This guest blog is written by Patty Gentry, a recent WABA in the Wild rider, who shares her experience on the trip this past June. Imagine it. You’re sitting at the dinner table, covered in dried mud. Your butt is sore from riding over 120 miles without much training. You’re eating a warm bowl of spaghetti and meatballs made (with lots of love) by staff and volunteers, and you have the biggest smile on your face. This was me on the last night of WABA in the Wild. I don’t know what it is about “bike people”, but overall they are a special group of people. The riders and staff that participated in the WABA in the Wild ride are no exception—from the moment that we arrived at check-in at the REI in Rockville, I felt taken care of, excited, and a little nervous for the next three days. The WABA crew stored my bike, tent and bag and all the riders piled into a van for the drive out to Cumberland, MD. We arrived to a smiling crew that welcomed us to our home for the night. After setting up my tent, we spent the evening getting to know each other, and learned more about all the different programs WABA offers. The group consisted of some seasoned riders, new riders, riders who trained, and some who didn’t (*cough…me*). We all came to this ride for a variety of reasons, but we all had one thing in common—we love to bike and we want more people to be able to bike and bike safely. To me, it doesn’t get better than a night out under the stars with like-minded people. (Plus, access to the sweet YMCA showers didn’t hurt either.) Over the course of the next three days, I had an incredible ride. I pushed my physical and mental abilities and proved to myself that I could do it. At the end of each day, I was at ease sitting around the dinner table with the other riders and hearing about everyone’s epic day. And, it was pretty nice having someone else make my food! The 184.5 miles of the C&O Canal towpath seemed like every mile had something new and fun to offer. Whether it was a paved section right next to the river, a downed tree to hop over, or splashing through mud puddles, it was all pure adventure. I saw so much wildlife, too! I stopped on the trail to move turtles, let a deer and its fawn pass in front of me, glimpsed cardinals, blue jays, and hawks, and said an occasional hello to other humans on the trail. It was truly incredible. I wish I could do it again, and I just might! If this is sounds up your alley, you definitely don’t want to miss WABA in the Wild this October. The staff and volunteers on this ride helped and supported me through every mile – from finding mile 184.5 alllllll the way to mile 0. I’m sure that you’ll experience even more and I can’t wait to hear all about it. Learn more and register here!
Last week, we finished WABA in the Wild, a peer-to-peer fundraiser and supported bicycle tour of the C&O Canal towpath. Riders cheerfully wheeled through 184.5 muddy, dusty, gravel-y, and sweaty miles, from Cumberland, MD to Georgetown, DC over three-and-a-half days. They marked the end of the trip with one rider’s toothy family tradition: a WABA in the Wild “power smile”. Donations are still coming in, but so far 11 riders have raised a whopping $15,197 for WABA. Their efforts are helping to make bicycling better for everyone in the region—we owe them a huge thank you! Here is one rider’s take on their ride: “I enjoy riding long distances, so riding the towpath was right up my alley and having WABA with me was the best idea ever. WABA has been educating me for several years on riding safely in the region, so I trusted them to guide me on this ride down the towpath. It was much harder than I imagined, but when I was tired and couldn’t go another step there was a staffer cheering me on that I could do this. I would do the WABA in Wild ride again just to be out with nature, going through the Paw Paw Tunnel, seeing Great Falls and Harpers Ferry. But being with other like-minded riders and the WABA staff made this a truly memorable experience. I loved every minute of it!” We’ll let the pictures below tell rest of the story of our trip, but, if you’re interested in joining us for WABA in the Wild, we are running the trip again in October! Put your name on the interest list for early access to registration.
You can support better bicycling in just 184.5 miles while enjoying unlimited s’mores and trail snacks, miles and miles of stress-free and car-free gravel riding with scenic river views and vistas, and a new super sweet limited edition WABA in Wild adventure jersey!
Be Part of this Epic AdventureThe registration deadline for signing up for WABA in the Wild is September 23rd (that’s tomorrow) at Midnight. Register today to save your spot!
The DetailsWABA in the Wild is a fully supported peer-to-peer fundraising ride that raises support for WABA’s advocacy and outreach efforts in the DC region. The tour will take place on the Chesapeak and Ohio Canal Towpath from Friday, October 7th to Monday, October 11th. WABA will bus riders and all their stuff (all you need to bring is your bicycle, tent, sleeping bag, and a couple changes of clothes) to Cumberland, MD on Friday. We’ll camp in Cumberland on Friday night, Hancock, MD on Saturday night, and bunk or camp at the Harper’s Ferry Hostel on Sunday night. We’ll spend three days (Sat, Sun, Mon) bicycling downhill on the canal towpath going about 60-65 miles each day, with plenty of snack breaks in between the miles. It is a peer-to-peer fundraising ride, so every dollar you raise goes to support WABA – that means that if we get 35 riders to join us for WABA in the Wild, over $40,000 will go directly to support WABA’s efforts to make bicycling better.
We Will Downright Pamper YouWe know bike touring, camping, and biking 65 miles a day can be a bit intimidating. That’s why we want to make it as easy as possible for you to check this off your bucket list. If you’ve never biked the entire C&O Canal – or even if you have and you’ve been wanting to do it again – this is your chance to do it.
- We plan all the super boring and annoying logistics for you so all you have to do is show up
- We arrange transportation to the tour start in Cumberland
- We build the fire and cook delicious campfire meals for you
- We load up and carry and your camping gear and luggage to each campsite
- We take you out for lunch and dinner one day in Canal Towns along the towpath
- We have a SAG vehicle ready to meet you at a trail access point just in case
- We bring the bug spray, lanterns, candles, s’mores, music, clotheslines, evening story times, camp chairs – and if it’s muddy we’ll even wipe down your bike for you
It’s about time WABA was a bit more adventurous: WABA in the Wild is about better bicycling through 184.5 miles, fireflies, and coffee outside. We are super excited to announce that registration for WABA’s first overnight event, first bike camping tour, and first peer-to-peer fundraiser event to support our advocacy and outreach work is now open. The WABA in the Wild tour includes three nights of camping, three days of bicycling along the towpath, and a guided scenic journey by bike from Cumberland, MD to Washington, DC. This adventure is a peer-to-peer fundraiser ride to support WABA’s mission to get everyone within one mile of a safe, dedicated place to ride a bike. Tour Dates: When: Friday, October 7th through Monday, October 10th, 2016 Where: Bike from Cumberland, MD back home to Washington, DC (transportation from DC to Cumberland is included) Learn more about the WABA in the Wild Towpath Tour here. We’ll provide everything you need to fundraise for this tour: your own fundraising webpage, email templates, postcards, strategy session at the WABA office, a fundraising happy hour you can invite your friends to, and of course a Bike Camping 101 Workshop. Transportation, gear support, food, snacks, and tons of awesome programming are included on the tour. Space is limited, so reserve your spot today. Each rider will raise $1,250 from friends and family to support WABA’s advocacy and outreach mission. In return, they get to join us for a wild weekend outside connecting with WABA staff, trail experts, and their bicycles.