Biking to Work

D.C. Takes it Easy on the Roads With Bike Friendly Fridays

Some D.C. residents are leaving their cars keys at home and riding their bicycles to work as part of Bike Friendly Fridays. The campaign, which launched on Oct. 12, will end on Nov. 16. It’s an outgrowth of Bike to Work Day, sponsored by the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) in spring, and D.C.’s first Car Free Day on Sept. 18. Mayor Adrian Fenty and council members such as March Cheh of Ward 3 used alternative means of getting to work on Car Free Day. Cheh, along with the WABA and other organizations in Ward 3 are promoting Bike to Work Fridays to decrease the level of congestion on the roads and save energy. “Councilwoman Cheh participated in our Bike to Work Day that takes place in the Spring and felt that it would be a great idea to turn it into a campaign titled Bike Friendly Fridays, of which we’re excited,” said Eric Gilliland, executive director for WABA.The campaign was created to encourage residents to begin their weekend early by biking to work, stores or events around the city. Other organizations involved in the campaign include the Commuters Connections and the Downtown Business Improvement District. WABA leaders will be designated in certain sections of the city to help lead bicyclists to and from each ward on their Friday travels. All routes will end at Freedom Plaza in downtown D.C., where bikers can convene. “Our vision with Councilwoman Cheh is to hopefully implement this campaign year round and use the previous Bike to Work Day as a model,” Gilliland said. “We hope to set up meeting places around D.C. for bikers to meet up with commuter convoys, or experienced leaders to lead them to their destination.” To make the commute smoother, routes and information regarding the campaign are available on the WABA Web site, http://www.waba.org. Retailers, restaurants and other businesses have been encouraged to offer discounts and other incentives for the bikers who attend their establishments. Discounts include lower prices on beverages, free parking for bicycles and shopping coupons. Businesses that have already joined the campaign include The Goethe Institute, Artifactory and the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial and Visitors Center.The WABA and Ward 3 encourage participating in Bike Friendly Fridays for many reasons. In addition to reducing the number of cars on the road, biking is economical, in that it saves money on gas and Metro fares. Commuter Connections also points out biking is healthy and good exercise. According to itsWeb site,, a female who weighs 130 pounds and bikes for five miles will burn 300 calories. Christina Coleman, junior print journalism major, said that biking to work is not a bad idea. “Being as though I am a strong supporter of protecting our environment, I would definitely participate in Bike Friendly Fridays,” Coleman said. “I currently work at NASA and would not have a problem carrying my items in a book bag on my back in order to get to work.” When biking to work, the WABA recommends wearing comfortable clothes and cuffing pant legs to make sure they do not get caught in the bike while pedaling. While biking will raise body temperatures, riders should invest in gloves and warm shoes for the winter months.