Cycle Into History On The South Shore

The Board of Directors of the 1699 Historic Issac Winslow House of Marshfield are pleased to announce the kickoff fundraiser for 2013: The Historic Winslow Sprint on Sunday, May 5, 2013.

Join them (rain or shine) for a great day of bicycle touring in Marshfield, Scituate, and Duxbury. This 43.5 mile tour will follow along the salt water marshes, beaches, historic districts and, most likely, a few cranberry bogs in three beautiful South Shore towns.

The $200 registration fee includes a Vomax Cycling Jersey, cinch sak, water bottle, and entry to the LOBSTER BOIL after party with complimentary libations. Family and friends are invited to the after party, $30 for a ticket (children eat free, cash bar). This year's featured musical guest is local musician, singer, songwriter Peter Mundt!

The Winslow Sprint is a fundraiser that supports the ongoing efforts of preservation and operations for the the Issac Winslow House of Marshfield, MA. The house is a 501 3 (C) non-profit organization, and the flat rate donation to participate in the Tour is tax deductible.

Join us for a fun way to get out and enjoy spring, and represent a cornerstone of the history of Marshfield, and South Shore! Please register at:

Holyoke Plans For Better Biking

Since the summer, MassBike has been working on a bicycle planning project with the City of Holyoke to assess the level of public support of bicycling, and next steps to making it easier to go by bike in The Paper City. To that end, last week the City held an open house for gathering input on ways to improve bicycling. MassBike Programs Director Price Armstrong (me) was there to give ideas on particular routes for bicycling, cite examples from other communities, and brainstorm solutions for barriers that were identified.

In the end, the two maps of Holyoke (which included the downtown area and a more suburban/rural part) were thoroughly marked up with problem spots, ideas for improvements, and general comments about bicycling in Holyoke. A lot of local expertise was provided from members of MassBike's Pioneer Valley Chapter, in addition to other residents of Holyoke. Overall, there was one key area of agreement - while Holyoke has a number of bicyclists, more work needs to be done to bring them together. The Open House was the first step of that process.

Some of the other preliminary findings include:

  • Recreational riding opportunities are excellent, with both on-road and off-road routes providing scenic and exciting rides.

  • There are no bike-friendly river crossings from Holyoke into Chicopee or South Hadley.

  • The riverfront is an underutilized area, and a great opportunity for a multi-use path.

  • The bicycle facilities that do exist (bike lanes) typically disappear by the end of winter, resulting in motorists entering the bicycle lanes more frequently.

  • There should be more bicycle safety education offerings, especially in Holyoke schools.

  • Biking to the Holyoke Mall, a major commercial area, is very difficult.

Over the next several weeks, we will work to combine these findings with the results of a community survey and other outreach activities into a "Needs Assessment." The intention is that this document will provide the foundation for continued relationship building and dialogue, crucial ingredients to the longer-term goal of building the infrastructure, both built and human, for better bicycling conditions.

This work is part of our Bikeable Communities Program. Do you want to see an activity like this in your community? Email if so!

Action On Beacon Hill And Victory On Capitol Hill

The MassBike office has been busy for the past several weeks with action not just in the State House, but also in the Capitol. We wanted to not only give you an update, but also ask for your support as we work toward better biking in Massachusetts. Read below for how you can help.

State Bike/Ped Funding - Action Needed

MassBike, in partnership with WalkBoston, has been working to organize the Bike/Walk Summit on Thursday, April 11th. This year, we have five pieces of legislation that would make the roads safer for bicyclists and pedestrians. Additionally, we will be asking participants to support the Governor's Transportation Plan, and specifically the $430 million dedicated to bike/ped facilities. To register, click here.

In the meantime, there is a coordinated effort this week being led by Transportation for Massachusetts (of which MassBike is a member) to let the legislature know that investing in our transportation system is essential. While their focus is on transportation broadly, we urge our members to specifically reference support for the $430 million set aside for biking and walking infrastructure. MassBike Executive Director David Watson kicked things off by testifying at the transportation bond bill hearing at the State House on Monday, where he urged the members of the Joint Committee on Transportation to fully fund Massachusetts' transportation needs, including biking and walking.

Here is how you can take action now:

  1. Join in on the Transportation Day on the State House steps on April 2. If you can't make the Bike/Walk Summit on April 11, or if you want to have your voice heard on broader transportation issues, then this is a great opportunity.

  2. Email your legislators using this simple template.

  3. Call your legislators and tell them you support adequate transportation funding, including funding for biking and walking. If they are supportive, ask them to express that support to the Speaker of the House and the Senate President. Phone numbers can be found here.

Victory On Capitol Hill

When we were in DC for the National Bike Summit, we weren't able to meet with the Massachusetts Congressional delegation due to a snow storm. Despite that setback, we have been keeping in close touch with members of Congress and their staff. This has recently paid off by the news that more than half of Massachusetts' US Representatives signed on to a letter to USDOT Secretary Ray LaHood asking that USDOT establish performance goals for reducing bicyclist fatalities.

Please send a thank you email to these US Representatives if you live in their districts:

Things are only going to get more hectic as the transportation funding debate comes to a head in the State House, and as the current federal transportation authorization nears its expiration in 2014. As always, we depend on you, our members and supporters, to make sure that bicyclists aren't forgotten in these discussions - thanks so much for your hard work.

Springfield High Schoolers Work Toward Safer Streets

[caption id="attachment_20596" align="alignleft" width="300"] Price and students surveying Carew Street.[/caption]

Last Fall, we went to the Renaissance High School in Springfield to work with a small group of high schoolers on how to do a Bikeability Assessment. That initial training has now grown into a larger project, and last week Programs Director Price Armstrong went back to Renaissance High School to teach even more students about principles of bikeability and how the assessment tool works. Their aim: reshape Carew Street as a route from the High School to the Connecticut Riverwalk and Bikeway.

Like the Blue Line Pilot Program, which was led by East Boston youth, this project is an opportunity for Springfield youth to document the barriers to bikeability that exist in their city. Carew Street is a perfect area for such a project, as it is an alternate highway route that carries fast-moving traffic through residential and commercial areas, not to mention right by their school. Many of the students often go to a small commercial area located further north on Carew Street for snacks or to hang out after school, while others have to cross it just to get home. Improving this street will make it safer for everyone - bicyclists, pedestrians, transit users and motorists.

Ultimately, the information they collect will be put together into a report and submitted to the City. It will serve as the foundation for an ongoing effort to improve Springfield's streets, much of it made possible through the support of Mass in Motion. As the project moves forward, MassBike will continue providing input to help the students be as effective as possible in reaching their goal. This is a great example of leveraging local energy to improve biking in communities around the state. We'll keep you posted as this project moves forward.

This work is part of our Bikeable Communities Program. Do you want to see an activity like this in your community? Email if so!

Bay State Bike Week Right Around The Corner

Snow is still on the ground across much of the state, but Bay State Bike Week is right around the corner. This year, it takes place between May 11 and 19, and will be here before you know it.

Bay State Bike Week is an umbrella event organized by MassBike in partnership with MassDOT and MassRIDES, and is composed of hundreds of local events which celebrate and raise awareness about bicycling. Events are organized locally and then added to the online calendar, meaning that we couldn't do it without the local advocates putting together events. Last year, we had a wide variety of activities on the calendar, ranging from bike rodeos on the Cape, to the Rush Hour Race in Somerville, to film screenings in North Adams.

Are you thinking about organizing an event for Bay State Bike Week? It's really easy, and has great benefits:

  • Kicks off the bike season for 2013, encouraging new bicyclists to discover how great it is to go by two wheels.

  • Demonstrates the strength of the Massachusetts bicycling community.

  • Helps spread awareness about bike safety and access issues, not just to other bicyclists but to all users of the road.

  • Highlights your organization or bike-friendly business.

  • Provides a great way to meet other bicyclists.

  • Gives you the opportunity to request free swag to hand out!

Look here to find more information about how to plan an event. Once you have it planned and submitted, you can request materials (t-shirts, etc) here. Quantities are limited, but we'll do our best to fill your order.

If you have any questions, don't hesitate to email

Registration For Berkshires To Boston Tour Starts March 28th!

Massachusetts has so much to offer - rolling hills, pastoral valleys, historic towns and cities. This year, we are offering an opportunity to see it all - by bike! Registration for the first-ever Berkshires to Boston Bicycle Tour opens March 28th.

The Berkshires to Boston Tour is a four-day, 240-mile bike ride which will showcase the best of Massachusetts cycling and will also help support MassBike's advocacy efforts. Beginning in the scenic Berkshire hills along the New York border, the tour meanders through the Connecticut River Valley and spins though the historic communities of Lexington and Concord before arriving in Boston. Upon arrival in Boston, riders will join more than 5,000 cycling enthusiasts for Hub on Wheels, Boston's annual cycling festival.

Registration starts at $295 for the full tour and $125 for the weekend. Register early and save money! Space is limited to 300 riders.

This is a wonderful opportunity at a great price, so be sure to reserve your spot today!

Call MassBike at (617) 542-2453 or visit the Berkshires to Boston site for more information.

MBTA Improves Security At Pedal & Parks

The MBTA has announced a long-awaited enhancement to its "Pedal & Park" secure bike parking facilities. Ever since the first Pedal & Park was installed at Alewife Station in 2008, MassBike has urged the T to close what we saw as a significant gap in security - there was no way to identify the owner of a Bike CharlieCard used to control entry (and those cards were available to anyone simply by asking).

So we are pleased that, effective May 1, 2013, bicyclists must register either a Charliecard OR their Bike CharlieCard online to access these bike parking facilities. There will be no charge for this and it will further enhance the MBTA′s efforts to provide safe and secure areas for bike parking.

You can register your card anytime, but starting May 1st, unregistered cards will no longer open the Pedal & Parks. You can use any CharlieCard; the T is no longer issuing special Bike CharlieCards - these are now collector's items!

Pedal & Park facilities are now open at Alewife, Forest Hills, South Station, Braintree, Oak Grove and Wonderland.  In 2013, 8 more Pedal & Parks will open at Ashmont, Davis, Malden, Back Bay, Dudley, Wollaston, Alewife and Beverly.

Click here to register your Bike CharlieCard or regular CharlieCard now for uninterrupted access to Pedal & Parks.

MassBike Is Hiring!

We have an incredibly busy year of advocacy and education planned, and we need more help to make it happen! We have two positions available immediately: a half-time Program Associate and a full-time Events and Outreach Manager. Check out the job descriptions below for the details, and please forward this on to others who might be interested.

Events and Outreach Manager

This position will have primary responsibility for the planning and execution of our two major riding events – the Summer Century and the Berkshires to Boston Tour (a new multi-day ride) – and for our day-to-day public outreach and communications activities. In addition to promoting the events, the Events and Outreach Manager will work closely with other staff members to develop content for our blog, email newsletter, and social media. See the full job description here.

Program Associate

This half-time position will primarily be responsible for coordinating the Education Program, including our Safe Routes to School classes and Adult Education Classes. This will include corresponding with customers to arrange classes, working with our instructors around the state to get the classes in their schedules, and providing instruction for many of the classes in the Boston area. Finally, the Program Associate will work closely with the Events and Communications Manager to help with outreach and communications as needed. See the full job description here.

If you are interested in applying to either of these jobs, please send a cover letter, resume, and writing sample no longer than 1000 words to (blog posts are preferred for the writing sample, and links are fine). We will accept applications until the position is filled, though prefer applications to be sent in by Friday, March 29.

MassBike Report Shows Assets, Obstacles To Hampshire County Bikeability

Back in November, we worked with local advocates to undertake a Bikeability Assessment in three Hampshire County communities (Amherst, Belchertown and Northampton). This project was done at the request of Healthy Hampshire, in collaboration with the Towns of Amherst and Belchertown and the City of Northampton. The focus was specifically on intersections, and how to make them safer and easier to navigate for bicyclists.

[caption id="attachment_20322" align="aligncenter" width="574"] Local bicyclists in Northampton getting ready to collect data.[/caption]

Thanks to the hard work of the local volunteers, we collected an enormous amount of information about the layout of the intersections and areas that could be improved. The fantastic thing about having local bicyclists undertake these assessments is that we can get information that only a frequent rider on a particular road would know - such as that a certain intersection becomes unmanageable after the adjacent high school lets out, but otherwise appears adequate.
After analyzing the data and going through the pages of notes, we are proud to release the Hampshire County Bikeability Assessment. Click here if you would like to look at the full report. Some of the main points from the report were:

  • Amherst: The intersections in and around the UMass Campus are barriers to bicycling, particularly the intersection of Triangle Street and East Pleasant Street.

  • Belchertown: The intersection of Routes 9 and 202 should be the focus for improvements in the future. Due to the geometry of this intersection a roundabout with grade-separated bicycle facilities should be considered.

  • Northampton: Intersections along King Street (Route 10) all need additional bicycle infrastructure. Route 10 is an arterial road that provides access not only to many commercial destinations, but also the Northampton Bikeway and the Franklin County Greenway. Tightening turn radii and adding colored biycle lanes and/or bike boxes should be done to improve bicyclist safety and comfort.

Overall, communities in Hampshire County are leaders in the state when it comes to bike-friendly infrastructure. They have a considerable off-road network, many traffic calming features, and painted infrastructure like bike lanes, sharrows, and even a bike box. However, the process of retrofitting our streets to encourage bicycling is still in its infancy, even in our most advanced communities. This report should further the conversation on prioritizing areas for improvement.

You can find out more about our Bikeability Assessments (which is a part of our Bikeable Communities Program) by clicking here. If you are interested getting an Assessment for your community, please email

Register TODAY For The Bike/Walk Summit

Your voice is crucial this year for biking and walking. Governor Patrick has proposed increasing funding for transportation, including a four-fold increase for bicycle and pedestrian funding - and we need your help to make it reality. You can read the details here, but under his plan, we would have $430 million devoted to multi-use paths and other bicycle and pedestrian facilities. This is unprecedented, and we must urge our legislators to support the Governor's transportation plan.

Help us send this message loud and clear by attending the 2013 Massachusetts Bike/Walk Summit on Thursday, April 11 from 10 AM to 1 PM at the State House in Nurses Hall. For the second year in a row, MassBike and WalkBoston are teaming up to host the Summit so that bicyclists and pedestrians speak with one voice on Beacon Hill.

Please register today by clicking here.

In addition to transportation funding, we will also be asking participants to encourage their legislators to support several pieces of bike/ped safety legislation:

  • Vulnerable Road Users Bill (SD.1639) - Would give added protection to bicyclists, pedestrians and other vulnerable users of the road.

  • Bike Lane Protection Bill (SD.1640) - Would prohibit motor vehicles from parking in bike lanes.

  • Senior Safety Zones Bill (HD.550) - Would create zones around areas with high senior citizen populations similar to school zones.

  • Active Streets and Healthy Communities Bill (HD.3091/SD.68) - Creates incentives for communities to design streets which encourage biking, walking and other forms of active transportation.

  • Speed Limits Bill (HD.3129) - Would give communities the flexibility to lower the prevailing speed limit on certain roads to 25 mph.

  • An Act to Promote Pedestrian Safety (HD.1570) - Would encourage snow removal from sidewalks.

And if all that isn't enough excitement, after the legislative meetings, we'll have lunch in Nurses Hall with special guest speaker Fitchburg Mayor Lisa Wong, a Massachusetts healthy communities rockstar! Please attend this important event, and make sure that the safety of bikers and walkers doesn't get overlooked. Together, let's get Beacon Hill Moving!

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