Meet Elijah, our new Operations Coordinator

Greetings!

I’m Elijah Minter, the new Operations Coordinator here at WABA. My introduction to the organization was this past summer as a Bike Camp! counselor. Prior to Bike Camp, I’d heard of WABA, but didn’t know a lot about what they did. After spending half of the summer biking around the city with a bunch of 8 – 14 year olds, I thought I had a better idea. Seeing some of those kids go from biking around their neighborhood to biking 20 miles in one day, or feeling confident navigating city traffic, was pretty awesome. Programs like Bike Camp! are educating and encouraging the next generation of bicyclists.

Growing up, my family mostly lived in the suburbs or on the outskirts of the city. My parents weren’t too comfortable with me riding in the street, so I didn’t do much biking in the city until a few years ago. Now I love biking around the city! I love the adrenaline rush, the stress release after a long day at work…I’m making up for lost time.

My family relocated to Tennessee when I was about 16. While there, I worked at a christian camp during the summers as a biking instructor. After I moved back to DC in 2014, I began searching for ways to get involved in the community and meet new people.

I started volunteering with a bicycle repair co-op to hone my repair skills and get plugged into the cycling scene. I started out riding Capital Bikeshare, but soon I was searching Craigslist for my own set of wheels. I found an early 70’s Raleigh Grand Prix that I fixed up, and well, the rest is history.

It’s been really exciting for me to witness the expansion of the biking infrastructure in DC since I was a kid, and to see the growing number of people who choose to bike.

Most of my cycling adventures happen in rush hour traffic or while dodging tourists on the mall, but I’ve done some trail rides and I plan to do many more. I really want to try bike camping and do some touring. In short, I love bicycling! I’m really excited to be a part of WABA and I’m looking forward to our continued growth.

See you on the trails!

Meet Jonathan Stafford, our new Vision Zero Campaign Coordinator

Hello!

I’m Jonathan Stafford, one of the new Vision Zero Campaign Coordinators. Back in 2016 I worked as an intern at WABA, exploring the intersection between Faith and Public Policy in transportation. I am extremely blessed to return to WABA and to take up the important work that connects each of us to D.C.’s plan for zero traffic related deaths in all of our communities.

While serving as a police officer in Texas, I found that I really enjoyed being assigned to the bike patrol for Mardi Gras festivals. After I left the police department and moved to Nashville, I began cycling more often – eventually commuting to school and work by bike. Social justice was my focus and cycling became my passion. Putting on a suit and getting around town by bike was just a way of life. In Rochester, NY, where I’ve lived for the past few years, I‘m know as the minister who rides his bike to Sunday worship services.

As a Vision Zero Campaign Coordinator here at WABA, I get to mix my love of bicycles and social justice work, advancing conversations about race, gentrification, injurious policing, and other justice related issues. This is work that can not be done alone and I look forward to working with residents of DC to make our streets safer for everyone.

Bike trivia about me:

My ideal commute: Trees, fresh air, not too many hills and less than 15 miles.

My style of riding: I mostly commute. But I have started bike camping and look forward to taking a few trips when the Spring arrives.

That one bike do I wish I still owned: my Panasonic Tourist named “Forrester”. Vintage styling, full fenders, and British racing green. Named after the title character from the film Finding Forrester!

Meet Hannah Neagle, our new Vision Zero Campaign Coordinator

Hello everyone, I’m Hannah Neagle, one of the new Vision Zero Campaign Coordinators. I’m thrilled to join the WABA team and family!

While I have always enjoyed bicycling, I didn’t fall in love with it until I joined the Peace Corps in 2008. My only means of transportation was a pink and silver Trek mountain bike, and I became a true bicycle commuter.

Back in the states I pursued a Master’s degree in Sustainable Development in Washington, DC and commuted on our region’s bikeways everyday. It has been exciting to see the transportation system evolve as protected bike lanes and trail connections spring-up.

I recently returned to D.C. from Hawaii where I worked with a bicycle organization on grassroots community outreach, pedestrian and bicycle safety education, and a Vision Zero campaign. I believe Vision Zero—the idea that traffic injuries and deaths are 100% preventable—links directly to equity, complete streets, and livable communities. I’m very much looking forward to collaborating with community members and partners to achieve our shared Vision Zero plans and goals.

Meet Tara, the new Membership Coordinator!

Hello, everyone!

I am very excited to introduce myself as the Membership Coordinator here at WABA!

I grew up in Philadelphia and moved to the Washington area about four years ago. I love being able to explore the city, especially on a bike. For me, biking is a great way to stay engaged and to travel effectively in the area.

I am really excited to serve the WABA community in this role because without the support and dedication of our members, advocating for safer streets and sidewalks would be next to impossible. I am looking forward to getting to know all of you even more to best serve the needs of the community and WABA supporters.

I can’t wait to meet everyone at our member event at the Crystal City Water Park on June 16th!

Meet Ashley, the new Arlington PAL Ambassador Coordinator!

Ashley Blue

Hello PALs! I’m so excited to be the new PAL Ambassador program coordinator. Spring is in the air and as we all know, Arlingtonians will be out and about. Let’s go remind them to be Predictable, Alert and Lawful!

While I’ve been biking since I was a kid, I really embraced it as a new way to explore in Alexandria. Biking made me feel so much more connected to the world around me than I had before. I started biking everywhere – the grocery store, friend’s places…I couldn’t get enough!

The most enriching part of my newfound love was becoming a part of such a fun, supportive community of cyclists. As I started attending Women & Bicycles events and local community rides, I really found a sense of belonging in my new city.

I then moved to Arlington where I began getting involved with BikeArlington as a volunteer and regular community ride participant. I met the lovely Annmarie Hansen after a taco-themed ride where we bonded over our love of both biking and dancing. She then told me all about the PAL Ambassador program, and I soon became a regular PAL – attending pizza parties, block parties, and even pulling the trailer around town!

As a year-long PAL volunteer, I experienced first-hand the positive impact that Annmarie and the PAL Ambassadors have had on the Arlington community. I’m thrilled to contribute my own enthusiasm to the program and continue to build on our message to help people stay safe on our sidewalks and streets.

To become an Arlington PAL Ambassador, sign up here!

Welcome Our New Community Organizer—Renée Moore

renee moore

Hello!

I’m Renée Moore, the new community organizer focusing on Vision Zero and the former coordinator for WABA’s Women & Bicycles program, a community of 5,400 women working to inspire more women to bike, teach, lead, and advocate in our region.

I’m so happy to be (back) here and working to share the power of biking. It’s very important to me—riding my bike is my favorite activity and it all started here in D.C. I was able to get rid of a gym membership, avoid parking tickets, lose 37 pounds, and have fun all while getting places around the city.

At 6 years old, I ran into a parked car on my bike and my grandfather took my bicycle away from me- forever. For years I would see others riding and think, “wow, that looks like so much fun.” Finally, when I was 25, a guy asked me on a date and asked me what I wanted to do. I said I wanted to learn to ride a bike. He looked surprised and said cool ok! We went to Georgetown, rented a bike and within 2 hours I was riding along the waterfront all by myself. I was free and I loved it.

In 2013, I took my bicycling group to a workshop with Black Women Bike DC, a workshop on how to bike in the city during the winter. I sat in the back the entire time thinking, “ok, there is no way I am riding in DC streets; that is just crazy!” The four or five times we talked about why bicyclists fare best when they ride in the streets I sat there shaking my head. I decided to take the class again in the spring and this time we went on a ride after the workshop.  I found it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought. But in September, my mom had a stroke. Luckily, she caught it in time and I got her in George Washington Hospital. Unfortunately, the parking was $22! I told my mom that I was going to ride my bike to see her rather than spend $154 / week parking the car to come visit her. And I did! I fell in love with riding in DC. I was saving money. I was getting outside. It was therapeutic.

It was great riding the streets of DC, but not every street in DC feels safe to ride on. We need better infrastructure and better enforcement to make sure that our streets are safe for everyone to walk and bike. And that’s what I’ll be working on—making sure the District’s Vision Zero plans are implemented and our Vision Zero goals realized. I’ll need your voice and help to make it happen. You can reach me at renee.moore@waba.org or on Twitter @girlonbluebike.

See you in the bike lanes,
Renée


 

Meet Nick, our new Events Coordinator

Nick Russo2

Hello! I’m Nick Russo, WABA’s new Events Coordinator. I have long cared deeply about bikes, community, and infrastructure, but until now have not had the pleasure of working directly on these three issues at once. That’s why I am so psyched to dive into the awesome and engaging events we put together for our members and the larger Washington bicycling community.

I grew up on a bike, have used bikes as my primary transportation for years, and have encouraged friends, family, and strangers alike to do the same. I value bicycles for many of the same reasons I imagine others do: simplicity, affordability, fitness, greenness, and lastly, community. One of my main goals at WABA is to sustain and grow the bicycling community in our area, and I plan to do that by putting together really fun and exciting events!

I come to WABA with a background in policy research and advocacy, focused mostly on technology and broadband internet issues. I have also worked in national and local events coordination for a variety of non-profit organizations and, in another life, I worked in public and community radio. I love to talk about all of these things as well as bikes (duh), so feel free to get in touch with me at nick.russo@waba.org or on Twitter at @nickjrusso.

Stay tuned for more from me and the events team—we’ve got big things in store for you!

Meet Jeff, our new Youth & Family Education Coordinator

Jeff Wetzel Staff Photo

Hi! I’m Jeff, your new Youth & Family Education Coordinator.  I’m super excited to be working to educate children, adults, and motorists about safe bicycling to create a healthy, more livable region.  (Sound familiar? It’s part of WABA’s mission statement!) 

I’m looking forward to being an advocate for families here at WABA. From planning parent and child classes about how to ride together safely in the city to providing resources to new parents on riding with their children, I’m eager to help get things rolling.

 I’m already digging into how I can bring quality experiences teaching bike handling and safety skills to youth across the metro area.  I’ve worked with youth as a teacher, mentor, employer, and robotics team coach and thrive on watching young people grow and develop; I’m excited now to be able to do that through bicycles. From learn to ride classes to bike safety rodeos to advocating for themselves, these are important skills for our youth, who will soon be young adults.

Do you have great ideas for youth (particularly if you are youth!) or family biking needs?  You can email me at jeff.wetzel@waba.org

 To see some of the upcoming programming, check out our summer Bike Camp!

Meet Doug, our New Education Coordinator

Doug Smith

Hello everyone, I’m Doug Smith. I’m very excited and fortunate to be the new Education Coordinator here at WABA. I was encouraged to apply for this position by my family because the role directly aligns with my personal passion. I love to ride a bike. I don’t care if I’m riding down to the corner store, across town to meet friends, or repeatedly up and down the largest hill near my house so my son (on the “tag-a-long”) can feel the thrill of going downhill fast. I am looking forward to sharing my love of riding the bike with you in the community.

Professionally, leading up to this position I found myself mostly working from the road. For ten years, I worked in the natural care and wellness industry with a special focus in values-based business and leadership practices. I was a member of the customer development team for the leading producer of natural toothpaste and deodorant. I regularly saw people riding in town while I was stuck at a light and I envied them, I was tired of always looking through my windshield.

In this role as the Education Coordinator I’m getting back to where my passion lives, bikes. I’m looking forward to working with the community to get people safely on bicycles that have never ridden before. I believe everyone should be able to experience that joy and freedom. If you’re already comfortable on a bike, I’m looking forward to working with you to help you achieve whatever your goals are, be it greater confidence riding in the city, or experiencing the wonderful roads and trails that are available outside the city. Cheers!

You can meet Doug and the rest of our Education Team tonight (2/11) at the Mad Fox Tavern in Glover Park

Meet Ben, our new Membership Coordinator

Ben Wokas

Say hello to our newest staff member, Ben Wokas!

Throughout his career Ben has worked to support healthy lifestyles, environmental awareness, and community building at the YMCA, Hope Connections for Cancer Support, and the Glen Echo Park Partnership.  His energy and passion for exploring the outdoors and finding the beauty and fun in all things is infectious.

Moving to the D.C. area as a child, Ben has lived and biked in Montgomery County and D.C. for almost 30 years (wow, does time fly!), enjoying the many trails and bike paths the area offers.  He is thrilled to be a part of the organization that has been such a force in expanding the safe bike trail network and getting D.C. area residents outdoors and into healthy activities.  He looks forward to meeting and working with WABA’s members and building excitement and connectedness through the shared experience of biking in and around our nation’s capital.

We’re so very fortunate to have Ben on board! If you have a question about your membership, drop him a note: ben.wokas@waba.org.