Let’s Get Rolling! Internet Coffee Hour

Coffee mug and bike

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. And you are totally welcome to join voice or text chat only without video.

Let’s Get Rolling! Internet Coffee Hour

Coffee mug and bike

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. 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. And you are totally welcome to join voice or text chat only without video.

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. And you are totally welcome to join voice or text chat only without video.

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. 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. 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 mask (research indicates that other forms of face coverings may be less effective) —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.

Disponible en español

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.)