people what to do can be problematic, especially when it intersects with race, gender, and other lines of oppression. Shame and guilt tripping are not effective persuasion techniques. Additionally, as we mentioned above, people bring their own lived experience into their decisions about mask-wearing. Confronting, yelling at, or calling law enforcement on your neighbors does not build trust. And at worst it can bring financial and bodily harm to others.

Please be thoughtful in how you engage with your neighbors. We need to support, nurture, and love our communities during this time of COVID-19.

Biking during COVID-19

Note: We’re doing our best to stay up on current guidance, but we’re not public health experts, so please follow recommendations from your local government and the CDC.

Are you allowed to ride your bike?

Provisionally, yes. Bicycling is included in lists of allowable recreation in Maryland, DC, and Virginia.

Should you ride your bike?

That depends. If you have symptoms or believe you may have been exposed to the Coronavirus, please stay inside. If you need help or supplies, here are some groups offering support. If you just need some exercise, the internet is full of indoor cross training regimens (here’s one, here’s another) for bicycling that will make you faster and stronger when it’s safe to be out in public again. (Just maybe be mindful of your downstairs neighbors if you’re doing jumping jacks). 

If you are not in one of the above categories, there are safe ways to be outside and on a bicycle, whether you need to because your job is considered essential or for physical and emotional health.

Here are our guidelines:

You are responsible for the safety and health of everybody around you.

Pass pedestrians and other bicyclists with at least 6 feet (or more if you’re moving fast) of space every single time. At intersections stop before the intersection to leave 6 feet between you and folks using the crosswalk. At narrow places, slow down enough to be 100% sure that no one is coming in the other direction. More about masks here.

No snot rockets. 

No nose schmearing with your gloves. 

No spitting. 

No high fives. 🙁

Ride quieter routes or at quieter times. 

If you do not have a required destination, try for a meandering route that doesn’t include a popular destination or try and go for an off-peak time. Trails are extremely busy right now: data from regional trail and bike lane counters shows that trail traffic is quietest before 8am, and that fewer people are riding on streets and bike lanes. 

If you’re going out at dawn or in the dark, make sure you have lights.

If you do ride on a trail, remember that pedestrians always have the right of way, so plan on pulling off the trail to maintain a safe social distance. 

Some inspiration: Find the weirdest thing you can in your neighborhood. Seek out a new favorite tree. Is it more fun to ride up or down the steepest hill in your neighborhood?

Make a plan.

Many parks and trails are closed, as are most trail-side park services like restrooms and water fountains. Many businesses are also closed or operating in a limited way. Make sure you have all the water, and snacks, and tools  you will need for your ride. 

Play it safe.

Take it slow, pay attention, don’t go off any jumps. Now is not the time to push your limits or take a big risk. Emergency rooms are overburdened already, and if you show up with a broken collarbone because you tried to learn a Danny MacCaskill trick, you’re taking time from doctors and nurses who need to be treating people who are sick. 

Stay close to home.

Country roads and wilderness adventures may feel tempting, but rural medical resources are even more strained right now. 

Disinfect and isolate your outdoor gear.

Clean your handlebars and other contact points when you get home. At this point, it is reasonable caution to keep shoes, bikes, clothes that have been outside isolated or washed after you’ve been outside. 

Ride alone, or with your household.

Do not ride in a group that is not your household. Period. If you are feeling competitive, take it to Strava. If you need to socialize, put together a photo scavenger hunt with your friends or maybe plan a digital ride with your friends, ride at the same time and share interesting photos?

Hang out with us on the internet.

Biking is still a great solo transportation and recreation option for many people. Has it been a bit since you’ve ridden? We have weekly webinars on and online meetups at waba.org/fun. Give us a call at (202) 430-6385 or outreach@waba.org if you have route planning or general biking questions. (If you need mechanical support, call your local bike shop.)

We’re Hiring: Trail Rangers

Two people bike away from the camera on a trail - they are both pulling trailers with brooms and are wearing Trail Ranger uniform shirts.

Do you love being outdoors and connecting with people? Want to be part of a collaborative trail team in DC this summer and be paid to engage with folks about trails and fix trails?

The Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) is looking for five passionate and energetic professional trail champions with a wide range of skills and experiences for our 2020 Trail Ranger Team. We are looking for people who are dependable and thoughtful. Beyond this, there is not a standard job history, experience of biking, years of experience or skills set for previously successful Trail Rangers. Now in our eighth season, the Trail Ranger program is a beloved presence on local trails and has a strong reputation as a great working environment with high job satisfaction.

WABA’s Trail Ranger program encourages trail use through daily trail presence, community engagement, trail maintenance, and trail user assistance. Reporting to our Outreach Manager, Trail Rangers cover trails within the District, including the Metropolitan Branch Trail, Anacostia River Trail, Marvin Gaye Trail, and connecting street routes. Trail Rangers act as trail ambassadors, offering a consistent and friendly presence from May through September to make the trails more approachable, enjoyable, and dependable for transportation and recreation.

Intangible benefits include: working outside on those perfect spring days, getting to know your city better through talking with neighbors, and appreciation from fellow trail users. 

The Trail Ranger season is expected to begin May 4th and end on September 31st, 2020. Pay will be $16.50 per hour for new Trail Rangers, and $17.50 per hour for returning Trail Rangers. WABA announces shift schedules well in advance and the program is designed to work for part-time employment knowing employees have other work and life commitments. 

You can learn more about the Trail Ranger program here.

Job Responsibilities:

  • Spend the majority of your work hours outside, biking on or between trails.
  • Work in shifts with a partner riding bikes at a relaxed, conversational pace on an 8 hour shift.
  • Collaborate with team members to determine daily priorities and share program information. 
  • Support and encourage trail use with friendly and helpful trail presence, regular maintenance efforts and consistent outreach events
  • Help lower barriers to bicycling, build community, and build a more robust trail network.
    • Develop and maintain relationships with regular trail users and community members.
    • Bring new users to the trail through community outreach and engagement.
  • Run cleanups and community events with the program coordinator.
  • Manage volunteers joining the team at events and on daily shifts. 
  • Perform inspections of trail conditions and maintenance of trail corridors including pruning branches, gathering trash, and removing obstructions.
  • Make regular reports on daily trail conditions, needs, and trends..
  • Be outside in all weather, with the exemption of thunderstorms and other hazardous conditions.
  • Each team member will be individually responsible for an operational project, including: team bike maintenance, tools maintenance, and shift supplies.
  • Learn about the trails, and neighborhoods served by the trails. 
  • Assist at other WABA events as needed.

Qualifications

Trail Rangers must have:

  • A proven track record for being dependable, timely, and communicative.
  • The willingness to be positive and engaging in a public setting.
  • The willingness and enthusiasm to work in a collaborative team and as a proactive, self starter. 
  • The capacity to be available for 16-24 hours per week in 8 hour shifts with weekday and weekend availability. Shifts are:
    • 6:30 am – 2:30 pm or 11:00 am – 7:00 pm on weekdays.
    • 9:00 am – 5:00 pm on weekends.
  • A commitment to work May 4th to September 31st, 2020.
  • The ability to ride a bike with a willingness to ride in mixed city traffic and off-street trails while pulling a trailer.
  • A commitment to being a safe and exemplary bicyclist.
  • A commitment to respect, include, and be kind to all.
  • An understanding of how race, gender, and other factors shape conversations and experiences. 
  • The willingness to further their knowledge on trail and neighborhood history, and the societal impacts of race, gender and identity and how they intersect with their job. 

Additional qualifications and experience that are helpful but not required:

  • A proven track record for working collaboratively within a team.
  • Excellent communication skills in informal settings and across lines of difference.
  • Creative problem-solving skills and capacity to innovate.
  • The ability to prioritize and a thoughtful attention to detail
  • Lived experience with our program trails and the surrounding neighborhoods

Trail Rangers operate as a team program and benefit from the unique skills and talents of each team member. Ideally, one or more Trail Rangers will have:

  • Working knowledge of basic bicycle maintenance including patching a flat tire and adjusting brakes.
  • Fluency in Spanish, ASL or Amharic a strong plus.
  • Previous experience as a DC Trail Ranger.

Support

WABA is committed to:

  • Teaching you the skills necessary for the job (urban bike riding, basic trail maintenance, basic bike maintenance, how to do bicycle outreach)
  • Ensuring an inclusive, collaborative professional team environment
  • Run an intersectional outreach program that recognizes the multitudes of identities and promotes diversity, inclusion, and equity for employees and the public
  • Orientation and team management that prioritizes your well-being, including training in preventing common biking injuries.
  • Doing our best to have a consistent schedule that respects your time and outside obligations.
  • Providing all the tools, bikes and materials needed to perform the job.

Apply

This position is part-time from May 4th, 2020 through September 31st, 2020 for approximately 20 hours per week. 

Please email a cover letter and resume to jobs@waba.org with “Trail Ranger” as the subject line. Please make sure your application illustrates how you meet the qualifications for the job and what additional skills you would bring to the team. 

Here are some helpful resources as you prepare your job application materials: compilation of resources and resume basics.  

Applications will be accepted until March 23rd though candidates are strongly encouraged to apply earlier. Phone interviews will begin March 30th, hiring decisions will be made by April 15th and team orientation will be May 4th – May 7th. Phone calls at (202) 518-0524 x208 only if you do not have easy internet access please.

WABA is committed to providing equal employment opportunity for all persons regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, marital status, arrest record or criminal convictions, political affiliation, sexual orientation or gender identity, disability, sex, or age.

MLK Day of Service Trail Cleanups

Keeping aggressive growth out of your face and out of mind

Join in a Day of Service for Martin Luther King Jr Day on the Capital Trails Network. The Capital Trails Network is a regional network of world-class current and planned trails connecting the region. With 456 miles of trails currently in the Network, there is certain to be something!

Our region is connected by its trails, rivers and roads. Your efforts at one trail spot will not only help that trail but the neighbors down the watershed by reducing trash flow or making the trails a more pleasant place to be. World-class means thoughtfully designed but also trash-free, well cared for, and free of invasive plants.

Montgomery County

Join park neighbors for an annual MLK Day of Service park cleanup along your local trails and streams!

Supplies will be provided, volunteers should dress appropriately for the weather and wear sturdy shoes and clothes that can get wet and dirty. SSL hours will be available. Volunteers under 14 must be accompanied by a responsible adult.

Sligo Creek Cleanup – Hillwood Manor Park
January 20th, 2020
10am – 12pm
Signup and details here

Sligo Creek Trail – Piney Branch Rd
January 20th, 2020
1pm – 3pm
Signup and details here

Takoma Woods
January 20th, 2020
10 am – 12 pm
Signup and details here

Turkey Branch & Matthew Henson Trail Cleanup
January 20th, 2020
10am – 12pm
Signup and details here

Rock Creek Trail at Jones Mill Rd
January 20th, 2020
9am – 11am
Signup and details here

Rock Creek Trail at Meadowbrook
January 20th, 2020
10am – 12pm
Signup and details here

Long Branch Trail
January 20th, 2020
10am – 12pm
Signup and details here

District of Columbia

Pope Branch
January 20th, 2020
10am – 1pm
Signup and details here

Many different sites along Rock Creek Trail with Rock Creek Conservancy and National Park Service here

Arlington

Four Mile Run
January 20th, 2020
10am – 12pm
Signup and details here

Theodore Roosevelt Island
January 20th, 2020
10am – 12pm
Signup and details here

City of Alexandria 

Jones Point Park
January 18th, 2020
10am – 1pm
Signup and details here

Prince George’s

College Park – Proteus Bicycles
January 20th, 2020
10am – 2pm
Details here

Fairfax Know of any trail cleanup in Fairfax or elsewhere that we missed? Let us know at trailranger@waba.org.