Let’s ride bikes together

A scarf for your face, some gloves for your hands, and a friend who is up for adventures might be just the ticket to get you out on your bike this winter.

Or maybe you already ride year-round, but some of your friends don’t, because the air is cold, or the roads are salty, or finding the right gear can be a hassle.

We always encourage safety first, but riding year-round doesn’t actually take special gear. You can ride your regular bike or bikeshare and wear your regular clothes. In fact, in the winter, we often wear lighter weight jackets because the riding makes us so warm!

Here are some ideas from actual rides ridden by Women & Bicycles members in past winters. Why not invite a friend out to ride with you?

Ride the monuments on the National Mall at night

The National Mall may be the flattest area in DC, and has abundant bikeshare options! All the sidewalks around the Mall are considered bike paths by the National Park Service, making it a great safe place to ride with newer riders or kids. Ride slowly, pass on the left, use your bell to politely let others know you are there, and see the monuments in a whole new way.

Play hooky and go explore a new trail

Last year, I took the morning off with several friends to ride the newest section of the Anacostia River Trail. Why not take a day off to check out the Anacostia River Trail, the Marvin Gaye Trail, the Capital Crescent, the or C&O Canal Towpath? Trails are a great option for both brand-new riders and that friend who’s ready for more mileage. We won’t tell your boss that you rescheduled that meeting so you could ride bikes.

Bike to that event

This one is a favorite on the Women & Bicycles facebook group. Recent friend-bike-dates have included movies and the Murder Is Her Hobby exhibit at the Renwick. Pick a movie, a play, a concert, a museum exhibit, and plan to get there by bike. Meet your friend at their place to lead the way. Show how comfortable it can be to ride in regular clothes. Many museums and theaters have a coat check where you can check your helmets with your coats. Bring locks to lock up, and lights in case your event gets out after dark. You could even bikeshare to the event, and carpool home in a carshare or cab.

Protest

This uniquely DC option is a great way to connect with your fellow civic-minded friends. During last year’s Women’s March, W&B members rode their personal bikes or used Capital Bikeshare corrals to get to the march.

Get to work on time

When Metro shut down for a day, Women & Bicycles members created the #wmatabikepool hashtag that quickly went viral. Experienced cyclists led “bike trains” to help first-time commuters get downtown safely, easily, and on time. Show your coworker the best bike lanes, and arrive at work feeling like a boss, even if you’re the intern.

Get out of the city

For a longer adventure, bring your bike on the Metro (but not at rush hour). Meet in Old Town Alexandria and ride the Mount Vernon trail all the way to the Mount Vernon estate, then back to Old Town for some lunch. Hop on the Silver Line to Reston and ride the W&OD Trail to coffee and pastries in Leesburg. Take the Red line to Wheaton and ride the Anacostia Tributary Trails to Navy Yard for happy hour.

Conquer your fears

Biking means learning to think about terrain in a different way. Hills are often intimidating to many new riders. Invite your friend to ride a hill with you. On last year’s Strong Women Ride, both rides ended with a hill climb up the 15th Street Malcolm X Park hill, where Strava tells us the elevation is 8-10%! Every rider conquered the hill, and we celebrated with cupcakes in Columbia Heights!

We hope this list inspires you to invite your friends out on a bike adventure! Looking for something to do right away? Join WABA’s Ride to the Rink (link) this weekend.

9 Reasons to Bike in the Winter

biking in the winter

When I first started riding at age 25, I only rode during the day and only if the temp was over 70 degrees. I was literally a fair weather rider. Now many years later, I find myself biking to and from work all year long. And I must admit it’s not nearly as bad as I thought. It sounds crazy, but I actually enjoy riding in the winter. Don’t believe me? Here’s what won me over:

1. Park anywhere

The spring and summer mean more people are biking. YAY! That also means fewer places to park your bike when you arrive at your destination. In the winter, you don’t have that problem. You can park almost anywhere.

2. Be #awesome

Biking to work in the cold and wind and snow leaves people in awe of you. While they were stuck in traffic in a warm car you were passing them, avoiding the traffic, braving the elements and being amazing.

3. Hains Point 100

Every December one of our amazing volunteers, Megan Jones, organizes the Hains Point 100 event to raise money for Women & Bicycles, WABA’s program to encourage and support more women to ride bicycles. The idea is to ride 100 laps, 100 miles, 100 minutes, 100 seconds, 100 anythings, etc. around Hains Point in East Potomac Park. And she raffles off incredible gifts and swag too. Register for the Hains Point 100, this Sunday on December 17th from 8:45 am-3:00 pm and help raise money for a great cause.

4. Stay healthy

Exercising throughout the winter helps to boost your immune system which can help you fight off colds and the flu and stay healthy. Plus, more biking means you can eat more holiday cookies.

5. Improve your mood

When the time changes we have a lot less daylight, leading to anxiety, crankiness, and even Seasonal Affective Disorder. One way to combat that is to bike to work. Being out on your bike is a great way to get a little more sun, fresh air, and daylight in your life during the winter.

6. Skip the shower

Summer riding is fun but can be sweaty and leave you feeling like you need to shower after every bike ride. But in the winter you can ride and arrive at your destination and not feel like you need to shower before your first meeting. But it never hurts to keep some wet wipes or a stick of deodorant in your office, just in case.

7. Bike Lanes are less crowded

(at least until everyone reads this post!)

8. Friendly competition

If you are one of those people who need a bit of motivation to ride through the winter you may want to try Freezing Saddles. It’s a friendly winter competition and the goal is to ride at least 1 mile every day from January 1 until the last day of winter. Each registrant is part of a team and there are fun (and sometimes meaningless) prizes that are given for the person and team that rides the most miles, rides the most often, visits the most coffee shops, and more!

9. Bike & Skate

Join us for our first ride event of 2018. We’ll be riding to ice skate at the Ft. Dupont Ice Arena on Ely Place SE. If you haven’t ice skated in a while or you ice skated last week, you should come join us for a fun bike ride and skating event.

Biking through the winter isn’t for everyone. And there are some days when it’s below freezing and you just don’t want to. There’s nothing wrong with that. But winter biking is worth a try occasionally. And you never know, you just may begin to like it.