|Biking isn't a trend in Ward 8 -- it's a way of life.|
What is so strange is that I know A LOT of people who bike in Ward 8. The same day Aaron's article came out I was commenting to some Ward 8 friends how I felt I was in the minority because I don't own a bike. As with many things about Ward 8 there is this overall perception that Ward 8 residents don't bike in significant numbers but we do. Ward 8 bikers may not have "official" bike clubs, or bike in groups, or live tweet their bike rides but they are out there. I see Ward 8 bikers all the time. I can't think of a time when I haven't seen Ward 8 biking. Even in the cold and the snow they are out there.
My condominium has a bike room to accommodate all my neighbors bikes (it is a HUGE amenity). Almost all of my colleagues bike to work. Approximately a 1/3 - 1/2 of The HIVE 2.0 membership rides their bike to the office. When WABA holds bike repair clinics in Ward 8 THEY ARE PACKED!
|WABA Free Bike Repair Clinic in Congress Heights|
After a 20 year hiatus I first got back on a bike after I moved to Ward 8. You can read my bike journal here, here, here, here, and here. I am still dreaming of getting one of these one day:
|I dream of one of these magically showing up on my doorstep with a red ribbon.|
From high-schoolers; to thirty something professionals; to my 72 years young neighbor: biking is a VERY popular activity in Ward 8. Kendall, Jessie, Tommie, and Charles in Anacostia bike; Miss Cynthia, Kim, Terry, and Joanne in Congress Heights bike; Dionne in Bellevue bikes and many more! It would be great to see Ward 8 Councilmember Marion Barry encourage more bike opportunities and bike lanes in Ward 8; the reality is that his constituents are indeed biking and have been for a while. I know if there was a dedicated bike lane from my house in Congress Heights to my office in Anacostia I would be more likely to bike to work (assuming I had a bike to ride).
|Shane Farthing of WABA reintroducing my neighbor Miss Cynthia to her newly repaired bike!|
Miss Cynthia had owned this bike for over 30 years.
Last November WABA hosted the first "East of the River Bike Expo" the same day and time as a festival in Congress Heights and let me tell you, the bike expo had way more attendants!
|Anacostia's FixIt station!|
(Tommie Adams Jr. )
So I think this perception that, "Ward 8 doesn't bike in significant numbers" or that we don't care about biking isn't accurate -- at least from where I am standing. The problem is (as with most things we don't have) we are flying so under the radar that in order to see what we are doing, you have to be where we are. Also, it doesn't help when some very loud (but very close minded) Ward 8 community leaders try to make a "bike lanes vs. everything" argument. Ward 8 can have bike lanes and jobs and job training programs and quality housing and everything else we need. In fact, because we want those other things we need to encourage biking and almost any other form of public and low-cost transportation. At ARCH when we plan big events like LUMEN8ANACOSTIA we always discuss the "bike factor." Whenever possible we try to accommodate our bikers with bike valets or extra bike racks. WABA is one of our most important partners.
Bike lanes and dog parks in Ward 8 are not the signs of the apocalypse. They are signs of a vibrant, healthy, and connected community. We should encourage these things -- not try to make people feel ashamed for wanting them.
Bike lanes aren't just for White people -- bike lanes are for people who bike.
|Photo courtesy of the Anacostia Business Improvement District (Tommie Adams Jr.)|