A Very Busy Trail: MLK Day of Service on the Met Branch

On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, 180 folks woke up early, layered up, and joined WABA and the Carlos Rosario School for a morning cleanup on the Metropolitan Branch Trail.

Photo: Carlos Rosario School

Volunteers scoured the trail corridor for trash and debris. It warmed my heart to see the trail so alive with people, including many first-time visitors. Even better—by lunchtime, this community treasure was cleaner than it’s been in a long while.

Photo: Carlos Rosario School

In addition to trash removal the full length of the trail, we had three specific project sites tackling some long-standing issues.

Revealing the Mural

Photo: Carlos Rosario School

One of the oldest murals on the trail, Change Gears, has been mostly obscured by climbing vines few years now. We’ve done some work to keep the vegetation in check, but this time we had the people-power, materials, and tools to stem the growth.


Photo: Carlos Rosario School


We suppressed the roots with burlap bags as a weed barrier, downcycled from Swings Coffee, and six-inches of mulch also downcycled from a tree cut down in the District a few days prior. The tree was no longer safe to be on our city streets but it has a new role on the trail. It took many hands to get the mulch from the drop-off site on a nearby street to its final home on the trail – thank you volunteers!

Emptying the Ravine

Farther north on the trail, we did our annual cleanup of the ravine at Rhode Island Ave NE. In addition to a lot of takeout containers, we found:
  • a tire
  • a porcelain toilet (mercifully empty)
  • a scythe (we’re still pretty confused about this one)
Look at all these bags of trash!

Photo: Carlos Rosario School

Clearing the Hill

And our third major site was trash and vine removal from the hillside between Rhode Island Ave and Edgewood Pl NE.

Photo: Carlos Rosario School

Though the hillside had a lot of native planting when the trail was first unveiled, destructive and invasive porcelain-berry had taken over many trees. Fifteen folks and one dog scoured the hillside to find which trees needed help and cutting a buffer between roots and vine canopy. By cutting off their connection to the ground, the vines will no longer be able to grow and smother the trail-side canopy this spring. A few more photos of the event can be found here.

Thank you!

It takes a neighborhood to succeed at large events like this cleanup. A huge thank you to our event co-host Carlos Rosario School’s Sonia Gutierrez Campus, particularly the Student Services team and Student Government, and to Whole Foods for sponsoring coffee and breakfast for 180 volunteers. Additional thanks to Community Capital Corporation for space and tools, second year sponsor Career Path DC for trash removal, Treeman Inc for 10 cubic yards of fresh mulch, the District Department of Energy and the Environment for consulting and loaning tools, the District Department of Park and Recreation for loaning tools, to Kevin and Sam for lending their wheelbarrows, and the District Department on Transportation for mulch support and making the DC Trail Ranger team possible.

Photo: Carlos Rosario School

A Day In The Life Of A D.C. Bike Ambassador

All smiles and waves this morning at Florida Ave NW and R St. NW. We delivered two messages to two types of road users: drivers  received, “Good morning, consider bicycling!” and bicyclists, “Hello, thanks for biking responsibly!” photo (3) photo 2 10463686_10152540786023374_1234533556168611906_o photo 3   Bike ambassadors make a tangible impact on the streets of Washington, D.C. Interested in getting involved with the Bike Ambassador program? Our next Bike Ambassador orientation is tomorrow, July 15th at the WABA office. Click here to learn more or contact Jon Gonzalez, the D.C. Bike Ambassador program coordinator, at jon.gonzalez@waba.org for more details.

Climate Ride Information Session TONIGHT!

Join WABA staff tonight, Wednesday May 21 at 6 p.m. at the WABA office (2599 Ontario Road NW) to talk 2014 Climate Ride.  We’ll share stories, tips and give you a rundown on the most fun way to raise money for WABA and along the way, awareness for climate change!  We’ll provide the beer and some light snacks. RSVP here

(Psst:  Check out our NEW design for our 2014 WABA Climate Ride jersey-it’s not final, still working out a few stripe details)140986_M_R_MU3-1

Celebrate Bike Month: Volunteer with WABA

Happy Bike Month! Did you know WABA is a member supported non-profit organization that advocates for YOU as a bicyclist. Now, we need your help to make this year’s Bike Month spectacular. Can you volunteer to help WABA? Tour de Fat Blitz2014_Tour_de_Fat_8.5_x_11_Web_Poster_-_Washington_DC How you can help:  We need your help to spread the word and tell DC, MD and VA to come to Tour de Fat. The more people we get to the Tour de Fat, the more money we raise to make the region a better place to ride a bike. Stop by our office anytime on May 5th to grab a few posters and fliers to take back to your neck of the woods. PLUS! You can win a Tour de Fat VIP pass! We’ll raffle off two VIP passes to two volunteers who help out. Sign up here. When: May 5th, Stop by anytime between 11am and 7pm Where: WABA Office at 2599 Ontario Rd. NW in Adams Morgan   Volunteer on Bike to Work Day BTWDposter How you can help: Bike to Work Day is the highlight of Bike Month in May. It’s the one day of the year that the entire region celebrates what you love to do: Ride your bicycle! It’s also a very important day for WABA to get out and talk to people about bicycling and introduce our work to a broader audience. Sign up here to volunteer with WABA at a pit stop and help spread the bicycling love. As a bonus: The top three volunteers who sell the most WABA memberships on Bike to Work Day each win a free entry to a WABA ride of their choice! When: May 16th, Before you go to work (pit stops are usually open from about 6:30am-8:30am) Where: A pit stop near you! (Find a map of pit stops here)     Tour de Fat: the most FUN volunteering you will ever have! TDF banner How you can help: Trust us, this is the MOST FUN volunteer experience you will ever have. Volunteer to pour beer, help set up the festival, or lead a bike ride and get two free beers and a snazzy New Belgium t-shirt in return. Tell your friends! Sign up to volunteer now. When: Saturday, May 31st, Various shift times (We also need volunteers on Friday, May 30th) Where: Yards Park, 355 Water St SE in DC, next to the Nationals Baseball Stadium   P.S. Volunteer sign ups for Bikefest on June 13th are also now open!

Seeking Volunteers for Next Week’s Membership Drive

WABA is a member-supported organization: Our members are critical to our success, and membership dollars are critical to our bottom line. Our annual weeklong membership drive kicks off next Monday and runs through Oct. 25. All next week, we’ll make sure you know the great reasons to be a WABA member. Before we ask you to join or renew your membership (wait for next week—we’ll have plenty of great incentives on offer then!), we need to ask for your help. We’re greatly in need of volunteers to assist us in recruiting new members. We have five shifts available from 4 to 7 p.m. each day next week. You can choose a location that’s convenient for you. You must be able to stop by the WABA office to pick up and return recruitment supplies. We offer free memberships to those who volunteer three times; given its time requirement, this shift will count as two occasions. Please sign up to volunteer here.

Volunteer East of the River This Saturday

Lion Ride banner


  We’ve got two great bike-related events in communities east of the Anacostia River this weekend: our second annual Lion Ride, which celebrates Frederick Douglass, and our setup at FIGMENT DC, a participatory arts festival. Both are on Sat., Sept. 28. We need assistance checking bikes in and out and getting riders situated for the Lion Ride. For more information and to sign up, go here. And for FIGMENT, we’ll need volunteers to set up, run, and tear down our exhibit, which will involve bikes, paint, maps, and a photobooth (try to tell us that doesn’t sound like a great time!). For more information and to sign up, go here.

Come to Our Volunteer Happy Hour Tonight

If you aren’t attending tonight’s MoveDC Ideas That Build workshop in Ward 6, come to our volunteer happy hour at Smith Commons! Whether you’re a bike ambassador, an assistant at events, a committed office volunteer, or a future volunteer, we want to thank you for your help. Join us and our friends from New Belgium and Smith Commons for an evening of beer and bicycle cheer. There will be a beer-tasting challenge with a chance to win a New Belgium bike, and brewer Matty “Smooth” Gilliland will be in the house. A dollar from every pour of a New Belgium brew will be donated to WABA. Smith Commons is located at 1245 H St. NE. Happy hour starts at 7 p.m.

WABA Volunteers Light Up DC

WABA’s “Got Lights?” project gives away 1,000 free sets of front and rear lights (provided by DDOT) and will continue all year in various locations throughout the District.  We are committed to giving each and every light set to cyclists who are riding without lights when we find them. If you already have lights on your bike, please consider helping us put these lights on the bikes that need them. Call 202-518-0524 x200 or email bikeambassador@waba.org to help out! This post was written by WABA member and volunteer DC Bike Ambassador Jason Clock.

WABA's branded bike lights for the Got Lights? giveaway

The Dark Ages

Daylight Savings Time ended on November 6th, and since then WABA has been waiting for their bike light sets to be paid for/arrive (as a volunteer, information isn’t always easy to come by). The first few weeks after the time change are statistically some of the worst to be a pedestrian (or a bicyclist), as the number of crashes jumps up. But for most bicyclists, evening commutes stay dark well into the late winter/early spring, so even though WABA’s lights only arrived last week, the need for lights on bikes hasn’t gone away. This is definitely the time of year when many cyclists are not visible due to lack of lights and reflective clothing.

Bike Lights For the Lightless

WABA’s goal is to target cyclists “riding dark”, i.e. people who don’t have any lights on their bike at all. Whether it’s due to a lack of knowledge about the laws requiring lights, an inability to afford them, not knowing where to buy them, or just plain forgetfulness, these people are the ones who are the most vulnerable. So when the DC Bike Ambassadors were asked to sign up for the Bike Light Blitz–riding around with a bag of light sets and handing them out with a smile and a “Got Bike? Get WABA” business card, I was happy to help out. Here’s my timeline of the evening.
  • 6:00 PM: I arrived at WABA HQ in Adams Morgan and grabbed a bag of bike lights. 15 white front lights and 15 red rear lights in the “knog” style, single-piece lights with a silicon strap that loops around handlebars, seat posts, or pretty much anything else.
  • 6:10 PM: I decked out my bike with a few light sets to draw attention and designated a pocket each for front lights, rear lights, and WABA cards. Joined by the rest of the Bike Light Blitzers, I headed out. We were allowed to pick our own routes, and I chose to head towards downtown, riding along the 15th street cycle track with an eye out for “stealth riders” to start blitzing. I quickly encountered a few “False IDs”–riders with rear red lights but no front white lights. I told them that a front light is not only good for visibility, but is required by law when riding at night.
  • 6:30 PM: Feeling like a bike messenger, I pushed hard to chase down one stealth rider after another, standing on the pedals and hoping for a red light that would give me a few seconds to pull up alongside and enlighten them. The adrenaline rush helped break the ice, since most riders were a little suspicious at first. “I am just going across the street,” complained one single-speed cyclist–decked out in dark clothing on a black bike. “How much?” asked another rider. “No trick here,” I assured him, “I’m just shedding some light on the stealth riders of the District.” My pun went unnoticed, but the bike lights were appreciated.
  • 6:45 PM: I fully expected that the morning’s rain would keep the number of cyclists low in the evening, but I was shocked to find myself out of light sets in just 35 minutes!  I was surprised by how many cyclists did not have lights.  Many of them also wore dark clothing which certainly did not help visibility. And worst of all, most people didn’t even realize they were putting themselves in unnecessary danger.

A Brighter Future

I have to say I had a blast helping out with the Bike Light Blitz, and I plan to grab a few more bike light sets to keep on hand for when I come across stealth riders on my normal commute.  And, after counting dark cyclists while walking my dog, I might stash a few sets in my coat pockets for those times when I’m on foot, too.

You Can Help Too

Become a volunteer Bike Ambassador and help spread the word about bikes to your community, workplace and friends. We educate cyclists and motorists about safe cycling and have a good time doing it. You can contact Daniel Hoagland, WABA’s Bike Ambassador Coordinator by emailing bikeambassador@waba.org

Thank you to WABA & DDOT for making free bike lights possible!

WABA is Looking for a Women’s Bicycling Advocacy & Outreach Intern, Apply Today!

Last month, WABA held the region’s first Women’s Bicycling Forum, an important and innovative event designed to start the conversation about why more women aren’t bicycling. Our Women’s Bicycling Advocacy & Outreach intern played a critical role in planning the Forum and took part in a wide range of WABA activities. For the spring, we’re looking for a new intern to take on this challenging and engaging project and to develop the next steps in our Women’s Bicycling outreach strategy. This internship will involve improving our advocacy and outreach capacity to women and will help drive the broader conversation about gender issues in bicycling, as well as monitoring the feedback from the Forum and designing/implementing WABA’s followup events, campaigns, etc. This position is unpaid, but WABA is happy to work with local colleges and universities to provide course credit to any student looking for experience in transportation/bicycle advocacy or community outreach and organizing. Bicycling Advocacy & Outreach Intern – Women’s Bicycling

700 Bicycles Parked at the Solar Decathlon Bike Valet

035Whoever said that cyclists in Washington, DC can’t deal with rainy weather never made it out to see all the bikes parked at the Solar Decathlon this past weekend. Cyclists ignored the cold and layered up as they brought along their families to check out the innovative solar powered houses at the National Mall West Potomac Park. With this year’s event being located far away from the closest metro station and long lines to board the free shuttle bus to get to and from the Solar Decathlon, getting there by bike was the best option. WABA would like to extend a huge THANK YOU to all the volunteers who came out and helped park 700 bicycles at the 2011 Solar Decathlon.  We would also like to thank the US Department of Energy and Perkins + Will for your support.