Why Should You Register for Bike to Work Day?

Every Wednesday leading up to Bike to Work Day, we’ll post here about ways you can get ready for the region’s biggest annual celebration of bike commuting. Register for Bike to Work Day now!
Perhaps you ride you bike every day, rain, shine, or snowstorm. Maybe you are getting back on a bike for the first time since elementary school. Or maybe you ride occasionally, when the spirit or weather moves you. As a frequent, infrequent, or new rider, you may be asking yourself, “Why is it important to register for Bike to Work Day?” Here are five great reasons why you should. 1. It’s important to be counted Bike to Work Day is our once-a-year opportunity to be counted. At no other point during the year are we able to better count, and therefore account for, the number of folks using a bike for transportation. This one day each year provides us with a number that we use throughout the rest of the year to indicate the level of ridership in the region. It matters not whether you ride daily, occasionally, or are just getting started. You bike and that counts. So be counted and register! 2. It’s our opportunity to show growth in ridership Once counted, we are able to use participation numbers to show growth in overall ridership. Since 2001, there has been a steady, documented growth in Bike To Work Day participation that corresponds with an overall growth in regional ridership. The greater the growth demonstrated, the greater our ability to advocate for better bicycling and bicycling infrastructure in the region. There is strength in numbers. More riders means a larger, more visible constituency. But you need to register to show this growth. 3. You can connect with, and become part of, a community of riders Biking can be more fun with good company! Whether you invite a colleague, neighbor, friend, or family member to sign up and ride along with you, join an existing convoy, decide to lead your own convoy, friend a ride buddy, or chat up a fellow cyclist at your pit stop, Bike to Work Day is a great opportunity to meet and connect with other riders. Or to mentor someone to try bike commuting (or just biking) for the first time! Register to join the community of riders! While you’re at it, challenge others to register with you and get out on the road together. 4. Free stuff Who doesn’t love free stuff? One of the perks of Bike to Work Day, in addition to free coffee and bagels awaiting you along your morning commuter, is the free t-shirts and raffle prizes. However, T-shirts are only available to the folks who register (and the first 12,000 registrants at that). So register now! Registering also gets you entered to win a variety of raffle prizes, including a bike! 5. It’s fun Really! It’s a regional bike commuting party. Bike to Work Day is one of the only times that you can commune with your fellow riders, in one spot, for free, while getting served free snacks, breakfast, coffee, and swag. It’s the one day a year we collectively celebrate biking for transportation. Who doesn’t want to attend that party? Register to join in the fun! To optimize your fun, stop by your neighborhood stop, then hit up pit stops along on your commute, enjoying music and snacks along the way.
Next Wednesday, we’ll tell be back with a profile of a Bike to Work Day pit stop. Sign up for Bike to Work Day now!

Bike to Work Day for the Multi-Modal Commuter

Every Wednesday leading up to Bike to Work Day, we’ll post here about ways you can get ready for the region’s biggest annual celebration of bike commuting. Register for Bike to Work Day now!
When planning your route for bike to work day, consider incorporating other modes of transportation. Your bike ride could be much more enjoyable and convenient when combined with the train, bus, Metro, or even your car. There are many benefits of multi-modal bike commuting, especially when you’re traveling long distances or the weather is less than ideal. Plus, it’s nice to have backup transportation options if you encounter bike problems, have enjoyed too many libations after work, or if you just aren’t feeling up to the ride home. We’re pretty fortunate in this region to have so many transportation choices in our toolkit, and it’s all about finding the right tools for the right job. Bringing your bike on the Metro is easy. You can bring folding bikes on Metro cars all hours of service, and non-folding bikes in non-rush hours. Rush hours are from 7-10 a.m. and 4-7 p.m. Some things to keep in mind: You must use the station elevators, never the escalators, and you should find a spot at the front or rear of the Metro car where you have enough room to safely hold onto the railing and your bike. If biking to the Metro isn’t a convenient option, you can always pack your bike in the car, drive to the nearest station, hop on the Metro with your bike, and bike the last leg of your trip. Some people leave the Metro out of that equation and simply park their car closer to work, maybe at a friends’ house, and bike to their office. Buses are always a simple option for multi-modal bike commutes. Bring your folding bike inside the bus, or store your non-folding bike on the bus’ bike rack. Loading up your bike on the bus rack can be intimidating at first, but all it takes is some practice. Click here for a good video tutorial to study beforehand. For folks who regularly use commuter trains like Amtrak or the VRE, folding bikes are allowed on all trains in lieu of luggage, and non-folding bikes can be taken on board if the train has walk-on bicycle service. Combining bicycling with other forms of transportation certainly isn’t cheating, it’s rarely difficult, and it’s not expensive. The choice to make your commute more easy, affordable, and enjoyable is a good choice, and that’s what Bike to Work Day is all about, celebrating good transportation. Next Wednesday, we’ll tell you why you should register for Bike to Work Day—as if you don’t have enough great reasons already! Sign up for Bike to Work Day now!

So It’s Your Tenth Bike to Work Day…

Every Wednesday leading up to Bike to Work Day, we’ll post here about ways you can get ready for the region’s biggest annual celebration of bike commuting. Register for Bike to Work Day now!

Welcome back, old friend! How have you been? How is the job? The family? The bike? It’s so nice to see you again. We should really do this more often. At least we’ll always have Bike to Work Day….

That’s right! Bike to Work Day is coming up on May 17, and we’re working our butts off to make it our biggest and best one yet. I’m sure you don’t need our advice, old pro, but if you’re looking to change things up, we do have a few suggestions on how to make this your favorite Bike to Work Day yet! Register We know you ride to work regularly, in all seasons, with no encouragement. That’s why we want to count you! This is WABA’s best chance to tally bicycle commuters in the city each year, and every cyclist counts. Plus, Bike to Work Day is a giant party and the first 12,000 VIPs (which is to say, registrants) get a T-shirt! You don’t want one missing from your collection, do you? Register now at the Bike to Work Day website. Register—seriously Do you work the third shift or an otherwise nontraditional schedule? Do you bike to meetings from your home office? Bike to run errands? Bike to work some days, but not Fridays? Can’t get away from your duties while the nearest pit stop is open? This is still your chance to be counted among the nine-to-fivers. Register now. Promote BTWD on your social media channel of choice Tell everyone! On Twitter and Instagram, use the hashtag #BTWD13 and mention us in your tweet so that we see it (our handle is @WABADC on both platforms). And feel free to talk about Bike to Work Day on Facebook. Invite a friend Whether you invite that one coworker who doesn’t think you’re a car-hating anarchist, the neighbor who asks about your commutes during foul weather, or the friend you’ve been promising to ride with for ages—sign them up and bring them along! You’re a bike mentor now. Or serve as a bike buddy and mentor for a new commuter. Once convinced, your friend, neighbor, or coworker may want a helpful guide to lead them around the region. Or maybe all of your friends are lycra warriors, but you want to nurture a new rider. In that case, connect with someone through the Washington Area Bike Forum. Accompany your new mentee on their ride to work on May 17. Set a good example by obeying all traffic laws and riding at a safe, comfortable pace for them. Ask them as many questions as you answer. Follow up with them afterwards. Now you’re a really good bike mentor! Organize your office Is your company going green, organizing a wellness committee, installing bike parking, or otherwise keeping up with the times? Invite your coworkers to bike to work, too! We have posters ready for you to print and hang around the office. Try coaxing incentives out of your administrators or tying it to your other office initiatives. At the very least, you might meet some of the folks you lock up beside every day. (P.S.: Are your coworkers interested, but not sure how to start bike commuting? Contact the DC Bike Ambassadors about scheduling a Commuter Cycling Seminar in your workplace!). Visit a new pit stop With 70 pit stops in the area, there’s sure to be one you haven’t seen yet. Check the full list and change it up this year! Or if you’re really advanced… Daisy chain Stop by your neighborhood stop, then the stops on your route, then the ones with the best activities, the major stops in Rosslyn or Freedom Plaza, the stop at work…you get it. String a few together to maximize your fun. Say hello to WABA staff, board members, and volunteers, and enjoy a beautiful morning. Just leave some coffee for the rest of us! Volunteer at a Bike to Work Day pit stop You’ve been doing this so long, you could practically run it yourself, you say? Volunteer at your local pit stop! Share your expertise, meet new bike commuters, and get an early start to your day (and first dibs on the bagels). We need volunteers for pit stops from Frederick to Dumfries. Sign up to volunteer here. Lead a commuter convoy Convoys are led by experienced bicycle commuters throughout the region. They announce a route and designate pick-up points along the way. Most end at Freedom Plaza in downtown D.C. but all are open to anyone who wants to join them. A running list will be posted on the Bike to Work Day website. Contact Greg at WABA to have your convoy listed. Join WABA, or renew your membership As you know by now, WABA is your regional education and advocacy organization for bicycles, and Bike to Work Day is our best opportunity to reach out to bicyclists across the region. Join WABA for only $25 for one year (normally $35)–that’s a $10 discount for Bike to Work Day participants! Support better biking in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia, and enjoy discounts at local bike shops, deals with many community partners, and so much more. Tell your story in the comments! Bicycling has exploded in D.C. this decade, but you were bike commuting when it was still “weird” and “dangerous”? Leave us a comment telling us why you got started all those years ago, a great Bike to Work Day memory, or what you’ve liked best about biking in D.C. We’d love to hear–and share!–your stories. Thank you for riding with us for the long haul, and we’ll see you bright and early on May 17, 2013. Next Wednesday, we’ll tell you how you can get in on the Bike to Work Day fun even if your commute isn’t 100 percent two-wheeled. Sign up for Bike to Work Day now!

So It’s Your First Bike to Work Day…

Every Wednesday leading up to Bike to Work Day, we’ll post here about ways you can get ready for the region’s biggest annual celebration of bike commuting. Register for Bike to Work Day now! Is this your first time participating in Bike to Work Day? We’re so excited that you’ve decided to join us! Lots of people who are new to bicycle commuting will be out and on the roads with you, figuring out how riding to work, well, works. To make things a little less tricky, here’s a little guide to help get you and your bike ready for the commute. What is Bike to Work Day? Bike to Work Day encourages commuters to try bicycling to work as an alternative mode of transportation. BTWD is a free event and open to everyone in the Washington area. It’s a yearly celebration of biking in our city! This year, it’s on May 17. For more information, see last week’s post. Why bike to work? Besides being one of the most convenient, least expensive ways to get around town, it’s fun! Bike commuting is better for the environment, your wallet, and your waistline. How do I sign up? Register using this link. If you’d like a free Bike to Work Day 2013 T-shirt, be sure to register early. What’s a pit stop and what happens there? When you sign up, you’ll be asked to select your pit stop location. Pit stops are organized meetups in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia where you can enjoy Bike to Work Day festivities. Each pit stop provides free T-shirts for pre-registered participants, food and drinks, and friendly staff and volunteers. Some locations will provide entertainment or raffle giveaways. Hours vary by location, so be sure to check with your pit stop manager to find out what time yours is open. Find a pit stop on your route to work. How do I prepare for Bike to Work Day? Once you’ve signed up for the event, you’ll need to track down, rent, repair, or purchase a bike. There are tons of bike shops in the D.C. area, and WABA members get a discount at many of them. If you’re looking to rent a bike, Capital Bikeshare, as always, has short-term memberships available. Bike and Roll is providing complimentary rentals for Bike to Work Day riders on May 17. If you normally drive or take public transportation, planning a bike-friendly route to work is essential. Several tools are available online, including Google Maps’ bicycling directions and bikeplanner.org. Scope out the area near your office or school prior to riding to find out where bike parking is available. Wear comfortable clothing and shoes, and consider the weather before heading out. Sunglasses and sunscreen or a rain jacket are advised, depending on the forecast! Additionally, D.C. law requires cyclists under 16 years of age to wear a helmet. Biking is more fun with good company, so invite colleagues, neighbors, friends, or family to participate with you. Consider it a challenge to get others out on the road with you. My bike has been sitting in the garage for a while. What should I do to make sure it’s in proper riding condition? If it’s been a while since you’ve been on your bike, that’s OK! Start off by doing a basic “ABC” check. Check for any small problems in your air, brakes, and chain. Have it looked at by a mechanic if you’re unsure if it’s safe to ride or if you need assistance with flat tires. Make sure your bicycle is equipped with front and rear lights and a bell, which arerequired by law. A U-lock will be useful, and more substantial than a cable lock, once you arrive at your destination. Should I ride on the road or the sidewalks? Riding on the sidewalks is legal in D.C., except in the downtown central business district south of Massachusetts Avenue. While it is not recommended to ride on sidewalks, do whatever feels safe to you. Plan on using a route with bicycle lanes or if you’re comfortable, take the car lane. Still unsure about biking on the streets? Take a Confident City Cycling class with WABA! What if it rains/snows/hurricanes/earthquakes?! Bike to Work Day is a rain or shine event. Plan accordingly. If you’re a first-time commuter or just a first-time Bike to Work Day participant, we hope we’ve helped you to feel a bit more confident. If you’re a Bike to Work Day pro, check back next Wednesday for a post for seasoned veterans like you! In the meantime, we challenge you to pass this along to friends, colleagues, and family members who have been hesitant to commute by bike and who would be able to take advantage of the safety-in-numbers support that Bike to Work Day provides. Bike to Work Day pros, we’ll see you back here next Wednesday to talk ways you can make 2013 the best bike-commute celebration ever. Sign up for Bike to Work Day now!

What Is Bike to Work Day?

Every Wednesday leading up to Bike to Work Day, we’ll post here about ways you can get ready for the region’s biggest annual celebration of bike commuting. Register for Bike to Work Day now! Bike to Work Day sounds pretty simple: Once you register, all you have to do is commute to work by bike on May 17.  Here’s a more involved description of what Bike to Work Day is, from its website:

“Bike to Work Day has grown into a widespread event with countless bicyclists taking to the streets nationwide in an effort to get commuters to try bicycling to work as a healthy and safe alternative to driving alone. In the Metropolitan Washington region, Bike to Work Day has grown from a small group of a few hundred in 2001 to over 12,000 participants in 2012.”

There is a little more to the whole thing. Pit stops spread across the region—this year, there are 70—greet commuters. The stops are the backbone of Bike to Work Day and enliven what for many is a routine commute. Below, we’ve provided a glossary of other commonly referenced Bike to Work Day terms:

  • Bagel: Pit stops often have breakfast-esque snacks for Bike to Work Day riders. But get there early—bagels and their ilk tend to go quickly.
  • Bike: You’ve got to be riding one, especially on Bike to Work Day! Make sure yours is in working order, even if you ride it daily. If you need a steed, try Bike and Roll.
  • Convoy: Are a number of people in your office participating, too? Do you have neighbors who are planning to ride to work? Are you a Bike to Work Day newbie who’s looking for the support of a group? Join a convoy that will swing by your pit stop.
  • MWCOG: The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, sometimes referred to as COG, partners with WABA to put on Bike to Work Day.
  • Pit stop: 70 regional pit stops provide support, snacks, and entertainment for riders. Pit stops are sponsored and run by a variety of organizations and individuals, so your experience will vary. Find your pit stop today.
  • T-Shirt: Distributed at pit stops and available for free to the first 12,000 Bike to Work Day registrants.
Maybe this is your first, third, or bazillionth Bike to Work Day. Regardless, it’s not too hard to figure out: Get yourself and your bike ready to go on the morning of May 17—in subsequent posts, we’ll provide suggestions on how to do that—meet up with your convoy or commuter friends, and swing by a pit stop on your ride to work. New riders can appreciate the support that comes from a day dedicated to bike commuting, and Bike to Work Day veterans can revel in a fun, familiar event (and add to their T-shirt collections). Next Wednesday, we’ll be talking about how Bike to Work Day first-timers can prepare. Sign up for Bike to Work Day now!