Upcoming Ride Of Silence To Raise Bike Safety Awareness

MassBike will lead the Boston-area Ride of Silence on Wednesday, May 18, 2011, one of hundreds of such rides taking place worldwide to honor bicyclists killed or injured while riding on public roads, and to raise awareness of the need for motorists to exercise more caution around bicyclists. The ride occurs during Bay State Bike Week, the statewide celebration of bicycling. We've seen lots of you riding this spring, and we urge as many of you as possible to attend this important ride. We need to send a strong message to the public that bicyclist safety on the roads is an important issue that affects many people. Let us know if you plan to attend by RSVPing to Rides@MassBike.org.

The idea of the Ride of Silence is to draw attention to the human toll caused by roads that are poorly designed for bicycling and by motorists who fail to drive safely around bicyclists. While biking remains a generally safe mode of travel, it is still important to note that we bicyclists do have significant vulnerabilities that may not be recognized or fully appreciated by the general public, and motorists in particular. This ride highlights the fact that as gas prices rise and more people take to the streets on two wheels, we all need to slow down a little and exercise good judgment.

The ride will depart Seven Hills Park behind the Davis Square MBTA Station in Somerville at 7pm (plan to arrive no later than 6:45pm so we can depart promptly), then make its way through Cambridge to Boston where it will conclude at the Charles Street entrance to the Boston Common. The six-mile ride will take place in total silence, at a slow pace, with only signs worn by the riders to explain the purpose of the ride. The route intentionally takes busy streets in order to draw the greatest amount of attention, though the riders take care to follow the law and minimize interference with motor vehicle traffic.

The ride will conclude with brief remarks at Boston Common. If you would like the name of a friend or relative who has been killed or injured in a bike crash to be read aloud, please notify us at Rides@MassBike.org. Also, if you would like to say a few words at the end of the ride, we welcome your thoughts.

In addition to the Boston-area ride, there are rides in Leominster and Worcester. Check our calendar or the Ride of Silence website for details.

MassBike has led this ride for several years, and the opportunity to ride silently and think about those whose lives have been changed or ended because of a bike crash, and everyone we're trying to protect by raising public awareness and advocating for better roads, has always proven to be meaningful. Please take some time to join us for this very important event.

You CAN Get There From Here (With Your Bike) On The Blue Line!

Next Wednesday, May 18, 2011, at 3:30pm, state, city, local officials, and community organizations will join Transportation officials at Maverick Station to officially announce the Bikes on the Blue Line Pilot Program. The MBTA, in collaboration with the Chelsea Creek Action Group (CCAG) and MassBike initiated a six-month pilot project on the Blue Line beginning March 19, 2011 expanding bicycle access during rush hours. Bicycles will be allowed on the Blue Line at all times except from 7-9AM towards Bowdoin and 4-6PM towards Wonderland weekdays. The changes provides an additional two hours of bike access during peak periods (inbound in the morning and outbound in the afternoon), and an additional six hours of bike access in the reverse-peak.

Bring your bike to the event, then you can take it on the Blue Line to downtown Boston DURING EVENING RUSH HOUR!

The MBTA recognizes that Boston Harbor poses a barrier to cyclists to and from East Boston and welcomes the opportunity to use existing Blue Line capacity to improve customer mobility. This pilot project allows residents of Blue Line communities to travel a few stops by public transportation and then complete their trip by bike, opening up more economic and educational opportunities that are not easily reached directly by T. The project also promotes more bikeable communities, which leads to more livable, healthier communities and reduced pollution.

This pilot project is exciting for the communities on the Blue Line because of the collaboration between the MBTA, organizations such as MassBike and the Chelsea Creek Action Group, and community residents. CCAG is a grassroots organization formed by East Boston and Chelsea residents, the Chelsea Green Space and Recreation Committee, and the Neighborhood of Affordable Housing (NOAH). Youth from CCAG's Environmental Chelsea Creek Crew (E3C) have been the lead advocates for the Blue Line pilot, working together with MassBike and the MBTA. Ultimately, this pilot project serves as a model for agencies and government entities to work with community groups and other stakeholders to achieve excellent public transportation and improve the city.

This pilot project will be in effect on the Blue Line ONLY; unfortunately, bicycles remain restricted on the Orange and Red Lines between 7-10AM and 4-7PM weekdays. We recognize that challenges remain to expanding rush hour bicycle access on the other lines due to higher ridership and crowding, but we hope that the lessons we learn on the Blue Line will help us find solutions. This is the latest chapter in MassBike's ongoing efforts to help bicyclists take full advantage of our public transportation system.

MassBike Seeks Office Space

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="230" caption="MassBike needs to find a bigger home. "][/caption]

It’s generally a good thing to be a growing organization.  For the first time in MassBike's history, we have three full-time staff positions, with the hope of expanding it to six by 2014. More staff means more time spent on bicycling advocacy and education aimed at making Massachusetts the best place in the nation to ride a bicycle.

However, like a hermit crab seeking a new shell, our growth in staff and volunteers means we need to find a bigger office.  While we are sad to leave our home at 171 Milk Street, we are also very excited at the prospect of finding a new shell.

If you know of a space that might be a good fit for MassBike, we'd love to hear from you. We're looking for a location that is easy to get to from all areas of Boston and that has access to the T. We need a space that is around 1000 square feet or more.  Amazingly good rent deals are also much appreciated.  If you do know of an available space, please send an email to david@massbike.org.

Bike Month Volunteer Night

MassBike's monthly volunteer night is tomorrow, Tuesday, May 10th. We're in the midst of Bike Month and we have much to do to prepare for Bay State Bike Week, which starts this Saturday! Come out to the MassBike office (171 Milk Street, Suite 33, Boston 02109) from 5-8pm tomorrow to help us fold, stuff, and prep. Volunteers get free pizza and drinks, enjoy some good company, and help their statewide bicycle advocacy organization.

RSVP to volunteer@massbike.org if you can make it. Thanks!

MassBike Membership Deal: Join During Bike Month And Save

The weather is beautiful, and MassBike wants cycling in Massachusetts to be just as nice. We need your support to make it happen. So, just as budding flower blossoms sweeten the air, MassBike is sweetening the incentive to become a member of the Commonwealth’s only statewide bicycling advocacy group.

During Bike Month (May) you can save $5 when you support MassBike’s advocacy efforts by becoming a member.

MassBike members get discounts at bike shops, bed & breakfasts, auto insurance, new Zipcar memberships, and on other great services. But most importantly, MassBike members help to improve bicycling for everyone in Massachusetts. They add their voice to thousands of other bicyclists already speaking out for bicycling.

MassBike works year-round to make Massachusetts a better place to bike for fun, fitness, and transportation. But we are a member-driven organization and we need you to continue growing on our past successes! When you join MassBike, your membership adds to the power behind our advocacy. When we attend town meetings, support new legislation, and visit Washington, DC on the Commonwealth’s behalf, it is your membership that says, “Massachusetts wants better and safer cycling laws and infrastructure.”

So if you ride once a year, only in the summer, or every day, we need your support to represent bicyclists. Join MassBike during Bike Month – save some green and support a better Massachusetts for all!

Bay State Bike Week Needs Your Event

The month of May brings with it many things: blossoming flowers, the mass exodus of college students, musings over how next year's hockey season is going to be (even) better.  Perhaps most importantly, though, is Bay State Bike Week, that one magical week in the middle of the month where biking is elevated as the preeminent form of transportation in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. It comes with the hope that, someday, biking will be so commonplace that such a week isn't even necessary.

Until that day comes, however, we need hundreds events to make Bay State Bike Week 2011 an overwhelming success!  We so far have 117 events registered, which already breaks last year's record of 110, but we need your event, too. 

No matter where you are in the Commonwealth, if you have a bike-related event going on during the month of May, you should let us know.  We will help promote it and, if you sign up to be a partner, give you t-shirts and ankle straps.  If you don't have any bike events going on, then organize one!  The only catch is that if your event is a fundraiser, the proceeds need to go to a bike-related cause.

For event registration, the events calendar, and all sorts of more information, check out the website at www.BayStateBikeWeek.org.  Let's all work together to make Massachusetts a golden place for getting there by bike.

MassBike Sponsoring MassCommuter Challenge: Register Your Miles With Us!

MassBike is excited to announce we are sponsoring the MassCommuter Challenge (May 14th – 20th). The MassCommuter Challenge is a friendly and FREE competition taking place during Bay State Bike Week in which folks who live, work or attend school in Massachusetts are encouraged to ride their bike as part of daily trips. Whether you ride for commuting, recreational, utilitarian or training purposes, we encourage you to log your bicycling miles!

MassBike's mission is to promote a bicycle-friendly environment and encourage bicycling for fun, fitness and transportation. The MassCommuter Challenge is a great opportunity for us to learn more about how much our members and supporters travel around on two wheels, and knowing that will help many of our advocacy efforts. Individual registration for the Challenge opens this Sunday, May 1st. When you register, make sure you say you heard about the MassCommuter Challenge from MassBike! Don’t worry, it will be an option when you sign up as a Challenge participant.

We also encourage you to build excitement about the Challenge at your workplace by registering your company as a team in the Challenge.

Armstrong Joins MassBike!

No, not seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong.  Or world, national, and Olympic champion Kristin Armstrong. Fresh off the plane from Eugene, Oregon (one of the most bike-friendly cities in America), MassBike is pleased to present its new Program Manager, Price Armstrong.  Price started his love affair with biking here in Massachusetts while attending school at Hampshire College in Amherst.  In 2008, he left for graduate school in Oregon to learn from national leaders in active transportation how to improve bike policies, programs and culture.

We are pleased to have him back in the Bay State, where he can use that expertise to help get more people onto a bike saddle.  When asked how he liked biking in the Boston area, Price said “The traffic is a lot worse here than anywhere in Oregon, no doubt.  But I’ve been pleasantly surprised with how easy it is to bike along with cars, even where there is no bike lane or path.  I can definitely see how it could be intimidating, and know that both Boston and the rest of the Commonwealth have a long way to go, but I think we might be getting a bad rap.”

With Bike Month and Bay State Bike Week right around the corner, Price has already hit the ground at full speed, scheduling events and meeting other advocates.  As the cycling season rolls along, he will be managing and expanding our youth and adult education programs.  Plus, he’ll be advocating for new projects to make the Commonwealth more bike-friendly.

While in Oregon, Price worked a number of advocacy, agency and political jobs while at the same time pursuing his Master of Public Administration degree.  He was an intern twice in the Oregon State Legislature (one in the office of Representative Val Hoyle, a Dorchester native) and worked in the congressional district office for US Representative Peter DeFazio (originally from Needham, Massachusetts).  He also worked with a number of elected leaders on bike-related issues as Vice President and Advocacy Committee Chair of the Greater Eugene Area Riders.

Price also got much professional experience working a variety of transportation-related jobs.  He was involved in multiple urban sustainability projects as a Graduate Research Fellow for the University of Oregon's Sustainable Cities Initiative and the Oregon Transportation Research and Education Consortium.  He also worked in both the Oregon Department of Transportation's Highway Performance Management Program  and as a long-range planner for Lane Transit District in Eugene.

Price's arrival also marks a milestone for MassBike, which for the first time has three full-time employees working to make bicycling better statewide. We've got momentum, and plan to keep growing to meet the many needs of Massachusetts bicyclists.

Volunteer With MassBike During Bike Month

With Bike Month and Bay State Bike Week both right around the corner, MassBike will be out and about during all of May. We need your help to be out in full force representing bicyclists.

By volunteering with MassBike, you can support your state-wide bicycle advocacy organization and help to make Bike Month and Bay State Bike Week huge successes. You can also volunteer to earn a MassBike membership. Plus, MassBike volunteers have a lot of fun and get a free Bay State Bike Week T-shirt.

MassBike relies on volunteer support to reach out to bicyclists throughout Massachusetts. Whether you'd like to help spread the word about bicycling at a table, get your hands dirty cleaning chains, park bicycles out by the Charles River, or just give away free stuff, we've got an event where you can help out. Visit our volunteer calendar and check out the list below.

If you would like to help out with an event or have questions, please email volunteer@massbike.org.

Here are the events:

May Fair - Sunday, May 1, Harvard Square; 12pm-6pm

MassBike will joining this year's May Fair in Harvard Square. We'll be tabling to let people know what is going on in bicycling in Massachusetts, hand out some safety info, and let them know more about MassBike. Volunteers will help out for two hour shifts. Come down to help out MassBike and then enjoy the rest of the fair!

Urban AdvenTours' Bike Month Kickoff - Sunday, May 1, Christopher Columbus Park; 12pm-5pm

We'll be out with Urban AdvenTours to help kick off Bike Month. We'll be tabling, handing out safety info and letting people know more about MassBike. There will be free coffee and snacks. Plus a raffle for a new bike, proceeds of which go to MassBike. Volunteer shifts are 2:30 hours.

New England Bike Expo - Saturday, May 7 & Sunday, May 8, Somerville Armory (191 Highland Ave, Somerville, MA); 5/7 & 5/8: 9:00am-5:00pm

The first ever New England Bike Expo will be coming to Somerville this year and MassBike will be there. We need volunteers to help table. Plus, we'll be leading rides throughout the event and will need volunteers to lend a hand on the rides. Volunteers get into the Expo for free!

Bay State Bike Week! - Saturday, May 14-Friday, May 20, Various Locations

MassBike will be handing out t-shirts and ankle bands at various locations throughout Bay State Bike Week. More details on locations to come soon. Dates and times will be up soon on our volunteer calendar or email volunteer@massbike.org to get the schedule as soon as it is ready.

Brookline Bikes Beacon - Sunday, May 15, Amory Park, Brookline; 12:45pm-2:45pm

We'll be tabling at the annual Brookline Bikes Beacon. We'll be giving out safety info and letting riders know more about MassBike.

Bike Friday - Friday, May 20, Boston City Hall Plaza; 7am-9am

Help greet bicycle convoy riders coming into City Hall Plaza at this year's first Bike Friday. MassBike will be tabling. Free breakfast for volunteers.

Radio 92.9 Earthfest Bicycle Valet - Saturday, May 21, Charles River Esplanade by the Hatch Shell; 10am-6:00pm

MassBike will once again be providing bicycle valet at Radio 92.9's annual EarthFest. Volunteers help to park bicycles throughout the day, or they can help out with set-up or tear-down.

Bicycle valet is a fun way to spend some time outside, while meeting bicyclists and seeing lots of different types of bicycles. Volunteers help process bicycles as they come in, wheel them to a parking spot, and then bring them back when their owners return. It is a simple way to support your statewide bicycle advocacy group.

We'll have 2 and 1/2 hour shifts, going from 10am-12:30am, 12:00am-2:30pm, 2pm-4:30pm, 4pm-6pm.

Please volunteer with MassBike to help make Bike Month a success! You can find out more about our volunteer-to-member program here.

If you can help out with an event or have any questions, please email volunteer@massbike.org.

Hubway Bikeshare Officially Coming To Boston!

[caption id="attachment_4251" align="aligncenter" width="550" caption="MassBike Executive Director David Watson at the Hubway Contract Signing."][/caption]

The Hubway regional bike sharing program was inaugurated on Thursday outside of Boston City Hall with the signing of a contract between the City of Boston and Alta Bicycle Share, the future operator of the system.  Despite blustery conditions, hundreds of people came out to listen to several high-profile speakers and watch the important moment in Boston’s transportation history.

MassBike Executive Director David Watson was among those to speak, emphasizing the transformative potential of bike share and the need to make it fully regional.  You can read his full remarks here. The ceremony featured speeches from Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone, Secretary of Transportation Jeff Mullan, Alta Bicycle Share President Alison Cohen, Deputy FTA Administrator Therese McMillan, MAPC Transportation Manager Eric Bourassa, and Congressman Mike Capuano.

The system, starting out in Boston with expected expansion into Cambridge, Brookline and Somerville, will begin with 600 bikes, with plans to grow to 5,000.  There will be a membership fee (either daily, monthly or annually) and a tiered price structure for bike use. Rides under 30 minutes will be free!  Boston will be the fourth city in America to have such a program, following Denver, Minneapolis and Washington, DC.

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