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Meet Dave Greene

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Hey, I’m Dave Greene.

By now you’ve probably realized I’m a pretty odd guy. I’m always out at community events, shopping at the farmer’s market on East Passyunk, getting into some harebrained scheme to make my life more sustainable–but have you ever actually seen me?

If you have, you should probably get that noggin of yours checked out because this here Philly dude does not *actually* exist. Not in the way you do. You see, I am the child–the brainchild, if you will–of a loving company: Clean Currents.

The folks at Clean Currents took one look at our fair city of Philadelphia and said, that there’s an awesome city, and we’re gonna offer it some green wind power. But, it’s not just about green energy — there are many ways to get your green on. So how does a company make green living easier? How does a badass group of people with a badass product and more integrity than my carbon fiber bike frame get Philadelphians to live green and have a little fun at the same time?

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Green-e Energy Certified Wind Power

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What is Green-e Energy?

Clean Currents offers wind power sourced from both local and national sources and is the ONLY energy company in the Mid-Atlantic region to exclusively offer products that are Green-e Energy certified.

Established and administered by the non-profit Center for Resource Solutions, Green-e Energy is a certification standard that ensures that a renewable energy product meets strict environmental and consumer protection standards.  When you choose Clean Currents wind power you can be assured that:

  • You are supporting new renewable resources: The windmill, that produced your renewable energy was built since 1997
  • There has been no double selling: You are the only one that can claim the benefits of the wind power you purchased; these benefits include the fact that renewable energy produces little or no greenhouse gas emissions
  • Your purchase goes beyond business as usual: You are buying renewable energy beyond what is required by law or claimed within a state mandate, and are helping expand the production of domestic renewable energy

For more information on Green-e Energy certification, call 1-888-63-GREEN or visit www.green-e.org.

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More Clean Energy on the Horizon for Maryland

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A new wave of clean energy production is coming to Maryland, from just off the state’s shores. In accordance with the Offshore Wind Energy Act of this April, 40 new wind turbines will be constructed off the coast of Ocean City, Maryland. The project is projected to be completed by 2018, and is a big step in meeting the state’s green energy goals.

A Green State on the Rise

According to a recent Clean Edge study, Maryland is currently 25th in the nation for supporting clean energy development. As a home state to many of Clean Currents’ 10,000 individual and 3,000 commercial customers and with the Offshore Wind Act in place, it’s clear that Maryland is fighting to rise in those rankings. The new turbines will certainly be putting wind in the sails of Maryland’s fight against climate change. This installation alone could reduce annual carbon emissions by 378,000 tons.

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Testifying to Protect our Customers

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Clean Currents’ own Claire Douglass testifying to protect customer rights

Clean Currents testifed at the DC Public Service Commission (DC PSC) hearing on deceptive marketing and sales practices by alternative energy suppliers.

Complaints about deceptive marketing practices by alternative energy suppliers have skyrocketed over the past few years, prompting a hearing. Many of our customers have faced issues with other alternative energy suppliers, ranging from being enrolled without consent to being unable to cancel their contract. We find these practices unacceptable and are calling on the Public Service Commission to do something about it.

We are asking the DC Public Service Commission to institute higher standards for transparency and accountability to ensure consumer protection among alternative energy suppliers operating in the District of Columbia.

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Conscious Corner: Multiple Paths to Healthy Living

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Wind powered Conscious Corner is a family of stores and a restaurant that are dedicated to healthy living. The cornerstone of the shopping experience is Roots Market (2 locations) which offers a wide selection of natural food products. Conscious Corner also includes, Boulder (1 location), Nest (1 location), Great Sage, and Bark (5 locations).

We sat down with Kathryn Hamilton who handles marketing for Conscious Corner to learn more about the values that drive this unique shopping opportunity.

CC: Why did you think it was important to support clean, renewable wind energy?

KH: Conscious Corner firmly believes in living and consuming consciously. As our mission statement says, we are passionate about the planet we share and strive to adopt policies and programs that align with our mission, such as wind power.

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Clean Currents Solar PPA

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A Clean Currents Solar PPA Puts Affordable Solar Power Within Your Reach

Protect Your Family Against Rising Energy Costs

With a Clean Currents Solar PPA, you pay us for the power your solar system produces each month, but at a rate that can be lower than your current utility rates.

Get All Your Clean Energy on One Convenient Bill

There’s no hassle of going to different vendors.  With a Clean Currents Solar PPA, you get your on-site solar power and your grid-delivered wind power all on the same bill!

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“Sometimes a girl’s gotta have some chocolate!” – Carrie Underwood

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Are you like Carrie Underwood and need to have your chocolate fix? Now you can feel a little less guilty as you partake in all the wonders of chocolate. The artisan factory of SPAGnVOLA Chocolatier is wind powered by Clean Currents!

Sustainability is key, from the actual growing of the cacao beans to the roasting and finally, the beautiful chocolate creations. SPAGnVOLA grows the cacao beans at their estate in Hato Mayor Del Rey, Dominican Republic and their Gaithersburg factory is where all the magic happens.

We sat down with Laura Brooks to learn more about SPAGnVOLA and why the environment is important.

CC: Why did you think it was important to support clean, renewable wind energy?

LB: Clean energy is important because it follows SPAGnVOLA’s philosophy of clean and sustainable practices.

CC: Why did you pick Clean Currents?

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Clean Currents: The Matchmaking Business

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Bikers rest after a morning of touring Baltimore’s parks

True love blossomed between wind powered businesses at the Tour Dem Parks, Hon annual bike ride. Clean Currents came out to feed weary athletes pedaling their way through Baltimore’s parks.

Riders young and old got to enjoy a taste of Michele’s Granola and B’more Organic’s drinkable yogurt. B’more Organic operates around their core values of generosity and sustainability – they donate 10% of all profits to the charity Jodi’s Climb for Hope. Michele’s Granola, – named after founder Michele Thornett- sells wholesome, mind-blowingly delicious granola, which happen to make excellent energy-boosting snacks in the middle of a long bike ride.
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States Take Charge on Clean Energy

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Christie Johnson is the summer Customer Engagement Intern at Clean Currents. She is a rising junior in the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service with a concentration in Environment & Energy studies.

I was skeptical. Entering the briefing “State Clean Energy Initiatives and the Value of Federal-State Partnerships”, I had no preexisting knowledge of state sustainability efforts. As excited as I was to attend, I was prepared to be wholly underwhelmed. My expectations were completely surpassed.

Representatives from across the U.S.- literally from Alaska to Massachusetts- spoke about clean energy ventures in their states. From impressive solar statistics in California, Massachusetts and Connecticut to the prospect of offshore wind in Maryland and a long-time-coming hydroelectric dam in Alaska, it became clear to me that states are pursuing far more clean energy initiatives than I was aware.

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Wind Farms

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The United States has some of the best wind resources of anywhere on earth.  In fact, the country’s wind power potential exceeds 30 trillion kilowatt-hours of electricity, or nearly 10 times the country’s existing power needs (NREL Wind Resource Potential, 2010).

Clean Currents buys renewable wind energy from a number of domestic sources which vary depending upon which Clean Currents wind power product you chose (National Wind or Neighborhood Wind™).

Clean Currents sources its Neighborhood WindTM from Pennsylvania

The Highland North Wind Farm is located within the PJM electric grid, covering Maryland, DC, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, Ohio, Virginia and West Virginia.  Electricity produced by the wind turbines at Highland North feeds directly onto the same grid that our homes, businesses, shops, and schools pull power from.  By choosing Clean Currents Neighborhood Wind™, you are helping to increase the share of renewable energy right here in our region.

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B-Corporation

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What are Certified B Corporations?

Certified B Corporations are companies that take into consideration social and environmental factors when making business decisions. They pay attention to the triple bottom line: people, planet, and profit. To formalize this committment, they undergo a third-party audit of their operations to ensure that they:

  • Meet comprehensive and transparent social and environmental performance standards.
  • Meet higher legal accountability standards.
  • Consider community stakeholders. 

 greencommitment

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Green Summer Travel Tips

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Who doesn’t love to travel light? Less of a load is always a welcome change. Reduce the load on your mind by traveling “light” and green! Here at Clean Currents, we came up with some great ways to minimize your impact on the planet while you enjoy your summer vacation.

1. Choose a local destination. Never been to that museum in the city? Or how about the beach only a train ride away? There are tons of local vacation destinations all over the U.S. and sure to be plenty in your state. Better yet, have a “staycation” and explore your own town! It’s a perfect chance to relax and enjoy the tourist sights in your area.

2. Travel Green. Avoid the stress and chaos of the airport AND cut your carbon emissions. Carpool or take public transportation to your vacation destination and once you get there! By finding a destination with public transportation, you can save money and emissions by avoiding renting a car. If there is no public transportation, rent a bike. It’s a great way to explore a new city and no need to find a parking spot!

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I Heart CC

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For almost 4 years, I’ve been part of the Clean Currents team as we’ve worked hard to transform the relationship customers have with their electricity supplier. We want our customers to love their energy company. Based on some of our recent surveys, we’re doing pretty well on this front with both our business and individual customers. Getting positive comments from customers through emails, social media, and at events has been one of the most rewarding parts of my job.

Now that I’m getting ready to say goodbye to head back to school, I wanted to share some of the reasons why I LOVE Clean Currents.

1) We care.

The people that work for this company have a tremendous amount of passion. As a group, we care about climate change, the environment, our community and – of course – our customers. Our kitchen conversations are often about local volunteer opportunities, our awesome new CSA, the Stop Keystone rally over the weekend, or an interesting Grist article about sustainability or environmentalism. In terms of caring about customers, my coworkers will stay late to figure out the answer to a tricky customer question or work evenings and weeknights to attend an event for one of our business customers — and always with a smile.

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(Em)powering Philadelphia

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There are thousands of mentoring programs in the country serving three million youths. Dozens of states and cities have launched mentoring programs, and many corporations have their own initiatives. If there is one thing that Americans seem to agree on, it is that millions of children need guidance from positive adult role models.

That’s why it was so easy to create Lots of Power, our new mentoring program in Philadelphia that addresses one of the city’s biggest problems–vacant lots. Our project will pair high-school age students with professional designers and architects to research and develop innovative concepts for specific vacant lots in Kensington.

During the six-week program, teen participants will work in teams with professional mentor to gain real-world experience using design thinking to discover and exhibit creative potential, communicate their ideas and take positive action in their communities.

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How Clean Currents Wind Power Works

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Residents and businesses in Washington, DC, Maryland and Pennsylvania have the power to choose their electric supplier. If you pay your electricity bill, you can choose to support renewable energy every time you turn on your lights.

The Quick Answer

When you switch to Clean Currents, you will still receive one electric bill from your utility. However, Clean Currents will be responsible for the generation and transmission of your power. For all the electricity you use in your home or business, we purchase enough Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) to match your electricity usage.

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Purchasing Wind Power: It’s Like Buying Organic, but a bit Different

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It’s the summer — the season of fresh produce. So, what does that have to do with wind power? Because purchasing power impacts markets:  both farmers markets and energy markets.

When you want to buy organic strawberries at the grocery store, you select the ones with the green sticker from the organic section and bring them to the checkout.

You’ll pay a little extra for that organic produce, and part of your payment goes to the organic farmer who produced the strawberries.  In this transaction, it’s clear that your purchase supports the sustainable growing practices that organic farming represents.

Unfortunately, being a socially responsible energy consumer isn’t quite as simple. If it were, I have a feeling that we would be using much more renewable energy in the US, and that Clean Currents might already be a fortune 500 company.

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These People Really Know How to Energize Responsibly

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This spring we’ve gone from Charm City Run’s birthday celebration to Tour Dem Parks, Hon! to ask you what makes you feel energized. We got some great answers ranging from hiking, biking and running to an office favorite of: “I’m on a trail deep in the woods; I can’t hear anything but the trees blowing”.

Hundreds of people have pledged to Energize Responsibly by ditching dirty power and supporting wind power at home. And, these three lucky pledge takers are taking home our grand prizes:

  • Katrina W. — Specialized Brand Bike
  • Bob B. — ChicoBag Day Pack filled with a Kleen Kanteen and Michele’s Granola
  • Paul L. — Charm City Run gift card

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Melissa & Brian go Solar Thermal

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Melissa and Brian of Davidsonville, MD, recently installed a solar thermal system on their roof. They talk with us about why they chose to install a solar thermal system and gave us some tips on how to live a greener life.

Where did you first hear about Clean Currents’ solar water heating solutions?

We first read about Clean Currents in a local magazine called Nesting, and when we asked an environmentally-savvy friend about her solar water panels, she whole-heartedly recommended Clean Currents. Now we recommend Clean Currents.

Why did you choose to have a solar water heating system installed on your home?

We have a big house that, if we’re not careful, could take us down in energy costs. As a family of five we use a lot of hot water — for bathing, dishwashing, and clothes washing. Since we use well water, we essentially have free water. With the solar thermal system, we essentially have free hot water.

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What Does 3,500 Mean to You?

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Back in April, June 10th seemed forever away. Now, it’s just around the corner. Why are we obsessed with June 10th? Because it’s the last day to be part of Energize Responsibly, of course!

(Insert awesome flashback music here)

This spring, we launched Energize Responsibly: our initiative to motivate 1,000 people in the Baltimore area to pledge to ditch dirty air and support wind power at home.

Pledge-takers are entered to win:

  • A Specialized bike
  • A ChicoBag DayPacker filled with goodies
  • Charm City Run gift cards

Don’t worry! There’s still time to be part of Energize Responsibly and get a chance at these awesome prizes. Enter by taking the pledge to Energize Responsibly.

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We are Celebrating the 41st World Environment Day

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World Environment Day is back again! It’s a great reason to celebrate our world and participate in positive environmental action…but what exactly is it?

World Environment Day was first celebrated 41 years ago at the first United Nations Conference on the Human Environment. The conference began on June 5th, 1972, and is considered a breakthrough event in the development of international environmentalism. It opened up international dialogue on human interactions with the environment, which had not been addressed on the global scale before.

The conference helped build a framework for governments and international organizations to deal with environmental issues, current and future. Today, the UNEP uses June 5th to continue the tradition of education and discussion around international environmental problems. Each year there is a new theme and a new country acts as the official World Environment Day host.

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A Conversation with Andy Shallal: Bringing a New Meaning to Community

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For those of you who have had the delight of dining at the famous Busboys & Poets, you’ve probably noticed the inspirational murals lining the walls. These beautiful pieces are the works of art of Andy Shallal, a well-known artist, activist, and founder of Busboys & Poets.

Andy has been in the restaurant business for years, but in 2005, he opened the first Busboys & Poets at 14th & V St, NW. These restaurants combine the elements of art, books, performance, culture, and good food under one roof. As Andy describes it, Busboys & Poets is, “a place where multiple layers of things are happening”.

The inspiration for Andy’s unique business model is rooted in his goal: to break-down barriers and create a holistic community in which the city’s ethnic, literary, arts, and international elements are combined. Andy’s heroic efforts speak to his influential role in redefining the DC community as a less segmented and segregated community.

Poetry — Andy’s personal favorite — serves as a great art form and a community builder that actively brings people together to foster this vision of community. Running about 20 poetry programs monthly, Busboys has been instrumental in inspiring a renaissance of poetry in the U Street area.

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Electricity Pricing – What to Expect

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Electricity prices are notoriously difficult to predict and are affected by factors such as weather, economic conditions, required investments in aging grid infrastructure, and resource availability. In the past several years, the economic recession stifled demand for electricity. At the same time, an abundance of natural gas resources available by new drilling techniques such as hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and horizontal drilling led to increased supply. Both of these factors contributed to a significant dip in overall wholesale energy prices in recent years. However, the general trend is that energy prices, like the prices of other goods, rise over time. In our grid region (called PJM), there is an added upward pressure on prices right now as a result of record high capacity charges to finance improvement to the regional grid (Learn more about Capacity Charges). This impacts everyone – even those selling wind power.

So what does it mean for your business?
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Clean Currents Named to 2013 Best for the World List

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We are grateful to be recognized by B Corporation as a 2013 Best for the Environment on Environmental Impact honoree.  This designation is given to the top 10% of B Corporations in the Environmental Impact category. The diverse list of honorees includes businesses from 30 industries and 11 countries.

Certified B Corps voluntarily meet higher standards for transparency, community engagement and environmental impact. Collectively, we are changing the way business is done — making the triple bottom line as important and effective as the financial bottom line.

Clean Currents was one of the first companies in the state of Maryland to complete the B Corp assessment and adopt the B Corp legal framework into its operating structure and was the first company in the state of Maryland an the United States to file to become a Benefit LLC.
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Demystifying Capacity Charges

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Understanding all the parts of an electricity price quote can confuse many. There is the rate per kWh as well as the specific charges for Generation, Transmission and Capacity. Clean Currents and other energy suppliers do not include distribution charges and taxes in the price quote. As part of helping you be an informed green energy shopper, we are going to focus on demystifying the Capacity charge.

You may have noticed that your electric bill contains several different charges: distribution, generation, transmission, among others. The distribution portion of your bill goes to the local utility, whether or not you choose an alternate supplier like Clean Currents. This portion finances the maintenance of local power lines. The Generation and Transmission (or “Energy Charge”) are controlled by the electric supplier you choose and account for the generation of energy and the transportation of it across long distance power lines – called transmission lines. Transmission lines are similar to the local distribution lines maintained by a local utility, but since they cross utility regions and state lines, they are maintained by a “market operator”. In our area, this operator is called PJM. This entity is in charge of our regional power grid, and in addition to maintaining these long distance transmission lines, also makes sure the regional grid is balanced and operates smoothly. This function is financed through capacity charges, which are included in the Energy Charge.
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WABA Bikes into our Hearts

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National Bike Month has been a blast. Aside from down right chilly weather and some rain showers, we’ve had a great time getting back on our bikes after the winter and getting to know some of the great biking organizations in DC, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.

One of our favorites — and newly wind powered — is the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA). As the DC region’s non-profit biking association, WABA promotes bicycling as a fun, affordable mode of transportation that builds community, keeps you healthy, and keeps environment healthy too.

WABA advocates for better bicycling conditions and transportation choices. They also educate the community about safe bicycling through classes and events. They do all of this with the vision of fully-integrated transportation system in the DC region that links transit, trails, bicycling, and walking.
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Finding My Windy Roots

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Last week I had the opportunity to travel to Chicago for WINDPOWER 2013:  the American Wind Energy Association’s annual conference and trade show.

As a conference volunteer, my primary responsibility was to administer surveys to representatives of fifty different companies that manufacture components for wind turbines here in the United States. There are approximately 8,000 parts in a wind turbine, and about two-thirds of those parts are sourced from manufacturing plants located in the U.S.

Over the course of three days, I spoke with representatives of companies that manufacture nacelles, towers, bearings, lighting, and what seemed like everything in between.

The characteristics of the manufacturing plants and their parent companies varied. Some supply parts exclusively to the wind industry, whereas for others, the wind industry represents only 5% of their business.
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Local Schools Top EPA Green Power Partner List

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As if we weren’t already bursting our buttons in pride over the high quality schools in the DC metro area, several area schools were just recognized by the EPA for their renewable energy purchases through the Green Power Partnership program.

Four 100% Clean Currents powered schools graced the top 20 K-12 list: Bullis School, Norwood School, Maret School, and Melvin J Berman Hebrew Academy. Beyond their commitment to renewable energy, here’s a bit about why we love them:

Bullis School

Bullis School is an independent, co-educational school in Potomac, MD.  Educating students in grades 3-12, its mission is to provide a balanced academic, artistic, athletic and community service experience. Bullis’ vision to prepare students to be ‘caring citizens and critical thinkers’ is apparent in its green principles.

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Bike to Work Day Demystified Courtesy of WABA

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Happy Bike Month! We’re all about this mode of transportation, and the many ways we’ll celebrate our bicycles this month. To kick things off, we asked the Washington Area Bicycle Association (WABA) to send us tips for participating in Bike to Work Day on May 17th. Not only is it a great day celebrating biking in DC, MD and VA, but it’s also a primary way to tally bike commuters. So check out these tips, and we’ll see you May 17th!

What is Bike to Work Day?

Bike to Work Day is a yearly event that encourages commuters to bike to work. BTWD is a free event and open to everyone in the DC and Baltimore area. It’s a celebration of biking in our region! This year, it’s on Friday, May 17.

Why should someone who has never biked to work give it a try?

Besides being one of the most convenient, least expensive ways to get around town, it’s fun! Bike commuting is better for the environment, your wallet, and your waistline.

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