Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Live Healthy! Support Biking!

The Fairfax County Health Department has joined with its counterparts in Alexandria and in Arlington and Loudoun Counties to conduct a survey of public health issues affecting our neighborhoods. This Northern Virginia team wants to learn about what people think is important, and the survey results will help them in their work to make our communities healthier.

Safety risks to people walking and biking are Public Health issues! So, this is a great—plus quick and easy—opportunity for cyclists to be heard.

Please take three minutes to complete this brief survey. Please consider including “Preventable injuries (car or bicycle crashes, falls)” as an important health issue. Then include “A walk-able, bike-able community” as a top action that would improve quality of life in our region.  

Once you’ve done that, please share our message with your friends and ask them to take the survey. 



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2018 Braddock District Ride on Sunday

Join FABB for a family friendly beginner ride on the day after Bike Your Park Day that has: - 5 mile starter loop - 7 mile advanced starter loop - 16.3 mile medium loop. Jorge Torrico of FABB will lead this ride that starts at Cherry Run Elementary School at 9am this Sunday, September 30.

Register on Eventbrite. All riders must wear a helmet and sign a liability waiver.

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Monday, September 24, 2018

Inaugural Gerry Connolly Cross County Trail Ride with Bike Fairfax

The Fairfax County Department of Transportation and Bike Fairfax want you to join them in celebrating Bike Your Park Day this Saturday with a six-mile family ride from Wakefield Park to Lake Accotink via the Gerry Connolly Cross County Trail. 

Congressman Connolly is expected to officially kick off the ride, which will start and finish at the Audrey Moore RECenter, 8100 Braddock Road, Annandale, beginning at 10 a.m.

Bike Fairfax is part of FCDOT's bicycle and pedestrian programs. The Gerry Connolly Cross County Trail is a 40-mile long hiking and biking trail that begins in Occoquan and ends in Great Falls. 

To RSVP for the ride, please send a note to bikefairfax@fairfaxcounty.gov.

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Proposed Removal of Planned Trails from Huntley Meadows Park

Location of planned trail along
power line right of way
By FABB member Alexis Glenn

Fairfax County is proposing to remove two key bicycle trails from the Countywide Trails Plan (large pdf) and the Bicycle Master Plan (SE quadrant map). These trails are both located in Huntley Meadows Park and would provide improved pedestrian and bike access to the park and nearby communities.

The trail along the south edge of the park would be built along the power line right of way, like the W&OD Trail. The power company clears the corridor at Huntley Meadows of vegetation every 3 years. The trail along the east edge of the park could have a greater impact on park resources and there may be on-road alternatives for cyclists. The section of trail along the north edge is mostly contained in a Washington Gas utility right of way.

FABB recently visited the park and reviewed the location of the proposed trails. We plan to meet with staff and others to find out more about the proposal and to ensure that bike/ped connectivity is maintained in the area. A group of Huntley Meadows activists opposes the trails and are actively lobbying the County to remove the trails from the two plans.

Location of northern planned trail along
gas line right of way
The Fairfax County Planning Commission will be holding a hearing on Thursday, November 29, 2018, 7:30 PM-10:00 PM at the Fairfax Government Center, 12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 330. Information on the bike plan trail hearing may be viewed here: Information on the Bicycle Master Plan trail hearing and the Trails Planhearing.

FABB opposes the removal of trails from the Plans:
  • The proposed Comprehensive Plan amendments are not an appropriate way to address the proposed changes.
    • Changes to trails should be done as part of a comprehensive effort to update the Bicycle Master Plan and Countywide Trails Plan when there can be a more open and transparent process to engage the public. 
    • The county plans to revisit and merge these plans next year. That’s the appropriate time to make any changes so they can be made in the context of the need for ped/bike connectivity in the surrounding areas.
  • Claims about potential ecological impacts of the trails to the park cannot be substantiated because there are no design plans to evaluate. 
  • None of the designations of the habitat or species in the park requires removal of the trails by either the County or the Commonwealth. 
  • The Virginia Department of Natural Resources has a vision statement for “active communities and open space linked by trails and greenways that connect individuals, children and their families to nature and to each other.”
  • Biking and walking access to Huntley Meadows from nearby neighborhoods needs to be improved and removing these planned trails would have the exact opposite impact
Please send your comments about the trails to:

Supervisor McKay and zachary.Krohmal@fairfaxcounty.gov.

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Sunday, September 23, 2018

Safe Routes to School: Can You Help?

At FABB’s October meeting we were treated to a presentation by Sally Smallwood, the county’s Safe Routes to Schools (SRTS) Coordinator.  She gave a brief rundown on the program’s efforts, including the encouragement of daily commuting to school where appropriate by walking or biking, promoting special events (Bike/Walk to School Day and monthly or weekly walks), and teaching students to ride along with beginning bicycle maintenance skills. 

Aided by donations and grants, the program has purchased and placed bicycles at 23 county elementary and middle schools. Each school gets 35 to 50 bikes with 4 to 6 striders, 40 to 50 helmets, and a storage shed. The program also has two traveling fleets of bikes (one for elementary schools with 40 bikes and one for middle schools with 30 bikes) that it moves between schools for bike instruction during the school’s physical education class.  According to Sally, in her experience, about twenty percent of the kids do not know how to ride a bike. 

Another part of the program involves instructing teachers on the SRTS curriculum along with maintenance skills. Eighty Fairfax County Public School teachers were trained in August, but the course is limited to two hours.  

SRTS is looking for volunteers to create bike clubs at the schools to teach bike maintenance and to help maintain the schools’ bikes. The program provides tool boxes and supplies to schools with bikes. In addition, grants fund more demanding repairs at local bike shops. Volunteers to help “triage” bikes for repairs and to help winterize the bikes when they go into storage later this year would be extremely helpful for the program and the kids. 

SRTS accepts donated kid’s bikes and occasionally gets discarded but working bikes from the I-66 Waste Station and abandoned bikes collected by FCDOT. 

If you are interested in volunteering or donating a child's bike, please send Sally an email here: SafeRoutestoSchool@fcps.edu.

The attendees gave Sally a round of applause in appreciation for all she has done to make Fairfax County’s SRTS program one of the best in the country. 

Our next meeting is scheduled for October 17, 2018, at the Sherwood Regional Library, Alexandria, and will be the twice-postponed Mount Vernon and Lee Districts meeting. 

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Thursday, September 20, 2018

Fall FABB Rides

New bike lanes on North Shore Dr in Reston
Reston Ride on Thurs. Sept. 27 - Ride with FABB to check out new bike lanes striped in Reston this summer. We will ride at a slow pace and stop occasionally to discuss the development of bike facilities in the Reston area. We'll also discuss some Reston points of interest. After the ride you're welcome to sample some of the new beverages being brewed at The Bike Lane. The Bike Lane will contribute to FABB for each beer sold that night.

Ride starts at 5pm. The route is approximately 12 miles (shortened due to sunset at 7pm) and the ride will take about 1.5 hours. Meet at The Bike Lane, 11150 Sunset Hills Road, Reston. Helmets are required and riders will be asked to sign a liability waiver before the ride. Register on Eventbrite.

See a map of the proposed route.

Tour de Mt Vernon on Sat. Oct. 27 - FABB is a co-sponsor of this years Tour de Mt Vernon. Beginning and ending at Fort Hunt Park, we will take a scenic tour of the Mount Vernon District. Riders will have the option of riding the full 35 mile route, or just joining us for the first 15 miles for a shorter route.

Ride highlights include:
  • Mount Vernon Estate
  • River Farm
  • Gum Springs
  • The Grist Mill
  • The Pope-Leighy House
  • And many of our unique communities in between
The ride will begin at 8:30am and will conclude with food, beverages, music and prizes!

Register on Eventbrite.

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Wednesday, September 12, 2018

I Bike. I Vote.

The League of American Bicyclists is encouraging riders to get out and support building a bicycle friendly America this fall. Bikes can bring people together and unite us on the nonpartisan goals of safe streets, less traffic congestion, and less pollution.

Photo courtesy of League of American Bicyclists
The next Congress will be responsible for drafting an updated transportation bill, and over the next two years other opportunities will arise to promote bicycle friendly policies and laws.

It is not too early to think about saving funding for bicycling and walking infrastructure and for improving safety. Examine the candidates' platforms and records and let them know that you bike and you vote. 

More details on LAB plans can be found here

Just remember to get out and vote. 


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Contact FABB via email: info@fabb-bikes.org

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