May is National Bike Month and the Washington region is celebrating. The TPB proclaimed Friday, May 18 as Bike to Work Day for the region. This is the 18th year the TPB, through Commuter Connections, has co-organized Bike to Work Day, along with the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA). It’s a day to encourage more people in the region to try out biking as a way to get to work.
The region has come a long way since the first BTWD in 2001. Back then, just a few hundred participated; by 2017 the event grew to more than 18 thousand participants in Bike to Work Day. Not only has the annual event grown but biking in our region has also grown. There are more bike lanes, trails, and paths, Capital Bikeshare has expanded and dockless bikeshare arrived in the District of Columbia. On Bike to Work Day this year, Capital Bikeshare will be opening new stations in Prince George’s County.
Whether you’re new to bike commuting or if you’ve been doing it for a while, there are some great resources at your disposal to get ready for the May 18 event.
First of all, be sure to register! If you register and pick a pit-stop either near your home or office, you will get a free t-shirt for attending! For those of you collecting them all, the color this year is a bright gold. Registering also helps Bike to Work Day organizers know how many people participate each year and helps pit-stop managers know how much stuff to bring.
Next, you’ll want to map your route and pit stop. There are maps of all 100 pit stops available for you to find yours. Check it out!
If you’re new to biking, find a class! WABA provides classes in different parts of the region. So, you can find one that fits your needs. You can find a listing here: waba.org/adult-education/
Other things to remember
The event goes on rain or shine and it has rained on Bike to Work Day in the past. Since most of us must get to work every day regardless of the weather, we have to learn to ride in the rain.
You can get tips and tricks about how to dress and ride in wet weather. (You don’t necessarily need special gear, but it does help to plan for being out in the elements.) You can also take advantage of bikeshare options for a one-way bike commute if rain threatens in the afternoon and you don’t want to brave the elements.
If you’re new to bike commuting or if you just want some folks to ride with, you can join commuter convoys. These are groups who ride together with a mix of veteran riders and new riders. Some employers organize their own convoys so be sure to check at your office.
You can also find a buddy to ride with through the Washington Area Bike Forum. Newer riders can pair up with more experienced riders who can show them the ropes. Riding with more experienced riders is a great way to learn to navigate the region’s bike routes.
Share your story
We want to see and hear about your Bike to Work Day experience. Connect with us on social media, @NatCapRegTPB and @BiketoWorkDay, use the hashtag #BTWD18, and tag us in your posts. If you take pictures, add them to our BTWD flickr pool and we’ll share them after the event.
Most importantly, have fun but don’t forget that you do need to go to work on May 18!