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.

Still Seeking a Full Time D.C. Bike Ambassador Program Coordinator

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Photo Courtesy of former Bike Ambassador Coordinator, Megan McCarty

The Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) is looking for a full-time coordinator for the DC Bike Ambassador program, an innovative grassroots approach to bicycle outreach and encouragement.

The DC Bike Ambassadors are educators and enthusiasts who work to bring better bicycling to the people of the District. Ambassadors are carefully selected for a love of bicycling, an understanding of the benefits that bikes can bring to communities, and effective communication skills. They can be found out on the streets day and night to promote bicycling and act as two-wheeled role models in our city.

The DC Bike Ambassador Coordinator is responsible for all aspects of the Bike Ambassador program, including volunteer recruitment, training and coordination, event scheduling and staffing, developing new strategies and approaches to bicycle outreach and encouragement, and online program support and marketing. The DC Bike Ambassador coordinator will develop, produce and distribute bicycle safety publications, implement bike safety and education presentations, manage volunteer coordination and training efforts, participate in WABA events (both on- and off-bike), and maintain and expand the Bike Ambassador program’s unique trailer program. The position will report to WABA’s Outreach Coordinator.

Responsibilities

 The DC Bike Ambassador Coordinator will:

  1. Develop the calendar of Ambassador events and appear in public as the face of area bicycling.
  2. Communicate an effective and encouraging message about bikes and bicycling to employers, employees, cyclists, motorists, pedestrians and the press.
  3. Develop and implement Ambassador events, including: scheduling, logistics, planning, volunteer coordination, loading and unloading, staffing events, and pulling the bicycle trailer(s).
  4. Run the Bike Ambassador Trailer program, which involves pulling an advertising/public awareness bike trailer to target bicyclist, motorist and pedestrian behaviors.
  5. Administer all aspects of the program, including: budgeting, volunteer recruitment/coordination, data entry, organization/inventory, equipment maintenance, clerical work, grant reporting, etc.
  6. Assist WABA in a non-Ambassador program capacity as needed.

Preferred Qualifications

 The ideal candidate will have:

  1. A strong commitment to WABA’s mission and be a skillful and committed bicyclist with a solid understanding of the principles of bicycling safety and traffic law.
  2. At least two years of combined experience in: project management, events planning/management, marketing and/or volunteer coordination.
  3. Supervisory experience a plus.
  4. Excellent writing, presentation and public speaking skills.
  5. A flexible schedule and willingness to work evenings and weekends as needed.
  6. Experience with Microsoft Office, Facebook and Twitter (for professional purposes), experience with Salsa/Democracy in Action and WordPress a plus.
  7. The ability to pull a bicycle trailer weighing 20 lbs. for 1-3 hours.
  8. The ability to lift at least 50 lbs.
  9. The ability to organize time wisely and multi-task in a relaxed, fun environment.
  10. Conversational fluency in Spanish strongly preferred.
  11. Prior League of American Bicyclist Instructor certification a plus.

Benefits include flexible schedule, vacation, sick and personal leave, and WABA’s retirement and health insurance programs. Compensation: low to mid-$30K’s. This position is full-time, 40 hours/week.

 About the Washington Area Bicyclist Association

Making bicycling better through advocacy and education, the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) promotes biking as a healthy, low-cost, and environmentally-friendly form of transportation and recreation. With 4,000 members region-wide, WABA serves bicyclists throughout the Washington, DC Metropolitan Area, including the District of Columbia and parts of Maryland and Virginia.

Contact

Send a cover letter with a resume to jobs@waba.org.  No phone calls please.

Position available immediately. Applications accepted until the position is filled.

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

 

First St. NE Cycle Track Ribbon Cutting Tomorrow

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WABA will be celebrating the completion of newly rebuilt First St. NE Street at a community event hosted by the  NoMA Business Improvement District (BID). Mayor Vincent Gray will cut the ribbon on the new street which includes DC’s first curb protected cycle track. Construction began in the spring of 2013 and lasted about a year.

Come join the fun and thank DDOT for this awesome new protected bike lane. WABA Bike Ambassadors and Trail Rangers will be at the event, so stop by and say hello. The 2014 WABA Trail Rangers will be riding the cycle track almost daily on their way to the Met Branch Trail. The celebration will include goodies, music and more.

Event Details
When: Friday, May 30.
11:30 AM-1:30 PM
Where: grassy field adjacent to 1100 First Street, NE
(intersection of Pierce and First Streets, NE)
What: Neighborhood celebration of the completion of construction on First Street, NE. Free goodies, food, and more will be available from the NoMa BID.

April Trailer Challenge: Halfway There!

ATC Week 2

To kickoff the spring season, the Bike Ambassadors started a month-long project: the April Trailer Challenge! We’re now halfway through the month and halfway through the challenge. During the second week of the challenge, the trailer made it to all eight wards of D.C.

ATC Week 2

For a closer look at this week’s ride map, follow the WABA Trailer on Strava.

This week, our volunteers rode 160 miles with the trailer in tow, bringing our monthly total up to 226 miles! Our goal for the entire month is 500 trailer team miles, and we’re right on track to reach that.

The ATC is a campaign to message WABA’s offerings of bike education, outreach, and advocacy to a broader audience in a fun way! Our goal for the month of April is to get the Bike Ambassador trailers around as much of the city as possible. We’re aiming for 500 trailer team miles in just 30 days.

Have you seen our trailer? You can participate in the April Trailer Challenge! Take a photo and post it on social media. Tag us @wabadc using #bikeambassador (on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook) and you’ll be entered to win a free bike tune-up.

Check out all the photos from the April Trailer Challenge!

For more information, contact the D.C. Bike Ambassador Program Coordinator Megan McCarty at megan.mccarty@waba.org.

See you in the bike lanes in April, and see more Trailer Challenge photos below the jump: Continue reading

April Trailer Challenge: Week 1

April Trailer Challenge - Week 1

To kickoff the spring season, the Bike Ambassadors started a month-long project: the April Trailer Challenge! For our inaugural week, we had 12 volunteers participate for a total of 65.8 trailer team miles.

The ATC is a campaign to message WABA’s offerings of bike education, outreach, and advocacy to a broader audience in a fun way! Our goal for the month of April is to get the Bike Ambassador trailers around as much of the city as possible. We’re aiming for 500 trailer team miles in just 30 days.

To get things started, we trained volunteer Bike Ambassadors to pull the rolling billboards through the streets of Adams Morgan, near WABA HQ. Each ambassador got a chance to learn the basics and ride with the team at Monday’s kickoff event.

During the first week of the challenge, the trailer made it to all four quadrants of D.C., including special pitstops at Nationals’ Opening Day, five embassies, the downtown cycletracks, and everywhere in between! Next week, we’re aiming to bring the trailer to all eight wards.

April Trailer Challenge - Week 1

Have you seen our trailer? You can participate in the April Trailer Challenge! Take a photo and post it on social media. Tag us @wabadc using #bikeambassador (on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook) and you’ll be entered to win a free bike tune-up.

Check out all the photos from the April Trailer Challenge!

For more information, contact the D.C. Bike Ambassador Program Coordinator Megan McCarty at megan.mccarty@waba.org. See you in the bike lanes in April!

April Trailer Challenge - Week 1

April Trailer Challenge - Week 1

April Trailer Challenge

April Trailer Challenge - Week 1

WABA Bike Ambassadors Share the Love for Valentine’s Day 2014

After last year’s hugely successful Valentine’s Day outreach at 15th and R streets NW, the bike ambassadors took it up a notch for 2014: Two outreach locations were selected, 500 valentines were hand-crafted by our volunteer team, treats were purchased, and plans were made. Our goal was to share the love of bicycling.

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Just before our bike ambassador teams were to deploy, the weather challenged us by dumping several inches of snow! But despite snow-covered bike lanes and freezing temperatures, the ambassadors pressed on.

2014 02 14 Valentine's Day

The first ambassador crew set up camp at the corner of East Capitol and 4th streets NE and waited for the morning rush.

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We typically see 150-plus bicyclists during morning commute outreach at this location, but due to the slush we only saw 3 cyclists in the 90 minutes we spent outside. Armed with an abundance of Valentine notes, we ventured out looking for recently-ridden bicycles (ones not covered in snow) all over the city on which to hang the leftovers.

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Some of our favorite Valentine messages included “We WHEELIE like you,” “Are you spoken for?” “Hope your commute is as sweet as you are,” “You’re just our speed,” and “We like the way you roll.”

2014 02 14 Valentine's Day

By the time the afternoon team set up at the corner of 15th and L streets NW, the cycletrack had been plowed and the sun had warmed things up. People were surprised to see us out there, but thrilled to have positive interactions to kick off the weekend!

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Resources: Basic Bike Commuting Gear

This blog post is part of a new series by our bike ambassadors. It’s dedicated to presenting tips that will encourage new riders to get started. We’ll link these posts on our Resources page, forming a library of tips for beginning cyclists.

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Commuting by bicycle isn’t complicated. You don’t need much to get started. Once you have a bike that fits you and is in working condition, you’re almost all set to ride. These basics will ensure that you’re safe, lawful, and comfortable.

A helmet: While a helmet is not required by law in D.C. for riders over the age of 16, there’s nothing wrong with protecting your head.

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U-lock: Unless you are just taking your bicycle out for a spin, you’re going to want to be able to leave your bike outside your destination (i.e. Metro station, restaurant, workplace, etc.) and rest assured it will be waiting for you when you’re ready to head home. Purchasing and properly using the best lock you can afford will provide a sense of security when you don’t have your eyes on your bike.

Lights: Requirements for lights vary by jurisdiction, but regardless, it’s important to keep yourself visible on the road. Make sure to use a white headlight (front light) and a red taillight (rear light) when it’s dark, foggy, or in wet weather. There are several types of bike lights, and the one that suits your needs depends on your ride. Riding a dark trail at night? You’ll want the brightest one you can find to help illuminate the path in front of you. Riding down a heavily light cycle track? Maybe you can get by with smaller blinky lights. Even if you don’t think you’ll ever ride at night, you never know when you may leave work later than you planned, get caught in the rain, or decide you need to take your bike out after dark.

Some bicycle commuters often find that it’s nice to have a few extras beyond what’s absolutely necessary. These nice-to-have items include:

Bell: Bells are not only for your safety, but for the safety of other bicyclists and pedestrians out on the road. A bell can communicate to others that you’re passing, warn jaywalkers that you are approaching, or grab the attention of a passenger hopping out of a cab before they door you.

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Fenders: Avoid loking like a skunk after your rainy day rides by adding fenders to your bike. A wet and puddle-filled ride becomes more enjoyable when you’re not working about getting your clothes filthy on the way.

Gloves: Plenty of riders use cushioned gloves on their everyday commute throughout the year. Protecting your hands from the cold, wet, and wind is crucial during the winter months since most braking and shifting control comes from your hands and fingers. For most short commutes, your usual winter gloves will suffice.

Pete and FABB’s Absolutely Merry Holiday Shopping Expedition—By Bike!

Pete Beers is one of our part-time bike ambassadors. Pete lives in Virginia and spends a lot of time biking in D.C.’s suburbs and, as a BA, has worked tirelessly to make getting around WABA’s suburban jurisdictions by bike easier and more accessible. Recently, Pete led a holiday shopping trip by bike to Tyson’s Corner and the Mosaic District in conjunction with Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling. We’re reposting his account of the day–which was, by all accounts, exceedingly enjoyable–on our blog. You can read Pete’s blog, I Love My Commute, here.

The best response that I got when I proposed this ride was “Ho Ho NO. I’ll follow you to Certain Death, Pete, but not to Tyson’s Corner (a fate worse than . . . ).”

I think many people dread crowds and parking problems associated with holiday shopping at the mall the week before Christmas.  The mall can get a bit crazy this time of year.  My goal was to make it fun.  I did this by getting there by bicycle and by bringing  along as many friends as I could.  I’ve also wanted to share how amazingly easy it is to ride to Tyson’s Corner by bicycle.  That was the genesis of the Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling (FABB) / Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) Holiday Shopping Ride.  Both FABB and WABA are all about showing people that it is easy to live by bicycle.

Tyson’s Corner Center jumped in immediately as a sponsor.  Mosaic District enthusiastically supported this too.  Freshbikes Mosaic provided both shopping bags and bicycle security services (me with a bunch of U-locks and cables) to make this all possible.  I rode the cargo bike with buckets on the back to help people with transporting their purchases.  In the end, I was the only one filling the buckets with stuff that I’d bought.  It wasn’t that others didn’t shop.  They brought their own means for carrying their purchases home.


The route was simple.  Nine of us rode from Vienna, Virginia to Tyson’s Corner and completely bypassed the lines of cars waiting to get into the parking garage.  We picked up two more riders along the way.  Bicycle Parking is right next to the mall entrance in spot that had Mall Security and a police officer right next door for added bicycle security.  The outdoor German Market was really nice!  The local artisans and bakeries were the backbone of my shopping for the day.  We got a lot of shopping done before even setting foot in the mall.  We enjoyed two hours of shopping inside and a nice lunch before loading up our purchases and heading south.

The second stop on our shopping ride is the Mosaic District.  This eclectic group of shops and restaurants is quickly becoming one of my favorite hangouts.  In addition to being home to my favorite local bike shop (Freshbikes) there are many small local shops, MOM’s Organic Market and plenty of restaurants, Target and the movie theater make it a great place to be.  It is quite easy to get to by bicycle and has good bike parking in the garages and out on the street.  We spent an hour there shopping and getting coffee before heading back to Vienna.

What was my favorite reaction after the ride?  “Thanks for organizing and leading the ride, we got a lot of shopping done. We’ll be riding to Tysons instead of driving again in the near future.”

This was the first of many, many rides of this kind.  Many thanks to Tyson’s Corner Center, Mosaic District and Freshbikes for making it possible.

Resources: Bike Route Planning

This blog post is part of a new series by our bike ambassadors. It’s dedicated to presenting tips that will encourage new riders to get started. We’ll link these posts on our Resources page, forming a library of tips for beginning cyclists.

Once you’ve found the bike that works for you, it’s important to ensure it’s in working condition for riding before venturing out onto the road. Now that you’re all geared up, it’s time to plan your two-wheeled tour—of D.C., Maryland, Virginia, or anywhere!

Before mapping out your bike route, it can be helpful to consider your options. How comfortable are you riding in traffic? Do you prefer bike lanes and trails? How much time do you have to get to your destination? What time of day will you be riding? Do you want to avoid or tackle the hills?

Basic Route Planning
Google Maps (both the desktop browser map and the smartphone app) has an option to select bicycling directions. Just as if you were trying to get driving or walking directions, simply type in the start and end locations and click the bicycle icon.

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Often, there is more than one way to get from point A to point B. Dark solid green lines show separated bicycle facilities like trails or cycle tracks. Medium solid green lines indicate that street has a dedicated bicycle lane, but is not separated from traffic. Dotted green lines represent places in the city that are considered “bicycle routes” and/or have sharrows painted on them.

Depending on personal comfort level, mileage, and timing, you could choose any number of different ways to get around D.C. While an electronic mapping function like Google Maps may produce the directions for the most direct route, it may mean riding on busy streets without any dedicated bike infrastructure.  Some riders may be comfortable taking the lane, but others may not. Getting to your destination via the most bike-friendly route may mean taking an indirect path on trails and side streets in order to avoid major thoroughfares.

D.C.-Area Trails
While the D.C. trail network is not complete, there are a number of connections to and from the city for commuting to work or getting your workout. Trails can provide a safe alternative for riders looking to get out of traffic or to those looking for a scenic weekend ride. In some cases, trails are the only real connection between destinations. Check out or complete list of trails in the D.C. region.

Multi-Modal Routes
Having the option to hop on transit with your bicycle is a handy one. Whether you get a flat, get caught in a blizzard, or are too tired ride, knowing your options for getting home can make it easier to decide to go by bike.

Metro: Folding bikes are allowed on Metro Rail anytime during the usual hours of operation. Regular bikes are permitted at all times except for certain holidays and Monday-Friday rush hours, which are 7 a.m.-10 a.m. and 4 p.m.-7 p.m. Bicycles are permitted any time during the weekends. You must use the elevator with your bicycle.

Bus: Every Metro Bus has two bike racks on the front of the bus. You can carry your bike on the front of the bus at any time with no additional charge. Learn how to put your bike on the bus.

Park and Ride: Many of the area metro stations have bike racks or lockers on site. Check WMATA’s website to find out if your station has these amenities. Consider bicycling from home to the Metro for your commute to save on parking costs!

With over 200 stations in the region, Capital Bikeshare gives you the option of one-way, short bike trips. Check Bikeshare’s website for details about how to join, and use the app SpotCycle to figure out which stations near you have available docks or bikes.

Paper Bike Maps
If your smartphone is dead or if electronic maps just aren’t your thing, there are plenty of printed bicycle maps available for navigating your way through the city. Check out our complete list of maps available in the Maryland, Virginia, and the region, or stop by the WABA office to pick one up.

Friends and Forums
Pair up with a friend who bikes in your area and ride together. Talk to them about their favorite or fastest routes. If you don’t have a trusted bicycle buddy, hop onto the Washington Area Bike Forum and ask other bicycle enthusiasts in the area. Everyday bike riders are an invaluable resource when it comes to finding out where the best places to bike are, where you’ll find the biggest hills, and where to enjoy the best views of D.C.!

Remember:

  • Double check your bike route on a map before heading out!
  • Come prepared! Don’t count on trails to be well lit or for bicycle routes to be well signed. Knowing ahead of time where you’re going will save you frustrations later.
  • Leave extra time for new routes. Sure, there are times when getting lost can be a fun adventure, but not when you’re running late!

Basic Maintainence

This blog post is part of a new series by our bike ambassadors. It’s dedicated to presenting tips that will encourage new riders to get started. We’ll link these posts on our Resources page, forming a library of tips for beginning cyclists.

Previously in this new serious of resource tips, we talked about finding and choosing the right bike. Once you’ve found the bike that works for you, it’s important to make sure it’s in good condition for riding before venturing out onto the road.

ABC Quick Check
The ABC Quick Check is an easy-to-remember, fast way to make sure your bike is ready to go. It helps you identify up front things that could be inconvenient problems if they crop up while you’re riding. What does it stand for?

A is for Air: Give both front and rear tires a quick squeeze to make sure tires are firm, not soft. Check the sidewall of your tire to find out what level the air pressure should be, and use a pump to fill to that amount. It’s a good idea to check for any cuts, tears, rocks, or other flaws in the tires. Proper tire inflation and care helps prevent flat tires.

B is for Brakes: Check both hand brakes (if your bike has two) by making sure the whole brake pad squeezes tightly on the wheel’s metal rim, not on the rubber tire or on empty air. There should be space between the hand brake lever and the handlebar. If your brakes do not fully stop the bicycle, do not ride until they are fixed.

C is for Chain: Take a look at the chain. Is it dry or rusted? If so, apply a tiny drop of chain lube to each link. Each link should be free of rust and debris. Click for more advanced chain maintenance.

Quick is for Quick Release: Quick release levers make it easy to adjust or remove parts of your bike for maintenance and storage purposes. Make sure any quick releases (usually found on seat posts and at the center of wheels) are closed and pointed towards the back of the bicycle.

Check is for…Check!: Look over the rest of the bicycle. If you see any broken spokes, missing nuts or bolts, or have a wiggly seat that you can’t tighten, do not ride. Fix any small issues before you ride to prevent injury or causing damage to your bicycle! If you are unsure how to fix any problems on your bicycle, contact your local shop or schedule a bike tune-up.

To see an ABC Quick Check in action, watch this video.

Fix-a-Flat
Flat tires are nearly inevitable and can leave you stranded if you don’t know how to fix them. But it’s an easy enough process that most riders can pick up quickly. The best way to learn how to fix a flat is to watch a demonstration: To see a tire-change in action, check out this Fix-a-Flat video by REI.

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You need a few things to fit a flat: tire levers, a pump, a patch kit, or a spare tube. The process goes like this: Pull your wheel off using tire levers. Remove tube from inside tire and check for punctures or tears. Use the patch kit to repair a small leak, or replace the tube with your spare. Slightly inflate the new tube and replace the new tube inside the tire. Put the tire back on the wheel, and the wheel back on the bike. Tighten any quick releases or brakes you may have loosened to get your wheel off. You’re ready to ride!

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Clean and Lube a Chain
To keep your chain in good shape, it’s important to keep it cleaned and lubricated. Having a well-lubed chain protects the moving parts from excessive wear and tear caused by friction and rust.

There are many different types of chain lube on the market, and how frequently your bike needs to be oiled largely depends on how frequently you’re riding and the conditions the bike endures. For the most part, lube only when your chain sounds squeaky or appears dry. Cleaning and lubing your chain after riding through wet, muddy conditions will keep it from rusting.

Make sure to use bike-specific lube and be careful to avoid over-lubricating. Wipe away excess lube before riding.

Wipe your chain down so that the lube doesn’t get sticky or goopy.

Do It Yourself?
Your local bike shop likely offers a free or by-donation basic maintenance class. Co-ops like The Bike House and Velocity are also good options. Or check out REI’s post for more info on cleaning and maintaining your bicycle.