DC is a land of tribes. “Where do you work?” is the first question that you hear at a Washington party. It’s an attempt to discover your tribal affiliation – are you Government, Lawyer, Liberal, Nonprofit, Corporate or Something Else? The purpose is to determine whether you are friend or foe, superior or inferior.
It’s a silly practice based upon the assumption that people are defined by their jobs. But work is not a passion for most people. Most of us are defined by our interests, rather than our jobs.
Case in point: The Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA). At last night’s Holiday Party at the Bier Baron, I met an incredibly diverse group of people. They were young, old, women, men, gay, straight – one of the most eclectic gatherings you’ll find in self-sorting DC. They included everyone from government employees living in the suburbs to entrepreneurs working in the city.
And they weren’t interested in what you did for a living. Instead, the talk was of winter cycling tights and the best bike route to Silver Spring. “How many bikes do you own?” was a popular question. With just two bikes, I was an outlier among the avid cyclists.
New bike lanes and the advent of Capital Bikeshare has led to an explosion of cycling in DC. In the crowded 15th St Cycletrack, you see scores of bikers every morning – women in dresses (yes, even in this weather), hard-core commuters and elderly tourists on red Bikeshare bikes.
Which is why I’m glad to be a WABA member. It’s not just the sexy legs. It’s that cycling is a shared experience that bridges communities across the city. I’m a WABA member because biking in DC is fun.