Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Don't Forget To Think... And Help Others Think Too!

Yup!  That's kind of an odd name for this blog post.  I recently had an experience riding near home that prompted this Facebook post and tweet:

Riding up Annandale Road today. ...
Dude in a Benz: Get the F%#* off the road!
Me (in a cheery, happy voice): Oh! No thank you. I'll just keep riding legally. Have a great day!
Dude in a Benz: Uhhh... Have a good day.
I'm guessing the guy either wasn't thinking when he first yelled at me... or at least wasn't thinking very well.  He sure as hell stopped to think before he drove off though. 

Things sometimes happen quickly when we're riding.  When someone passes aggressively our instinctive reaction is to yell at them or use hand gestures to express what we're feeling.  It happens to all of us and it is very hard to resist.  It also is usually an instinctive reaction, rather than a thought process. 

Doing so sometimes feels good for a moment, but we lose an opportunity when we do that. 

1)  We lose an opportunity to challenge the way people think about cyclists;
2)  We make it easy for people to drive without thinking and behave in a similar fashion again;
3)  Most of all, we make it easy for our actions on the bike to be guided without the use of thinking.

I'm not saying don't ever yell at motorists.  Sometimes yelling alerts a driver to our presence.  Use that voice for safety, not as a weapon.  The difference is subtle, but significant.

Thanks for reading!  Have a great bike ride.


I Love My Commute. Do You Love Yours?

Monday, October 20, 2014

Follow Me to Certain Death!

Those who know me well, know that I enjoy a long, challenging bike ride.  I’m very, very fortunate to have good friends who hear what I have in mind, tell me that it is probably impossible and definitely a stupid idea, then agree to join me.  Better yet, they come up with wonderful/stupid ideas on their own and I get to tag along. 

My friend Bilsko and I have been wanting to do a particular ride for about 18 months.  Our planned date last year was interrupted by him breaking his hip and me breaking my wrist two days later.  Here we are 13 months later and we’re ready to ride.  

The ride is simple.  We’re going to ride to Friday Coffee Club like we always do.  The difference is that we’re going to start a day early and start from Pittsburgh.  Stuart thought this sounded like fun, so he’s going to join us.  Lydia and Tina are joining us in Cumberland Maryland for the night time portion of the ride.  

That works out to about 335 miles in a day.  

Join us on Friday morning.  We’ll be at White’s Ferry at 4am, Great Falls at around 6:15 and in Georgetown by 7:30.  We’ll be at ME Swing Coffee House at 17th and G, NW a little after that.

When I do a ride like this, I usually raise money for a local charity.  The charity is a good one.  TC Williams International Academy has a scholarship program to send a deserving student to college.  This is a program near and dear to my heart, since it is a charity that my wife helped create.  

Here’s the info: 

Achieving the Dream Scholarship:  To donate, designate "specific scholarship" and type "achieving" in the special instructions block.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014


WABA is starting a new project in Old Town Alexandria called #StopCampaign.  Basically we’re helping promote lawful cycling at major intersections in the area.  

Alexandria City is a an area that is working very hard to make the streets better for cyclists.  They really need to!  The area is growing in popularity, attracting more people every year.  The amount of parking places and driving lanes can’t keep pace.  Alexandria is working to support other ways to get around town.  

The city faces significant resistance to their efforts to improve cycling, as was evident during the battle to get bike lanes put in on King Street.  One of the biggest things that cycling opponents can use to strike down efforts to improve bike infrastructure is the behavior of cyclists at stop signs.  

Please consider being a part of this project.  There are many great things you can do. 

1) On the simplest level, please pay attention to traffic signs in Alexandria and yield to pedestrians.  

2) Consider taking some time out of your afternoon and picking up a sign to help convince others to ride lawfully.

3) Spread the word of the published Facebook events to attract others to join us.  

4) When you see us doing one of these events, snap a photo on your phone and post it on Twitter and tag it with @WABADC and #StopCampaign 
Some things about this... This campaign depends on positive interactions.  We are NOT yelling at cyclists who don't stop.  We ARE talking positively to all cyclists and thanking the ones that stop.  Nothing good happens when someone yells at a cyclist for failing to heed a stop sign.

Thanks for taking a little time to read and contribute.  

Here’s the first public event:

Best wishes,