Biking during COVID-19

Note: Everything in this post could change very quickly. 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.

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.

Announcing the 2019 Trail Ranger Team!

Meet beth, Rebecca, Gabriel, Blake and Matthew! The Trail Rangers are all about providing a consistent and helpful presence on DC’s mixed-use paved trails. We help trail users, engage with trailside neighborhoods, improve trail conditions, and work with city agencies to keep the trails clean, bright, and clear of obstacles.

Keep an eye out for them on the Marvin Gaye, Anacostia River, Suitland Parkway and Metropolitan Branch Trails (Click here to see where these awesome trails are!).

beth
Rebecca
Gabriel
Blake
Matthew

Favorite snack?

“This is a tough question…I love hummus, vegan cheese, and avocados with crackers. I also love a handful of trail mix – without chocolate – don’t’ get me wrong I love chocolate – just not in trail mix. :)” – beth

“Marzipan Chocolate!” – Blake

“Any snacks with dark chocolate!” – Gabriel

Cheese and crackers – Matthew

“Key lime pie” – Rebecca

What is your bike story – how did you start and what has the journey been?

“I started biking in San Diego when a friend of mine encouraged me to ride. I was reluctant (it had been years!) and a little wobbly at first but then I felt like a kid again. I bought a bike and started riding to work and the beach. When I loved out of San Diego and back to my hometown, I left my car in the driveway and rode my bike everywhere. When I got married we decided to honeymoon by biking across the country. We arrived in DC in November 2015 and have been biking in DC since.”  – beth

“I started biking at a young age riding BMX bikes with my brother and friends around town. My first job was a bike mechanic at 16 year old. As i got older, I eventually progressed to mountain and road bikes. It’s been a non-stop addiction!” – Blake

“After tricycle, I got a long and shiny banana seat and role like “Bajito y Suavecito.” – Gabriel

“I learned to bike a long time ago but I never regularly biked anywhere in the city until I bought my first $40 Flying Pigeon bike while living in Beijing. I loved biking in the city – there were protected bike lanes even before America had them! When I moved back to DC after China, I was determined to continue biking. I’ve since lived without a car, relying on my two legs or my bike to get around DC, and I love it so much! I’ll never go back to driving!” – Matthew

“Have been biking since a kid. Always enjoyed roller blading, skateboarding and scottergin etc. But biking on trails and long distance was always my favorite.” – Rebecca

Favorite thing about biking?

“My favorite thing about biking…I get there faster. When I need to get across the city it is likely to be faster by bike then public transportation, personal vehicle, or ride share.”  – beth

“The freedom cycling provides. Cycling allows you to explore cities and parks at a relaxed pace with a 1st class view. Traffic and parking is never a problem! It also allows you to see places that you otherwise never would in a car.” – Blake

“Get going without having my feet on the ground.” – Gabriel

“I feel so free! There’s just something about knowing that I can hop onto this machine and go anywhere with my own body. And when I’m on a trail in the middle of a forest, it feels so great to exercise and connect to nature!” – Matthew

“Outdoors” – Rebecca

What are you excited to do as a Trail Ranger this summer?

“I’m excited to be outside on a bike. I’m excited to get a little dirty while clearing vegetation. I’m excited to see the trail that I’m less familiar with.”  – beth

“I’m excited about being outdoors a lot and helping improve cycling conditions in the greater Washington DC area!” – Blake

“Team up with Trail Rangers of diverse backgrounds and interact with the communities of all DC!!!” – Gabriel

“I’m excited to meet new people and show them how awesome our trails are. I can’t wait to get out there and make sure our trails are safe and enjoyable for everyone. Bring on the summer heat!” – Matthew

“Expand my knowledge about the trails.” – Rebecca

Working hard on the MBT!
Stop by for Trail Ranger Coffee Hour on Friday mornings!

Tales and Trails: Trail History of Anacostia Park

Why was Anacostia Park home to thousands of people when the Bonus Army was in town? Who participated in the Pearl escape attempt in 1848? Learn more about Anacostia Park with National Park Service and the Washington Area Bicyclist Association on three FREE guided history rides this summer:

May 26th – The Parks of Capitol Hill

10 AM – 1 PM
Lincoln Park at the Emancipation Statue
ASL interpreted

More details and required registration here.

June 30 – The Bonus Army

10 AM – 1 PM
Anacostia Dr and Good Hope Rd SE
ASL interpreted

More details and required registration here.

August 31st – The History of Anacostia Park

10 AM – 1 pm
Anacostia Dr and Good Hope Rd SE
ASL interpreted

More details and required registration here.