Posts Tagged ‘Washington Area Bicyclist Association’

Bike to Work Day 2019

Each year the month of May is National Bike Month.  This week, May 13 through 17, is Bike to Work Week.  And today is Bike to Work DayThe League of American Bicyclists began Bike to Work Day as part of Bike Month in 1956.  Over the years, the day has grown into a widespread event with countless bicyclists nationwide taking to streets and trails in an effort to get commuters to try bicycling to work as a healthy and safe alternative to driving a car.

In the greater D.C. region, Bike to Work Day has grown from a small group of just a few hundred participants in 2001 to more than 18,700 riders in 2017.  There was a slight dip in participation last year.  The event is always held rain or shine, and due to thunderstorms that occurred last year throughout the preceding week as well as on Bike to Work Day itself, fewer riders came out.  But this year’s 19th annual event, which was again coordinated locally by Commuter Connections and the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA), will hopefully top 19,000 and set a new record.

Although I am unable to commute on a bicycle, I celebrated Bike to Work Day by coming to work this morning, getting my bike out of my office building’s parking garage, and went out and rode around for a while on some of the main bike commuter routes in the city.

Each year WABA, along with a number of local bike shops and organizations, sponsor 115 pit stops along many of the commuter routes in D.C., Maryland and Virginia. The pit stop which I signed up for was located at Freedom Plaza, the same pit stop where I’ve stopped for the last several years.  By being one of the first 20,000 people to sign up, I was able to pick up a free T-shirt at the pit stop.  And by signing up and stopping at the pit stop I was also entered into a raffle for a new bike.

I also rode by some of the other pit stops this morning.  They were a little less crowded than previous years’ pit stops have been, but I was able to pick up some free leftover T-shirts from previous years’ bike to Work Days.  I also enjoyed a nice breakfast consisting of one of the absolute best bagels I’ve had in a long time, courtesy of Bethesda Bagels, along with a fresh orange and a banana.  Fresh fruit juices, coffee or tea was also available, as well as some granola bars and other snack items, which I picked up for later.  I was also given a coupon for a free lunch at Nando’s, a restaurant that specializes in Portuguese flame-grilled PERi-PERi (also known as the African Bird’s Eye chili) chicken.

After filling up on food, and relaxing and listening to some of the music for a while, I then enjoyed a leisurely ride around the city.  And I filled up on “swag” along the way.  Various sponsors and promotors gave away free items like sunglasses, hats, water bottles, tire repair and changing kits, bike tools, bike lights and bells, bike reflectors and reflective arm bands to be seen better while riding, area maps, cell phone accessories, small bottles of hand sanitizer, and coupons for free bike and scooter rentals.  And at the pit stop in the courtyard of the National Geographic Museum they were giving away surplus items such as decks of cards, games, books, and DVDs.

But Bike to Work Day here in D.C. is more than just 20,000 cool people riding bikes and enjoying music, food and lots of free stuff.  (As if that wasn’t enough.)  The planners help newer riders by organizing bike convoys, which are led by experienced bicycle commuters and travel through popular employment centers.  They provide information about classes and seminars throughout the area for riders with a wide range of skill sets, from beginners to the more experienced.  They also set up online discussion groups to answer any questions people may have.  As I stated previously, Bike to Work Day provides more than just fun.  It provides valuable information and resources to people to help them ride safely in the city year-round.

 

[Click on the photos to view the full-size versions]

Note:  Despite it being Bike to Work Day, there were still plenty of drivers out there that think stopping or parking in the bike lanes is okay.  Like the driver of this car.  The city is trying to develop ways to address this, including hiring additional officers to increase enforcement.  But as of today, the problem is still out there.  

National Bike to Work Day 2017

Today is National Bike to Work Day.  The League of American Bicyclists began Bike to Work Day in 1956 as part of National Bike Month, which makes today the 61st annual event.  The metropolitan D.C. area has been participating for over a decade.  It was originally started here in 2001 by The Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA), of which I am a member, and is now also co-sponsored by Commuter Connections, a regional network of transportation organizations coordinated by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments.

Unfortunately, commuting to work by bike is not an option for me due to the proximity of where I live to where I work.  I do, however, attempt to commute to work responsibly by operating a vanpool service.  And to show support for the concept of riding a bike to work, my traditional practice on National Bike to Work Day is to arrive at work, get one of the bikes that I keep at the office to ride during my lunch breaks, and then go out and ride, and hang out with the commuters and other like-minded bicyclists at the Bike To Work Day pit stops.

Each year WABA, along with local bike shops and organizations, sponsor pit stops along many of the commuter routes in the area.  So I first ride to the nearby pit stop at Freedom Plaza.  I am able to have breakfast at one of the stops, where they hand out fresh fruit, granola bars, locally-baked bagels, and all kinds of other items.  They also give away other free items like T-shirts, water bottles, sunglasses, tire repair kits, bike lights and bells, area maps, etc., as well as a chance to win a new bike and other prizes in various drawings.  Then I ride around to some of the other 84 area pit stops that they set up throughout D.C., Maryland, and Virginia.  So I take a little time off from work and make a morning of it.

Bike to Work Day is a clean, fun and healthy way to get to work. But even if you’re unable to commute via bicycle, use can use the day as a spark to getting out there and riding a bike more.  Or maybe riding again if it has been a while since you were on a bike.  Whether it’s for recreation, exercise, running errands, or for any other reason, riding a bike not only has its benefits for both the rider and the environment, but it’s also fun.  As a former resident of D.C. named John F. Kennedy was once quoted as saying, “Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride.”

         

          

         

         

        

         

        
[Click on the thumbnails above to view the full size photos]

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National Bike to Work Day 2016

Today was the 60th annual National Bike to Work Day. Originally begun in 1956 by The League of American Bicyclists, the day is part of National Bike Month, which is recognized annually during the month of May. Over the past sixty years, Bike to Work Day has grown into a widespread event with countless bike riders taking to the streets nationwide in an effort to get commuters to try bicycling to work as a healthy and safe alternative to driving a car.

Bike to Work Day in the metropolitan D.C. area has been held annually for the past decade and a half.  It was originally started in 2001 by The Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA), of which I am a member.  That first year consisted of a small group of only a few hundred, but has since grown significantly.  There were a record 17,500+ officially registered participants in 2015.  And hopefully this year, a new record will be set.

This year WABA, along with Commuter Connections, a regional network of transportation organizations coordinated by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, as well as a number of local bike shops and organizations, again sponsored pit stops along many of the commuter routes in the area.  So I took a few hours of vacation time and spent the morning riding to some of this year’s 83 area pit stops that were set up in D.C., Maryland and Virginia.  And I did a breakfast crawl at the pit stops set up at Freedom Plaza, Franklin Square and at the National Geographic Society, where they were handing out muffins and baked goods, Kind breakfast bars, fresh fruit, and all kinds of other items.  They also had valet bike parking, and bike mechanics on site to help with problems and make adjustments for those who needed it.  I also picked up a lot of free swag, because they were giving away free items like T-shirts, water bottles, sunglasses, tire repair kits, bike lights and bells, area maps, etc.  I also was given coupons for a free bus ride for both my bike and I, which will come in useful if my bike breaks down on one of my rides.  I’m also entered for a chance to win a new bike and other prizes in various drawings.

Bike to Work Day is a clean, fun and healthy way to get to work. But even if you’re unable to commute via bicycle, use can use the day as a spark to getting out there and riding a bike more.  Or maybe riding again if it has been a while since you were on a bike.  Whether it’s for recreation, exercise, running errands, or for any other reason, riding a bike not only has its benefits for both the rider and the environment, but it’s also just plain fun.  As a former resident of D.C. named John F. Kennedy was once quoted as saying, “Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride.”

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[Click on the thumbnails above to view the full size photos]

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Blessing of Bicycles

I don’t often write about my weekend bike rides, but this ride was different.  And definitely worth writing about.  My favorite youngest daughter was supposed to have a softball double-header this morning, but the condition of the fields remained so wet from all the rain during the past week that the games were cancelled.  So instead, she and I grabbed one of our tandem bikes and went to D.C.’s first annual Blessing of Bicycles service at The Church of the Ascension and St. Agnes, located at the bike-friendly intersection of Massachusetts Avenue and 12th Street (MAP) in downtown D.C.

Led by Father Dominique Peridans, the Blessing of Bicycles was a short, non-denominational outdoor prayer service asking God to bless the bicycles and provide both protection and joy for cyclists as they ride.  The service also included a time of remembrance for cyclists killed on local roads during the past year.  Blessings are a way that the Anglican church shows love and support for various groups, regardless of your stance on faith.  So the service was inclusive and open to all – regardless of religious affiliation or any affiliation at all, fat or thin tires, and brand of bike.  Attendees were also addressed by community representatives from the Washington Area Bicyclist Association and the District Department of Transportation.  MariAnn Budde, the Bishop of the Anglican Communion of Washington and an avid cyclist, also spoke and provided a prayer for the cyclists and their bikes.

The service was  followed by optional individual bicycle blessings for people who wanted a personal benediction.  There was then a short time for mingling during which everyone was be able to purchase pizza, baked goods and other snacks, drinks, and event T-shirts with an image of Madonna de Ghisallo who’s been dubbed “patron saint of cyclists,” designed by Cycology Gear.   All proceeds are to be used to help make the church’s 142 year-old church building more accessible for the disabled.  Free bicycle tune-ups were also offered by Gearin’ Up Bicycles, and free bicycle accessories and bike-related prizes were provided by Capital Bikeshare and the District Department of Transportation.

We then went on a sponsored group “unity ride” through the city led by Bishop Budde.  The ride had two options, both short and longer, allowing for participation by all, regardless of experience or skill level.  So what started out to be a day of cancelled plans turned into the chance to participate in one of the most unique and enjoyable cycling events in the city, and one of the best days I’ve had in a long time.

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[Click on the thumbnails above to view the full size photos]

 

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National Bike to Work Day 2015

Today was the 59th annual National Bike to Work Day. Originally begun in 1956 by The League of American Bicyclists, the day is part of National Bike Month, which is recognized annually during the month of May. Over the past half century, Bike to Work Day has grown into a widespread event with countless bike riders taking to the streets nationwide in an effort to get commuters to try bicycling to work as a healthy and safe alternative to driving a car.

In the metropolitan D.C. area, Bike to Work Day has been held annually for over a decade. It was originally started in 2001 by The Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA), of which I am a member. That first year consisted of a small group of only a few hundred, but has since grown significantly.  There were 16,797 officially registered participants last year.  And hopefully this year will exceed that number.

This year WABA, along with Commuter Connections, a regional network of transportation organizations coordinated by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, as well as a number of local bike shops and organizations, again sponsored pit stops along many of the commuter routes in the area.  So I took a few of hours of vacation time and spent the morning riding to some of the 80 area pit stops that they set up in D.C., Maryland and Virginia.  And I had breakfast at the pit stop at Freedom Plaza, where they were handing out fresh fruit, granola bars, locally-baked bagels, and all kinds of other items.  They also had valet bike parking, and bike mechanics on site to help with problems and make adjustments for those who needed it.  I also picked up a lot of swag, because they were giving away free items like T-shirts, water bottles, sunglasses, tire repair kits, bike lights and bells, area maps, etc.  I also was given coupons for a free bus ride for both my bike and I, which will come in useful if my bike breaks down on one of my rides, and a free meal delivered by Galley Foods, which I’ll use for a lunch one day soon.  I’m also entered for a chance to win a new bike and other prizes in various drawings.

Bike to Work Day is a clean, fun and healthy way to get to work. But even if you’re unable to commute via bicycle, use can use the day as a spark to getting out there and riding a bike more.  Or maybe riding again if it has been a while since you were on a bike.  Whether it’s for recreation, exercise, running errands, or for any other reason, riding a bike not only has its benefits for both the rider and the environment, but it’s also fun.  As a former resident of D.C. named John F. Kennedy was once quoted as saying, “Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride.”

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[Click on the thumbnails above to view the full size photos]