WABA 50 States Ride Last-Minute Taper and Training Tips


The WABA 50 States Ride is fast approaching (this Saturday!) and it’s important to be ready for the District’s ultimate concept ride. Are you?

Before you answer that question, I’ve put together some handy taper and training tips that you can follow for the rest of the week. Remember, you want to make it to the starting line rested, ready, and raring to go.

Brush up on your speed reading. Last year, the 50 States Ride cue sheet ended up being 10 pages of cues. In the initial miles the cue sheet will not be that critical, but as the group spreads out it will be handy to to know where you’re headed. Some state streets sneak up on you if you don’t pay attention, which is why I somehow missed my home state street of Iowa Avenue one year.

Attach a cue sheet holder to your bike. It’s much easier to read a cue sheet that is right in front of you than, say, one that you haphazardly pull out of your pocket every block. Felkerino and I like to use this homemade cue sheet holder, which requires but a zip tie, a shim, and a binder clip.

Choose your bike wisely. Make sure whatever steed you select for the day is in good working order and ready for the bumps and cracks of ye olde D.C. streets. For me, that means I will likely ride a bike with 32 mm tires. Also, because I am recently coming off of a marathon, I’m going with a bike that has gears. This ride is absolutely doable on a single speed, but my legs will be glad for the gears as the ride goes on.


Scope out the nearby coffee shops. This is particularly important to Felkerino and me, as we approach the 50 States Ride like a concept ride with a coffee crawl thrown in. There’s no better feeling than leaving behind the congested portions at Judiciary Square in exchange for a soy latte and a biscotti from Chinatown Coffee.

Create your own concept ride within a concept ride. For Felkerino and me, that means a coffee crawl within the 50 States Ride, but you can get really creative here. One of the ingenious ideas I’ve heard is riding the 50 state streets in the order they were admitted to the union. Note I said ingenious, not practical.

Avoid all state streets until the actual day of the ride. This may be exceptionally difficult if you either a. live; or b. work on a state street. But you don’t want to ruin the magic of the day so I suggest minimizing your exposure to as many state streets as you can. This is an essential element of the 50 States Ride taper.

Make a note to thank the volunteers as you go. The course marshals help keep us all on track. The rest stop volunteers donate their time to assist with any unfortunate mechanicals to keep our bikes on the go. Others facilitate our rehydration and fueling along the way. Be sure to give a special shout-out if you see our friends Mike and Lisa, who are hosting the Takoma Park pit stop.

Get into the 50 States Ride frame of mind. It’s not a race. No one shuns you if you don’t ride all 50 state streets– at least, not as far as I know and I’ve only ridden the full course one time out of three. It’s about the #BikeDC community supporting a great organization, sharing a fun urban event together, touring the four quadrants, and riding in parts of the city that extend beyond our day-to-day radius.


I know there are some 50 States Ride veterans out there. If you have anything to add to the list, please put it in the comments.

Are you ready? See you Saturday!


  1. Great summary. It’s always fun to see where Felkerino and you pop up after your coffee breaks.
    I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve done this ride.
    My advice to riders is to not try to keep up with the two of you on hills. I nearly died on Alabama Ave SE last year watching you fade into the distance. 🙂


  2. I’ve been following your blog for a bit, and it just occurred to me that I might get to finally meet all the DC bike folk I stalk on blogs and Twitter. This is my first foray into any kind of event/group ride, so a little nervous but super stoked. Definitely taking your cue sheet tip!


  3. My tips for riding the 50 States:
    1. Watch out for buses.
    2. Get a crepe at Eastern Market. (hat tip to John & Kevin!)
    3. Pace yourself on those hills!
    Okay, so those are really tips for me. Can’t wait to see everyone!


    • Yes, being aware of the buses is an excellent point, as they are going in and out of the right lane to pick up and drop off people.

      Going for a crepe, huh? I might end up with a sandwich from the deli… but I’m definitely getting a java-infused drink from Peregrine when we stop at Eastern Market!


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