Join MassBike During Our Winter Membership Drive And Help Make Your Community More Bikeable

This year has been huge for MassBike's role in local advocacy.

We launched our Bikeable Communities Program, through which we have engaged scores of local advocates to help them make their community better for biking. In Northampton and Boston, we offered the Bikeable Communities Training, a two-part class that goes over the planning process and how to effectively plug into that process. We also have undertaken Bikeability Assessments in Franklin County and the Pioneer Valley, teaching volunteers how to use the audit tool we created and then drafting reports based on the findings. And we are involved in a few planning activities around Massachusetts, helping municipal officials develop strategies for how best to plan for biking.

But we've barely gotten started. Help us expand our bike advocacy trainings and help increase local capacity to improve bicycling conditions across Massachusetts. 

For the next five days (December 3rd – December 7th) we are offering our 1 year individual and 1 year family memberships at a discounted rate ($10 off). Join the movement today; together we can make better bicycling in Massachusetts a reality!

Just In Time For The Holidays Get Your MassBike Jersey

Back by popular demand, we have just made a new run of our MassBike Jersey. You may remember a few months ago when we originally launched these jerseys. They were handmade in Northampton, supported local bicycle advocacy, and were pretty darn good looking to boot.



We're happy to announce that they were such a big hit we decided to order some more. Same great quality, same great cause, and still locally made.

This second run is made possible thanks to Sam Adams (another great local company) graciously stepping up as the official sponsor of our jerseys. These beauties are now available just in time for the holidays in our online store and at the Sam Adams Brewery. All jersey proceeds from our online store go to making the biking safer and more enjoyable here in Massachusetts.  Members save $15 and can pick one up for only $70.

Cyber Monday Madness: MassBike Holiday Sale Starts!



Do you need a gift for that picky cyclist in your family? Or maybe a friend who wants to buy locally-produced apparel that also supports bike advocacy, oh, and looks pretty good, too. Or are you starting to get multiple text messages from your mother to drop some "holiday hints"?

Relax. We've got it covered.

With a large inventory of t-shirts, cycling apparel and accessories we are your one stop shop for all your holiday gift needs.  As a special gift to you we are offering FREE shipping during the holiday season and 10% off maps with promo code HOLIDAY2012, in addition to the deep discount that members already get on all MassBike merchandise.  So check out the MassBike online store and be sure to pick up a water bottle, t-shirt, jersey, or map today!

Another great, tax-deductible gift option for the bike-loving person or family in your life is to purchase a MassBike Gift Membership. Membership costs just $35 and gives the recipient access to tons of special member benefits.

Still not sure what to give, think about giving the best gift of all – a better place for biking. Click here to make a donation to MassBike in honor of the cyclists in your life. Your contribution will help us to keep working hard to make the roads a little friendlier for you and your loved ones.

 

Advocates Improving Intersections In Hampshire County

[caption id="attachment_19935" align="alignleft" width="300"] Bay Road and West Street in Amherst[/caption]

Last weekend, a dozen volunteers braved the chilly New England Fall weather to work on making intersections in Northampton and Amherst better for bicyclists. Through a partnership with the Hampshire Council of Governments, and thanks to our partnership with Mass in Motion, we were able to come out and train local bicyclists how to use the assessment form, what to think about when assessing the intersections, and the most important things to document. Then we set them loose!

Did you miss the assessment last weekend? Don't worry! We are going to be doing a second round of intersection assessments this coming weekend to hit the spots we couldn't get to. If you would like to help out, send an email to me at Price@MassBike.org. The times are listed at the bottom of the page. We'll also be in Belchertown on Monday from 11 - 1, if you have time to help out.

The Pioneer Valley is fortunate to have a MassBike Chapter, whose members serve on numerous local and regional advisory boards. They also have on-the-ground knowledge about the bicyclist experience, and important community connections to round up volunteers for activities just like this. Since June, we have taught both of our Bikeable Communities Trainings, taught Springfield youth on how to do Bikeability Assessments, and begun assisting Holyoke in expanding their bicycle infrastructure.

If you would like to help out this weekend, please do! And bring friends - the more boots (or tires) on the ground, the more intersections we can assess.

Northampton
Saturday, November 10th
Meet at the Forbes Library
1:00-4:00pm

Amherst
Sunday, November 11th
Meet at the Jones Library
1:00-4:00pm

Belchertown
Monday, November 12th
Meet at the Clapp Memorial Library
11:00am-1:00pm

Raising A New Generation Of Safe Bicyclists In Revere

[caption id="attachment_19930" align="alignleft" width="300"] Instructor Galen Mook teaching proper helmet use.[/caption]

Revere has long been known for its beach (the oldest public beach in the country), but we expect that it will soon be known for the incredibly good bicyclists that populate its streets. Starting this past Monday and running through next Wednesday, MassBike is teaching all the 4th and 5th grade students at Whelan Elementary basic bike safety, including the rules of the road, proper helmet use, and how to stay visible after dark. By the end of next week, we will have reached almost 300 students.

This is coming none too soon. Thanks to our efforts supporting expanded bike access on the Blue Line, it's easier than ever to get into Boston with your bike from the North Shore. Furthermore, Bike to the Sea is making steady progress pushing the Northern Strand Community Trail closer to completion, which will be a major destination on the North Shore for bicyclists of all ages. And with childhood obesity on the rise, getting our kids active is rising to the top of our priority list as a state and nation.

This work complements other efforts being undertaken in Revere and in communities around the state to increase trips made by bicycle. While these classes are supported through our partnership with MassRIDES and WalkBoston's Safe Routes to School Program in Revere, we are looking forward to continued work expanding bicycling opportunities in Revere through our work with Mass in Motion.

Even though we're especially proud of the intensive education we're undertaking in Revere, we also teach in other communities around the state. Just this fall we have been to Danvers and Canton, and are scheduled to teach classes in Framingham and Arlington. If you are interested in getting classes scheduled in a Middle School or Elementary School in your community, contact Education@MassBike.org or give us a call at (617) 542-2453.

Light Up The Night!



With Daylight Savings Time behind us, it getting dark a lot earlier. This means it’s that time again - our annual "Light up the Night" blog post! Even though we put out a riding at night post every year, I don't want you to think that this post is pro-forma.  We write this annual post because being visible matters. A lot.

At the very least, use a front and rear light. Massachusetts law requires that you have a front light and rear reflector, but a rear light is even better. Usually lights come in pairs anyway. When picking out lights for your bike, it is 25% about seeing where you’re going and 75% about being seen by others on the road.

After dark, it’s important to make sure motorists can see you way before they get near you. I usually know to turn my lights on by the street lights coming on. As law states you must light up your bike no later than 30 minutes after sundown.

Lights are too expensive, you say? Well, if you are a MassBike Member, be sure to check out our bike shop partners who will give you a discount on bike gear.

Installing both a front and rear light is a great first step, but why stop there? When you go through an intersection, it’s equally important to be visible from the sides. Here are our suggestions for what else you need to light up the night:

  1. Reflective or lighted ankle straps, or pedal reflectors: Some pedals come with reflectors. While both types of ankle straps do double duty by keeping your pants away from your dirty chain, lighted ones provide more visibility.

  2. Reflective Clothing: Examples include bicycling-specific jackets with day-glo accents and or a construction worker-style vest. Both will provide the necessary sideways visibility with their neon colors and/or reflective striping.

  3. Other Reflective Accessories: Wheel reflectors, reflective tires, and reflective tape and stickers that can go on almost any part of your bicycle are other options, especially if you might forget a vest or jacket at home. There are also great lights that can be added to your spokes or bike frame that are both a bit more fun and eye catching then traditional wheel reflectors.

  4. Reflective, But Fashionable If you're afraid of not being quite chic enough, then not to worry! There is a clear reflective spray paint that they produce that can make anything light up. Also check out some of these more "Cycle Chic" reflective options.


You wouldn't drive a car after dark without lights, so why would you ride a bike that way? Remember, you don't get extra points for being a bike ninja. Be seen and stay safe!

Find Member Benefits Near You On This Cool Map!

Did you know that in addition to making Massachusetts better for biking, MassBike members also get discounts at businesses across the state? We are excited to announce that our member benefits program has been updated with even more exciting discounts for our members!

To help organize all the discounts we offer, we have developed an interactive map of MassBike member benefits statewide. Look around and see if there is a bike shop or coffee place near you that offers a discount. You're already saving a chunk of change if you go by bike - why not save a little more for being a MassBike member? You can also check out this link to view the list of new member benefits (and access the interactive map).

Along with all the new discounts, these businesses are now also featured in a new iPhone app called GreenStack. This app allows you to combine (or stack) your member discounts to get the maximum discount at your favorite local businesses.



We are always looking for new member benefits; if you have a business interested in offering our members a discount, contact membership@massbike.org.

Springfield Youth Studying Bikeability

Earlier in October, MassBike's Program Associate and I (Price) went to Renaissance High School in Springfield to teach their Bike Club about our Bikeability Assessments. We met with the faculty sponsor of the group and students to explain the concept of bikeability, and also took them out on an assessment test run. Moving forward, the plan is to undertake a student-driven assessment of streets near the school for submission to the City, focusing especially on Route 20A (a major street that runs by the school).

This is really exciting work, especially in Springfield - the fourth largest city in New England -  which could see major transportation and economic benefits from being more bike-friendly. Right now, their main bicycle facility is the Connecticut River Walk and Bikeway, but that is mostly used for recreation. This stands in stark contrast to the northern tier of the Pioneer Valley, where Easthampton, Northampton, Hadley and Amherst are all linked via off-road trails and the streets tend to have more bicycle facilities.

We are fortunate to have the opportunity through Mass in Motion for the MassBike staff to be able to provide direct support to Springfield (and Holyoke) on improving their bike infrastructure. MassBike also has a chapter in the Pioneer Valley, which works on a variety of projects and other local initiatives. If you have any questions about other things going on in the Pioneer Valley, or would like to get more involved, email Price@MassBike.org.

MassBike Introduces Multilingual Bicycle Safety Guides

[caption id="attachment_19869" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Bike safety information now available in seven languages[/caption]

Today at the Moving Together bicycle and pedestrian conference in Boston, the Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition (MassBike) introduced new versions of its most popular educational publications in seven languages: English, Spanish, French, Mandarin, Vietnamese, Russian, and Haitian-Creole. Arabic and Portuguese versions will follow shortly. The new materials are:

  • "Go By Bike: A Guide to Bicycling in Massachusetts", filled with valuable information on how to ride safely and legally in traffic;

  • "Go By Bike: A Parent's Guide to Bike Safety", helping parents teach their young riders the basics of safe biking; and

  • "Same Roads, Same Rules" spoke cards, with key tips for bicyclists and motorists to interact more safely.


This marks the first time bicycle safety educational materials have been available in Massachusetts in such a wide range of languages.

MassBike works with bicyclists and communities statewide to make bicycling safer and more convenient, and we are pleased to provide educational resources that better reflect the diversity of our state. "The rapidly increasing popularity of bicycling, combined with MassDOT's recently announced mode shift goal to triple biking in Massachusetts, highlights  the need to make bike safety information available to motorists and bicyclists for whom English may not be their primary language," said David Watson, MassBike Executive Director.

All the new materials will be available for download free-of-charge on our Publications web page, and in print at all events where MassBike has a booth. For larger quantities, contact us. If there are other languages you would like to see, please let us know.

MassBike gratefully acknowledges the hard work of our volunteers, without whom this project would not have been possible:

Project Manager/Intern: Chinh Bui

Translators:
French:

Sumeyra Can

Pierre Albert Maloteau


Haitian Creole:

Andrine Constant

Sebastien Henri-Saturne


Mandarin:

Fang Chao Dong

Wei Chen Shiau



Russian:

Kristina Vu

Anna Morgunova


Spanish:

Karol Salcedo

Chely Allan



Vietnamese:

Chinh Bui

Thu Nguyen

Be Bright: This Fall Stay Visible And In Style

One of the best ways to stay safe while riding is to be visible on the road. That’s why we recommend all cyclists use lights and wear reflective or fluorescent colored clothing. The trouble is that these bright, highly-visible clothes though functional aren’t always considered the most fashionable items. Well we have some good news as it appears that the ever-changing, cyclical trends of fashion have caught up with the never-changing trends of cycling and this year bright colors are in. The brighter the better! In fact, many top designers are now offering every type of garment imaginable in unbelievably bright colors. There is so much neon clothing on the market it is reasonable to believe you could put together an entire head to toe outfit in a single neon color!

The incoming trend of fashionable neon color is especially good news for commuting cyclists as we head into the colder, darker months when it is more likely that you will be riding either to or from work in the dark. So next time someone makes a remark about your safety vest or other neon riding clothes be sure to let them know that you are just trying to follow the fashion trends!


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