Wayne watched intently as a mechanic fixed his flat tire and installed a new inner tube. When finished, the youngster repeated the safety tips provided by his mechanic with unbridled enthusiasm.
WABA's Mobile Bike Shop, was conceived as part of the organization's East of the River initiative, and specifically caters to those residents in need of bike repairs.
As gas prices continue to soar, many are turning to bikes as an alternative mode of transportation. However, regular access to a functional bike is more difficult for some than others. Capital Bikeshare currently has 11 stations east of the Anacostia River, but the $75 annual membership fee prevent some from joining.
Cyclists who live in Wards 7 and 8 also face challenges that aren't present elsewhere in the District. Issues such as the lack of bike racks, inadequate bike trails, and the scarcity of bike lanes pose legitimate obstacles to bikers.
"There are hardly any bike lanes. We need them. We need them badly," Blake said.
Dupree Heard, WABA's outreach coordinator, works to increase bike ridership exclusively in Wards 7 and 8. Heard has seen first-hand the challenges bikers in the two wards face.
"I don't like the fact that this is an area of the city where there are fewer riders. It's not principally the residents' fault; there aren't a lot of opportunities to ride down here. We [WABA] want to give them the opportunities that [a great deal] of the city has [already received]," Heard said.
"The bike lanes are less satisfactory than they are in the rest of the city. I feel as if other wards have the majority share of the lanes."
In addition to serving as a transportation alternative, family biking has also provided parents the opportunity to engage in a shared activity with their children.
Deborah Smith, 39, brought her three children along to Sunday's mobile bike shop. Smith said that she rides with her children to and from school, and thoroughly enjoys doing so.
"I love riding in the city, that's all I do. My kids and I, ride all the time. It's a family affair," Smith said.
Ralph J. Chittams, Sr., toted his bike in for repairs and said that he hopes to start cycling with his family.
"I want to be a good example for my kids. If they see their parents exercise, then they are more apt to exercise. There are some great places to ride in Southeast Washington. And what better way to see it, than from the seat of a bike?" Chittams, 50, said.
Sunday's mobile bike shop was WABA's fourth in a series of 10, which ends in August.
Nelle Pierson, WABA's event coordinator, said she's pleased with the reception her group has received in Wards 7 and 8, and looks forward to the continued growth of ridership in the wards.
"Part of WABA's larger program, east of the river, is to encourage cyclists in the area to get out on their bikes, ride safely, and to encourage others to get on their bikes. Throughout the summer, we're also going to be holding family bike rides," Pierson, 23, said.
While family bike rides may appeal to seasoned cyclists, first-time bikers will also have the opportunity to learn about cycling and the rules of the road. WABA plans to entice riders with more giveaways.
"Part of our larger program aside from the mobile clinic series, is giving away five free bikes to applicants who go online or fill out their information at the mobile clinics, and we'll be selecting winners [this week]. We're also giving away [more than] 30 Capital Bikeshare memberships," Pierson said.
With WABA's grassroots efforts, bike ridership numbers across the Anacostia River will likely continue to increase. As these numbers grow, a larger collective voice will resound in Wards 7 and 8 as residents demand more bike lanes, increased bike trails and cycling amenities afforded to residents in other areas of the city.
"People want to ride; they want to be able to have an affordable form of transportation that gets them around the city reliably," Heard said.