Request Free Bike Safety Classes At Your Kids' Schools

The school year is coming up fast, so we wanted to let parents know about the bike safety classes available to kids between grades 4 and 8. Every year, we instruct thousands of children on how to ride their bike safely, and we want to reach thousands more this fall!  We need your help to bring our instructors to your kids' schools.

To receive these courses, the school needs to contact MassRIDES at the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.  Talk to your school's principal, P.E. teacher, or another employee and let them know you want these classes offered.  To schedule a class, they should contact Ben Hammer, the statewide Safe Routes to School Coordinator, at

More about Safe Routes to School

MassBike is able to offer these youth safety classes through the state's Safe Routes to School Program.  Safe Routes to School is a federally-funded program which promotes healthy transportation alternatives for trips to and from school.  The program aims to foster a mobile and active lifestyle, and to reduce traffic congestion and improve public health by encouraging the use of alternative transportation.

In only three months this past spring, MassBike alone educated over 1,200 elementary and middle school students through the Safe Routes to School Program.  We also trained staff members at two elementary schools to give the safety lessons, dramatically expanding the number of kids potentially reached.  In all, the Massachusetts Safe Routes to School Program has reached 25% of the state’s students and developed partnerships with nearly 350 elementary schools in 116 communities.

MassBike Summer Century & Family Fun Ride Wrap-Up

MassBike held its 2nd Annual Summer Century & Family Fun Ride last Saturday, July 30th and it was a huge success! We had over 300 riders join us for a fun ride, beautiful weather, and good food. Riders took on routes from 12 to 100 miles which traversed the heart of early American history, from Paul Revere’s Ride through Lexington and Concord and to nearby battlefields. Longer rides visited the towns and villages that sent the first Minutemen.

With the success of the ride, the proceeds help make MassBike better advocates for bicyclists across Massachusetts. MassBike works through legislation, education, and infrastructure projects to get more people on bicycles and to make our roads and paths safer. Your support was important to making sure that bicyclists are protected in Massachusetts!

One reason our event was so successful was because of our fundraisers who went the extra mile to help us out! In addition, a big thanks goes out to all of our board members and volunteers who helped to organize the event and make sure that everything went smoothly on Saturday.

We also want to thank our fantastic sponsors who donated their products and services! Thanks goes out to Redbones BBQ, Ride Studio Cafe, Luna Bar, Food Should Taste Good, Jason & Fischer, and Mass Land Law, who helped provide support and fuel our riders throughout the day.

We'll be reviewing this year's rider feedback (which you can send to and will begin our planning for next year's ride. We'll be posting photos as we get them. If you have any you'd like to share, please send them to

Thanks to all our riders for joining us!

Join Us Tomorrow For MassBike's Summer Century & Family Fun Ride!

Pre-registration is closed, but you can still register tomorrow morning for MassBike's Summer Century & Family Fun Ride. Come out and join us for a great day!

All rides (12, 23, 45, 62 and 100 routes) leave from – and return to – Lexington High School. The routes will traverse the heart of early American history, from Paul Revere’s Ride through Lexington and Concord and to nearby battlefields. Longer rides visit the towns and villages that sent the first Minutemen. As you leave in the morning, Ride Studio Cafe will be providing support for our riders. After the rides, everyone is invited to stay at Lexington High School for lunch and socializing. Food will be available until the mid-afternoon, so even intrepid century riders can share in the fun. After your ride, Redbones Barbecue is cooking up lunch (included with your registration) – their famous pulled pork, BBQ beef, and portobello sandwiches!

Plus, by joining in the MassBike Summer Century & Family Fun Ride, you’ll be helping to make bicycling better in Massachusetts. All proceeds go to support MassBike’s bicycling advocacy. MassBike works through legislation, education, and infrastructure projects to get more people on bicycles and to make our roads and paths safer. Your support is important to making sure that bicyclists are protected in Massachusetts.

Find out descriptions of the routes here.

See you tomorrow!

Bike Safety Classes Are Rolling!

Our new and improved on-bike safety class, Basics of Better Biking, has three scheduled times and locations - with more coming soon!  The classes so far are:

Saturday, August 13th
10:00 AM - 2:00 PM
Brockton, MA
Parking Lot at the intersection of Lincoln St. and School St.

Saturday, August 20
9:00 AM - 2:00 PM
Norwood, MA
Parking lot behind Norwood Bank (11 Central Street)

Sunday, August 21
9:00 AM - 1:00 PM
Boston, MA (Seaport District)
Parking Lot at 29 Stillings St. (Off of Congress St.)

We go over tips on how to stay safe on city streets, a 30-second routine to make sure your bike is properly functioning, some very basic bike mechanics, and on-bike drills.  After this class, you will know how to quickly avoid that pothole, why your bike has a front and rear brake, and what a "Copenhagen Left" is.  To register, visit our Adult Education page, or email Price at

"Working" On The Casey Overpass

The Casey Overpass is a four-lane, raised section of Route 203, connecting the Arborway to Forest Hills Cemetery and Franklin Park in Boston's Jamaica Plain neighborhood. It passes over the Southwest Corridor and Forest Hills Station. The structure was built in 1954, but 57 years later it is structurally unsound and splits the community in two between what amounts to the width of eight lanes of roadway. As part of the Accelerated Bridge Program, MassDOT will be replacing the overpass, but "What will it be replaced with?" is the question. The project has regional as well as neighborhood significance, as the current overpass carries a significant amount of traffic to and from Jamaica Plain, Roslindale, Mattapan, Milton, Dorchester, West Roxbury, and beyond.

Earlier this year, MassBike, along with community groups and advocates, was invited to join the project's Working Advisory Group (WAG). The group's purpose is to help develop an alternative vision for the area. Because the area is used by commuters of all types (motorists, bicyclists, public transportation riders, and pedestrians), this is an opportunity to create a safe and improved area for all the roadway's constituents and for the neighborhood itself. MassBike is lending its bicycling expertise to the WAG, while local community advocates lead the way to a solution that works for their neighborhood.

So far, the Working Group has been meeting to discuss the current problems of the Casey Overpass, establish priorities for addressing these issues, and begin to look at various design alternatives. Most recently, the design alternatives have been narrowed down to four basic concepts: a split bridge, a single bridge, surface roads with a wide median, and surface roads with a narrow median. The WAG met this week to discuss the pros and cons of each approach. You can see all the information presented at WAG meetings here. As the group continues to meet throughout the summer and into the fall, we'll have more of an idea of what a possible solution may look like. One thing is clear - everyone is committed to finding the best solution for the community and all those who use the area.

MassBike is involved because we see this as a great way for MassDOT, the community, and advocates to work together at the earliest stages of a project. MassDOT and its consultants have created a process that is admirably community-driven and responsive to community input. While no project design process can satisfy everyone, this is a pretty good one so far, and we hope MassDOT will use this approach regularly.

Hubway Is Launched, MassBikers Quick To Join

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="210" caption="ED David Watson on a Hubway Bike"][/caption]

On Thursday, July 28th, the City of Boston, in partnership with the MBTA, MassDOT, and MAPC launched the New Balance Hubway Bikeshare Program.  Executive Director David Watson was there among other advocates and officials to kick off the start of the program.  We are especially excited because MassBike members make up about 25% of initial Hubway registrants!

Among the speakers were LivableStreets Alliance President Nina Garfinkle, MBTA General Manager Rich Davey, and Mayor Thomas Menino.  Everyone emphasized how excited they were to have the program coming to Boston, formerly the "worst bicycling city in America" according to Bicycling Magazine.  Mayor Menino in particular also stressed safety and following the rules of the road.

[caption id="attachment_5438" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="MassBike's Hubway Station!"][/caption]

David took his first Hubway ride from the State Transportation Building to the MassBike office, and he has a few tips:

  • Handling: The Hubway bikes handle a bit differently from my own bike, so it's a good idea to take a minute to get used to it before heading out into traffic the first time. Ironically, this won't be an issue for people who don't ride their own bikes!

  • Saddle: Take a moment to adjust the saddle height - there is a quick release on the seatpost. Your knees will thank you!

  • Speed and Pedaling: I found the lowest gear ("1") too easy in Downtown Boston, and the highest gear ("3") too hard - so the middle gear ("2") is probably your best bet. But these bikes are leisurely in any gear, so just relax and enjoy the ride.

  • Returning the Bike: You need to roll the bike into the station firmly and make sure the little green light goes on, otherwise the bike is not locked in! I got it wrong the first time, but a helpful Hubway employee happened to be there to explain it.

Also, MassBike has partnered with the city to provide free bike safety workshops for Hubway members.  If you are a Hubway member, please sign up for one of our classes.

Last chance To Save $$$ On MassBike's Summer Century & Family Fun Ride

Tomorrow (Wednesday, 7/27) is your last chance to save up to $10 on the MassBike Summer Century & Family Fun Ride! Our early registration discount ends after tomorrow, so register now!

Our ride is this Saturday, 7/30, and the weather forecast predicts a beautiful day. Riders get to enjoy a fun ride, support their state-wide bicycle advocacy organization, enjoy Redbones lunch, and the first 300 riders to register get a free ride t-shirt! Find out more info about the rides here.

Or help us with our ride by volunteering!

MassBike needs volunteers to make our ride a success. We need volunteers throughout the day and at various locations. There are lots of ways for you to help out. Volunteers get to help their state-wide bicycle advocacy organization and get free Redbones lunch in the afternoon. Here's how you can help out:

Friday, 7/29/11
6:00pm: PB&J Party: We need help making lots of peanut butter & jelly sandwiches for our riders on Saturday. We'll get together in Watertown to create some culinary masterpieces.

Saturday, 7/30/11
6:30am-11:00am: Registration - We need help to register our day-of riders and help wave people into the Lexington High School parking lot.
Rest Stops: Great Brook Farm State Park or in Groton - help us greet riders and make sure everything everyone is safe along the route.
12:30pm-4:00pm: Food Service - We need volunteers to help dish out Redbones meals to our returning riders.

If you are interested in volunteering, please email Thanks!

See you Saturday!

Update: Globe Gives Cyclists A Say

After the anti-cyclist column last week, the Globe today printed Letters to the Editor from MassBike Executive Director David Watson and others. Most of the letters touch on the theme that there is a broader issue of mutual respect among all road users, and targeting cyclists is not the solution.

Globe Attacks Cyclists, MassBike Responds

Today's Boston Globe included an anti-bicyclist column that focused on a narrow view of bicyclist behavior to argue that we should be banned from Boston streets. While risking drawing more attention to this screed than it deserves, MassBike thought it necessary to respond. MassBike Executive Director David Watson submitted the following letter to the editor:

While I agree that too many bicyclists fail to obey the traffic laws (along with vastly larger numbers of motorists and pedestrians), shame on The Globe for publishing the sort of uninformed, inflammatory nonsense Brian McGrory expressed in “Make Boston bicycle-free”. Yes, everyone should obey traffic laws, and the police should enforce those laws. Targeted enforcement against bicyclists might encourage more bicyclists to follow the rules, but it does nothing to address the larger problem of everyone’s lack of respect for everyone else on the road, whether they are cyclists, drivers, or walkers. Stoking resentment of bicyclists among those driving several tons of steel is no way to improve roadway safety. There is no measure by which bicyclists cause more than a small fraction of the safety problems on Boston roads, and we are disproportionately the victims. Mr. McGrory also grossly mischaracterizes and stereotypes bicyclists. I respectfully suggest that he go outside and actually look at who is riding bicycles: he will see that many (perhaps most) of the people biking in Boston today are not packs of Lance Armstrong wannabes but individuals wearing regular clothes using a bicycle as transportation to get somewhere. Bicyclists are not going away and have in fact quadrupled in Boston in just the last three years. Bicycles are an efficient, affordable way to get around town, and enable people to get to jobs, school, and other opportunities that otherwise may not be easily accessible without a car or a T pass. The bike share program is a supremely flexible and affordable public transportation system that taps into this growing need, and it has been successful in big cities all over the world.

Statewide On-Bike Safety Classes Starting in August

Starting in August, several on-bike safety classes will be offered around the state as part of our restructured Education Program.  We have hired seven instructors located in the different regions who are eager to start using their bike education knowledge to teach hordes of bicyclists how to get where they're going in comfort and with confidence.  These classes are for bicyclists of all kinds - commuters, recreational riders, or just people who would like to start riding more in general.  Some of the things we are going to be teaching in this four-hour class are:

  • The rules of the road;

  • The proper way to wear a helmet (It's not quite as straight-forward as you may think);

  • How to remove a tire and patch a flat;

  • and the invaluable "avoidance maneuver."

Dates for these classes are going to be listed by the beginning of next week. I already know that Brockton, Norwood, and Boston are in the final stages of having classes scheduled.  All you need to participate is a working bike, a helmet, and a desire to be a better biker.

If you think there is a need for classes in your area, please send me an email and I will be more than happy to work with you to find a location, schedule an instructor, and get the word out. We are also always looking for sponsors to either bring the cost of the class down or offer it for free; if you have any leads, please do send those to me as well!  You can email me at

For more information on the class schedule and pricing, see our Education Page.

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