by Bob Manka
On one of the few sunny Fridays in May thousands of Washington area cyclists got on their bikes and celebrated Bike to Work Day. This event has grown to 80 “Pit Stops” throughout the broader metropolitan area and suburbs. At the same time you may have been riding, sixteen of PPTC’s great volunteers were representing the club at six strategic sites. These volunteers included much of the club leadership on the ExCom including the Chair, Chair Elect, Membership Secretary, Recording Secretary and two Members at Large. Many members probably don’t realize these positions aren’t just honorific with little to do! Equally important were some of the Club’s other great volunteers; the names of all are listed below.
Bike to Work is a combined effort of a number of metropolitan area organizations including Commuter Connections and Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA). The event also has a number of sponsors such as Bike Arlington and our own Potomac Pedalers. From the Bike to Work website, the goal is to “celebrate bicycling as a clean, fun, and healthy way to get to work”.
Potomac Pedalers had tables at six sites, an increase from four the previous year. We chose to be present at key sites that are “gateways” where cyclists from all over the area stream toward downtown and other major employment centers. At each site where PPTC participates, we have a table with Club information and handouts. The Pedalers representatives present a friendly, informative face of the club and warmly encourage cyclists to try one of our rides while providing information about the Club. With the Pedal Patter we are able to highlight the Club activities and special events throughout the year, as well as illustrate the typical weekly schedule of rides. One of the rider’s favorite topics of conversation and inquiry is the annual Back Roads Century and the change to Shepherdstown.
The Six PPTC Sites and Volunteers:
- Bethesda, MD: Ron Tripp and Tim Guilford
- Takoma Park, MD: Debbie McCall and Linda Kolko
- Twinbrook, MD: Martine Palmiter and one generous Pedaler
- Freedom Plaza, DC: Matt Birnbaum & Crew (Keith Barron, Sue Gunter, Joe Pixley, and Rudi Riet)
- Gateway Park, Rosslyn, VA: Ed Hazelwood & Crew (Jean Leonard, Francis Eberle, Stephen Krill, and Joan Oppel)
- Ballston (Freshbikes), VA: Bob Manka and Barbara Miller
Future Bike to Work Days
Our participation in 2016 was very successful including interactions with several hundred riders who stopped by our tables at the six sites. Our volunteers, along with staff Brenda Ruby and Sherri Core, did a terrific job. The seventeen PPTC volunteers were enthused about a great day this year but also came up with some suggestions to enhance our representation in the future. Some ideas include moving toward more uniform appearance and handouts at each of our sites. In addition to the Pedal Patter and the new Club 5×7 color cards highlighting our activities throughout the year, it was suggested that we look into having additional inexpensive, but very useful, freebies such as compact bicycle bells or lights. I expect that the Club organizers for next year’s Bike to Work will be planning on ways to enhance our already successful presence in the event and we will be asking for your participation!
Special thanks to Bob Manka!
Potomac Pedalers wants to thank Bob Manka for his outstanding organization of this year’s Bike to Work Day. Bob volunteered many hours securing our spot, figuring out what to bring, lining up volunteers, packing up boxes for the different sites, and making sure every detail was taken car of. Our participation in this event (this year AND in years past) wouldn’t have been possible without Bob’s leadership and we deeply appreciate his skillful management that attended to every detail. Additionally, Bob organized last year’s Bike Maintenance Clinics at FreshBikes Arlington and led a group ride at the Back Roads Century…and those are just his most recent volunteer undertakings. We are truly fortunate to have Bob as one of our tireless volunteer superstars!