WABA 50 States Ride 2012: All About the People

This past Saturday Felkerino and I participated in another edition of the Washington Area Bicycling Association (WABA) 50 States Ride. Yeah, that ride with 500 participants that crosses over all 50 of the state streets within the District of Columbia and covers about 65 miles in the process.

Felkerino and me at the first 50 States Ride pit stop

True to our plan, we shortcut as our coffee requirements dictated and skipped a few state streets along the way. At the end of the day, Felkerino and I crossed off 34 of the 50 state streets. I don’t know if this means we have to do some Sharpie editing to our 50 States Ride t-shirts or what so if you know the protocol, please let us know.

50 States Ride, #fridaycoffeeclub peeps

Fortunately, we did manage to ride through all four D.C. quadrants so we are not completely hopeless.

The highlights of this year’s event included all the people we saw and chatted with throughout the ride. There were a few moments where we pedaled quietly along, but generally we rode in the company of other friendly riders.

Felkerino, John, and Dave
John, Felkerino, and Tony on Massachusetts SE

After doing this ride three times now, I’ve concluded that the descent on Massachusetts Avenue Southeast is one of my favorite parts. The road surface is good, it has hardly any car traffic, and it offers a beautiful view of the city.

Well-placed pit stops along the route allowed Felkerino and me to restock on water, talk with #BikeDC tweeps, and meet a few new people, too.

Mary Lauran and friends on the 50 States Ride

The post-lunch pit stop in Takoma Park was hosted by our friends Mike and Lisa, making it an extra fun pause in the ride.

Hanging out with Mike at the pit stop

We left Mike and Lisa’s to go up to Alaska Avenue Northwest, where someone took some great pictures of LOTS of riders and posted them on flickr. If you rode and made it to Alaska Avenue, check them out here.

After a day chock full of stops, twists, and turns, Felkerino and I called it a day after Alaska Avenue. When the route descended into Rock Creek Park, we remained on Beach Drive until exiting at Adams Mill Road and high-tailing it to the finish.

Despite our various shortcuts, our odometers showed 60 miles for the day. It also indicated a 10.1 mph rolling average; no speed records were set during this cue- and stop-filled excursion.

The finish locale, the Mellow Mushroom, teemed with bikes and people. We ate pizza, talked with friends, and picked up our aforementioned partially earned t-shirts.

Surly LHT at the 50 States Ride finish

I initially planned to take my Velo Orange mixte, but ultimately wound up riding my regular commuter, the Surly Long Haul Trucker. Not surprisingly, the Surly rode smoothly and had no mechanicals (though WABA offered mechanical support at all pit stops in the event it was needed).

Working on a bike at the 50 States Ride.

Oh, and I also managed to hit my home state street of Iowa. Phew! I missed it last year and was determined not to let that happen again.

Iowa Street and the Surly LHT on the 50 States Ride

This edition of the 50 States was the best yet. Through the #BikeDC hashtag on Twitter, Friday Coffee Club, and more participation in WABA’s events I’ve been able to get to know some of the BikeDC crowd. When I show up at a WABA event now, I almost always see a familiar face. That’s a great feeling.

Thanks, WABA!!

Thanks, WABA, for another successful 50 States Ride.

For another writeup of the event, please check out Port-a-John’s excellent summary. Oh, and BicycleBug has a good one, too, as does Rambling Rider.

And for more photos from the ride, take a look at our flickr sets. Mine are here, and Felkerino’s here.

See you out there next year? I hope so!


  1. Wow, I’m in really good company. I did much the same last year when I rode: ticked 34 states off the list before I thought to myself “Ya know, training would have been a smart thing to do…” but love, love, love exploring quadrants of the city I don’t regularly ride in. I learned so much more about the place I live during last year’s ride.

    Thanks for the virtual ride-along.


    • Yes, I’m with you. It’s having an excuse to ride to places that I don’t normally. And it’s also a great event to meet other local cyclists.


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