So what exactly are you proposing here?Trail Ranger volunteer shifts are mostly 4 hours long. Trail shifts meet at a Metro station close to the day’s trail primarily during weekdays. The team meets you there with all the tools and supplies needed for the workday. You and the team ride to the trail and spend a few hours riding the trail, fixing or reporting maintenance issues and talking with trail users. You’ll likely stop for a few snack and water breaks, and potentially join the team for lunch. The Trail Ranger team rides on Anacostia River Trail, Marvin Gaye Trail, Suitland Parkway Trail and Metropolitan Branch Trail. We bring all the work tools – we do ask that volunteers come with everything to keep themselves safe and rolling: a working bicycle and helmet, water bottles, snacks, sunscreen and work appropriate clothing. All shifts are coordinated via a signup form and sent to the volunteer group every two weeks.
But what about weekends?Most weekends the Trail Ranger team is hosting events or joining festivals to talk up our trails. Do you like talking to folks and spreading the love of bicycling and trails? Oh boy, do we have the role for you! We could always use a few more folks joining us at major festivals. All volunteer tabling is coordinated through the same process as shift volunteering.
So how do I join??We require you attend a one hour training conference call to make sure that we’re all on the same page about legal road riding, how to do outreach and how to be a Trail Ranger. Sign up here. Already been to a training call? Shifts are here.
How to PrepareCheck your brakes, pump up your tires, and give biking a try! A few things we’ve seen that are useful for beginning to bike for transportation:
- No need to start with the Big Ride. Maybe test out a daily commute on a weekend when there isn’t a 9am important meeting. Where are you going to park your bike?
- Options are your friend. You can drive a car to a park-and-ride, and ride your bike from there. Take bikeshare downhill and bus home. Try out a bikeshare bike for a week and see how getting around feels.
- A Capital Bikeshare corral with unlimited parking will be available at 3rdSt. NE and M St. NE from 8am-1pm, on Monday – Friday from 7/23 – 8/31, so you can easily drop off your bike.
- You do need a working bicycle, a u-lock and some way to carry your things. A helmet is encouraged. But, like so many things, no need to go all in on all the fancy gear to start with! Are bike specific bags nice? Sure! But you can also use the random Aldi’s reusable bag you got free that one time. If you’re going to be biking when it is dark, a front light is legally required and you should have a rear light too.
- It’s hot! Sunscreen, a water bottle and sun protection are probably a good idea. I like wearing casual clothes on my ride and changing at work to avoid sweaty clothes. But for folks with shorter rides or who aren’t perennially biking fast to avoid being late for meetings, a slower pace should help minimize sweat.
- Trails are kind of like roads, but better. Ride to the right and pass folks on your left. Let people know that you’re passing them and give them space. Don’t do anything sudden. And above all, be courteous about the shared space.
- We’ve got maps, events, classes, and all sorts of other resources below to make your bike commute comfortable, safe and fun.
What’s WABA Doing?
- Pushing local transportation officials to create space and infrastructure for biking during the surges.
- Steering our existing programs and resources to help and support people impacted.
- Leading the bike community to help by providing resources, programming and events.
Already a Bike Commuter? Help your neighbors and your coworkers!Metro maintenance is huge and we need your help to make sure that nobody on a bike is left behind. How can you help?
- Be a resource for their questions.
- Can you go on a ride with them? Collaborate on route route planning?
- Connect them with other resources – any WABA events that they should join?
New to Bike Commuting?Join us at a City Cycling class! This class is the right fit for you and will give you three things you can’t get anywhere else:
- A safe and supportive environment to practice riding and build confidence
- Access to the best bike teachers in the region to answer all your questions
- Riding techniques, tips and tricks to help you get the most out of your ride
Help Your Employees Bike to Work!Make commuting the best part of their day by hosting an Everyday Bicycling Seminar with WABA. Our bike experts will solve bike mysteries and bust bike myths in a relaxed and engaging “brown bag” format. Complete the form here and our coordinator will be in touch.
#1 – “I don’t know how to ride a bike.”I learned to ride as an adult (as did one of my co-workers), so I completely understand how that hinders someone from riding a bike. And as you get older, you realize that you are further from the ground so falling off a bike becomes pretty scary. If you or someone you know is in this situation, we can help. WABA offers adult Learn to Ride classes throughout the year. We have certified instructors who will spend time with each student getting them comfortable on a bicycle and learning to ride in under 3 hours. And you are never to old to learn. Last season, we had a 76 year old woman learn to ride so you have no excuse! You can learn more about our Adult Learn to Ride Classes here.
#2 – “I’m scared of being hit by cars.”I must admit, I always find this answer funny. These are drivers who are afraid to bike because of…drivers? But I also get it because I was in their shoes. After I learned to ride, I always rode on trails. I was terrified of being hit by a car, or more specifically, by a taxi cab. I overcame that by taking a City Cycling class with WABA! I learned to not ride in the gutter, how to signal for turns and how to confidently take the lane when biking to make sure I’m seen by cars. Amazingly, these and other simple steps really do make you feel so much more confident on the road. You can learn how to ride confidently in the city too by taking our City Cycling class.
#3 – “I live too far away.”This is a legitimate reason to not bike the entire way to work. However, you may be able to do multi-modal riding. For example, maybe you can take the Metro part of the way and take bikeshare the rest of the way. Or perhaps you bike rather than drive to the store or to run errands near where you live. Thinking of biking in these small ways can help build your confidence and get you biking more often.
#4 – “I’m out of shape.”Biking is great exercise and helps to get you in shape. I often suggest just biking a mile or around the block. Or join one of our community rides so you can be social and ride with others. Often people don’t even realize they have biked 10 miles when they bike in a social ride. And it’s a great way to build up your endurance!
And #5? – “Hills!”Hills are no joke. I grew up in Anacostia and it is HILLY. It can definitely prevent people from wanting to ride. But there are a couple of ways to conquer hills. One way is to bike down the hill and take Metro or the bus up the hilly part. The other way is to buy or rent an e-bike. These incredible bikes make hills seem flat by giving you the boost you need to roll up any hill with ease. Now you know the most common objections I hear about why people aren’t biking. But we all have to start somewhere – consider this a step in the bike direction!
- Shift Up Bike Podcast – This podcast is a new bike-industry focused weekly podcast where host Arliegh moderates healthy conversations to build a better bike industry!
- The Bike Nerds Podcast – The Bike Nerds Podcast hosted on the OAM Network. The Bike Nerds is hosted by Kyle Wagenschutz and Sarah Studdard. Their podcast features community leaders, neighborhood advocates and urban thinkers on how bicycling makes cities better. They also nerd out on the aspects of their lives that influences their life on two wheels.
- We Got to Hang Out – This podcast is hosted by four friends living in the Portland who have been biking or working in the biking industry for nearly a decade. They gather to tell authentic stories of biking in a casual storytelling style.
- Breaking Bike – This new podcast by Lanespotter is all about urban biking. It’s about bike lanes, bike tech, and people who bike telling bike stories.
- The Slow Ride Podcast – three former bicycle messengers from Minneapolis, MN gather for an unscripted conversation about the bike racing and culture.
WABA merchandiseYour partner loves to ride their bicycle, so make sure that they become a member of WABA (it’s only $35/year to join and get a lot of great perks). If they already are a member, then why not outfit them with some of our WABA merchandise? We have socks to keep their toes warm during a winter ride and cool in the summer, t-shirts that let everyone know they love biking, and jerseys to show off that WABA pride. Your purchase helps us continue to advocate for better bicycling across the region and supports our efforts to get more people riding bikes!
VelofixAt some point, your loved one will need to have their bike serviced or repaired. But it can sometimes be inconvenient to take it to a shop and wait for the repair. There’s no need to do that when you could give them the gift of Velofix. Velofix is a mobile bike shop that can do any repairs or service needed on-site at your home or office. They even sell bikes in case you need a new one. Check out all the services they offer here.
Car2goEven though your loved one rides a bike, there are some times when a car is necessary. Maybe they need to go somewhere farther than they are willing to bike. Or perhaps biking in less-than-ideal weather just isn’t fun for them. Well, you can give them the gift of options with car2go. With a car2go membership, they can use the app to reserve a car nearby and unlock it when they arrive, then simply hop in and go. Even better, you can park it (almost) anywhere and end your trip. It’s perfect for one-way travel or even full-day trips. Learn more about why a car2go membership is a great gift for your honey.
Grip UnlimitedMost likely if your sweetie is biking, they need to carry stuff. It may be clothes or just a flat repair kit. No matter what it is, they will need a way to transport it. And Grip Unlimited is the perfect way to do that. Their products are made locally and attach to the frame of a bike. Check out their collection of bags here.
DoorDashLet’s be honest, going out to eat on Valentine’s Day can be frustrating and expensive. But you still need to eat (and impress that special someone). Instead of going out this year, you could stay in and order a delicious meal via DoorDash. Download the app or order online and have your food arrive in less than an hour.
Urban StemsAnd finally, if you want to go traditional on Valentine’s Day and send flowers, consider having them delivered by one of the wonderful bike couriers from Urban Stems. Who wouldn’t love beautiful flowers delivered by bicycle? It’s the best of both worlds. The flowers will also pair nicely with your meal from DoorDash. When you love a person who loves bicycles you may as well get them something they will truly appreciate and you can’t go wrong with any of these gifts. Get updates on all of the Bike Ambassador events that your bike loving sweetie (or you) will enjoy by joining our email list.
Are you thinking about how to improve your own transportation behavior to make our roads, trails, and sidewalks safer? Consider becoming an ambassador like our friend, Leeann.
Thanks @dasgeh for sharing your resolution! How about it, #bikedc? What are your #BEaPAL resolutions to be more predictable, alert, and lawful as you get around Arlington in 2018? https://t.co/sGKYoPjmbu— ArlingtonPAL (@ArlingtonPAL) January 4, 2018
What’s it like to become a PAL Ambassador?Meet Leeann Sinpatanasakul, whose amazing work and passion for her community make her a great PAL Ambassador. How did you get in involved as an Arlington PAL Ambassador? What do you like about being a part of this program? I became involved in the PAL ambassador program after meeting the coordinator, Ashley Blue, at a community event where she was tabling. What got me interested was that it wasn’t just for bicyclists—it was for drivers and pedestrians, too. I hope more residents will join our efforts and see PAL as something for more than just cyclists. After all, at some point we’re all pedestrians when we travel. I like everything about the program! I like being involved and making a difference with our events, and I like that the program has encouraged me to be more civically engaged. It’s because of the program that I’ve been involved in Arlington’s Pedestrian Advisory Committee. What does the PAL message mean to you? What do you think the program means to the community? To me, PAL, which stands for “predictable, alert, lawful,” means that we all have a role to play in making Arlington a safer, more enjoyable place to live. PAL tries to educate residents on how to be a safe driver, cyclist, or pedestrian. In the future, I hope that more members of the community will learn about the PAL message and take it to heart. What are your PAL resolutions for 2018? How will you be a more Predictable, Alert, and Lawful road and sidewalk user? My resolution for 2018 is to be kinder and more courteous to other bicyclists, pedestrians, and drivers. While driving, this means giving at least three feet of space between myself and a person cycling and slowing down when passing safely. While walking, this means being visible and predictable to drivers, especially at night with low visibility. We share Arlington’s transportation infrastructure with our neighbors. It’s important to remember to be courteous to them in the shared community space.
What’s your #BEaPAL resolution for 2018?Join our Outreach Party next week to share yours and collect ideas from the public! Can’t make it to the party, don’t worry. Share your resolutions with us in other ways:
- Post in the PAL Facebook group.
- Tweet us @arlingtonpal, or use the hashtag #BEaPAL.
- Tag @predictablealertlawful, and use the #BEaPAL on Instagram.
- Post on the PAL forum.
- On our Facebook group
- On Twitter, you can find us @arlingtonpal or just tweet with the hashtag #BEaPAL
- On Instagram or post a picture of how you get around Arlington, and don’t forget to tag it with #BEaPAL.
- Or you can post your resolution on our forum.
A rainy yet spectacular Clarendon Mardi Gras Parade!
The time we made some videos for Annmarie’s PALentines Day!
Lots of what we call “trailer-ing” with the PAL bike sign.
My first event as the PAL Coordinator (cry emoji) for Earth Day!
ALL the pizza parties…
Predictable, Alert, Lawful: The Musical!
PAL Popsicle Pop-up, in the heat of summer.
Being a PAL means….
A spooky, safety PALoween on Quincy Street!
Daylight Savings bike light distribution to restaurant employees!
Advocacy with art.
A cold, cold, (but super fun) coffee pop-up!
And finally….the PALiversary party!Thank you to all of our supporters and volunteers for a wonderful 2017. Join us next year in changing road culture in Arlington!
- Keep a spare battery or a charger at work or in a little bag on your bike.
- Make sure you have lights that meet your needs:
- If you’re likely to be riding on an unlit road trail, make sure you have a light that’s bright enough to let you see where you’re going.
- If you’re just riding on city streets, a small blinking light is probably enough.
- When you’re riding on a trail, be aware of the angle of your front light. Modern LEDs can be quite bright, and you don’t want to blind on coming trail users.