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Resolution 6 - Get a Bike

(Ellen Mccarthy Twp)
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Friday, December 26, 2008

Nancy Sachitano, a 46-year-old D.C. resident, has on her to-do list getting a bike and exploring the area's many trails.

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If Glen Harrison were in charge of Sachitano's introduction to biking, her first stop would be the "safe cycling" section of the Washington Area Bicyclist Association's Web site,waba.org. Harrison is, after all, WABA's safety education coordinator.

Once she was familiar with all the best practices (wear a helmet, know the hand signals), he would direct her to the "trails" portion of the site, where she could read descriptions of major bike routes in the area, including the Mount Vernon Trail and the C&O Canal Trail, and click through to printable maps of each.

"Get a map and a bike, and get out there and hit it," Harrison says. And as far as the "get a bike part," beginners like Sachitano might want to start by renting (bikewashington.org/rentals has a good list of rental shops) before investing in a bike of their own.

And once Sachitano is ready to commit to a bike, Harrison suggests heading to a bike shop to see what she likes and ask about bike swaps, where she might get a deal on a gently used model.

After getting comfortable on her bike and exploring on her own, Sachitano might want to try joining one of the group rides sponsored by the Potomac Pedalers Touring Club. That should bring her into contact with lesser-known routes and lots of new people.

-- Ellen McCarthy

For more information on biking in Washington, visit the Web site of one of these groups: the Washington Area Bicyclist Association, http://www.waba.org; BikeWashington, http://www.bikewashington.org; the Potomac Pedalers Touring Club, http://www.bikepptc.org; the Wash Cycle, http://www.washcycle.typepad.com.


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