Bike Carnival & Car-Free Streets at St. Elizabeths East

On August 25th, the streets of the St. Elizabeths will be opened to bicyclists, and the campus will be converted into a bike carnival for all ages.

We are incredibly excited about this event, as it combines two rare happenings.

First, the public is invited to tour the long-closed, historic St. Elizabeths campus. For years, security restrictions have made it nearly impossible to visit and see this amazing campus.  When occasional exceptions were made for tours they filled immediately (and of course they weren’t for biking).

Second, we almost never get the opportunity to use closed streets for a free event, in which we can invite kids, parents, and novice cyclists to come and enjoy their bikes in a car-free setting.

When WABA was invited to use these car-free streets for biking our reaction was immediate: Yes!

So we have mapped out two self-guided tour routes that are safe and family-friendly, and that will allow you to see as much of the historic campus is possible.  We will be marking those routes, so all you have to do is show up, pedal, and enjoy the views.  We’ll have staff members and volunteers riding the routes as well to help with any issues and make sure things go smoothly.

Meanwhile, at the main gate, we will have an assortment of bike-themed carnival games with prizes, a bike decoration station, a kids’ bicycle skills course, plenty of giveaways, answers to all your questions about biking in the city, and much more.

At 2pm we will raffle off a number of new bikes–both adult and youth models–to be given away to those in attendance, then we will kick off the first ever St. Elizabeths Bike Parade.  So be sure to get to the event in time to visit the bike decoration station to get your ride ready for the show.  I want to see hundreds of people, smiling and safe, riding car-free streets on decorated bikes, enjoying the opening of this space and the fun of being on a bike.

Whether you live across the street from the campus or across the region, this is a unique event in a truly unique place.  Please mark your calendars, RSVP on the Facebook page so we know how many people to expect, and come join us at the carnival.  Bring your kids.   Bring your friends.  Especially bring your friends who are thinking about biking and need a safe place and a good reason to give it a try.

Hope to see you there!

(If you have a bike, please bring it.  Remember, Metro allows bikes at all times on Saturdays.  We will have a rather limited number of bikes available for use on a first-come, first-served basis.  But there won’t be enough for everyone.)

 

 

 

 

A Great Saturday Ride Along Oxon Run

(An update from Alex Hutchinson, WABA’s East of the Anacostia Bikes Program Manager.)

On Saturday July 14th, WABA staff, residents, and volunteers gathered in Oxon Run Park. Nestled between the neighborhoods of Bellevue, Congress Heights, and Washington Highlands, Oxon Run features wetlands, ball fields, BBQ pits, and naturally where WABA comes in, a beautiful bike path.

Despite flirting with Mother Nature’s rains early in the morning, by the start of the event pockets of blue sky began to peak out from behind the clouds. With much-appreciated assistance from Capital Bikeshare, Bike & Roll DC, and the District Department of Transportation our ride was supplied with 45 bikes and helmets for all ages and sizes. We even had some brave young riders go out on an attached tandem bicycle before they traded it back in for something a little simpler.

The event was a huge success in no small part due to the help from local community groups such as the office of Councilmember Marion Barry, ANC commissioner Dionne Brown, and the 7th District Metropolitan Police Force. Commissioner Brown was pleased to have her bike repaired, then proceeded to cruise up and down the trail several times before the mid-July humidity finally got to her. “I prefer this to spinning” Brown joked.

Community members remarked on the therapeutic effect of cycling along Oxon Run. Many doctors are beginning to prescribe “park prescriptions”, a program where doctors send patients outdoors for physical and mental benefits. One of the objectives of this ride was to make residents aware of this fantastic park, a resource some don’t realize exists right in their backyard. Additionally, local community members learned to get more comfortable on a bike after a prolonged absence with the help from WABA educational instructors.

The Oxon Run ride provided a valuable forum for community members to learn about who else is riding in their community and provided WABA insight into residents’ feelings about cycling safety and benefits. A number of bicycle commuters came out to talk about their challenging rides along the Suitland Parkway–a trail that is currently in need of cleanup due to a large amount of broken glass and overgrown limbs along the trail. Other neighborhood residents came with their toddlers in tow, disappointed they didn’t hear about the event sooner to inform more of their students and neighbors.

The Oxon Run event was WABA’s first ride this summer as part of our East of the River initiative after several mobile bike repair clinics and classes to get everyone ready to roll. Other rides slated for later in this summer include a bike carnival and tour of the St. Elizabeths Historic Campus and the first annual Lion Ride through historic Anacostia and Anacostia Park.

Join Us for the Women on Bikes Spring Finale: the Tour de Bells!

This post is part of WABA’s Women on Bikes program, an ongoing campaign to create a community, share resources, and develop strategies for getting more women on bikes. To read about the project so far, click here to check out the WABA blog. To learn more and sign up to receive emails about this project, click here.
By Kiera Zitelman & Laura Jean Shane, WABA’s Women’s Bicycling Interns

WABA’s Women on Bikes campaign is pleased to present the Tour de Bells, an inaugural ride open to all women and celebrating confident, fun and accessible bicycling for women of all levels of experience. The goal of this summer bike ride is to provide an easy and safe riding opportunity to women and to further encourage more women to simply go out and get on a bike!  The Tour de Bells is a leisurely, slow paced ride where no woman will be left behind.

On June 2nd, Tour de Bells women will ride together for ten miles around the city stopping at various famous (and not-so-famous) bell towers. Bring along a friend to help them gain confidence and knowledge about riding in the city in a comfortable setting. You can ride your own bike or you can also rent a bike through Bike and Roll’s Downtown location at the Old Post Office Pavilion. We’ll be starting and ending the ride at this location as well.

Click here to register for the Tour de Bells!

Tour de Bells

Date
June 2nd. Rain or Shine

Time
Meet-up begins at 9:30 AM to allow time to rent bikes.
Ride leaves promptly at 10:00 AM.

Start/End Location
Old Post Office Pavilion
1100 Pennsylvania Avenue

Distance
10 miles (approx.)

Please Note
All riders are required to wear helmets and sign a waiver (available on site) to participate.
Bring along a bike lock if you would like to go to the top of the Old Post Office bell tower (free).

Women on Bikes is dedicated to helping women ride bikes more often and more enjoyably, and so this ride is designed to be women only.

Click here to Register!

Click here to receive Women on Bikes emails!

Bike Rental Information

Rental bikes and helmets are available from our friends at Bike and Roll. Please note that we do not guarantee the availability of bikes on the day of the event, and it is up to you to ensure that you reserve a bike.

Bike and Roll, Downtown @ The Old Post Office Pavilion
1100 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
In the rear plaza, entrance off of 12th St. NW
202-842-2453

Saturday Hours: 9am – 9pm

Laura Jean Shane is a spring 2012 Women’s Bicycle Outreach & Advocacy Intern. She  came to WABA as a former sports medicine professional and current Masters of Public Health student at GWU. A devotee of RAGBRAI, she moved to DC last year and cannot imagine getting around any other way.
Kiera Zitelman is a spring 2012 Women’s Bicycle Outreach & Advocacy Intern. She has gotten around the DC area by bike for years since growing up in Silver Spring. As an environmental science and policy student at UMD, she uses her bike to navigate campus every day and ride the Anacostia Tributary trails near College Park on the weekends.

Event Recap: Down the Tubes Ride with DC Water

Author’s note: to fully enjoy this entry please pour yourself a nice cold cup of tap water. 

At first glance, WABA’s Down the Tubes Ride, a combination of biking and our sewer system, might have seemed like a bizarre April Fools joke in the making. And well, we only have one thing to say to the suspicious observers out there; you missed out! For the 50 WABA members and staff who participated, it was a fun ride, and a fun way to discover what lies beneath our city streets.

We owe the day’s successes to the warm spring weather, and DC Water. As part of their effort to raise awareness on the city’s water enhancements, DC Water opened up their doors, provided bike racks and snacks, and showed off their facilities. Thank you DC Water!

We stopped at four sites along the way, beginning with The Fort Reno Water tower, the highest point inWashington. We learned about the sources of our water, and the power of gravity in the system. Then we took advantage of our own gravity and meandered through NW DC, along McMillan reservoir to The Bryant St. Pump Station.

After a presentation on the how water is pumped to service areas within the District, we explored the cavernous pumping room and set off to our next destination. The trip down to the O St. Pump Station was especially pleasant along the Met Branch Trail and in the new new bike lanes in SouthEast DC.

The first stage of storm and waste water treatment occurs at The O St. Pump Station.The highlight of the day for many was seeing this process  first-hand. There’s no need to go into graphic details here, but we certainly encourage you to check it out yourself!

We ended the day at Poplar point, a small brick gazebo-like structure on the East side of the Anacostia River. Once water is treated at O St. it’s  pumped below the river to Poplar Point and on to Blue Plains, the biggest advanced water treatment facility in North America. At Poplar Point we learned about the Clean Rivers Project the city’s commitment to address combined sewage overflow (CSOs).

Thanks again to DC Water for making the day possible, and to our ride marshals for volunteering their time. Logistically, the tour was a breeze on our bikes, and we’re looking forward to creating more rides of this sort.

To explore more, we encourage you to visit our photo slideshow,  DC Water’s website, and check out local blogger Ghosts Of DC for more rare discoveries of our city and our water infrastructure.

 

50 States & 13 Colonies Ride Recap

This year’s 50 States  & 13 Colonies Ride was a resounding success for WABA and for those who biked more than 64-miles up and down and up some more, across The District’s expansive asphalt terrain. To those who’ve never participated in the event, this ride may sound downright masochistic, and okay maybe there’s some truth in that, but the pleasure is well worth the pain. Riders  discovered never-before-seen pockets of the city, formed lasting bonds along the way and earned the right to say, “I biked the 50 States!”

We couldn’t have asked for a more pleasant, rain-free September day.  500 participants gathered at Kalorama Park to collect their cue sheets and bike maps, and enjoy fresh produce by Giant Food while lining up in the start area. Before the ride set off, WABA staff  relayed some basic safety tips and gave fair warning of the route’s inherent difficulties. We advised riders, “It’s not a question of whether or not you will get lost, it’s a question of when you will get lost.”

Fortunately, when folks missed the “unmarked alley on 15th St SE” or rode past Texas Ave. SE, they weren’t lost for long. And that’s due in large part to our ride support; the veteran 50 States Rider corps who have joined us for the past 8 years, and the dedicated ride marshals, stationary marshals and volunteers, who led the packs and swept the route. Some participants like to think of 50 States as a day to get out and explore the city on their own while relying on paper and intuition, however the general experience is one of teamwork and encouragement. We overheard one woman say, “for being an unsupported ride, I’ve never felt so supported on a ride!” And for that we owe a big thanks to the camaraderie of our 50 States rider community and our hard-working volunteers!

We also owe this year’s success to our rest stop support. Thankfully, our staff was able to quickly zip across the city to follow the ride and set up rest stops with  Zip Car’s gracious contribution of two fully-loaded SUVs. Normally WABA staff stick to two wheels but we had no choice, we had to be car-nivores for the day. These SUVs were necessary in keeping our riders hydrated and energized because they carried 500 gallons of water donated by Drink More Water and 500 energy snacks donated by the The Nation’s Triathlon.

Riders weren’t the only participants taken care of along the route, so were the bicycles. Mechanics from Takoma Park’s The Green Commuter assisted riders at the start area, DC’s BicycleSPACE provided  bicycle maintenance at the Anacostia rest stop,  The Bike House, a volunteer-run Bike Co-op taught riders how to do basic repairs during lunch, and The American University Cycling Team spent their afternoon wrenching at mile 59 on AU’s campus.

Thanks for your time, energy and help, guys!

51st State After Party Sponsored by New Belgium Brewing

Lastly, we are most appreciative of the contributions from the latest and greatest, bike-centric brewers in town, The New Belgium Brewery, who sponsored the 51st State After Party. This year’s ride would not have been complete without a couple frosted Fat Tire Ales, T-shirts and bike goodies to commemorate the day!  We are proud supporters of their work as a triple bottom line, employee-owned company and their passion for supporting the national bike movement and we are honored to work with them. And of course that couldn’t have happened without our friends at The Grill From Ipanema who hosted our after party and provided delicious food, a patio perfect for cheering on the returning riders, bike parking and half of their dining area space for hundreds of sweaty lycrites!

We hope you enjoyed yourselves, and as always, we appreciate any feedback to improve this event for years to come. Please email nelle@waba.org with comments.

The Cherry Blossom Family Bike Rally & Ride is Still On!

Don’t let the government shutdown ruin your weekend! Shutdown or no shutdown you can still celebrate the last weekend of the National Cherry Blossom Festival on bike. The American Diabetes Association Cherry Blossom Family Bike Rally and Ride is a fun and FREE event featuring a kids bike rodeo, kids learn2 ride area, balloons, a signed family ride, live entertainment and more!


Date: Sunday, April 10, 2011

Time: 11:00AM – 3:00PM

Location: Yard’s Park, 10 Water Street SE, Washington, DC 20003, (Yard’s Park is a new location, if your GPS has trouble locating “Yard’s Park” please use the address: 4th St SE and Tingey St SE, Washington D.C.)

Admission: FREE!

Volunteer: Want to help put kids on bikes at our rodeo course? Email henry@waba.org

Scores Celebrate Lincoln’s Birthday with Ride

Group shot with Abe

Over 60 people braved the February winds this weekend to celebrate Lincoln’s birthday with us. Everyone was in good spirits as the group made a tour of Lincoln-inspired DC landmarks. Our meeting point, the Lincoln Memorial, was abuzz with activity early on a Saturday morning, and a large group of cyclists made for a perfect photo opportunity for one group of excited foreign tourists. The group headed into Northwest to visit the recently-opened-to-the-public Lincoln’s Cottage at Soldier Home, where he drafted the Emancipation Proclamation. The ride then continued into Northeast (and over several thigh-burning hills) to visit Fort Lincoln, a site once used during the Civil War to defend the nation’s capital. The last pit stop at Lincoln Park (see group photo to the right) turned into a longer wait than some had anticipated due to one cyclist’s flat tire, but if one flat is the biggest issue on an urban group ride like this, let’s call it a success!

Overall, we received a positive sentiment from the people who saw the ride go by: “Are you doing a bike marathon?” “It’s too early to be out on your bikes!” “Bike on!” Many in the group also commented on how they visited parts of the District that they had never before been on by bike, and hopefully many will go back by bike.

Thanks to the Fort Lincoln New Town Corporation for their support of our cycling efforts, as well as to the marshals who volunteered their time to make sure everyone got back to the White House safely. Look for future rides like this from us, and let us know if you have any suggestions.

Conquered! WABA’s 50 States & 13 Colonies Ride

Together with over 500 of our members and friends, WABA hosted the annual 50 States & 13 Colonies Ride on Saturday, September 25. With beautiful sunshine and warm temperatures to start the day off, a record-breaking 512 cyclists took to DC’s 50 state avenues and spent the day crisscrossing the District through all eight Wards.

The 50 States ride is uniquely DC and offers riders the chance to see parts of the city they’ve never experienced on bike before. From Alabama Ave. to Wyoming Ave., this ride has it all! The Grill from Ipanema served as this year’s post-ride happy hour where riders could swap stories of their ride and commiserate over the hills they’d conquered that day. Some comments we happened to overhear included ‘I had no idea DC had so many hills!’, ‘What were these guys thinking?’. It has also been nice to hear from folks who have participated in the ride year after year and are still experiencing new things along the route. With 50 streets to hit and 212 cues to follow, there is definitely a feeling of accomplishment upon finishing!

This ride would not have been possible without the generous support of this year’s sponsors including REI College Park, Giant Foods, Big Chair Coffee, BicycleSPACE, Revolution Cycles, City Bikes, the American University Cycling Team, Drink More Water, and the Grill from Ipanema. And also a big THANK YOU to all of the volunteers who helped WABA out at the registration area and rest stops along the way!

Thanks to everyone who came out and participated in the ride. It’s great to see so many people out in DC biking and enjoying the tour. We enjoyed putting the ride on and look forward to doing it all again next year!

The Full Moon Makes for a Great Ride!

Thursday night, September 23,  the full harvest moon shined its beautiful light across DC’s night skies.  To celebrate the full moon and the cooler fall temperatures WABA organized the Moonlight Ride at the newly opened Yards Park along the Anacostia River. With generous support from the Capitol Riverfront BID and Forest City, WABA built upon the momentum from our 2009 ride to make this year’s event bigger and better.

“But why limit the fun to just a bike ride?” we thought. So a few WABA staff and members started the evening off by watching the Washington Nationals defeat the Houston Astros at Nationals Park before joining the fun a few blocks away at Yards Park (4th and M St SE).  Smokin’ Somethin’ BBQ was on-site to provide delicious sandwiches and side dishes to riders, while Capital Bikeshare and Capitol Hill Bikes were also on hand to meet and greet with our riders. WABA, with the assistance of Capitol Hill Bikes, ensured that every rider was well-lit and visible before heading off by providing the option to purchase Knog light sets along with ride registration.

Two hundred cyclists congregated at Yards Park to take part in the ride, heading west along P St. to Water Street SW before crossing the Case Bridge to Hains Point and Ohio Drive. The moon’s reflection on the Potomac River was a gorgeous sight as riders rode along Ohio Drive towards the stunningly lit Lincoln Memorial. After stopping at the Lincoln Memorial to cheer and howl at the moon, riders headed back east along the National Mall and back to the Yards Park.

The Moonlight Ride has quickly become a WABA-members favorite offering a nice change of pace to enjoy the full moon instead of typical rides starting in the early morning. WABA would like to thank the Capitol Riverfront BID and Forest City Washington for sponsoring this year’s ride and, of course thanks to everyone who came out to join us!