MassBike Partners with the City of Cambridge to Discuss "City Bicycling" with Immigrant Populations

Last week, MassBike instructor extraordinaire Laura Smeaton led a workshop on "Biking in the City" for under-served immigrant populations in the City of Cambridge. Over 40 adults and 25 children learned more about riding comfortably in their own neighborhoods by asking questions and discussing topics such as overcoming common barriers to bicycling.

The great turnout was a result of tireless publicity by the City's Community Engagement Team. The workshop's formation was due in large part from MassBike's partnership with the Cambridge Public Health Department, Food and Fitness Council, and Community Development Department (CDD).

All agencies devoted significant time, expertise, and energy to fulfilling their goal to connect under-served Cambridge families to fitness opportunities, including bicycling. CDD provided bike maps, helmets, and water bottles to all those in attendance, while MassBike handed out the "Parents Guide to Bike Safety" in over 5 languages, though all 9 are found on our website.

Laura spoke in great detail about the many different types of bikes one can ride, the benefits of bicycling, basic equipment and parts of a bike, locking strategies, the MBTA's bicycle policies, rules of the road, and tips for handling busy city streets. Many questions were asked. One highlight was when a participant listed off all of the reasons why she enjoys bicycling: it's fun, a chance to be outside, and healthy!

Stay tuned for more updates from MassBike's bustling education program. We're excited to be partnering with diverse agencies from the City of Cambridge in order to deliver bicycling skills training courses and workshops to introduce people to the joys of city bicycling.

What's Happening On The Norwottuck Rail Trail

[caption id="attachment_22427" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] The Connecticut River Bridge. Photo: Denimadept[/caption]

Residents of the Pioneer Valley have been patiently waiting for construction on the Norwottuck Rail Trail to finish. That trail, along with the Manhan Rail Trail and the Northampton Bikeway, make up the robust network of rail trails that provide low-stress biking and walking routes which connect the Pioneer Valley communities of Amherst, Hadley, Northampton, Easthampton, and Haydenville.

The Department of Conservation (DCR), the state agency in charge of maintaining these trails, recently provided an update on construction progress and anticipated closure and reopening dates for sections of the Norwottuck trail slated for work.

Perhaps the biggest inconveniences during construction has been the closure of the Connecticut River Bridge. Trail users have been detoured to the Route 9 bridge - which has a shoulder but no marked bike lane in either direction - to cross the river between Northampton and Hadley. According to DCR, bridge work is complete, but the pathway remains closed. "The pathway on both sides is still an active work zone with paving, concrete work and heavy equipment. Please continue to detour this section."

Work was recently completed on the Damon Road parking lot in Northampton, and a new pre-cast concrete boardwalk is being installed at the Route 9 tunnel in Hadley.

Weather permitting, the entire section of trail from Damon Road to North Maple Street in Hadley, including the bridge, will reopen on or near Memorial Day. Construction heading further east into Amherst will happen in phases and is expected to be completed by September 2014.

MassBike has put together a helpful map that details each construction phase and possible alternative routes during construction. As always, use caution when trying a new route.

Visit this DCR web page about the trail construction for an anticipated work schedule and closures.

We have also previously reported on construction detours on the Manhan Rail Trail and will continue to provide updates as we learn more information.

Registration For BikeMass, Our Summer Century Event, Is Now Open!

You've been waiting for it and now it's here... registration for BikeMass, our 5th annual summer century and family event, is now open! This year, we have a new name and a new look. Previously called Summer Century, the new name BikeMass encompasses the spirit of our mission - better bicycling "for the masses." But the spirit of the event remains the same - a beautiful ride through the rolling hills of the Concord and Assabet River valleys, stops at farms along the way, and family fun, food, and beverages at NARA Park in Acton.

If you are planning to do a century ride this summer, look no further! This is your chance to get in those miles and support MassBike's work to make bicycling better across Massachusetts. After the ride, join us back at NARA Park for some post ride fun, including food and drinks. Non-rider tickets are also available, so you can bring the whole family to partake in the food, drinks and activities!

Here is the day-of-event schedule:

7:00 am Century Ride start
9:00 am Metric Century Ride start
11:00 am 30 mile Ride start
1:00 pm Lunch starts
2:30 pm - 4:30 pm Family fun, food, and drinks. Details TBA.

We can't wait to see you there!

Weekly Meetings & Events Roundup

Here is a roundup of public meetings and events happening this week - Bay State Bike Week edition! There are several important public meetings happening this week, including the Beacon Street 75% Design Plans Meeting in Somerville on Tuesday, and Connect Historic Boston in Boston on Thursday. In addition to the events and meetings listed here, be sure to check out the Bay State Bike Week event listings to find great events going on in your area!

Tuesday, May 13

Event: MassBike Air & Oil Station - Cambridge
Time: 4:00 PM - 6:00 PM
Location: Foot of Harvard Bridge, Northeast Corner of Memorial Drive/Mass Ave Intersection, Cambridge, MA
Description: MassBike is showing some love to the afternoon commuters! We'll be cheering on passing bikers, offering free air for your tires and lubrication for your chain if you need it, and giving away cool free stuff! Read more.

Event: MassBike Volunteer Night
Time: 5:30 PM - 8:30 PM
Location: MassBike Office, 171 Milk Street Suite 33, Boston, MA
Description: Do you enjoy hanging out with fellow cyclists, conducting sparkling conversation, and eating pizza with a refreshing Harpoon beer, or soda? Then you won’t want to miss Volunteer Night on the second Tuesday of every month, from 5:30 - 8pm. It’s a chance to have some fun and help MassBike with a few easy administrative tasks. RSVP to or call us at 617-542-2453.

Public Meeting: Somerville, Beacon Street 75% Design Plans Meeting
Time: 6:30 PM
Location: Argenziano School Cafetorium, 290 Washington St, Somerville, MA
Description: The City of Somerville will present its 75% design plans for the planned reconstruction of Beacon Street. As in previous designs, plans are expected to call for grade-separated cycle tracks in both directions along portions of the street, and standard bike lanes along other portions. MassBike strongly encourages Somerville residents to attend the meeting and speak in favor of the cycle track concept. Read more.

Wednesday, May 14

Meeting: Cambridge Bicycle Committee
Time: 5:30 PM
Location: 344 Broadway 4th Floor, Cambridge, MA
Description: The Cambridge Bicycle Committee, established by City Council in 1991, works to improve conditions for bicyclists in the City of Cambridge and promote bicycling as a means of transportation. Read more.

Public Meeting: Somerville, Community Path Extension
Time: 6:00 PM
Location: Holiday Inn in Somerville, 30 Washington Street, Somerville, MA
Description: The Green Line Extension (GLX) Project Team will hold a public meeting to review the latest design plans for Community Path. More information about the project is available on the Green Line Extension website.

Thursday, May 15

Event: MassBike Commuter Breakfast - Southwest Corridor
Time: 7:30 PM - 9:30 PM
Location: Southwest Corridor Bike Path at Ruggles Street, Boston, MA
Description: MassBike is showing some love to the morning commuters on the Southwest Corridor! We'll be cheering on passing bikers, offering free coffee and snacks, and giving away cool free stuff. Read more.

Public Meeting: Boston, Connect Historic Boston
Time: 5:00 PM Open House, 6:30 PM Presentation, 7:00 PM Q & A
Location: Offices at the Government Center Parking Garage, 1 Congress Street, 11th Floor, Boston, MA
Description: The City of Boston will host this public meeting. According to the city, "the purpose of this meeting is to provide the public with updated information about the City of Boston’s Connect Historic Boston Project including: 1.) The latest design elements and features of the project, 2.) Construction that is on public recreation land, in historic districts and/or on historic properties, 3.) The City’s proposal to secure a right-of-way via temporary and permanent easements, and 4.) Next steps for the design and bidding process."

MassBike strongly encourages Boston residents, particularly those living in the North End and West End, to attend the meeting and speak in favor of the project. Read more.

Public Meeting: Cambridge, Amory Street Community Meeting
Time: 6:30 PM
Location: DPW office, 147 Hampshire Street, Cambridge, MA
Description: The Community Development Department and the Department of Public Works will be hosting a community meeting to discuss the upcoming Amory Street sidewalk and roadway reconstruction project. The project will also include pedestrian safety improvements and we are encouraging area residents to attend this meeting to learn more about the design and other important information related to the project. If you have any questions, please contact Chris Neil at

Public Meeting: Reading, Reconstruction of West Street Project
Time: 7:00 PM
Location: Walter S. Parker Middle School, 45 Temple Street , Reading, MA
Description:  The purpose of this MassDOT-hosted meeting is to provide the public with the opportunity to become fully acquainted with the proposed Reconstruction of West Street project. According to MassDOT, "the proposed project consists of pavement reclamation, utility relocation, the construction of new cement concrete sidewalks, the installation of new granite curbing, drainage improvements, the installation of new traffic signals and improved traffic signing and pavement markings. Bicycle accommodations are provided along West Street and consist of a usable shoulder." Read more.

Event: Greenfield, Bike Trivia Night @ The People's Pint
Time: 8:00 PM
Location: The People's Pint, 24 Federal Street, Greenfield, MA
Description:  This monthly trivia night will be all about bikes! Show your bike-knowledge prowess, enjoy delicious craft brews, and support MassBike all at once. Visit the People's Pint website to learn more.

Volunteer Opportunity: Help Out With Bike Valet and Outreach at Radio 92.9 EarthFest

MassBike will be providing Bike Valet parking and doing outreach at the annual Radio 92.9 EarthFest on Saturday, May 17. Many event goers will arrive by bike, but bike parking is very limited in the Hatch Shell area, so we need your help to make sure Bike Valet can handle all the bikes we expect to park this year.

Bike Valet is volunteer powered. As a volunteer, you will help raise the status of bicycling by providing a service that treats people who ride bikes like VIPs, and you will support MassBike's mission to make bicycling better and safer throughout Massachusetts.

We are seeking volunteers to help us with the following shifts:

  • Friday, May 16, 1 PM - 4 PM: Bike Valet load-in and set-up. Volunteers for this shift will help with loading in Bike Valet supplies the day before EarthFest. We may be able to let people go early if we work quickly, but volunteers should plan on staying the whole time. Sign up on or email Nathaniel to reserve your spot.

  • Saturday, May 17, 9 AM - 2 PM: Bike Valet First Shift. Volunteers for this shift will help setting up Bike Valet between 9 AM - 10 AM, then help with with parking bikes and returning bikes at Bike Valet from 10 AM - 2 PM. During your shift, you'll have the chance to take a break and check out the Earth Fest music and festivities! No previous Bike Valet experience necessary - we will train you! Sign up on or email Nathaniel to reserve your spot.

  • Saturday, May 17, 2 PM - 6 PM: Bike Valet Second Shift. Volunteers for this shift will help with parking bikes and returning bikes at Bike Valet. During your shift, you'll have the chance to take a break and check out the Earth Fest music and festivities! No previous Bike Valet experience necessary - we will train you! Sign up on or email Nathaniel to reserve your spot.

  • Saturday, May 17, 10 AM - 5:30 PM: MassBike Outreach Tent. 
    Help MassBike connect with new supporters at Radio 92.9 Earth Fest. We will have an outreach tent at the Hatch Shell where we will be engaging with event goers and talking about the important work we do to make biking better across Massachusetts. Volunteers will help hand out MassBike materials, encourage people to join, and distribute Bay State Bike Week t-shirts, ankle reflectors and bike bells

    During your shift, you'll have the chance to take multiple breaks and check out the Earth Fest music and festivities! We may be able to let people go early, but volunteers should plan to stay the entire time. If you have some experience with outreach and/or are excited about improving conditions for bicycling in Massachusetts, this is great opportunity for you! Sign up on or email Nathaniel to reserve your spot.

Can you help out with any of these shifts? Please signup on our page or email me directly and tell me which shift you'd like to sign up for.

Volunteers make up a huge part of our success, so we want to make volunteering with us even better. Anyone who volunteers ten hours of their time will automatically earn a MassBike membership.

We hope you will join us.

MassBike Releases Bike Safety Training Video for Police Departments

MassBike has partnered with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) and the Boston Police Department (BPD) to produce a police training video called “Shifting Gears: Bicyclists & Public Safety." The video is the product of a unique partnership between MassBike, DPH’s Mass in Motion Program, and the Boston Police Academy to enhance the safety of bicyclists and other roadway users.

The eleven minute long video will be coupled with an information card and an optional classroom education component. It is intended for local police departments to use as training for officers to become familiar with or enhance their knowledge of bicyclist behavior and applicable laws, and motorist interactions with bicyclists and applicable laws.

Specific topics covered in the video include bicyclists’ right to the road, dooring, safe passing, yielding to bicyclists on turns, parking in bike lanes, bicyclists’ compliance with rules of the road, hand signals, yielding to pedestrians, lights at night, wrong-way bicycling, and crash investigation.

“With many more bicyclists using our roadways than ever before, and with numbers expected to continue growing, our duty as public safety officers is to promote safety for all road users,” said BPD Commissioner William Evans. He added, “it is important for police departments to have the knowledge needed to correctly enforce laws for both motorists and bicycle riders. We think this video will be an effective tool to that end.”

“Promoting active and healthy forms of transportation, such as bicycling, is an important part of achieving the public health outcomes of reducing obesity and chronic disease in communities across Massachusetts,” said DPH Commissioner Cheryl Bartlett. “Law enforcement plays an important role in promoting roadway safety and awareness, which makes bicycling a more accessible mode of transportation for a wider range of potential riders,” she added.

According to MassBike Executive Director David Watson, “one injury or fatality is too many, and increasing safety is the key goal of this video. This video addresses a recognized knowledge gap and contains practical information for police officers, delivered by police officers. It’s not just about enforcement, it’s about education too.”

MassBike, DPH, and BPD are working with partners across the Massachusetts to distribute the video and accompanying materials.

How To Make Your Miles Count This Month And Beyond!

With so many great bike events happening during Bay State Bike Week and Bike Month, it can be hard to keep track of them all. One particular type of event that has become increasingly popular are commuter challenges. People sign up in a friendly competition to see who can log the most miles during a given period of time. Some compete with their coworkers, while other competitions pit entire states against one another.

With the increased use of mobile apps and GPS ride mapping, commuter challenges have never been easier. Of course, you always have the option to entire your miles manually.

Here are three challenges we encourage you to get involved in this year. MassBike will be participating, and we hope you will too!

National Bike Challenge
The National Bike Challenge is a fun, free, game-changing event. In just three years, the Challenge has helped support thousands of bicyclists -- new and old -- to make every mile count! Join your fellow Bay State bicyclists by creating a team, earning badges winning prizes and sharing your accomplishments. It’s never too soon or too late to join. Ride your bike for fun, to work, on the trail—anytime you can. Click here to visit and sign up for the Massachusetts National Bike Challenge page.
MassCommute Bicycle Challenge
Now in its 20th year, the MassCommute Bicycle Challenge (MCBC) is a week-long, FREE and friendly competition amongst Massachusetts businesses, educational institutions, and municipalities. The 2014 MCBC will take place during Bay State Bike Week (May 10th – 18th). Please join us this year for prizes, raffles, and our legendary “Bike Bash” celebration!
NuRide, the nation’s largest rewards program for individuals who take greener trips, is brought to you by MassDOT and offered to all who live and work in Massachusetts. By logging your bicycle trip(s) through NuRide, you can get rewards during Bay State Bike Week, and all year-round!

Weekly Meetings & Events Roundup

Here is a roundup of public meetings and events happening this week. Even if it wasn't the week before Bay State Bike Week, this would still be a busy seven days of meetings, events, and more! Be sure to check out the Bay State Bike Week events calendar to find fun, exciting Bike Week events in your area.

Tuesday, May 6

Public Meeting: Cambridge, Eastern Cambridge Kendall Square Open Space Study
Time: 5:30 PM
Location: Cambridge Police Department, 125 Sixth St., 1st floor community room, Cambridge, MA
Description: All committee meetings are open to the public. For more information, please visit the Study website.

Public Meeting: Boston, Leverett Circle Pedestrian Bridge
Time: 6:30 PM
Location: The West End Museum, 150 Staniford St., Boston, MA
Description: This MassDOT-hosted meeting will discuss the proposed Leverett Circle Pedestrian Bridge project. According to MassDOT, "The proposed project consists of designing a new ADA compliant overhead/pedestrian bridge over O’Brien Highway and Nashua Street which connects directly to the MBTA Science Station on the Green Line. At grade improvements will also be made to the intersection below. The proposed bridge structure will provide multi modal accommodations for pedestrians and cyclists." Read More.

Meeting: Milford, Friends of the Milford Upper Charles Trail Open Monthly Meeting
Time: 7:00 PM
Location: Milford Senior Center, 60 North Bow St., Milford, MA
Description: The Friends of the Milford Upper Charles Trail host this monthly open meeting with speakers and updates. Read More.

Public Meeting: Jamaica Plain, Arborway Crossing at the Arboretum
Time: 7:00 PM
Location: First Church in Jamaica Plain, Unitarian Universalist, 6 Eliot St., Jamaica Plain, MA
Description: At this meeting, co-hosted by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation and the Arborway Coalition and partners, recommendations for pedestrian/bicyclist safety improvements at the Upper Arborway crossing at the Arboretum main entrance will be presented. Read More.

Event: Day 4 of Bike Week!! at Brooklyn Boulders Somerville
Time: 7:00 PM
Location: Brooklyn Boulders, 12A Tyler St., Somerville, MA
Description: Day 4 of Bike Week!! at Brooklyn Boulders Somerville will include Cambridge Bicycle Committee, MassBike, Metropolitan Advisory Planning Council, Friends of the Community Path, Neighborways: Kid Friendly Bike Streets; Bike check-up by: Bike Boom; Bike Businesses: Bikeyface; Fun stuff: Unicycling (trick demo). Read More.

Wednesday, May 7

Event: Mass BikePike Tour Bike Month Party
Time: 5:30 PM - 7:30 PM
Location: East End Grille, 118 Broadway, Somerville, MA
Description: May is National Bike Month! And how better to kick it off than to join the Mass BikePike Tour team at its 2014 Bike Month Party on May 7th at the East End Grille in vibrant East Somerville? Bring a friend or meet new friends, enjoy free appetizers and a cash bar, and learn more about this year's edition of The Friendliest Ride in the East. There will be fun giveaways and a discount code for any attendees who sign up for the tour at the event! Read More.

Public Meeting: Boston, South Boston Waterfront Sustainable Transportation Plan
Time: 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Location: Boston Convention & Exhibition Center (Room 160), 415 Summer St., Boston, MA
Description: The City of Boston, the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority (MCCA), Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT), and Massport have joined together to develop a Sustainable Transportation Plan that supports the 21st century South Boston Waterfront area. A Better City is managing the plan, which will define and prioritize transportation system investments needed over the next two decades due to the rapid pace of development in the area. Read More.

Event: Easthampton, Farmington Canal Greenway Trail
Time: 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Location: Tandem Bagel Company, 12 Railroad St., Easthampton, MA
Description: Come to the Tandem Bagel Company on Wednesday evening May, 7 at 6:30 p.m.for an update about where the gaps are and how they might be closed, and general information about the trail. Meet the groups and advocates working to achieve this. There is a $5 charge for this event that will towards the cost of the venue and food. Register here.

Public Meeting: Falmouth, Route 28A & Route 151 Intersection Improvement Project
Time: 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Location: Falmouth Main Library, in the Herman Meeting Room, 300 Main Street, Falmouth, MA
Description: This MassDOT-hosted public informational meeting is to announce the project and solicit comments, concerns and ideas from the public who are familiar with the intersection to help \derive the best possible solutions for the proposed Intersection Improvements and related work at the North Falmouth Highway (Route 28A) and Nathan Ellis Highway (Route 151) project. The proposed project consists of improvements to safety, operations and access at the intersection above. Read more.

Friday, May 9

Event: Bike Friday - City of Boston
Time: Convoys meet at 6:45 AM. Festival at City Hall Plaza 7:00 AM - 9:00 AM
Location: City Hall Plaza, Boston, MA
Description: On Bike Friday, you can join a bike commuter convoy from one of dozens of locations throughout the Boston metro area. Safe guided convoys with experienced ride leaders will follow a fixed schedule and route and finish together at City Hall Plaza in Boston. Join MassBike and dozens of other exhibitors at City Hall Plaza from 7:00 AM - 9:00 AM. Read More.

Lowell Residents Speak Up For Better Biking

[caption id="attachment_22300" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] MassBike Executive Director David Watson speaks at Lowell City Council meeting Tuesday night. Photo: Left in Lowell[/caption]

On Tuesday night, Lowell residents turned out in numbers to let Mayor Rodney Elliott and the City Council know that they want more opportunities for people to ride bikes in Lowell, and they were heard.

On the agenda at Tuesday night's City Council meeting was a motion, introduced by councilor Rita Mercier, to remove the recently-installed bike lanes on Father Morissette Boulevard and revert the street to its previous configuration, four lanes in either direction for cars. Thanks to the strong showing of support for bicycle infrastructure, the council decided that the city should review the bike lanes in question and make recommendations on how to improve them, rather than remove them outright.

MassBike issued an Action Alert to our Lowell email contacts and through social media to motivate people and provide talking points. But local advocates truly took the initiative, spreading the word through social media and bringing together Lowell residents who are concerned with making their city a better place to bike and walk. Friends of biking packed every available seat in the City Council chamber.

MassBike Executive Director David Watson attended the meeting, and took to the podium to recommend the formation of a Bicycle Advisory Committee in Lowell, urging the city to work together with the community. He also offered MassBike's technical and educational assistance to Lowell as they work to expand their citywide bicycle network.

Watson urged local bicyclists not to lose their momentum and to take this opportunity to get organized. On Wednesday morning, after the meeting, Lowell residents formed the Facebook group Lowell Bike Coalition.

Momentum is building for better biking in Lowell, and we look forward to continuing to work with the city and local advocates to help expand the city's growing bike network.

Find Out What's In The Massachusetts Transportation Bond Bill for Biking And Walking

On Friday, April 18, Governor Patrick signed the Transportation Bond Bill (H.4046) into law, which provides for $12.7 billion in financing for transportation improvements across Massachusetts.

MassBike is very pleased with the outcome: $377,255,000 for the design, construction and repair of, or improvements to, pedestrian, bicycle and multi-use pathways; $50,000,000 for a Complete Streets certification and grant program to incentivize communities to create roads that are safe and convenient for everyone; and at least $230,796,100 in authorizations for specific path, roadway, and bridge projects across the Commonwealth that include significant bicycle or pedestrian infrastructure components. Overall, this represents a major increase in statewide funding for projects that will encourage and facilitate active transportation.

Throughout the process, MassBike and partner advocacy organizations worked hard to ensure the inclusion of these authorizations in the final bill. Regular updates on the status of the bill were provided here in our blog (here, here, and here). We thank Joint Transportation Committee co-chairs Senator Thomas McGee (D-Lynn) and Representative William Straus (D-Mattapoisett), Senate Bonding Committee chairman Senator Brian Joyce (D-Milton), House Bonding Committee chairman Representative Antonio Cabral (D-New Bedford), and conference committee members  Reps. Straus, Stephen Kulik (D-Worthington) and Peter Durant (R-Spencer) and Sens. McGee, Stephen Brewer (D-Barre) and Robert Hedlund (R-Weymouth) for their leadership. We also thank all of our members, supporters, and partners who helped us make the case to their legislators when it counted most.

We combed through the list of authorizations to identify all projects that clearly have a specific benefit for biking and walking and compiled them into a PDF (click here to view). These projects represent everything from roadway and streetscape projects that include Complete Streets design elements to shared-use trail projects to bike/pedestrian bridges. The status of these projects ranges from the early planning stages right up to shovel-ready. Some highlights include $1.3 million for the Watertown Greenway, $1.7 million for the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail, $3 million for the Grand Junction Rail Trail, and $56 million for various Complete Streets projects across Massachusetts.

With financing now authorized, the work for advocates shifts to ensuring that as much of this funding as possible is actually allocated and that these much-needed bicycle and pedestrian projects are constructed.

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