Top Three Reasons to do WABA in the Wild

We’ve run four WABA in the Wild trips since we started to do the trip, back in 2016. Going into number five, we thought it may be a good time to reflect on what makes the trip awesome by talking to some of the people who would know best—the folks that were there!

After you do WABA in the Wild, you suddenly have 20 new bike friends that you spent an amazing weekend with! You can opt into an online group—WABA in the Wild Alumni—where you can keep in touch with them, plan rides or other get-togethers, and more. We asked this group: “Looking back at the experience of your trip, what were the best things about WABA in the Wild?”

Here’s what they said:

1. Getting to know the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Towpath.

The C&O Canal is incredibly scenic.

“The C&O Canal is truly a marvel to ride along. There is so much natural beauty and fascinating engineering to take in every mile.”

WABA in the Wild is a three day, 184.5 mile ride from Cumberland to Georgetown on the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Towpath.

Construction of the C&O Canal began in 1828 and was completed in 1850 to transport coal from the Allegheny mountains to port cities. Now, as part of a National Historical Park, the towpath is an incredible chance to take in the transportation history of the early United States, with wildlife and greenery surrounding us on all sides.

2. Meals prepared campside by WABA staff and volunteers.

Can’t beat a good campfire meal!

“Food prepared by the staff—each meal was great.  I especially enjoyed the veggie chili the first night…along with the spaghetti and meatballs! I never knew I could eat so much!”

We know that 184.5 miles calls for calories. So from breakfast when you wake up in camp, to pit stops stocked with lunch and snacks, to dinner cooked campside, WABA will make sure you’re fueled up and ready to go. Who knows—there might even be s’mores by the campfire. 

3. All of it! 

2018 WABA in the Wild riders and staff at mile zero in Georgetown.

“Looking back on the experience…it was all of it that was the best. The people I rode with, the adventure, the WABA staff…I look back on the experience and I think, I did that. And I was able to support the work that WABA does. It really doesn’t get much better than that.” 

WABA in the Wild is a supported ride, which means staff and volunteers will be with you every step of the way. In the weeks leading up to the weekend, we’ll have a meeting and practice ride where you can get up to speed on details of the weekend and meet the other bicycling advocates who will be on WABA in the Wild. We’ll work with you to develop a fundraising plan and strategy so you can meet your $1000 fundraising goal. And we’ll transport you, your bike, and your gear to Cumberland, Maryland; set up pit stops as we pedal our way to Georgetown; and be available to cheer and support you all weekend. All you need to do is enjoy the ride.

Register for WABA in the Wild

Meet Anna McCormally, our new Events Coordinator

I remember my first time riding my bike in the city. It was 2013, my first year in DC. I got off the Metro at McPherson Square Metro and rode north on 14th Street to Columbia Heights.  It was a little scary, but I felt powerful and free, alert to my surroundings, present in my body…and completely hooked on bicycles! Since then, whether I’m exploring the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail with a friend, training for a race on Beach Drive, or just enjoying the sun on my morning commute, my bike has gotten me wherever I need to go. 

My first experience with WABA was as a participant in the 2014 50 States Ride. Group rides are a great way to  build community, explore the city, and grow your confidence on a bicycle, and I can’t wait to share the 50 States Rides and WABA’s other signature rides with you in my role as events coordinator. We’ll buckle our helmets, hop in the saddle, and celebrate the work that WABA’s advocates, members, and supporters are doing to make the DC area safe, fun, and accessible to bicyclists.

Want more details about one of WABA’s signature rides?  Interested in volunteering to create an awesome experience for your friends and neighbors? Feeling unsure which of our rides is right for your level of bicycling?  I’d love to talk about that and anything else related to WABA events. Drop me a line at anna.mccormally@waba.org. I can’t wait to go on a bike ride with you.

Route 66 returns! Here’s why.

In 2018, we added a third route to the offerings for the 50 States Ride. It was called Route 66, and, at about 35 miles, we created it to provide a good middle ground between the 50 States route (60 miles) and the 13 Colonies route (15 miles).

Route 66 leads you on the eight streets named for states that the original US Route 66 passed through. You’ll ride these states in geographical order, east to west, without riding on any other state streets in the District. There are still hills. You still see a ton of the city. And, it’s still a really fun time!

Sign me up!

Take a look at this year’s draft route for Route 66!

This year, we’re bringing Route 66 back and making it part of the regular lineup of 50 States Ride routes. Why? You loved it!

Nearly a third of all 50 States Ride participants in 2018 chose to ride Route 66, which tells us there was significant demand for a middle-ground route like Route 66. And, we got a ton of great, positive feedback about the route:


“Loved the new Route 66 option. I’ve done 50 states in the past and, for lack of a better way of putting it, it was like a 50 states experience quite so many stupid hills :)”

“I loved the new route — 33 miles is the perfect distance. I feel accomplished, saw parts of the city I don’t usually see, and still had energy to enjoy the after party.”

“Bravo to those who designed The Route 66 course! A job well done!”

“I loved the middle distance option – it made inviting a “new-to-cycling” friend MUCH more enjoyable. 15 would have been too short, 60+ would have been way too long, but 35 was just right.”


This isn’t surprising. The 50 States route has a reputation for being incredibly difficult, and, while the challenge is part of the fun, sometimes you don’t want to go on a ride quite so…intense.

We’re hoping that continuing to provide a number of different route length options at our signature ride events will open them up to bicyclists of various comfort levels and styles of biking, and make our community bigger. And we hope you’re part of it!

Convinced? Register now. We’ll see you there!

Let’s Mingle: WABA Summer Member Mixer

Eager to meet your fellow WABA members? Curious about recent advocacy updates? Looking for a new ride route? Come join us for a WABA Member Mixer on July 25, sponsored by our friends at SHARE NOW!

Current WABA members will get their first round on us but don’t worry—you can join as a member on-site.

Details:

When: Thursday, July 25, 5:30 – 8:30pm

Where: Local 16 (1602 U Street NW)

RSVP!

The Sweet Ride & Shindig was…pretty sweet.

On Saturday, June 15th, WABA hosted the first annual Sweet Ride & Shindig, presented by Conte’s Bike Shop.

Friends: it doesn’t get any better than this. Perfect weather, ideal location, and great company conspired to make this an incredibly fun bike ride and party. (And, we gave out some pretty great bandanas.)

WABA Board Member Judd Isbell shows off his sweet bandana!

Riders chose from 5, 15, 30, or 50 mile routes that many described as full of discovery, with new trails to learn about and unfamiliar connections to find that stitched together a picture of how to get around Northern Virginia by bike. (Depending on the route, there may have been some surprise hills, too.)

After the ride, attendees returned to the Shindig. With token from WABA in hand, they were treated to either a beer from Port City Brewing or an ice cream cone. With tunes from Chasing Autumn, yard games, and a mini-expo of bike-related businesses onsite, the Grounds in Crystal City provided the perfect setting to while away the afternoon, hanging out with old friends, making new ones, and basking in the glow of a great summer day. 

Some riders also took action: after having ridden the Quincy St corridor in Arlington, riders completed a survey to shape bike infrastructure coming to Quincy St in the near future. Want to weigh in? You have until June 28 to fill out the survey (at the bottom of the page).

To all the riders: thank you for supporting WABA! Like all signature rides, the proceeds from the Sweet Ride & Shindig directly fund the hard work that WABA is doing to make bicycling better for everyone in the region. Your support helps us advocate for better trails and more bike lanes—safer conditions for all. Thank you.

We’ve collected some photos from the ride below, but first, a final shoutout to our sponsors:

Title Sponsor:

Platinum Sponsor:

Pit Stop Sponsors:

Drinkmore Water
KIND Snacks
Honest Tea
Dana Bres
Giant Food
Port City Brewing
Phoenix Bikes

WABA extends a huge thank you to the host committee for this event who played key roles in making this event a success:

Wayne Clark

Judd Isbell

Josephine Liu

Find a gallery of photos from the Sweet Ride and Shindig below!

Meet the Sweet Ride & Shindig

After a successful first Sprouts Ride, the Sweet Ride & Shindig, presented by Conte’s Bike Shop, is our second new signature event launching this spring. Hopefully we’ll see you there on June 15th in Crystal City!

There are two main parts to this event.

First, the Sweet Ride. Riders will get to choose from four routes around Northern Virginia: approximately, 5-miles, 15-miles, 30-miles, and 50-miles. (We’re still working on them, but we’ll update you as we get the routes pinned down.) Whichever one you choose, you’ll get the classic WABA signature ride experience: bustling check-in, ride marshals, snack-filled pit stops, and nice people. It’s a great ride to bring your friends, throw together a picnic to share at a pit stop, and enjoy the ride!

You can register for the Sweet Ride here.

Register today!

But, the fun doesn’t stop when you get off your bike. When you arrive at the Shindig, you’ll check-in with WABA to pick up your free ride swag and a ticket (this will get you a freebie—either beer or ice cream!). Then, you can enjoy the rest of the afternoon jamming out to a live band, grab snacks at a food truck, sample offerings from a local brewery (the proceeds will support WABA!), engage with other local organizations and businesses, and continue basking in the glow of an awesome summer ride.

Oh, one more thing: the Shindig is open to public. You won’t get all the great freebies if you don’t sign up for the ride, but you can still be part of the event, meet some neighbors, enjoy the afternoon with your friends, and support WABA!

As with all WABA signature rides, the Sweet Ride & Shindig is a fundraiser for WABA. We organize five big rides per year to convene our bike community, have a good time riding together, and raise money for WABA’s advocacy, education, and outreach across the region.

So, let’s recap:

  1. You can ride…or not. Anyone is welcome to come have fun.
  2. Spend the afternoon with us—there’ll be plenty of stuff to do.
  3. Give money to help WABA make bicycling better for everyone.

Sound like a sweet deal? We think so, too. Register for the Sweet Ride & Shindig today!

Register today!


The Sprouts Ride was full of joy

On Sunday, April 28th, WABA hosted the first annual Sprouts Ride!

A dreary start to the morning broke open to reveal balmy sunshine and the grins of riders as they discovered—or rediscovered—how much fun it is to go for a low-stress, casual bike ride around the city.

Riders on WABA’s first Sprouts Ride!
Photo Credit: Jas Sanchez

Riders could choose from two routes: the 6-mile “Bean Sprout Root” and the 14-mile “Sapling Root”. Many riders enjoyed that the routes showed them how to ride their bikes to and from local destinations that they would visit in the course of everyday life: Kingman Island Park, Audi and Nationals Stadiums (Stadia?), and Anacostia Park, while also showcasing the federal DC, with views of the Capitol and the mall.

After a fun ride, participants returned to REI to catch live music from Roan Gap, a local bluegrass band, play games and learn about bike maintenance from REI staff, pick up a free beer or kombucha, and eat tacos! Some riders also took action: after having ridden nearby the K St corridor, riders signed a petition to make K St a better place to bike, walk, and live.

To all the riders: thank you for supporting WABA! Like all signature rides, the proceeds from the Sprouts Ride directly fund the hard work that WABA is doing to make bicycling better for everyone in the region. Your support helps us advocate for better trails and more bike lanes—safer conditions for all. Thank you.

We’ve collected some photos from the ride below, but, first, a final shoutout to our sponsors:

Find the full album of Sprouts Ride photos here!

Meet the Sprouts Ride!

Happy first day of spring! We have some very exciting news: we are launching two new signature events this spring! You heard right. Two. New. Events.

First comes the Sprouts Ride, on Sunday, April 28th. For those of you who have been attending WABA events for awhile, you probably remember that this the time of year when we usually hosted the Vasa Ride. Well, 2018 was the last Vasa Ride, and the Sprouts Ride is not just a rebrand—it’s a whole new thing!

WABA’s newest spring ride is coming soon! Meet the Sprouts Ride. 🌱

Learn more and sign up here!

As with all WABA signature rides, the Sprouts Ride is a fundraiser for WABA. We organize five big rides per year to convene our bike community, have a good time riding together, and raise money for WABA’s advocacy, education, and outreach across the region.

The Sprouts Ride is going to be FUN. Starting at REI’s flagship store in the NoMa neighborhood of Washington, DC, we’ve planned 5-mile and 15-mile routes, rolling past iconic local landmarks, premier regional multi-use trails, and wonderful city neighborhoods. These routes are the perfect chance for you to relax and enjoy some springtime biking in the city, to bring your kids along, or invite a friend who is new to biking. (We’ll also set up pit stops, so you can get that perfect photo op.)

A great thing about the Sprouts Ride is that your day doesn’t end after you get off your bike. We’ve got you covered: REI’s flagship store in NoMa is hosting a celebration of all things bicycling that will feature food, drinks, and music from a live band for the afternoon. Hang out and enjoy the afternoon at REI, grab a drink at Red Bear Brewing next door, or explore the many offerings of the surrounding NoMa neighborhood.

So—start spring off on a good foot, get your friends and family together, and get outside for some two-wheeled urban fun!

Register!

But wait…what about the second ride? I’m going to keep that a secret for a little bit longer. But, I will strongly encourage you to mark your calendar for Saturday, June 15th.

Celebrating growth at the 2019 Bicyclists’ Choice Awards

We held our fifth annual Bicyclists’ Choice Awards event on Wednesday, February 13th at the Josephine Butler Parks Center.

It was humbling—so many people, working all over the region, are putting in hard work to make getting around this region better. That work couldn’t be more important. We need a transportation system that makes people feel safe and empowered to get around by bike. We are so happy that we got the chance to recognize the people making it happen. Take a look through the slideshow below to see all of these everyday superheroes!

Our host, Christina Sturdivant Sani, a freelance journalist and DC native who has long covered transportation in the region, walked us through the evening that brought together 200 excited and passionate bicyclists, advocates, WABA supporters, and award winners to celebrate the amazing achievements made in 2018 to make bicycling better in our region.

Christina Sturdivant Sani, our host for the 2019 Bicyclists’ Choice Awards.

Thank you to everyone who came out to watch and support the awards show: the event could not have happened without you—your votes, your enthusiasm and encouragement, and your own hard work and support to make bicycling better in our region.

We also want to give a big thanks to our sponsors for the event:

Bikes, Books and Brunch!

Bikes, Books and Brunch is back! For our first event this year, we’ll be biking to Bellevue/William Lockridge Library in Ward 8 to read Michelle Obama’s book, Becoming. This is a New York Times Best Seller from our former First Lady.

If you have seen or attended any of her events then you know how enlightening this book will be. I have heard nothing but great things about it! So let’s bike and have brunch provided by MLK Deli while we discuss this amazing book.

We encourage you to get the book at your local library or bookstore. Alternatively, the book is available on Amazon.com or on Audible.com.

Ride Details:

When: March 9th at 11:00am

Where: We’ll meet at the THEARC and ride over to the Bellevue Library.

This ride is free and about four miles, roundtrip! Please bring funds to get brunch.

Helmets are required. The ride will be rain or shine! If it rains and you don’t want to ride, feel free to meet us at Bellevue Library for the book discussion and brunch.

Interested? Register for Bikes, Books and Brunch below! And be on the lookout for more dates to come.

Form not working? Register here.