We are celebrating the completion of the Alexandria Bike Campus, a major milestone for the region’s commitment to safe bicycling! WABA will host a ribbon cutting on Saturday, December 7 at 11:00 a.m. at Jones Point Park in Alexandria.
We are inviting community members and families to come use the bike campus for the first time! WABA bicycle education instructors will be demonstrating how to use the bicycle campus to teach students of all ages how to ride and how to ride safely and confidently. Looking to learn a new skill? Our instructors are here to help you!
Who should come?
Everyone! And bring your friends and family. All bicycles are welcome, whether you are on a balance bike, a family cargo bike, or your commuter. Join us for a morning of skills, fun and joy, and community building!
What’s a bike campus?
The bicycle campus is a paved space created expressly to teach people of all ages how to ride safely, comfortably and confidently. The Alexandria bike campus has two major elements. It has a small-scale, six-block model of “city” streets. Each block has a different street design, allowing bicyclists of all ages to learn how to maneuver and what to expect in different “real world” scenarios. Additionally, the design includes a training course that allows for distraction-free learning for basic skills such as riding in straight lines, turns, starting and stopping, and bike handling. The facility is open to the public for self-learning and will be used to host WABA bicycle education classes.
What should I bring?
Bring your bike, bring your helmet, and bring your family and friends!
Where are we meeting?
Great question! Look for the paved sections underneath the Wilson Bridge at Jones Point Park. We’ll be just east of where the Mt. Vernon Trail crosses under the bridge and where the bathrooms are. Look for the mini-street scape!
December is not the ideal time for manual labor. Nonetheless, more than a dozen volunteers and representatives from partner organizations braved the cold and the wind to help WABA take the first steps toward installing the Alexandria Bike Campus.
WABA and the National Park Service (NPS) agreed to the proposed facility in 2015, and we successfully raised funds last spring to make it a reality. Final design and compliance approval took a bit longer than expected, but just before Thanksgiving, we got the final go-ahead.
Unfortunately, because of the low temperatures, actually painting the Bike Campus onto the pavement wasn’t possible. Instead, we spent the morning on “demolition” to get the site ready for the spring. We removed 74 concrete parking stops, pulled nearly 150 pieces of rebar from the ground, swept up and bagged all the debris, and patched the holes to prevent surface damage over the winter.
Best of all, we had a blast! Please sign up here to stay up to date as the project moves forward.
You can see a selection of pictures from the day here:
The parking lot under the Wilson Bridge at Jones Point Park, before we started work.
Our volunteers gathered on a cold-but-sunny morning.
National Park Service staff Aaron LaRocca and WABA staff Jeff Wetzel demonstrate how to remove a concrete parking stop.
The parking stops start to pile up! Photo credit Daniel Hoagland.
One row down, three to go…
WABA staff Daniel Hoagland demonstrates how to patch a hole.
Two of our intrepid volunteers patch a hole while a third looks on. Photo credit Daniel Hoagland.
Surveying the cleared and cleaned parking lot. Perfect for biking!
Huge thanks to our volunteers and the NPS staff who helped out (and Bob the dog for stopping by)!
Last week, we announced our plan to turn an unused parking lot into the region’s first ever bike campus. Thanks to our members, we’re halfway to our fundraising goal!
The total cost of the project is around $55,000. We’re trying to secure $35,000 in grants and sponsorships, and we need your help to cover the remaining costs.
Before we ask you to make a donation, we want to highlight one of our members and why he and his family support the Alexandria Bike Campus. Miles learned to ride in the city as an adult, and taught his daughter to ride at—you guessed it—Jones Point Park.
My name’s Miles and I really don’t know what I’d do without my bike. I wasn’t born a bicyclist, I learned in an old orchard as a kid. Although I crashed into trees, I never had to worry about how to bike sensibly with cars, pedestrians, and other people on bikes.
It was years later, in my early thirties, before I was comfortable riding in the street at all. Now I ride my bike to work 25 miles a day. Think of all those lost years between the orchard and the city streets! It was a difficult process. Even as an adult, I had a hard time getting comfortable and and feeling safe and learning to be courteous around other people moving through the city.
It’s even harder for kids. My kids didn’t have an orchard to learn in, but places like Jones Point park are a good environment to teach kids how to fall in love with biking. It’s great: safe, flat, bathrooms nearby, and a relaxing setting by the river.
I’m thrilled to learn about WABA’s proposed bike campus. I love the idea of a fun practice course that models our city streets, because we need a dedicated space to teach people how to ride safely around town. Think of all the years of lost biking joy we can spare them! Think of all the family excursions they’ll be able to take if they can learn someplace safe! Imagine how much more fun we’d have if everyone learned at a young age how to love biking and how to bike safely around town!
If you’ve donated to WABA, you know you’ve contributed to concrete change in our built environment and a tangible shift in the way we all interact on the road. You’ve made a lasting impact in our region. Thank you for continuing to back us. Thank you for driving our mission to make our region the best place to ride a bike.
For two and half years we’ve worked with National Park Service to take Jones Point Park, in the heart of Alexandria, to the next level as a place for bike education. With your help, we’ll have the funds to convert an unused parking lot into a vibrant skills course and replica streetscape so we can teach you and your children how to safely and confidently navigate city streets. And so you can take your children out on the weekends and teach them how to ride. But we can’t do it without your help.
Over a dozen cities across the country have bike campuses, and it’s time we get one ourselves! Your support will pay for actual supplies so we can clean and re-seal the surface, lay out and paint the campus, and post new signage around the park! Your support will pay for our maintenance fund, so that we can help cover the costs of ownership over the new park. With your backing we’ll have a template to pressure other counties to adopt, and with your help we’ll eventually have bike campuses across Northern Virginia, D.C. and Maryland.