By Elaine Johnson
Our connection with the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) began as an outgrowth of Calvary’s Green Committee. Thinking that we should approach a new recycling campaign holistically, I was asked to reach out to organizations that would get residents into the environment that is affected by our recycling efforts.
Two organizations that came to Calvary over the summer were the Anacostia Watershed Society and WABA. Both groups gave wonderful presentations, but the representative from WABA was serious about getting women at Calvary on bikes and feeling the freedom and ease of movement that they remembered from childhood.
That day finally came on a recent beautiful October morning. With the help of three expert volunteers from WABA and Capital Bikeshare, eight women ventured out on bikes, many for the first time in decades. First, pedals were removed from all of the bikes for the walk down to the Anacostia Recreation Center parking lot—that way women could focus on the weight of the bike in their hands and using hand breaks (versus coaster breaks from their childhood). In the parking lot, they practiced balance exercises with no pedals and power starting with one pedal. Later they had the freedom to bike at-will around the parking lot with both pedals on. The joy was palpable!
Everyone did so well that there was time for a lesson in group ride etiquette before cycling confidently back to Good Hope Road.
We have another ride scheduled for this month…and who knows after that?
Elaine Johnson is the Education Coordinator and oversees LEAP at Calvary Women’s Services.