Last-Minute Tips for National Bike to Work Day

Happy Bike Month

So, you’ve been thinking about participating in National Bike To Work Day.  You may have even registered with the Washington Area Bicycling Association.  Good for you!

But there’s no reason to NOT ride to work even if you haven’t registered.  But you’ll need to do several things before you head out to the bike trails Friday morning.

No. 1:  Make sure your bike is rideable.  Check your tires NOW and see if they will still hold air.  Pump them up to the recommended pressure (on side of tire) and check back a bit later to see if the air pressure has dropped.  Look for thorns or metal wires that may have worked into the tread.   You really don’t want to have a flat on the way to or from work.  Be sure to bring a spare tube, a compact hand-pump and a few CO2 cartridges and inflator nozzle.  If you haven’t changed a flat in a while (or ever) practice before you head out.

No.2:   Click through your gears a few times, make sure everything is hunky-dory.  If shifting is balky, wipe a bit of lube on the cable and try again.  Lube the chain lightly, as well.

No. 3:  Check your personal gear:  Helmet is an absolute must.  Check fit before you head out.  A loose or too-tight helmet can spoil your ride, not to mention failure to protect your brain.  Gloves will help keep your hands clean and, even with a morning forecast in the low-60s, keep those digits warm.

No. 4: Be seen and heard. Is your bike bell dinging?  Is your head-light and tail-light working?  Check batteries and bring spares.  Remember, your return trip could be at dusk or other low-light conditions.

No. 5:  If you were thinking ahead, you already left a change of work clothes and personal toiletries to freshen your body when you get to work.  You may not notice right away, but you might be perspiring for up to an hour after riding.  You co-workers will notice.  Think about taking a container of those baby wipes.  You may be schvitzing for hours.

No. 6:  Hydrate or get really, really thirsty.  Make sure your water bottle isn’t full of fuzzy funk left from that bottle of Mango juice you put in it a month ago.  Take an extra bottle filled with ice for the return trip home. Put it in the office fridge if you have one. Your mouth will appreciate it.

No. 7:  Communicate.  Make sure your cellphone is fully charged.  The life you save may be someone else.  You would want someone to make that 911 call for you.

No. 8:  This is not a race.  It is RIDE to work.  With temperatures in the 80s, you don’t want to have a crash or  arrive drenched in a pool of sweat.  Enjoy the ride, smile at the other folks and arrive alive.

No. 9:  Scout your ride path BEFORE you head out. Check out great local bike commuting tips and routes at FABB.  Remember things look a lot different from behind a steering wheel than behind handlebars.  Bring a lock to secure your bike.  If it has a combination lock, write the code on a piece of paper in your dry wallet.

No. 10:  Don’t forget your office shoes.  I always kept a pair in my office desk just in case.  If anyone notices, just tell them it is National Work in Your Socks Day.

OK, now get out there, have fun, be careful and congratulate yourself for doing a very cool thing.

Hooray! May 8 is Bike To School Day

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Wednesday, May 8 is National Bike to School Day and a great opportunity to show our kids how much fun riding to school can be.

It is also an opportunity to demonstrate safe biking practices.  Children copy adult behavior and your good habits will guide them for the rest of their lives.

In the TBL area, the Wednesday weather forecast calls for rain all day.  But that’s not a reason to drive — think of it as an opportunity to ride with your kids and teach them how to be more visible on the bike, to use a bike light during daytime hours and wear bright colors so drivers can see you.

Being aware of your visibility on the bike extends to riding at evening and night, so it is never too early or too late to instill good visibility habits before they ride in darkness.

Most of all, make riding fun and not a chore.  Riding a bike to school is a sign of independence that will boost your kids’ self-esteem.

Have fun, stay safe, be visible and enjoy Bike to School Day.  Make it a habit!

To learn more about about biking to school in Fairfax County check out FABB’s website (Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling).

You Are Invited- The Fairfax Bike Summit

Fairfax Bike Summit: Pedaling our way to a healthier and happier community

All are invited to join Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling (FABB), George Mason University (GMU) and Fairfax County for the inaugural Fairfax Bike Summit on Saturday, October 27 at GMU from 9AM – 2PM. Register here for FREE (ffxbikesummit.eventbrite.com) – Attendance is limited to 200 people – so act fast!

About the Fairfax Bike Summit: This summit will bring together bicyclists, bicycle  organizations, bike shops, and transportation professionals to discuss:
Turning Fairfax into an even better place to live by making bicycling a major part of the transportation system
Details about the recently-completed bicycle master plan draft that serves as our roadmap for making our streets safer for bicyclists (adding bike lanes, cycle tracks, signed bicycle routes, and connecting trails and streets that lead to major destinations)
How other communities are being transformed from auto-centric places to more people-oriented places
Bicycling as an alternative transportation option that provides opportunities to grow Fairfax County into a more competitive, liveable, connected, and vibrant community

You’ll also get to hear from nationally-known speakers including Andy Clarke, president of the League of American Bicyclists, Chris Eatough of BikeArlington, and Stewart Schwartz of the Coalition for Smarter Growth. See the latest in transportation bikes and gear on display from local bike shops. Join GMU staff for a bike tour of campus bike facilities after the summit. A limited number of bicycles will be provided by The Bike Lane.

The summit will be held at The HUB at GMU in the Front-Middle Ballroom, 10423 Rivanna River Way, Fairfax, VA 22030. Display space is available for bicycle businesses and organizations. For further information, please visit fabb-bikes.org or contact us at bikesummit@fabb-bikes.org.

Sponsored by Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling, George Mason University, and Fairfax County

Cyclefest and Pauls Ride for Life this Saturday

Join us this Saturday for Paul’s Ride for Life and Cyclefest at the Reston Town Center pavilion!  Paul’s Ride for Life kicks off at 8 am for a 10, 20, or 50 mile ride along the beautiful W&OD. Proceeds from the ride benefit the Washington Regional Transplant Community.   The Community Canteen will be welcoming back riders with free coffee and pastries.  Park your bike in our free Bike Valet (courtesy of EX2 Adventures) and stick around for The Bike Lane’s Cyclefest Expo.  Ride some of the top bikes in the world!  Trek and Felt will have their demo trucks filled with road, mountain and tri bikes!  The Bike Lane will be bringing our Niner mountain bike demos for you to take out for a spin on the trail. Bring the kids and their bikes out for the Bike Safety Rodeo sponsored by Trails for Youth! The rodeo starts at Noon until 2:00 pm.  Also, we will have live performances from TUNNEL– an up and coming Prog/Alternative/Rock band based in the Washington, DC.  Check out the expo from 10-3 pm we will have vendors and local clubs including Saris, Camel Bak, Yakima, MORE, Team Z, Team in Training, Evolution Cycling, MS Ride, Tour de Cure, Reston Bike Club, Positively Chiropractic, FABB, Wilderness Voyagers, Pedal Pushers and more.  Enter to win a Trek 7.3 FX and other raffles!  See you Saturday.