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As this is our first issue of RideOn in 2011, we wanted to highlight our biggest achievements of 2010. While some of you may have seen this list previously, we think it is important to take a moment to reflect upon and celebrate our achievements and victories, while continuing to work had to pursue our shared goals in 2011.

Barbara Klieforth

Vice President Martin Moulton

Treasurer Paul d’Eustachio


1. Adoption of a Complete Streets Policy in DC. This has long been a priority of WABA’s, and with ongoing advocacy capped by a stong petition campaign in early October, DDOT has adopted a Complete Streets policy that includes bicycle and pedestrian level of service (LOS) metrics for roadway projects.

Randall Myers

Board Members Casey Anderson Mark Blacknell Kendall Dorman Eric Fingerhut Emily Littleton

Top 10 Achievements of 2010

Phil Lyon Jim Titus Dana Wolfe Bruce Wright



Executive Director Shane Farthing

Membership & Development Coordinator Jenn Bress

Events Coordinator Kevin Belanger

Outreach Coordinator Greg Billing

Safety Education Program Director Glen Harrison

Safety Education Coordinator Henry Mesias

Education Grants Coordinator Dorcas Adkins

DC Bike Ambassador Daniel Hoagland

DC & Regional Safe Routes to School Network Organizer Gina Arlotto

Bike Parking Program Coordinator Megan Van de Mark

Accounting Assistant Sandra Arroyo

Office Volunteers John Campanile Bruce Dwyer Jon Fleming

Alison Horton Harvey Ollis John Telesco

» RIDE ON Edited by Greg Billing RIDEON is published quarterly by the Washington Area Bicyclist Association, 2599 Ontario Road NW Washington, DC 20009 Phone - (202) 518-0524 Fax - (202) 518-0936 Email - Website - Send requests, changes of address or general messages to the WABA office. Address submissions to RIDEON, or email: ©2011 Washington Area Bicyclist Association.

WABA is a nonprofit advocacy group representing the metropolitan Washington area bicycling community. Coverage of an event not sponsored by WABA does not constitute an endorsement. Reproduction of information in RIDEON for non-profit use is encouraged. Please use with attribution. Printed with Eco-ink - low volatility vegetable oil-based ink on Ecoprint Offset 100 - 100% Post-consumer Recycled, Processed Chlorine Free using 100% Wind Energy in a Carbon Neutral Process.

2. Opening of the Southern Portion of the Metropolitan Branch Trail. After years of work and planning by WABA staff and volunteers, numerous other advocacy groups and funders, and local officials, we were able to celebrate the opening of a significant portion of the Metropolitan Branch Trail this year. 3. The Launch of Capital Bikeshare in Arlington and DC. The program is beating all projections, getting more people on bikes, and showing that bike sharing can work in the U.S. And it’s set to expand soon. 4. Increased Member Communication. With our new website, blog, and forum, we are better able to communicate with you, understand your priorities, and work with you to advocate for better bicycling in the region. 5. Successful Executive Director Transition. This is not meant to sing my own praises, but rather to say that a nonprofit’s ability to manage a leadership transition is a key indicator of its strength, and under the leadership of our active Board of Directors, WABA has transitioned smoothly and continues to pursue its mission. 6. Record-setting Event Attendance. In 2010, we had the largest Bike to Work Day, 50 States Ride, and Vasa Ride in the organization’s history.

Young girl rides WABA’s bicycle safety course at an event in Prince George’s County

7. Substantial Adult Education Growth. In our Confident City Cycling and Learn-to-Ride classes, WABA taught over 1,000 (see pg. 4) adults how to ride, or how to ride more safely. 8. Quality Bike & Pedestrian Education for Youth. Through school-based curriculum, WABA delivered bike and pedestrian safety information to over 13,400 (see pg. 4) elementary school students. 9. Bike Parking Program. After securing a transportation enhancement grant, WABA initiated a program to install bike racks in the District and provide valets for neighborhood events to encourage people to go by bike. In surveys asking why people don’t bike, “lack of bike parking” is always in the top five. We’re combating that problem. 10. Roadway Infrastructure Improvements. There are too many to count. The high-profile ones include the Pennsylvania Avenue bike lanes and 15th Street cycletrack, but these are just the tip of the iceberg.

WABA Welcomes Kevin & Megan to the Team Megan Van de Mark

Kevin Belanger

Megan Van de Mark took over as WABA’s Bike Parking Associate in December, but has been working with WABA since October as the Membership Intern. She came to WABA with no previous professional bike experience, but brought a wealth of passion for bicycling. In her bike parking capacity, Megan receives and assesses incoming bike rack requests and then installs them (by bike when possible) in compliance with DC laws and regulations.

Kevin Belanger joined the WABA team in January 2011 to take over as the events coordinator for the departing Chantal Buchser. Kevin is originally from Frederick, MD, but he recently returned to the DC area after a stint in graduate school at the University of Oregon. He developed an affinity for the bicycle lifestyle after biking around Eugene and Portland, and he’s glad to be able to continue that sentiment in DC. Kevin has helped plan a number of smaller events in the past, from a student transportation conference to Earth Day celebrations during his time at the University of Maryland. He brings his organizational skills and enthusiasm for the bike lifestyle to WABA and is excited to kick off a busy 2011 event season. In his free time, you can find him exploring town, running, and cooking tasty food.

Although Megan now calls DC home, she grew up biking around small Iowa towns. She graduated from the University of Iowa with a dual degree in Journalism and Women’s Studies in 2005 and moved east, receiving her MA in Sustainable Development from the SIT Graduate Institute in Brattleboro, Vermont. After almost two bike-less years, Megan found the bicyclefriendly nature of DC was what got her back on a bike when she moved here in 2008. Prior to WABA, Megan’s work experiences have been as diverse as the color of her ever-present sneakers. She has managed several farmers’ markets throughout DC, sold books at the infamous Kramerbooks, worked on a reproductive health hotline and taught sexual health education in Philadelphia, and provided HIV/AIDS and STI outreach in Ghana. These days Megan can be found measuring the sidewalk and using power tools on the DC pavement. If you ever spot her throughout the city, stop and say hello. Or let her know of a place in need of a bike rack.

Kevin can be reached by email at or by phone at (202) 518 - 0524 x 202.

• Bicycling Accident Attorney • Avid Commuter & Cyclist

THOMAS G. WITKOP Criminal & Traffic Defense, Personal Injury, Business 27 West Jefferson Street Rockville, Maryland 20850 (301) 294-3434

Megan can be reached by email at or by phone at (202) 518 - 0524 x 210.

RIDEON • Spring, 2011 1



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March 6: Vasa Ride - Join us for our annual Vasa Ride, a 15-, 30-, or 60-mile noncompetitive bike ride celebrating the annual Vasaloppet ski ride in Sweden, co-sponsored by the House of Sweden. Registration is capped at 600 and we are already over halfway there. April: Spring Bike Fest - WABA is taking a new spin on our annual fundraiser by throwing a bike party! Leave your black tie at home and help support our mission with a night of celebration of biking in our nation’s capital. Food, drinks, music, an auction, and much more are on hand. May 20: Bike to Work Day - Join thousands of area commuters for a celebration of bicycling as a clean, fun and healthy way to get to work! Bike to Work Day is a free event and open to all area commuters, featuring more pit stops around the region than ever before. Late-May/June: Bike Prom - Celebrate Bike Month by partying all night long with WABA at our annual Bike Prom. Get dressed up in your finest and get down with DJ’s, dancing, raffle prizes, and discounted WABA memberships. Check out for more information.

« ««««« « « « « « « « «

WABA VOLUNTEERS are the muscle behind the machine!!

VOLUNTEER CALL Volunteer nights are a great way to meet other members of the local cycling community and maybe even run into some old friends. Volunteer nights typically occur on the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of each month. Some volunteer nights are filled with admin tasks while others are trainings and meetings for future events. WABA will often provide food and beverages, and if you attend three volunteer nights in one year, you will receive a one-year WABA membership or membership renewal! Check the volunteer calendar at for accurate times and dates.

Join the WABA group on • Connect with local riders.

• Have fun!

• Check out photos of current events.

•S  hare your photos in the WABA Event Photos pool

• Stay up to date on the latest WABA happenings

2 RIDEON • Spring, 2011

• Connect with local riders!

» FROM MY SADDLE Shane Farthing, WABA Executive Director, introduces you to the new RideOn theme format for future newsletters I’m using my space in this issue’s “From my Saddle” to announce a slight content change in your RideOn newsletter. While we continue to bring you organizational highlights and happenings, we have also decided to test out having a “theme” for our next couple issues. This month’s theme is the C&O Canal. We decided upon this theme in an unscientific process, primarily based on my own love for the park and the towpath, its importance

to my own development of a love for cycling, and its proximity to our member jurisdictions. You’ll see several articles focused on the C&O, including one by Matthew Logan, President of the C&O Canal Trust, and numerous advertisements by canal-area merchants. We hope that this thematic RideOn allows us to keep our features and advertising fresh, while still leaving much of the newletter to focus on keeping you, our members, informed of our activities. But again, this is just a pilot. Please let us know your reaction, and feel free to suggest future themes at Keep Riding,


Shane Farthing WABA Executive Director

Fairfax County to Focus on Raising Their Grade in Safe Routes to School Imagine sending your child to a school in your neighborhood where they are expressly forbidden from riding their bike. Even more, they may be told that if they do participate in such a “dangerous” activity, they face the prospect of having their lock cut and their bike confiscated by the principal. Sounds crazy, right? Sadly, this is the reality at some Fairfax County schools. Fairfax County, while leading much of the nation in academic achievement, is far less progressive when it comes to the healthy daily activity of riding a bike to school. In the absence of a system-wide policy sanctioning bicycling to school, each individual principal is able to make the decision on whether students can ride their bikes to school or not. Many principals insist that their students arrive by car or bus only. Part of the mindset against bicycling to school comes from the inadequate or non-existent cycling infrastructure and a lack of education programming on how to safely ride on the road or sidewalks. Additionally, the routes around many schools are not as conducive to walking or bicycling as they could be, due to missing or incomplete sidewalks. The situation is made even worse by Fairfax County’s focus on “kiss and ride” lanes which often block crosswalks and create major traffic jams around schools daily at rush hour. The Safe Routes to School Program was created to counter exactly these kinds of obstacles, but unfortunately, Fairfax County has not applied as a county or a school system for any of these funds. Despite being the most populous county in the state and one of the largest school systems in the country, only one Fairfax County school, Lyndhurst Elementary, has received any SRTS funds at all, and that has only been a small grant over two years of $10,000 for education and encouragement activities. Fortunately, an energized group of Fairfax County residents, parents, and bicycling advocates from

Students at Bruce-Monroe Elementary School in DC receive bicycle and pedestrian safety education instruction as part of Safe Routes to School.

Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling (FABB) have joined forces with our SRTS Network Organizer, Gina Arlotto, to pressure Fairfax County officials to rectify this situation. They’ve found excellent and enthusiastic allies in Supervisors Jeff McKay (Lee District) and Cathy Hudgins (Hunter Mill District) and are working hard to encourage County school officials and transportation planners to tap these funds and change the health outcomes for thousands of Fairfax County schoolchildren. In the coming weeks, the Fairfax County SRTS Task Force will be making their case before the County Board of Supervisors, School Board, and Transportation Committees. The goal is to get a system-wide application for both infrastructure and non-infrastructure improvements in Fairfax County for the 2011 grant cycle. With momentum, energy, and support in place, our expectations are for Fairfax County to get an A+ in Safe Routes for the next grading period. If you’d like to be involved with the Fairfax County SRTS Task Force, please contact Gina Arlotto at WABA, 202518-0524.

Ride for Climate Awareness and WABA We are pleased to announce that WABA was selected as one of 9 beneficiaries for the 2011 Climate Ride. This year, WABA joins an amazing collection of organizations that are all working on various aspects of climate, policy, business, renewable energy, and bicycle advocacy and infrastructure. We are looking for riders to ride on WABA’s behalf, because at the end of the year, Climate Ride tallies all the donations from all Climate Ride events and then grants the funds to WABA. These grants are carefully tracked and periodic reports are provided by the beneficiaries, so we can report back on just how well you’re doing for us! You can choose to direct your fundraising to the entire collection OR you can choose to raise money for one organization. “Through the fundraising efforts of our participants, we have given away more than $300,000 since 2008 to organizations that are making an impact,” said Caeli

Quinn, Co-Founder and Director of Climate Ride. “For 2011 we’re organizing two major events, one on each coast, which will double our fundraising capacity. With these events, we can support even more organizations that are making a big difference in sustainability, renewable energy and the climate crisis. We’re also very excited because we’re giving participants, or Climate Riders, the option to choose which organization they want to support with their fundraising. This will rally a lot of energetic people to raise awareness for the overall cause, while having the chance to impact projects to which they are most dedicated.” Learn how Climate Ride proceeds will help further the missions of WABA online at http://www.climateride. org/beneficiaries/beneficiaries/. There are two rides scheduled this year (NYC-DC and California), with the Brita Climate Ride NYC-DC scheduled from May 13-17 and it is a 300 mile ride. Full details on the NYC-DC ride online at




« Resolution to Ride Responsibly On Thanksgiving weekend, a cyclist struck an elderly Chinatown man, Quan Chu, who later died of his injuries. Incidents like this, where a cyclist kills a pedestrian are extremely rare, so they tend to receive a disproportionate amount of attention from the media and from area cyclists. And in the past, when WABA has approached politicians throughout the DC area about making improvements in cycling infrastructure, pro-cycling legislation, and especially the state of law enforcement with regards to bicycling, we are often stymied by quid pro quo expectations along the lines of “when is WABA going to do something about lawbreaking bicyclists?” At the same time, pro-cycling movements in other major American cities began experiencing a backlash in public opinion last fall that led to dozens of articles in national publications and the removal of sections of bike lanes in both Boston and New York City. With the “redesign” of the Pennsylvania Avenue bike lanes from last summer fresh in our minds, WABA wanted to take action that would enable us to both pay our respects to the victim of the bicycle hit-and-run in Chinatown and to get out ahead of any growing anti-bicycle sentiment. We also wanted to be able to start fresh in 2011 and approach politicians and the media from the rhetorical high ground. We decided to make a New Year’s Resolution to Ride Responsibly. We recognize that not all bicyclists break the laws of the road, nor do they endanger pedestrians. We also believe that bicyclists don’t break laws with any higher frequency or proportion than other road users. But we know that we have the ability to speak to bicyclists in a way that few other organizations have. And we have a responsibility to use that access in a way that benefits not just the community of bicyclists, but the broader community that we all live and work in. We wanted to ask cyclists to go a step above and beyond, to put their best foot forward in 2011 and try just a little harder to be good role models for their fellow cyclists and to exhibit behavior that casts a positive light on cyclists everywhere.


ADVOCACY CALENDAR Find out what’s going on in your area and share your concerns! Mark your calendars for the following bicycle advocacy meetings in 2011. Over 50 cyclists take a moment to pose for the camera during the 2011 Responsibility Ride.

We asked people to: • Resolve to be a more responsible bicyclist • Resolve to better respect the rights of other road users • Resolve to make a good faith effort to follow the law • Resolve to yield to pedestrians • Resolve to help WABA make bicycling safer and easier for all of us And the response was impressive! Over 750 bicyclists signed the Resolution in January, and over 100 signed up for the accompanying New Year’s Responsibility Ride on Saturday, January 8th. The forecast for the ride fluctuated between sunny and warm (for January, anyway) and snow showers, and we ended up somewhere in the middle. Given the weather, we were very impressed that over 40 riders actually showed up! The ride itself was 6.5 miles long and wound its way through Northwest DC with plenty of opportunities to ride responsibly along the way. We take the success of the Resolution as an indication that WABA’s members recognize that the culture on our streets needs to change, and that cyclists as a community have the capacity to start that change right now, even as WABA works hard to bring area politicians and administrators on board with making the streets of our region safer and more respectful for everyone.

« Arlington County Bicycle Advisory Committee

First Mondays of the month, 7:00 pm. Arlington County Govt. Center (#1 Courthouse Plaza), 2100 Clarendon Blvd. (Courthouse Metro). For more info: David Goodman, Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator, at 703-228-3709 or

« Coalition for the Capital Crescent Trail Board Meetings

No meetings scheduled at time of printing. See the Coalition for the Capital Crescent Trail for the latest information at http://www.

« D.C. Bicycle Advisory Council First Wednesday of odd-numbered months, 6:00pm - 8:00 pm. For more info: DC Bicycle Coordinator, Jim Sebastian at (202) 671-2331 or

« Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling Usually third Wednesday of each month in Vienna. For more info: Bruce Wright at

« Metropolitan Branch Trail Coalition

« Capital Bikeshare Expanding by 30% in 2011 With only a few short months of operation, Capital Bikeshare has proven to be incredibly successful in changing how people get around the city. The public bikesharing program currently operates in both the District of Columbia and Arlington County with 110 stations and 1,100 bicycles. After paying the annual, monthly or daily membership fee, users can access bikes at any of the bikesharing stations, ride to their destination, and dock the bike at the nearest station. The system charges a usage fee for each trip with the first 30 minutes free. As of January 1st, Capital Bikeshare has 5,127 annual members and 11,332 daily members who have generated over 116,826 trips since launching on September 20, 2010.

Building off of it’s success and planning for it’s anticipated growth in the coming years, Capital Bikeshare will be adding an additional 36 stations in 2011. The additional stations will bring the total size to approximately 150 stations in the system. Currently, Capital Bikeshare is the largest regional bikesharing system in North America with Montreal’s system the largest single system. 16 new stations will be added in Arlington in the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor helping to connect the Crystal City stations to the other stations in DC. The remaining 20 stations will be added in DC helping to fill in gaps in the system and make important connections. Keep your eyes out for the new locations. More information about Capital Bikeshare can be found online at

Injured in a bike accident?

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« Montgomery County Bicycle Action Group (MCBAG)

February 17 & March 21, 2011, 6:30pm 8:30pm, 100 Edison Park Drive, 4th Floor, Gaithersburg, MD 20878

« Prince George’s County Bicycle

& Trails Advisory Group (BTAG) Meets quarterly. Contact Fred Shaffer for details at

« WABA Board Meeting Second Monday each month, 6:30pm 8:30pm. Contact the WABA office for location and agenda at (202) 518-0524 or waba@

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Second Thursday of each month, 6:30pm 8:30pm. For more info: Paul Meijer at 202-726-7364 or RIDEON • Spring, 2011 3


Safe Routes to School in Maryland During the final quarter of 2010, WABA continued the Maryland Safe Routes to School program, providing bikes, helmets, and curricula to trained teachers throughout Prince George’s, Baltimore, and Harford Counties as well as in Baltimore City to serve over 1270 elementary and middle school students in the region. The lessons emphasized the most commonly-needed skills as children develop from riding their bikes in their own driveways into using them to get where they need to go, especially to school.

important of all, stopping at a stop sign and walking the bike across a crosswalk.

The proper use of bike helmets is emphasized and students are taught the steps to a good helmet fit. The rules of the road and how to dress for safety and comfort come next. How to tell whether the bike is safe to ride is followed by an on-bike course incorporating different elements of bike control: safely starting up, avoiding obstacles, riding predictably in a straight line, and most

2. Reducing traffic congestion around schools resulting from parents driving students to schools that are close enough for the students to reach by walking and bicycling.


Now in its seventh year, this program is aimed at all elementary and middle school students with goals including: 1. Improving students’ academic performance by encouraging them to walk and bike to school, thus arriving alert and exercised.

3. Reducing disease caused by air pollution and inactivity such as asthma, obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

4. Encouraging school communities to analyze factors which contribute to improved community planning, especially infrastructure around schools such as sidewalks and crosswalks, and siting of future schools. Safe Routes to School programming is administered by the Maryland Highway Safety Office. Funding passed to the state from the Federal Transportation Bill is available for eligible schools throughout the state. Parents or school staff are encouraged to apply for this funding by contacting Joe Pelaia, Maryland Highway Safety Office,

WABA Bicycle Education 2010 Year in Review 2010 was the busiest year in WABA’s bicycle education program history both in variety of classes offered and number of bicyclists served. While youth education showed consistent growth, the realm of adult education really set new records.

Youth Education


Overall from ’04-’10 WABA has served over 22,000 youth in the District of Columbia. The number of children served has doubled each year until 2008 when we reached current staff capacity at just over 5,000 youth per year, with steady growth of 250 additional served each year after 2008. WABA continues to serve as the main provider of education and encouragement activities for the District Department of Transportation’s (DDOT) Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program and served 10 schools (DCPS, Public Charter and private) with direct delivery (by WABA staff), in-class pedestrian and bicycle lessons, in addition to providing 13 bicycle rodeos. Some of our partners this year were ACHIEVE Kids Tri program, DC’s Commander Ready program and the NBC4 Health and Fitness Expo. Looking ahead, WABA hopes to continue providing educational services for DDOT’s SRTS program in addition to fee for service events for other local partners. To find out how your local school can participate in DDOT’s SRTS program, browse this website: dcsaferoutes.


WABA’s Maryland State Highway Administration Safety Office youth education program is a Train-the-Trainer model and continues to successfully cover a large area that includes Prince George’s, Montgomery, Harford, Baltimore County and Baltimore City. To date, this program has served over 62,000 youth from ’04-’10. In 2010, we trained 25 new instructors, serving 28 schools and over 7,800 students. These numbers are a decrease from the average 9,000 served per year, but this is due mainly to a reduced scope of work for 2010-2011. Please see related article above. In addition, WABA provided direct delivery, in-class lessons for Takoma Park’s SRTS program in 6 schools and over 550 students. Next year Takoma Park will switch over to a Train-the-Trainer model.

VA Peter M. Baskin 

ATTORNEY AND COUNSELOR AT LAW 2300 CLARENDON BLVD, SUITE 700 ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA 22201 TEL: (703) 528-8000 • (703) 276-6800 FAX: (703 ) 522-4570 Representing Injured Cyclists Since 1972

4 RIDEON • Spring, 2011

WABA assisted Trails for Youth by providing 2 bicycle rodeos for 2 Alexandria schools last year, serving 70 youth and their parents who expressed a growing interest in biking to school with their children. In the future WABA hopes to expand youth bicycle education into Arlington and Fairfax County through Virginia’s SRTS program.

Excited new cyclists in Alexandria at one of the six Learn to Ride classes in June 2010

long-time commuter. During a typical year we reach an average of 350 cyclists, but in 2010 we served over 1,000. We provided approximately 1,750 printed materials in Spanish and directly taught 100 Spanish speakers. In addition to our Traffic Skills classes held throughout the region (WABA calls them Confident City Cycling or CCC), funded by DDOT’s Bicycle Program, Bike Arlington and the City of Alexandria Bicycle Program, we were able to offer six of the very popular first time adult rider (Learn to Ride) classes in the District, Arlington and Alexandria. The classes were also subsidized with free bike rentals from Bike and Roll’s Bike the Sites and Revolution Cycle’s City Hub. WABA also expanded adult education opportunities into Rockville, MD thanks to their Department of Recreation. In 2010, WABA’s Brown Bag Commuter Seminars reached nearly 500 employees from various private businesses, non-profits and government departments. These seminars allow organizations to have a WABA instructor give a presentation, bring in maps and guides and answer questions from their employees. In 2010 we offered our first-ever League Cycling Instructor (LCI) class taught by WABA staff, where we certified 14 new instructors from throughout the MidAtlantic States. As a spin off from all of these adult education opportunities, WABA has gathered a core LCI network of 20 dedicated and qualified cycling instructors in the Greater Washington area. The call for educating motorists was also answered by WABA teaching 450 DCPS bus operators and 50 Arlington County employees how to safely share the road with cyclists.

Adult Education

WABA’s Bicycle Ambassador Program, now in its third year, is comprised of our full-time Ambassador coordinator and a dedicated team of volunteer Ambassadors. They have brought bicycle specific messaging city-wide at events and disseminated information to an estimated 48,000 people.

WABA’s adult education program has served over 2,700 cyclists in DC, MD and VA since its inception in 2004. WABA uses the national bicycling curriculum from the League of American Bicyclists and offers certification for all levels of riding from the recreational beginning to the

To sum up, if we collect together all of the bicyclists served through quality, direct, in-person bicycle education we are nearing 90,000 served-- which means that 2011 will be the year that WABA makes the mark of taking our education mission to 100,000 cyclists!


Spring is Just Around the Corner If DC’s winters have one thing going for them, it is that they are mercifully short. While our friends in New England or the Midwest are still enduring gray skies and snow, we get to start thinking about warmer weather and, best of all, Spring biking! Here are a few tips from us to get your two wheels ready to go as soon as you want: Getting Ready The key word for Spring biking is unpredictability. Late February through early April, the weather can (and will) change in the blink of an eye. Two feet of snow one day can be followed by a 60 degree heat wave the next and insanely high winds the day after that. Your job out there on the roads, is to come prepared for what Mother Nature has to throw at you. For those of you who have kept your bikes in the basement all winter, here’s a quick primer on layering-that is, dressing in layers to keep yourself warm. 1. Wicking layer - synthetic or wool, wicking baselayer garments will keep sweat away from your skin, allowing it to evaporate without cooling you down. 2. Warmth layer(s) - wool, synthetic or fleece, warmth layers do their job by trapping air in between layers as insulation. 3. Waterproof/windproof layer - plastic or synthetic, the waterproof layer keeps rain and snow out while windproof garments prevent the wind from blowing away all your heat. Staying in Tune Whether you rode it every day during the cold, dark winter or just left it in the garage, your bike needs some attention before you hit the roads this Spring. Give your bike a visual once-over and use the ABC Quick Check to determine what needs attention. These issues are ones you can probably fix by yourself (with information and videos from the internet):

• • • • •

Check & correct tire pressure Fix a flat tire Degrease/lubricate chain Replace and/or adjust brakes and brakepads Adjust front/rear derailleurs

Consider getting a tune-up at your local bike shop to fix these issues (fixing them yourself may require investing in new tools and/or learning new skills): • Wheels out of true • Bent or damaged spokes • Rusty or fraying brake/derailleur cables And definitely check with a mechanic about these: • Wobbly bottom bracket • Cracks in the frame • Bent rims • Hubs/headset too tight or too loose Don’t forget to give your helmet a once-over too! Helmets generally have a 3-5 year lifespan, after which the foam becomes brittle and won’t absorb an impact correctly. If your helmet is old, replace it! Likewise, if you notice any cracks in the foam or if the plastic top layer is peeling away from the home, your helmet probably needs to be replaced. Be Prepared Think about what you’ll need out on the road and remember to check the weather forecast before you leave. Put fenders on your bike, pack a rain shell in the morning for your afternoon commute, bring your lights when you know you’ll be out after dark. A little preparation goes a long way in making your spring riding an enjoyable and invigorating experience. Pre-Ride Checklist • Check the weather report • Slippery? Give yourself extra time. • Wet? Bring your rain coat and maybe a dry pair of shoes/socks. • Cold? Layer appropriately. • Dark? Remember your reflective gear, your lights and maybe some extra batteries.

750 Kids on Bikes! WABA’s Annual Rodeo at the NBC4 Health and Fitness Expo Saturday and Sunday, January 15 and 16, marked WABA’s annual Kids’ Bike Rodeo at the NBC4 Health and Fitness Expo in the DC Convention Center. Over 700 children between 4 and 12 rode WABA’s fleet of bicycles around a safety course featuring straight line control, avoiding obstacles, and stopping and looking both ways before crossing a street. All this activity was made possible by WABA’s amazingly generous volunteer corps. Many thanks to our more than thirty hardworking helmet-fitters, bike inspectors, registrars, helmet raffle managers, and traffic cops who showed these kids how to make their lives more fun, healthy and fit! Super Volunteers Stephen Dembek (‘07, ‘08, ‘09, [‘10], ‘11 volunteer) Stephen Miller (‘09, ‘10, ‘11 volunteer) Mimi Pollow (‘09, ‘10, ‘11 volunteer) Dedicated Volunteers Evie Goryshina (‘10, ‘11 volunteer) Penny Kelly (‘10, ‘11 volunteer) Turia Lennon (‘09, ‘11 volunteer) Jeff Miller (‘10, ‘11 volunteer) Jennifer Peters (‘10, ‘11 volunteer) Philip Shanholtzer (‘10, ‘11 volunteer) Awesome Volunteers Allie Armitage Sarah Birnie Jason Clock Bryan Covington Yolanda Covington Serina Freeman Martha Grant Rehana Gubin Ruth Hansen Dupree Heard

Spencer Iscove (2 shifts!) Phil Lyon Jeanie Meikle Martin Moulton Miguel Ortega Nelle Pierson (2 shifts!) Lisa Russ Dave Simonson Glenn Thomas Robert Williams Mark Zwolski

WABA volunteers Jeff Miller (above) and Nelle Pierson (below) teach bicycle safety to local kids at the NBC 4 Health and Fitness Expo.

Support Bicycling Today!

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RIDEON • Spring, 2011 5


A Very Short Introduction to Biking the C&O Canal Towpath It’s tough to know where to start, as there are so many interesting, unique elements of the C&O to discuss. Transportation history? Famous Americans? Geology? Camping? Luckily, biking can tie all of these areas together, and that’s something I know something about. But I’ll admit, I didn’t know much the first time I biked the length of the park from Cumberland, MD home to the District. At the time, my wife and I were avid commuters, but not much more. We both had department store bikes— hers secondhand—and we decided that we’d give it a shot. It seemed far enough to be adventurous, but not far enough to be crazy (or to require the full week of vacation, so we’d have time to recover before heading back to work). It seemed daunting, but not dangerous. We got a ride to Cumberland, and from there the goal was simple: pedal home. We had our camping gear, our bikes, and not much else. But we knew from our research that there would be free campsites with water along the way, and that if we just kept pedaling, we would end up back in DC within a few days. After the first few miles through Cumberland, we quickly disappeared into the park: quiet but for the constant sound of our tires on the crushed gravel and packed dirt. For miles and miles we rode, carrying a heavy load but flat, without strain, enjoying the Potomac to the right and, intermittently, the canal to the left. Having gone back across this path again—both the full distance and many times on day trips or weekend outings—there is a certain relaxedness that comes with riding on the towpath. While amenities are by no means constant, you can generally expect a water pump, a bathroom, or a campsite within some reasonable distance and thus not need to stress over finding the essentials, beyond looking briefly at the map to see how far ahead you must continue. The towns may take a bit of work to access. You may have to leave your bike and cross a bridge (Harper’s Ferry) or a train station (Brunswick) or climb a hill (Shepherdstown). But it’s almost always worth the visit. Once I reached home on my first trip, I was so fascinated by the places I had just seen, I immediately began reading about the quirks of history that led to this strange park. And from a transportation artery that

was outpaced before it opened, to a tunnel that led to a showdown between boat captains, to a long walk by a Supreme Court Justice, the history is fascinating. For cyclists, the C&O is a true treasure in our own backyards. And I wanted to use this issue of RideOn to remind WABA members just how special it is and encourage everyone to go give it a ride this spring. From the breathtaking views at Great Falls to the quiet, contemplative stretches further north—there is no other place like it. And as our friend Matthew Logan, President of the C&O Canal Trust, writes in this issue, this year the park celebrates its 40th Anniversary. I hope that you will all consider a ride on the canal— whether a couple miles or a couple days—and say thank you to those NPS workers who maintain the trail, the nonprofit organizations like the Canal Trust that help raise the funds and organize the volunteers, and the many businesses in towns along the way that serve the needs of cyclists (and allow us not to carry too much in our panniers). For those who need a bit more encouragement, here are a few of my own favorite reads about the C&O: • The Grand Idea: George Washington’s Potomac and the Race to the West, by Joel Achenback • The C&O Canal Companion, by Mike High • Common Labor: Workers and the Digging of North American Canals, 1780-1860, by Peter Way And a few “insider” tips to help you enjoy the experience of a longer ride on the towpath: • Unless it has rained hard recently, you won’t need super-knobby tires. The towpath is generally well packed. • With all the Revolutionary War and Civil War history, don’t overlook Ft. Frederick from the French & Indian War. It’s been reconstructed and is worth a look. It’s simply amazing that it was once essentially lost to history. • Make use of the Western Maryland Rail Trail. After a couple days, you’ll be happy to take a few miles on pavement. • Bring your lock. You’ll want to lock your bike at Shepherdstown and Harper’s Ferry rather than try to get them into the downtowns. And there are many times you’ll want to check out a shop and would prefer to leave the bike outside.

A 1940’s style Soda Fountain featuring... AWARD WINNING! Homemade Frozen Custard Ice Cream Deli Style Sandwiches made with Boar’s Head Meats and Cheeses And the best Coffee or Espresso Drinks in Town! 108 Harrison St. Cumberland, Maryland “Downtown” Exit 43C off I-68 301-777-0011

6 RIDEON • Spring, 2011


2011 on the C&O Canal Towpath

In Memory/Honor of

Matthew Logan - President/CEO, C&O Canal Trust The C&O Canal National Historical Park is gearing up to be an even greater recreational hotspot in 2011 with an exciting variety of new programs, upcoming special events, and improvement projects in the works. Both visitor centers in the DC metro area are receiving facelifts this spring. In Georgetown, new outdoor exhibits are being installed; these will complement the new interior exhibits that were put in late last year. At Great Falls, expect even more dramatic changes. With a repaved and wider entrance road, new fee booth and comfort station, completely relandscaped grounds, and award-winning new exhibits, Great Falls should be a must-see stop on your ride. Most noticeable in the Washington, D.C., area will be the installation of four odor abatement structures that will quell the stench of the massive underlying Potomac Interceptor sewer. The new structures, one each at Fletchers and Anglers and two more inside the Beltway along the Clara Barton Parkway, will eventually eliminate the smell of rotten eggs along the canal, making your ride exponentially more pleasant. Be aware: parking at Anglers and Fletchers will be affected while the structures are being constructed. Additional construction projects are also underway, such as the restoration of the Catoctin Aqueduct in Frederick County and repairs to the eroded towpath at Big Slackwater in Washington County. The breach near Anglers Inn remains a high priority and efforts are being made to secure funding for a multi-million dollar sustainable repair. Until a permanent fix is possible, the area below the breach will be re-watered on a temporary basis beginning this spring, making the area between Anglers and Lock 5 a more pleasant and beautiful ride. If you’d like to get involved in various improvement projects in the park, join over 100 volunteers in resurfacing the towpath in Georgetown on Saturday, May 7th as part of the C&O Canal Trust’s fourth annual C&O Canal Pride Days. Dozens of other projects will take place at Fletchers Cove, Lockhouse 10, and McCoys Ferry on April 9th, 10th, and 16th, respectively. You can also adopt an area of the park as a Canal Steward or become a caretaker of a Canal Quarters lockhouse as a Quartermaster.

49 at Four Locks near Clear Spring, Lockhouse 22 at Pennyfield Lock near Potomac, and Lockhouse 6 near the Brookmont community off of Clara Barton Parkway.

Donations to WABA

Wiley Family in Memory of Josh Bennett

In 2011, three additional lockhouses will be unveiled, beginning with Lockhouses 10 and 28 this spring and Lockhouse 25 in the fall. All the lockhouses have a cellar or basement for storing bikes or boats. As Canal Quarters continues to expand, the Trust anticipates opening a lockhouse every 20 to 30 miles – perfect for thru-bikers to stop and rest for the evening.

Stuart Heiser in Memory of Eve DeCoursey

This spring the Trust will also be kicking off Canal Discoveries, an exciting new program encouraging visitors to explore the historical, natural and recreational treasures along the 184.5 mile towpath. Aimed at engaging new and younger audiences, Canal Discoveries will feature an internet-based guide to points of interest in the park, including popular destinations and, especially, hidden gems. Cycling itineraries, places of historical significance, natural features, and other topics of interest will also be accessible by mobile devices so you can access the information while you are on the road. In honor of the park’s 40th anniversary in 2011, a total of 40 sites will be unveiled, beginning with a special kickoff event in Georgetown on Saturday, April 2nd, and continuing on a weekly basis throughout the year.

Grants Contributions to WABA

Patricia MacEwen in Honor of David MacEwen Huron Consulting Group in Memory of Jim Weiss Alice Wahl Lachman and Hawaii Biking Friends in Memory of Eve Decoursey

$519.59 from the Majersik- Bairstow Fund on behalf of Mr. Clifford B Majersik and Anne-Marie Bairstow $250 from the Joan Schaffer and Edward H Comer Charitable Fund $500 from The Charitable Gift Trust via Charles Pekow $500 from the Paulsen Family Fund via Caroline E. Paulsen

As you set out on your bike to discover each of the first 40 sites, be sure to stop and visit the towns of Point of Rocks, Brunswick, Sharpsburg, Williamsport, Hancock, Old Town, and Cumberland, Maryland, and Harpers Ferry and Shepherdstown, West Virginia. Involved in an economic development and community enhancement initiative called Canal Towns, these communities have been working hard to become more bicycle-friendly by installing bike lanes, bike racks, and informational signs for visitors. With the park’s 40th anniversary and the development and expansion of these exciting programs, there will be no shortage of ways for you and your family and friends to be a part of the C&O Canal National Historical Park in 2011. See you on the towpath! For more information about the C&O Canal Trust and to sign up to receive information, including announcements about Canal Discoveries and other programs, visit www. For more information about Canal Quarters, visit www. or call 301-745-8888. For more information on C&O Canal Pride Days, Quartermasters, Canal Stewards, and other volunteer opportunities, contact Jeff Hutman at 301-745-8889 or

If you are looking for a novel way to experience the C&O Canal, look no further. Since launching in the fall of 2009, the Trust’s award-winning Canal Quarters program has welcomed over 1,420 guests from 31 states for overnight stays in three historic lockhouses – Lockhouse

Located mere steps from not only the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers, but also from the C&O Canal Trail and Appalachian Trail, the six rooms of the Town’s Inn (circa 1840) offer a variety of lodging options ranging from $30 to $150/night.

Contact Karan Townsend for more information at 877.489.2447 or or visit 175/179 High Street PO Box 1412 Harpers Ferry, WV 25425

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RIDEON • Spring, 2011 7

15th Steet Cycle Tracks DDOT completes 1.7 miles of protected cycle tracks in DC


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WABA RideOn Spring 2011  

The Washington Area Bicyclist Associations Quarterly Membership Newsletter

WABA RideOn Spring 2011  

The Washington Area Bicyclist Associations Quarterly Membership Newsletter