Michelle Wu’s Editorial on Biking in Boston

The Boston Globe recently published Boston City Council President Michelle Wu’s thoughts on improving bicyclist safety and promoting bike commuting in Boston by way of protected bike lanes.  It’s been passed around quite a bit in Boston cycling circles, but if you haven’t read it yet, check it out: https://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2016/07/11/the-road-fear-free-biking-boston/UBnj30slkPwBIzggL70uwJ/story.html

 

Posted in Advocacy, Bicycling, Bike Safety, Boston, Urban Planning | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

2016 Bikes Not Bombs Bike-A-Thon

On Sunday, my son Peter & I rode the ten mile route in the Bikes Not Bombs Bike-A-Thon, raising $463 in donations for all the great work done by Bikes Not Bombs!  Even though the ride is over, you can still sponsor us (I think the donor page is active until December!).

Rain delayed this year’s ride from June 5th to June 19th, so I got to spend a gorgeous Father’s Day with my son biking around Boston and Brookline.  Last year’s ride was marred a bit by Peter’s bike being too small, so we got him a new bike last summer and it proved to be up to the task.  This year’s ride almost seemed to go by too fast, but it was worth it when we were coasting down the hill by the Arboretum and Peter exclaimed “This is so much fun!”  Next year, Peter wants to do the thirty mile ride and I think he will be up to it!

Thanks to everyone who sponsored us and the companies who supported today’s event and all the volunteers who made it a perfect day!

Ready to ride!

Pre ride selfie

Cruising down a tree-lined street

Celebrating with a youth rider’s medal

Previous Bike-A-Thon’s: 2011, 2013, and 2015.

Posted in Advocacy, Bicycling, Bikes Not Bombs Bike-A-Thon, Boston, Brookline, Events, Jamaica Plain | Leave a comment

Good News for the Emerald Necklace in Brookline

Brookline has announced that it will begin work on a bicycle/pedestrian connection for the Emerald Necklace paths across Boylston Street (route 9) in the Brookline Village/Mission Hill area.  This is great news as the Emerald Necklace paths are major route of bicycle commuters and recreational riders.  The current situation ridiculously forces bikers to cross a high-volume roadway with no crosswalk, no lights, and only a narrow break through a median strip.

Personally, I ride through this area every time I commute to work so this is a much needed improvement.  I think many bike commuters will enjoy more protection from Boston and Brookline neighborhoods to downtown and new riders will be encouraged to give it a try.

Posted in Boston, Brookline | Tagged | Leave a comment

Leap on your bike!

I’m not much of a winter biker.  The ice patches scare me and I don’t like be forced into auto traffic by mounds of snow.

But we’ve had a mild winter, and today is an absolutely gorgeous spring-like last day of February.  So I had no excuse to break out my bike and ride to work for the first time since before Christmas.

As an added bonus, I saw Hubway reinstalling the docking station near my place of work.  So in coming days even if I’m too lazy/cold/whatever to ride all the way to work, I can still use Hubway for the “final mile.”

IMG_0001

What a perfect Leap Day!

How about you?  Did you ride your bike today?  Have you been riding all winter? Do you plan to start riding soon?  Let me know in the comments!

Posted in Allston-Brighton, Bicycle Fun & Frivolities, Bike Share, Boston, Hubway, Jamaica Plain | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Where should Hubway go next?

Boston Bikes wants input on expansion of Hubway bike dock stations in Boston.  Fill out the survey to help place new stations in Brighton, Charlestown, Dorchester, Jamaica Plain, Roxbury/Franklin Park, and South Boston.  Looks like the Hubway bike network will be even better positioned to serve communities all over the city very soon!

Posted in Allston-Brighton, Bike Share, Boston, Charlestown, Dorchester, Forest Hills, Hubway, Jamaica Plain, Roxbury, South Boston | Leave a comment

Boston Bike Commuter Report, July 2015

I aimed for an average of 10 miles per day, or 310 miles total but didn’t quite get there.  Still, it was a fun month with lots of sweaty rides in the summer heat and humidity. And it’s my most bikey month so far this year.

I biked 23 out of 31 days, so that perfect month of biking still remains elusive. This includes the days that my bike was in the shop for necessary repairs. And I tried to replace my pedals on my own.  One just won’t come off!

On the bright side, my son is going to camp and riding his brand new bike to the bus stop.  So I have a commuter buddy for the first mile of my morning ride for four weeks.

Here are my stats:

Total miles: 270.56

Average miles per day riding: 11.76

Most miles in a single day: 24.04

Fewest miles in a single day (when actually biking):  2.7

Most consecutive days bicycling: 11

Most consecutive days failing to bike: 2 (2 x)

Cities biked in: 3 (Boston, Brookline, Cambridge)

Posted in Ride Log | Tagged | Leave a comment

Cranking Tunes While Cranking Gears

Recently I was biking along Massachusetts Avenue. Another bicyclist passed me and I heard the throbbing bass of a dance tune. I assumed the music came from a passing car, but as I caught up to this bicycle at a light it was obvious the the music was coming from that bike. I never got close enough to find out how (I think the rider had a speaker in his backpack) but it got me thinking. Wouldn’t it be great to listen to music while biking, or even podcasts and audiobooks?

The question is how. Many bikers chose to listen to music through headphones or earbuds, although this is controversial.  One local bicycle writer Josh Zisson writes in Bike Safe Boston that biking with headphones is inherently dangerous and should be illegal. Another local writer John Allen thinks the case against headphones is exaggerated and there should be no law against using them while biking.  Some bicyclists think that bone conducting headphones are a safer option but they’re not without detractors.

I find myself taking the middle ground.  While I don’t think riding with headphones is necessarily dangerous and I don’t think it should be illegal, I also don’t feel comfortable doing it myself.  I don’t want to put myself in a situation where I’m riding with the sense of hearing possibly obstructed.

So the other alternative is to find a stereo or speaker system that can be attached to the bike.  At first I thought this may be inconsiderate considering that anyone I’d pass by would hear it to.  But then again the tradition of car drivers blasting the stereo with the windows down is cherished in America.  This would be doing the same thing on a bike and not likely to be nearly as loud or disruptive.

After looking around for a bit, I settled on the Ivation Bicycle Speaker.

IMG_0061

The speaker mounts on the handlebars, has a rechargable battery, and includes a protective carrying case for smartphones and other small objects.  I can plug in my iPhone through an auxiliary cable and listen to all manner of music, podcasts, and audiobooks.  And it can get pretty loud, so much so that I can feel the handlebars vibrate!

On the downside, the phone is hidden away in the compartment, so it’s not very handy if you need the phone for mapping or just to check the time.  The auxiliary cable gets bent easily and I’ve already had two of them go on the fritz.  Finally, the sound of passing motor vehicle traffic still drowns out the sound sometimes even when the handlebars are vibrating.  Makes you wonder just how much damage is done to our ears by the constant barrage of vehicular noise.  All and all though it was a pretty good $30 spent!

So do you listen to music while you bike?  Do you use headphones/earpuds or a mounted speaker, or something else entirely?

Posted in Bike Safety | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Boston Bike Commuter Report, June 2015

I’m a slow biker. I’m a slow blogger too.  So, it’s almost the end of July and here is my bike report for June.

I rode 22 days out of 30.  Highlights of the month include the Bikes Not Bombs Bike-A-Thon and taking my bike on a trip to Cape Cod.  Despite all that, I managed to ride fewer miles than I did in May. 🙁     My goal for July is to try to average 10 miles/day.

Here are my stats:

Total miles: 211.18

Average miles per day riding:  9.59

Most miles in a single day: 15.6

Fewest miles in a single day (when actually biking):  1.15

Most consecutive days bicycling:  6 (twice)

Most consecutive days failing to bike: 3

Cities biked in: 4 (Boston, Brookline, Cambridge, Eastham)

I will put up my July report next week, I promise!

Posted in Ride Log | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2015 Bikes Not Bombs Bike-A-Thon

On June 7th, I rode in the Bikes Not Bombs Bike-A-Thon for the third time.  I seem to participate every year, although it’s such a lovely event for a great cause that I need to commit to doing it annually.  I was joined by children Kay, who rode in to co-pilot’s seat, and Peter, who pedaled his own bike for the ten mile ride.  The three of us were able to raise $615 which was part of the record $209,280 raised by a record 866 riders!  Our donation page is still open to receive more contributions should you be so inclined

When we first arrived at the starting point near Stony Brook station, we saw lots of bikes with brooms sticking off the back.  I thought maybe I’d missed out on a theme for the ride, but it turned out this was a fleet of bikes for a team called The Golden Sneetches.  After checking-in and eating breakfast, we got on line to start the ride and found ourselves behind our nextdoor neighbors who were also festively attired. Note to self: wear a costume next time.

The Bikes Not Bombs staff introduced our ride, warning us that there were steep uphills early on as we headed away from Jamaica Plain, but we’d be rewarded with a nice long downhill after the rest area.  The hills were tough for Peter who rides a single-gear Schwinn.  He complained about having to go up so much and asked repeatedly when we’d get to the rest area, but persevered and kept on pedaling.  Another wrench in the works was that near the halfway point of the ride, we ended up running into a charity 5K run!  A person from that other event insisted that we bike down a side street meaning that myself and a number of Golden Sneetches had to navigate a new route on the fly.

At last we made it to the rest area in Brookline and refreshed by orange slices and Gatorade, were able to carry on with the rest of the ride.  Not only was it mostly downhill, but Peter began to recognize the streets of Brookline as being close to home.  We pedaled past Allandale Farm and the Arboretum and back into central Jamaica Plain to finish the ride.  The kids received medals and we ate some lunch and played for a while before heading home for a much-needed.  Well, the kids were still full of energy, so they played with Mom while I napped.

A refreshing orange slice. Finishers’ medals Peter shows off his medal Kay loves hula hooping (Thanks to Bikes Not Bombs for taking this photo and posting on Facebook)

Previously:

Posted in Bikes Not Bombs Bike-A-Thon, Boston, Events, Jamaica Plain | Leave a comment

Support Bikes Not Bombs!

This Sunday, June 7,  I will be riding with my children, Kay & Peter, in the Bikes Not Bombs Bike-A-Thon! Peter will be riding his own bike and Kay will be the co-pilot on my bike.  The Bike-A-Thon is always a fun event and it raise money for a terrific cause.

Based in Boston not far from where we live, Bikes Not Bombs serves two great purposes. First they collect and renovate bicycles to ship to developing communities in Central America, the Carribean and Africa. These bicycles help people meet crucial transportation needs with a easily maintained and environmentally-friendly vehicle. Secondly, they help youth right here in Boston learn skills such as urban bike riding and bicycle repair that contributes to building their confidence and leadership skills. Please help us in our efforts by making a generous donation!

Donate now at our Bike-A-Thon page.

Posted in Advocacy, Bicycling, Bikes Not Bombs Bike-A-Thon, Boston, Events, Jamaica Plain | Leave a comment