WABA in the Wild

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Ready for an incredible bicycling experience on the C&O Canal?

WABA in the Wild is summer camp for grownups: biking the C&O Canal towpath over three-and-a-half days, 184.5 miles from Cumberland to Georgetown.

It’s fun, it’s challenging, and, this time, you can have as many snacks as you want. Let’s take this journey together—WABA will take care of everything so you can focus on the ride and cross this awesome experience off your bucket list.

You’ll show your support for WABA along the way by raising at least $1,000 for better bicycling in the months leading up to the trip.

Mud. Wildlife. Good company. Yummy food. Showers. What’s not to like?

Register

Need to break up the $250 registration fee into smaller payments? Email Anna McCormally at events@waba.org.

Ride Details

  • Start Date: Friday, October 11, ~1pm
  • End Date: Monday, October 14, ~6pm
  • Cost: $250
  • Fundraising: $1,000+ by October 4th
  • Start Location: REI Rockville (910 Rose Avenue, North Bethesda, MD)
  • End Location: Thompson Boat Center (2900 Virginia Ave NW, Washington, DC)
  • Average Daily Mileage: 63.3
  • Number of Riders: 25
  • Accommodations: Camping
  • Showers: Yes
  • Level of Support: Fully supported
  • Surface: Unpaved bike path, gravel
  • Total Days: 4
  • Riding Days: 3

Itinerary

June – September
Over the summer, you’ll engage with WABA and your fellow riders a few ways:
—At a pre-ride orientation at the WABA office one evening;
—During a group ride, followed by dinner or drinks;
—Via phone and email, with the WABA in the Wild staff, who will support you with everything from what to pack to how to reach your fundraising goal; and
—In a Google Group, where you can chat with fellow riders and ride alumni and organize additional meetups or plan fundraisers.

Day 1
Friday, October 11th. Cumberland. 0 miles.

We will gather as a group at REI in the early afternoon. You will meet the WABA tour staff, check in and review and finalize paperwork, pack your bike into a Uhaul, and get on a bus with the other riders to Cumberland. (You’ll have dropped off your gear at WABA earlier in the week.)

At camp, you’ll set up your tent and get to know the other riders before your first camp dinner, cooked by your friendly WABA tour staff! After dinner, we’ll have a fireside chat to talk about WABA’s work and the ride ahead.

Day 2
Saturday, October 12th. Cumberland to Hancock. ~62 miles. 

After breakfast, we’ll hold our first safety circle, and head to the C&O Canal trailhead together to take a group photo. Our ride will begin with the beautiful Appalachian mountains as a backdrop. You’ll ride the whole morning, with a snack break, before you hit the lunch stop in Paw Paw. After a delicious meal, you’ll get back in the saddle and head through the Canal’s most famous feature: the Paw Paw Tunnel. After a full afternoon of riding (and another snack break) you’ll hit Hancock, one of the Canal Towns. After setting up camp, you’ll dine at the renowned local establishment, Buddy Lou’s Eats and Antiques, before heading back to camp.

Day 3
Sunday, October 13th. Hancock to Brunswick. ~69 miles. 

You’ll hit a rhythm on your second day of riding: breakfast, safety circle, ride, snack break, ride—of course, admiring the scenery and getting to know the riders along the way. For lunch, we will stop in unique Williamsport, another Canal Town that will make you want to return for second helping, before heading on towards Brunswick. Here, you’ll be thankful for a hot shower to wash the mud off you and a gourmet meal provided, once again, by your talented WABA tour staff.

Day 4:
Monday, October 14th. Brunswick to Georgetown. ~55 miles.

Hopefully, you’ll rise on your final day well-rested, ready to take on the last stretch of the towpath. Touring will be old hat by this time: you’ll breeze through the safety circle and ride through the day, enjoying every last minute of your pedal-powered adventure. Once in Georgetown, you’ll feel like the trip both slipped by and lasted forever, but one thing’s for sure: you’ll be hooked on bicycling, and WABA, like never before.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does registration cost?

WABA in the Wild registration is $250. This covers all of the costs to put on the ride for you (transportation, lodging, and meals), meaning that 100% of what you fundraise directly supports WABA’s mission.

Will I have to take any time off of work to do this trip?

Probably. This trip takes three-and-a-half days: we will leave for Cumberland on Friday afternoon and return to Georgetown on Monday evening (which is Indigenous Peoples’ Day—a holiday). It will be worth the time off, though!

How much do I have to fundraise?

You must raise a minimum of $1,000 for WABA, but we will encourage you—and challenge you—to raise more! Everything raised directly supports WABA’s work to make bicycling better in the Washington region. In 2018, WABA in the Wild riders collectively raised $36,250.64, a huge accomplishment. (They can share their tips with you!)

Where do people send donations?

We will set up a personal fundraising page for you through the WABA website, using a photo and narrative that you provide. People who want to donate to your campaign can do so by credit card through this page. Fundraising through your page is not optional—this is how we track your progress towards your fundraising goal. While you may receive donations by cash, we ask that you make those donations through your own fundraising page in the name of the person, event, or group that provided them. We can work with you on any other logistics, including taking donations by check.

When is the fundraising deadline?

You must raise $1,000 by Friday, October 4th. If you sign up by the end of July, that gives you a little more than two months to fundraise the full amount. 

What happens if I don’t meet my minimum fundraising goal?

We know that fundraising $1,000 might be an intimidating task for first-time fundraisers. We will do a lot to support you along the way. You can attend an in-person fundraising workshop, where we will walk you through developing a strategy; we’ll send you ample resources to help brainstorm how you will raise the money; and we will check-in with you personally at least once (and more if you’re eager to blow it out of the water). 

We expect that everyone will meet, if not exceed, their fundraising goal. However, if you don’t fundraise the full amount by the start of the trip, you will complete a pledge form and your credit card will be charged for the difference after the trip.

How many miles per day will we ride?

You will ride about 65 miles per day. That adds up to more than 184.5 miles: you’ll bike a few extra miles over the course of the trip to get between the towpath and campsites, restaurants, and other sites.

I’m not used to biking that much—should I still register?

Most likely, yes! Our general rule is that if you have experience riding ~30 miles and you can do so a few days in a row, then, with a good pair of padded bike shorts, you can probably do ~65 miles a day. You also have plenty of time to get into shape for riding the distance (we’ll even provide a training plan!).

On the ride itself, people self-select into the “tortoise” or “hare” group based on their usual riding speed—the tortoise group will leave a little earlier in the morning to give you more time to reach each stop. Additionally, we will have a sweep rider to make sure that nobody gets left behind and give you a little extra encouragement if you need it to finish the last few miles.

And, keep in mind that over the trip, the only thing you have to do each day is ride—we’ll take care of almost everything else.

Do I have to carry all my stuff?

Absolutely not! Each morning, you’ll pack up your gear (in one soft-sided bag, such as a duffel, weighing no more than 50lbs) and pile it near the gear vehicle. We’ll load up your gear into the van each morning and have it ready for you each evening at the next campsite. You will need to carry water, snacks if you need to eat more than every 10-15 miles, and any other supplies you need to feel comfortable while riding.

What type of bike do I need?

You’ll need a bike that is comfortable for you, since you’ll be on your bike all day for three days—but it can be a hybrid, touring, road, cyclocross, or mountain bike! We don’t recommend using a racing, triathlon, BMX bicycle. E-bikes are not permitted on National Park Service trails, which includes the C&O Canal towpath. You may want to read about bike fit or get a professional bike fit before the trip. We also recommend you use wider tires (ideally 32mm or wider) that are a bit tougher and knobby. Although the Canal towpath is mostly smooth dirt and small crushed rocks, it does have larger rocks, potholes, wet spots, and ruts and wider, tougher, knobby tires will resist puncture and reduce slipping.

Can I bring multiple bikes?

No. Each rider can only bring one bicycle on WABA in the Wild.

Will there be a bike mechanic on the ride?

No. While there are bike shops in Cumberland, Hancock, and Brunswick, there will not be a mechanic associated with the trip. Because of this, it’s important to make sure your bike is in top condition before the ride. In the event of a mechanical failure, we will carry some basic supplies to fix it yourself or you can take your bike to one of the shops if necessary.

Do I have to wear a helmet?

Yes. You have to wear a helmet every moment you’re on your bike. WABA’s insurance requires it. This is standard for organized rides across the country.

What other major pieces of equipment will I need?

Other than a bike and helmet, you’ll need a tent, sleeping bag, and sleeping pad. Read over our suggested packing list to see what else you might need!

What if I don’t have a bike, tent, sleeping bag, or sleeping pad?

You can rent the gear or borrow it from a friend! Let us know if you need some recommendations.

Will I need a lock?

We will lock all the bikes together each evening using a long cable lock and U-lock. However, if you prefer to use your own lock, please feel free to do so.

What does a typical day look like?

Sample Itinerary

7:00amQuiet hours end; wake-up call, pack up camping gear
7:30amBreakfast (e.g., build-your-own oatmeal, coffee, tea)
8:15amFinal preparation to ride
8:30amTortoises safety circle, Hares second cup of coffee
9:00amTortoises roll out (ride 10-15 miles), Hares safety circle
9:30amHares roll out (ride 10-15 miles)
10:30amSnack break #1 (20-min limit), roll out (ride ~15 miles)
12:30pmLunch (e.g., sandwiches, chips, soda, water)
1:30pmRoll out (ride ~15-miles)
3:30pmSnack break #2 (20-min limit), roll out (ride ~20 miles)
5:30pmSet up camp, free time, shower
6:30pmDinner (e.g., chili, toppings, corn muffins, sweet tea)
8:00pmEvening programming (optional)
10:00pm
Bedtime; quiet hours begin (quiet hours until 7am)

Do I need to bring food and water?

No. WABA will provide all meals, snacks, and water. However, if you like having extra snacks while riding, like granola bars, or if you have specific tastes in food or drink when you ride, you may consider bringing those yourself.

Are there vegetarian, vegan, or gluten free food options?

Yes! Once you register, we’ll ask you for your dietary preferences and needs. Our menu is vegetarian, with gluten-free options.

Can I stay in a hotel?

No. WABA in the Wild is incredibly special as a shared experience between riders, volunteers, and staff, and we do not have the capacity to account for riders splitting off from the main group at camp.

Will I get to shower on this trip? What about bathrooms?

There are shower facilities on all nights. There are permanent bathrooms at each campsite and at some points along the way. There are portable bathrooms available consistently during the ride.

Will campsites have electricity?

All three campsites have limited electrical outlets that will be set up with a phone charging station (or other small electronics). We strongly discourage bringing any large electronics, such as laptops or tablets. Priority use of electrical outlets will be given to WABA staff for meal preparation and any riders who need electricity for medical reasons, such as CPAP machines.

How do I get to and from the start and end locations?

The start location will be at REI Rockville, which is 0.3mi from the White Flint Metro Station (Red). You will not be able to leave a car at the start location over the weekend.

The end location is Thompson Boat Center (TBC) in Georgetown, Washington, DC. If you have a family member or friend with a car picking you up, TBC has a pay-to-park lot where someone can pick you up at the end of the ride. Or, TBC is 0.6mi from Foggy Bottom Metro Station (Orange/Blue).

Can I drop off my bag beforehand at the WABA office?

Yes. In fact, any gear you want us to transport for you, you must drop off in one soft-sided bag, such as a duffel, weighing no more than 50lbs, at the WABA office (2599 Ontario Rd NW, Washington, DC) no later than Wednesday, October 9th at 6pm. We will transport your gear directly from the office, and you will not be able to access it until we arrive at camp in Cumberland on Friday evening.

Do I get anything to commemorate this huge personal challenge?

Each WABA in the Wild rider will receive a new, custom WABA in the Wild jersey, thanks to our friends at Primal Wear. Primal supports biking at all levels, from multi-day road races to advances in local bike infrastructure.

What is the cancellation policy?

Registration for WABA in the Wild, like our other signature events, is nonrefundable and happens rain or shine. If you cancel before registration is over (July 30), you are not liable for the $1,000 fundraising commitment. If you cancel after registration closes, you are liable for the $1,000 fundraising commitment, except in situations with extenuating circumstances. We’ll address these on a case-by-case basis. This ride will sell out, and dropping out will not only impact fundraising for WABA, but will take away another member’s opportunity to participate.

I have more questions.

Please ask us! Contact the WABA events team at events@waba.org or 202-518-0524 x218 with any questions.

The 50 States Ride

Presented by Signal Financial Federal Credit Union

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50 States riders at Eastern Market

This bucket-list ride sells out every year. The 50 States Ride is an urban adventure by bicycle, and a crowning achievement for many area bicyclists. It can be a tough ride, but with good company—and, you have the chance to make friends in every state! This ride is a community event where riders encourage one another and share in the feeling of biking through our nation’s capital.

Register

As WABA’s biggest event of the year, the 50 States Ride helps further WABA’s mission and impact. The ride embodies the spirit of community and inclusion that is core to WABA’s mission of growing bicycling throughout the region. And, your registration fees  support WABA’s advocacy, education, and outreach work that makes bicycling more safe, fun, and accessible around the region!

Choose from one of three routes that take you all over DC:

All riders are welcome to join WABA at the post-ride celebration in Adams Morgan to pick up a free treat, and swap stories of this gripping ride!

Fine Print

The 50 States Ride will take place rain or shine. There will be no refunds, exchanges or transfers for this event, even in the event of inclement weather. Helmets are required for all riders.

You must be a current dues-paying WABA member to participate in this ride. Each WABA member is allowed one non-member guest only. Children under 12 may join you at no additional cost. You can become a member with your registration below or at waba.org/join!

Do you need accommodations to make this ride accessible to you? Contact Cyrus Chimento at events@waba.org.

Read our FAQs below for more details!

Volunteer

Scroll through the volunteer jobs below to find one that works for you. If the timing works, feel free to sign up for more than one!

Frequently Asked Questions

Am I registered for the 50 States Ride?

All registrants receive a confirmation email after they complete registration online. If you personally registered but have not received a confirmation, please check your spam folder, then email events@waba.org to confirm your registration.

What’s included with VIP registration?

All the usual good stuff (including lunch) plus:

  • Exclusive 50 States Cycling Cap—not available any other time!
  • Expedited VIP morning check-in with VIP wristband
  • Special breakfast treat to get you ready for the ride
  • Free beer at the post-ride celebration!*

*You’re a grown up. We know you can handle this, but please drink responsibly.

Is this a supported ride?

The 50 States Ride is an unsupported ride—we will not have a SAG (Support And Gear) van to pick you up during the ride. If there is a medical emergency, call 911.

There will be ride marshals along the route to ride with you and guide you in the right direction. (There are a LOT of turns, though, and you should plan to miss a few!) There will also be paper cue sheets and turn-by-turn Ride with GPS directions available. Ensure that you have a loaded Smartcard, cab fare, charged phone, and/or a friend or family member who can pick you up in case you cannot complete the ride.

Is there a cutoff time for riding?

Since this is an unsupported ride, we will not cut you off. However, the pit stops have closing times. We suggest showing up at the beginning of check-in so that you have the maximum amount of time to ride.

Will roads be closed to cars during the ride?

No. You will be riding on roads and trails with other vehicles and users during this ride. Don’t feel confident riding next to cars? Look into our City Cycling classes to increase your comfort level! (They’re free for WABA members!)

Will I get a refund if it’s raining?

No. The 50 States Ride is a rain or shine event!

Is the 50 States Ride a fundraiser?

Yes! Our signature events, like the 50 States, are the only rides we organize for WABA members that cost money for members. All proceeds from this event benefit WABA and the work that we do to make bicycling safer and more fun in the region. Don’t know much about our work? Read about our advocacy, education, and outreach work and keep up to date on our latest projects on our blog.

Can I apply for a scholarship for this ride?

Through our Free Ride Fund we provide free rides to community members who could otherwise not participate. This is one way that WABA is making sure that bicycling in the DC region is accessible to everyone. If you want a free ride, or, if you want to donate to the Free Ride Fund but already registered, contact Cyrus Chimento at events@waba.org.

Are children allowed on this ride?

Children ages 11 and under can ride for free, accompanied by an adult. The accompanying adult must register themselves and the child(ren), be present at check-in with their entire group, check-in the youth riding with them, and sign a waiver on their behalf. Children twelve and older must be registered independently (at a reduced rate), and check in with a guardian who will sign a waiver on their behalf. WABA members can bring as many children as they can manage!

Will you feed me?

Riders receive snacks and water at each pit stop. There will be food available for purchase at the post-ride celebration. If you want additional snacks or meals, please plan to pack or buy them along the route. Food and drink options at local businesses along the route will be plentiful—feel free to make your own pit stops! Please note: we do not provide bottled water. You must bring your own water bottles. Restrooms are available at each pit stop.

Where can I find information about the routes?

We will post the routes to this webpage as soon as they are finalized. Riders will receive access to online files of the route the week leading up to the event, and a paper cue sheet at check-in.

Do I have to stop at stop signs?

Yes. We can’t control what you do on the roads, but, through participating in a WABA ride, you are setting an example for other road users. We ask you to ride safely, respectfully, and lawfully to maximize safety for all the ride participants and other trail and road users.

Stop at all red lights and stop signs. Always yield to pedestrians. Use hand signals when turning. Communicate verbally with other riders. Do not ride more than two abreast, and do not take up more than one lane of travel. When riding on sidewalks, trails, or paths, be cautious when passing other users and slow down.

How do I ride in the city?

To get familiar with riding in the city, take a WABA City Cycling class (free for WABA members)! You can also find video tutorials on city cycling on the League of American Bicyclists’ website.

Do I have to wear a helmet?

Yes. WABA’s insurance requires it. This is standard for organized rides across the country. Learn how to properly fit your helmet here. (We can help at check-in, too.)

I’m not sure my bike is ready for this.

We’ll have bike mechanics at check-in, who can help you get air in your tires and make any quick adjustments. Or, you can bring your bike to a participating shop and use your WABA coupon for a tune-up! Email membership@waba.org for details.

Is the route signed?

No, but we do our best to make the route directions clear and comprehensive. If you get lost, you can check the map on your phone, or hang out for a few minutes and see if you can connect with a rider or marshal who is familiar with the area.

Can I take shortcuts?

Of course! There are many places throughout the ride where you can skip a few miles if you’re tired. Furthermore, there’s no shame in bailing out early. You should do however much of the ride you feel good about—don’t push yourself to ride until you’re not having fun. Just join us at the post-ride celebration!

Can I change which route I signed up for?

Yes! Just show up at the correct start time for the route you’d like to ride. You can decide to ride any of our available routes!

Will there be marshals?

There will be ride marshals. They will be wearing vests with numbers on them. Marshals are WABA volunteers that are the first line of response in incidents that involve ride participants and be an avenue of communication between ride participants and WABA staff members. The numbers on their vests allow you to identify them: if you see a great marshal, be sure to tell us in the post-ride survey!

Should I bring a lock?

Yes. You may want to stop for more food along the ride, or spend time lounging once you finish, so you should plan to lock your bike up. (You can leave your lock with us when you check in, too, if you don’t want to ride with it, and we’ll have it at the post-ride celebration.) Don’t know the best ways to lock up? Check out this handy guide on preventing bicycle theft!

How do I get there?

The start location, Walter Pierce Park, is in the Adams Morgan neighborhood of DC. It is accessible by bike from the Rock Creek Park Trail and surrounding neighborhoods. If arriving by public transit, the closest metro stations are the Woodley Park-Zoo/Adams Morgan station on the Red Line and the Columbia Heights station on the Green/Yellow Line (bikes are allowed on Metro at all times). There are also several bus lines that go through the area. (Find out more here.)

If you plan to arrive by car, there may be limited on-street parking available in the neighborhoods near the start, but double check any street parking restrictions. There are also pay-to-park garages located close by (find out more here).

How many people will do the 50 States Ride?

We typically sell out our rides at 700 registrants.

Do I need to register separately if I plan to ride a tandem bike with someone?

Yes. All adult individuals must be registered.

When is the next WABA signature ride?

The next rides are WABA in the Wild (register by the end of July!) and Cider Ride (November 2nd)!

Got another question?

Send us an email at events@waba.org or give us a call at (202) 518-0524 x218.

Thank you to our sponsors!

Title Sponsor:



Gold Sponsor:

Bronze Sponsors:

SHARE NOW & WABA Member Mixer

Calling all WABA members! Let’s celebrate!

Whether you became a WABA member 10 days or 10 years ago, every one of our 6,000+ members is passionate about WABA for a unique reason. What’s yours?

Join us on Thursday, July 25 at Local 16 from 5:30pm-8:30pm for our Summer WABA member mixer sponsored by SHARE NOW, and learn about the many ways you connect with our work and each other. The first round’s on us!

Additional Details:

This event is open to WABA members and SHARE NOW members. If you’re curious about membership, you can come check it out and join on the spot. Bring your friends!

Fine Print

Bike parking will be available until 8:30pm promptly. Stay safe: take a bikeshare or SHARE NOW to the mixer and find a different mode of transportation home.

Register


Volunteer

The Sweet Ride & Shindig

The 2019 Sweet Ride is over! Thank you to everyone who came out to ride and support WABA. You can read about the ride here.

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The Sweet Ride & Shindig, presented by Conte’s Bike Shop, is WABA’s new northern Virginia bike ride and get-together. Bring the family! It’s a bike ride, it’s a picnic, and it’s a party! You can ride, walk, eat, and/or dance—whatever your summer jam is.

Register

As a WABA signature ride, the Sweet Ride & Shindig helps further WABA’s mission and impact. The ride embodies the spirit of community and inclusion that is core to WABA’s mission of growing bicycling throughout the region. Your registration fee supports WABA’s advocacy, education, and outreach work that makes bicycling more safe, fun, and accessible around the region.

Additional Details

Choose from one of four routes (approximately, 5-, 15-, 30-, and 50-miles) looping around Arlington, Alexandria, and beyond! Each route will start and end at The Grounds in Crystal City, and will have at least one pit stop.

All riders are welcome to join WABA at the Shindig afterwards to pick up a free treat, meet neighbors, interact with local businesses and organizations, eat, drink, and enjoy live music!

Read our FAQs below for more details!

Fine Print

The Sweet Ride & Shindig will take place rain or shine. There will be no refunds, exchanges or transfers for this event, even in the event of inclement weather. Helmets are required for all riders.

You must be a current dues-paying WABA member to participate in this ride. Each WABA member is allowed one non-member guest only. Children 12 and under may join you at no additional cost. You can become a member with your registration below or at waba.org/join! (Attendance at the Shindig is open to the public.)

Do you need any accommodations to make this event accessible to you? Contact Cyrus Chimento at events@waba.org.

Volunteer

Frequently Asked Questions

Am I registered for the Sweet Ride & Shindig?

All registrants receive a confirmation email after they complete registration online. If you personally registered but have not received a confirmation, please check your spam folder, then email events@waba.org to confirm your registration.

Is this a supported ride?

The Sweet Ride is an unsupported ride—we will not have a SAG (Support And Gear) van to pick you up during the ride. If there is a medical emergency, call 911.

However, there will be ride marshals along the route to ride with you and guide you in the right direction. There will also be paper cue sheets and turn-by-turn Ride with GPS directions available. Ensure that you have a loaded Smartcard, cab fare, charged phone, and/or a friend or family member who can pick you up in case you cannot complete the ride.

Is there a cutoff time for riding?

Since this is an unsupported ride, we will not cut you off. However, the pit stops have closing times. We suggest showing up at the beginning of check-in so that you have the maximum amount of time to ride.

Will roads be closed to cars during the ride?

No. You will be riding on roads and trails with other vehicles and users during this ride. Don’t feel confident riding next to cars? Look into our City Cycling classes to increase your comfort level! (They’re free for WABA members!)

Will I get a refund if it’s raining?

No. The Sweet Ride & Shindig is a rain or shine event!

Is the Sweet Ride & Shindig a fundraiser?

Yes! Signature events, like the Sweet Ride & Shindig, are the only rides we organize for WABA members that cost money. All proceeds from this event benefit WABA and the work that we do to make bicycling safer and more fun in the region. Don’t know much about our work? Read about our advocacy, education, and outreach work and keep up to date on our latest projects on our blog.

Can I apply for a scholarship for this ride?

Through our Free Ride Fund we provide free rides to community members who could otherwise not participate. This is one way that WABA is making sure that bicycling in the DC region is accessible to everyone. If you want a free ride, or, if you want to donate to the Free Ride Fund but already registered, contact Cyrus Chimento at events@waba.org.

Are children allowed on this ride?

Children ages 12 and under can ride for free, accompanied by an adult. The accompanying adult must register themselves and the child(ren), be present at check-in with their entire group, check-in the youth riding with them, and sign a wavier on their behalf. Children twelve and older must be registered independently (at a reduced rate), and check in with a guardian who will sign a waiver on their behalf. WABA members can bring as many children as they can manage!

Will you feed me?

Riders receive snacks and water at each pit stop. There will be food available for purchase at the Shindig after the ride. If you want additional snacks or meals, please plan to pack or buy them along the route. Food and drink options at local businesses along the route will be plentiful—feel free to make your own pit stops! Please note: we do not provide bottled water. You must bring your own water bottles. Restrooms are available at each pit stop.

Where can I find information about the routes?

We will post the routes to this webpage as soon as they are finalized. Riders will receive access to online files of the route the week leading up to the event, and a paper cue sheet at check-in.

Do I have to stop at stop signs?

Yes. We can’t control what you do on the roads, but, through participating in a WABA ride, you are setting an example for other road users. We ask you to ride safely, respectfully, and lawfully to maximize safety for all the ride participants and other trail and road users.

Stop at all red lights and stop signs. Always yield to pedestrians. Use hand signals when turning. Communicate verbally with other riders. Do not ride more than two abreast, and do not take up more than one lane of travel. When riding on sidewalks, trails, or paths, be cautious when passing other users and slow down.

How do I ride in the city?

To get familiar with riding in the city, take a WABA City Cycling class (free for WABA members)! You can also find video tutorials on city cycling on the League of American Bicyclists’ website.

Do I have to wear a helmet?

Yes. WABA’s insurance requires it. This is standard for organized rides across the country. Learn how to properly fit your helmet here. (We can help at check-in, too.)

I’m not sure my bike is ready for this.

We’ll have bike mechanics at check-in, who can help you get air in your tires and make any quick adjustments. Or, you can bring your bike to a participating shop and use your WABA coupon for a tune-up! Email membership@waba.org for details.

Is the route signed?

No, but we do our best to make the route directions clear and comprehensive. If you get lost, you can check the map on your phone, or hang out for a few minutes and see if you can connect with a rider or marshal who is familiar with the area.

Can I take shortcuts?

Of course! There are many places throughout the ride where you can skip a few miles if you’re tired. Furthermore, there’s no shame in bailing out early. You should do however much of the ride you feel good about—don’t push yourself to ride until you’re not having fun. Just join us at Shindig!

Can I change which route I signed up for?

Yes! Just show up at the correct start time for the route you’d like to ride. You can decide to ride any of our available routes!

Will there be marshals?

There will be ride marshals. They will be wearing vests with numbers on them. Marshals are WABA volunteers that are the first line of response in incidents that involve ride participants and be an avenue of communication between ride participants and WABA staff members. The numbers on their vests allow you to identify them: if you see a great marshal, be sure to tell us in the post-ride survey!

Should I bring a lock?

Yes. You may want to stop for more food along the ride, or spend time lounging once you get back to The Grounds, so you should plan to lock your bike up. (You can leave your lock with us when you check in, too, if you don’t want to ride with it, and we’ll have it at the Shindig.) Don’t know the best ways to lock up? Check out thishandy guide on preventing bicycle theft!

How do I get there?

The start location, The Grounds, is in Crystal City, in northern Virginia. It is accessible by bike from the Mt. Vernon Trail and surrounding neighborhoods. If arriving by public transit, the closest metro station is Pentagon City station on the Yellow Line (bikes are allowed on Metro at all times). There are also several bus lines that go through the area. (Find out more here.)


If you plan to arrive by car, there may be limited on-street parking available in the neighborhoods near the start, but double check any street parking restrictions. There are also pay-to-park garages located close by (find out more here).

Thank you to our sponsors!

Title Sponsor:

Platinum Sponsor:

Pit Stop Sponsor:

Bike Back to School

Family Portrait by Matilda R, age 5

Family Portrait by Matilda R, age 5

It’s back-to-school time, and for some of our members back-to-school means regular bike trips with their child(ren). We spoke with one of members who regularly takes his children to school on a bicycle, you can read the conversation below.

Hiya! Who are you and your passengers?
I’m Jon Renaut. I’ve lived in Columbia Heights since 2007. My passengers are my daughters, a third grader and a first grader

What’s been the biggest challenge biking with kids?
I’m not sure I can pick one biggest challenge. Sometimes it’s the weather. Sometimes it’s just being tired at the end of a long week. Sometimes the girls won’t stop fighting on the back of the bike. Often it’s bad drivers not paying attention, and DDOT refusing to enforce the Safe Accommodations Act.

Where and when do you ride?
Everywhere and all the time. Unless we’re leaving the city (and sometimes even then), our Xtracycle is our primary means of transportation. Sometimes we have to take the sidewalk (slowly and carefully), like if we go to Brookland and have to pass the hospital. Sometimes we take the long way or the flat way because it’s safer or easier.

Where and when don’t you ride?
Snow and ice usually keep me off the bike (except for the big snowstorm last winter. I left the kids at home for that, though). There’s pretty much no place I won’t ride, but I’m definitely more likely to take a sidewalk on a road I don’t feel is safe when I’m riding with the kids.

Why do you bike your children to school?
When my older daughter started school, the building was in a temporary space at 20th and S, which meant a bus ride and a long walk for 3 year old legs. We bought a trailer from some friends who had outgrown it and I started biking the kids to school and daycare. It was mostly because it was easy and because getting two kids under 4 onto the 16th Street bus at rush hour isn’t a lot of fun. Eventually the kids outgrew the trailer and we upgraded to the Xtracycle.

We bike to school because it’s faster than driving or the bus (the school’s new location requires a bus transfer for us). One day I had to pick up my wife from DCA right after school dropoff so I took the car. We had gone a block before the kids started complaining how slow it was. And all the neighborhood groups around the school love the school except for one big complaint – parents parking illegally at dropoff and pickup. So we’re also doing our part to be good neighbors.

Even on a bike, you are still a parent.
The bags on the Xtracycle are exactly like the complaints you hear about the back seat of a minivan. Old snack wrappers, odd bits of clothing, random treasures the kids forgot about. I probably have more bungee cords in there than most minivans.

Does WABA made a difference in your bike experience?
In a broad sense, WABA makes a difference by being a voice of reason and having the ear of politicians to get changes made to how we do bike things in the area. In a specific sense, it’s little things like Greg Billing reaching out to me after I’ve been begging DDOT for literally months to enforce Safe Accommodations and being ignored. Greg talked to me on the phone, reassured me of some things WABA is doing to make things better, and made me feel a lot better about the whole process.

 

If you are interested in riding with your children and have questions, WABA can help!  Visit our Family Biking page  to learn more and sign up for email updates!

 

Wave when you see us out and about!

Jon and his two daughters riding on 14th Street NW

Jon and his two daughters riding on 14th Street NW.

 

 

 

Bike Theft is on the Rise. Take 10 Minutes and Do This Now.

Last week, we gave you a brief overview of what to do in the event that your bike is stolen. In that post, we mentioned WABA’s bicycle owner record sheet, which we’d like to discuss in a bit more detail today.

When a bike is stolen, the first thing you should do is to call the police and report the bicycle stolen. An officer will come and meet you to file a stolen property report. To file the report, they will need the following information: type of bike, color, serial number, a photo, etc.

To make sure you have this information available in the event that you need it, use our form. Download this PDF with fillable fields, enter all the relevant information, and save a hard copy in a safe place. Take some photos of your bike, making sure to capture any distinguishing characteristics (modifications you’ve made to the bike, damage or signs of wear and tear, stickers or other bling). Attach the photos to the record sheet. This information on this form will also be required by your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance if you decide to make a stolen property claim.

You can significantly reduce the risk of your bike being stolen by using proper locking techniques with a strong u-lock at secure parking spot in a well-lit area where there’s good foot traffic. DDOT, WMATA, private property managers, and others are working to increase the amount of secure bike parking in the region, but there is still a shortage—and still a chance your bike could be stolen.

The Washington Post recently covered the increase in bike theft in and around D.C., and Fox5 ran a story about an upcoming documentary about a professional bike thief. We hope you’ll never have to use this information, but if you do need it, providing the police with a complete record of your stolen bike could greatly help in its recovery.

Thank You for Joining Us!

Our yearly membership drive ended last Friday, and we’re pleased to announce that over 550 people joined us—some for the first time, some for the first time in a long time, and some for yet another few years. Membership dollars help us expand our advocacy, outreach, and education work, and we enthusiastically welcome and greatly appreciate financial support of what WABA does. If you joined or renewed during the drive, thank you!

2013 Staff Photo

We’re really excited about our new members!

We’d also like to thank to local businesses City Bikes and Lunar Massage for graciously donating materials to the drive. And a number of WABA supporters volunteered to help us solicit memberships throughout D.C., Maryland, and Virginia last week—we couldn’t have pulled off the membership drive without them!

You can engage with us in a number of ways in addition to being a WABA member: You can become a D.C. bike ambassador; get involved with our advocacy efforts; take a class (the last oneof the season is this Sunday!); join the Women & Bicycles group if you’re women-identified; follow us on TwitterFacebookInstagram, and Flickr (and contribute to our Flickr pool!); read our blog; ride your bike; and encourage your friends to join us, too.

If you didn’t join during the drive, that’s OK! You can join or donate to WABA at any time. Plus, WABA members get great perks.

We look forward to working with all our new members to better bicycling in the D.C. region.

2013 Membership Drive: This Is It

It’s the last day of our 2013 membership drive. Have you become a WABA member yet?

This week, we’ve told you about the great perks WABA members are eligible for, and about some of the specific endeavors that your WABA membership supports. We’ve had an amazing show of support from our current members; if you’re on Twitter or Facebook, you’ve likely noticed an abundance of gold icons, which represent an affiliation with WABA. And over 300 of you have joined since we kicked off the drive on Monday.

We hope that—if you haven’t already—you’ll make the choice to join us. If you join during this membership drive (which runs until this Friday, Oct. 25—that’s today), your membership is good through December 2014—that’s two free months of membership. And this week, joining at any level nets you sweet incentives*:

$35: Membership, plus sticker and notepad
$50: Membership, sticker, notepad, and a standard-issue WABA T-shirt
$100: Membership, sticker, notepad, and a special-edition gold WABA T-shirt
$500: Membership, sticker, notepad, and a WABA bike jersey

Today is the last day to join WABA and take advantage of the great incentives we’re offering during this membership drive. Join today

*Your notepad, sticker, T-shirt, or jersey will be mailed to you, along with your WABA membership card, in four to six weeks.

This post is part of our yearly weeklong membership drive. Your membership supports our advocacy, outreach, and education efforts, and you get great perksJoinrenew, or donate today.

2013 Membership Drive: What Does WABA Do?

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Among many other things, we teach people how to ride bikes—for the first time, or just better.

Today marks the home stretch of our membership drive. Today and tomorrow are the last remaining days to join us and get great incentives. This week, nearly 200 Washington Area Bicyclist Association supporters have become members or extended their commitment to help us improve bicycling in the D.C. region.

WABA members get great perks and discounts (see the full list here); can register early for our awesome (and frequently sold-out) events, like the 50 States and Vasa rides; and support our programming.

You may be wondering, however, what that programming is. Though we’ve previously put in bike racks throughout D.C. under contract from the District Department of Transportation, we generally are not responsible for the installation of bike infrastructure in the regions that we represent. We also don’t get the final say on where bike lanes, cycletracks, racks, Capital Bikeshare stations, and other pieces of infrastructure should go. That kind of work is the duty of local and state departments of transportation.

Rather, we provide the reasoning for why things should be built and why laws should be passed. Biking is a marginalized form of transportation, and demonstrating that WABA has a solid, engaged, informed, and active member base is necessary to convincing local and state departments of transportation that more and better infrastructure, laws, policies, and education and outreach programs are needed. Even if you bike for recreation or fitness, we speak for you when we advocate for better road conditions and clearer laws. We’re in the room representing the interests of bicyclists so you don’t have to (though we love it when our members become advocates with us!).

Here are some of the things we’ve done to better bicycling in the D.C. area in the past year:

You can see some of our historic gains here (scroll down).

For the past 40 years, WABA has worked tirelessly to improve policies, education initiatives, road infrastructure, and the cultural understanding of bicycling for transportation. WABA is the reason why D.C., Montgomery, Prince George’s, Arlington, and Fairfax counties and the city of Alexandria are bike-friendly. We are a member-supported nonprofit and lobbying doesn’t pay the bills—which is why we run campaigns like this one. Your membership and donations ensure that our staff can work for you.

If you join during this membership drive (which runs until this Friday, Oct. 25—that’s tomorrow), your membership is good through December 2014—that’s two free months of membership. And this week, joining at any level nets you sweet incentives*:

$35: Membership, plus sticker and notepad
$50: Membership, sticker, notepad, and a standard-issue WABA T-shirt
$100: Membership, sticker, notepad, and a special-edition gold WABA T-shirt
$500: Membership, sticker, notepad, and a WABA bike jersey

*Your notepad, sticker, T-shirt, or jersey will be mailed to you, along with your WABA membership card, in four to six weeks.

Don’t forget: Tonight, we’re hosting an open house for our new, old, and potential members. Please stop by for snacks and beverages! We’ll answer your questions and chat about biking in the D.C. area. RSVP here.

This post is part of our yearly weeklong membership drive. Your membership supports our advocacy, outreach, and education efforts, and you get great perksJoinrenew, or donate today.

2013 Membership Drive: An Open House, Just for You

Well, have you? Sign up on the MBT (4th/S NE) until 9:30 a.m.

Yesterday, we launched our 2013 membership drive. We’re continuing to push for new members, and we’d appreciate it if you joined! Your membership dollars support our education, outreach, and advocacy work.

A major success for area bicyclists, the Bicycle Safety Amendment Act of 2013, was passed by the D.C. Council and signed by Mayor Vince Gray last week. Read more about what the the bill does to make biking better and safer in D.C. Support like yours that enables us to not only advocate on your behalf, but distribute information about legal requirements for bicyclists.Becoming a WABA member ensures that we can represent you and let you know what we’re doing.

If you join during this membership drive (which runs until this Friday, Oct. 25), your membership is good through December 2014—that’s two free months of membership. And this week, joining at any level nets you sweet incentives*:

$35: Membership, plus sticker and notepad
$50: Membership, sticker, notepad, and a standard-issue WABA T-shirt
$100: Membership, sticker, notepad, and a special-edition gold WABA T-shirt
$500: Membership, sticker, notepad, and a WABA bike jersey

Today, we want to remind you that on Thursday night, Oct. 24, we’re hosting an open house for our new, old, and potential members. Please stop by for snacks and beverages! We’ll answer your questions and chat about biking in the D.C. area. RSVP here.

*Your notepad, sticker, T-shirt, or jersey will be mailed to you, along with your WABA membership card, in four to six weeks.

This post is part of our yearly weeklong membership drive. Your membership supports our advocacy, outreach, and education efforts, and you get great perks. Join, renew, or donate today.