I Am A Woman, And I Ride

A while ago we asked you to send in your bicycling stories and you didn't disappoint! We are trying to make sure everyone out there realizes that cyclists are real live human beings, not just anonymous people on wheels. Your stories put a face on cycling. These stories are part of a larger campaign to make cycling safer for everyone in Massachusetts, stay tuned for more information about this campaign.

We are still accepting entries, so be sure to read below to find out how to send in your story.

Our first story comes from Emily:


Where I Ride: grocery stores, library, post office, town schools, friends' houses, local farm
How Often I Ride: most days, except when there's too much snow/ice

My Story:
I'm 61, healthy and able to ride my bike for most of my errands. We live about a half mile from the center of Weston, our land abutting the old Mass Central rail line. Though the Mass Central is not yet an official rail trail, I'm able to use it to get to the three stores where I buy my groceries, in Weston, Wayland and Watertown. I go out my door to the trail and ride west toward Weston's Omni Market or to Wayland's Whole Foods, or east toward Waltham, where after a short bit on roads I can pick up the Charles River Way at Prospect Street. From there, I follow the river to the Heron Bridge in Watertown, then cut through parking lots to Russo's. It takes me about 5 minutes to ride into Weston Center, and between a half and three quarters of an hour to Wayland or Watertown. I also ride to the Weston Library and to Land's Sake Farm, both about 10 minutes from our house.

My bike is one I inherited from our third son. We gave it to him about 15 years ago when he was around 12. My husband, Dave, took it to Frank's Spoke and Wheel for a thorough overhaul a couple years ago and it works well, especially with the "new" tire Dave salvaged from a bike he found at the Weston transfer station. I have a couple old saddle bags on the rear wheel in which I can put up to about 45 pounds of groceries.

My biking carries on a family tradition, which continues with all four of our kids. My parents both rode their bikes into their 80's. When my mom was in her mid 70's, she took her 2 longest rides, one from Weston to the Cape, the other from Weston to Peterboro, NH. Here's hoping I'll be able to do the same!


Thanks Emily! Cycling is a wonderful family tradition.

We want to hear your story. Tell us about yourself and how bicycling is a part of your life. Just copy and paste the form below into an email, fill it in, and send it to shane@massbike.org.

  • Name:

  • Email:

  • Where You Ride:

  • How Often You Ride:

  • Your Profession/Relation/Title (lawyer, nurse, Grandma, son, etc):

  • A picture of you on your bicycle, or you in your daily life (be sure we can see your face):

  • A paragraph or two about your life and your bicycle:


MassBike Supports Mountain Biking In Middlesex Fells

The Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) is currently conducting a planning process for the trail system in the Middlesex Fells Reservation. In connection with the process, the New England Mountain Bike Association (NEMBA) is proposing a comprehensive plan for mountain biking in the Fells. MassBike supports NEMBA's efforts to create more opportunities for riding bikes in the Boston area by expanding mountain bike access in the Middlesex Fells Reservation. We applaud NEMBA's commitment to building and maintaining sustainable trails and to sharing those trails with all users.

Please consider submitting your own comments in support of mountain biking in the Fells. Click here for more information. Comments must be submitted by February 28, 2010.

New Stickers!

MassBike is busy every day working hard to make sure bicycling is better for everyone in Massachusetts, but sometimes we take a break to have a bit of fun. Which is why we are happy to announce our new stickers! These fine yellow beauties are the perfect adornment to any bicycle, and let the world know that you support MassBike.





You are probably asking yourself "Self, how can I get one of these sweet stickers!" Well tell yourself to relax because it is super easy. The best way to get one of these fine bike stickers is to become a member of MassBike! We will be sending them out with all membership packets from now on (new members, and renewals).

If want one, but don't want to wait, send a self addressed stamped envelope to:

MassBike
171 milk street, suite 33
Boston, MA 02109

We can send you one or both stickers, so let us know what you want. If you want more than a handful contact us.

MassBike Speaking Up For Bicyclists In Your Community

Here are some of the public meetings we've participated in recently to make sure bicyclist needs are included in transportation projects around the state.



Amesbury: Whittier Bridge (total bridge replacement, but MassDOT had not considered the need for bicyclists to get safely across the Merrimack River)

Allston: River Street and Western Avenue Bridges (these critical connections between Boston and Cambridge must include bicycle facilities, and maintain safe bicycle and pedestrian access during construction - also an opportunity to fix the dangerously narrow section of the Charles River path near River Street)

Cambridge: Anderson Memorial Bridge (this vital commuter link between Harvard Square and Allston must include bicycle facilities, and maintain safe bicycle and pedestrian access during construction)

Boston: South Bay Harbor Trail (this path from Ruggles to the Fort Point Channel area is a fantastic opportunity to get more people in the city biking and walking, but the design has some potential safety issues that could be improved)

Need help representing bicyclist interests in a project near you, or want to request that MassBike attend a meeting? Contact David Watson, david@massbike.org or 617-542-2453. While we don't have the resources to take an active role in every project, we're always happy to talk with you and see if there is a way we can help.

What MassBike Is Doing To Get More Kids Biking To School

Pretty much everyone agrees it would be a good thing if more kids were biking (or walking) to school. Something like 75% of US schoolchildren are driven to school by car, and parents dropping kids off is the single biggest source of traffic around schools (see report). In the space of a single generation, the percentage of kids biking and walking to school has dropped from 41% to 13%, while at the same time childhood obesity rates have skyrocketed (see report). So how do we reverse this trend?



One response to the problem is the federally-funded Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program, which here in Massachusetts is managed by the Department of Transportation. The program provides infrastructure improvements, education, and encouragement to schools statewide, including bicycle safety training by MassBike (click for more details about our youth education programs). About 70% of the funding is targeted for improving the physical infrastructure around schools (like sidewalks, crossings, and bike lanes), with the remaining 30% available for education and program administration. Over the past two years, we've taught more than 4000 kids about biking and safety.

We also participate in the state SRTS Task Force, an advisory group of biking, walking, education, and safety experts that provides guidance for the MA program. We ask a lot of questions at Task Force meetings. At the most recent meeting, we asked :

  1. Why can't the annual "Walk to School Day" be "Walk & Bike to School Day"? (We've raised this issue a few times.)

  2. Which schools getting bicycling improvements as part of their infrastructure projects?

  3. Where were needed bicycling improvements identified but not included in projects?

  4. Which participating schools encourage bicycling, and which schools prohibit bicycling? (Believe it or not, a significant number of schools actually do prohibit kids from biking.)


We got the answer to Question #1 this week: From now on, Massachusetts will have "Walk & Bike to School Day", thanks to MassBike keeping up the pressure on this issue.

We've been promised answers to our other questions at the next quarterly Task Force meeting, so we will keep you posted.

Traffic Advisory: BU Bridge

Massachusetts Department of Transportation



TRAFFIC ADVISORY

Evening/Overnight Bridge Closure Boston University Bridge

On Sunday, February 21, 2010 through Thursday, March 4, 2010 the Boston University Bridge, which carries traffic over the Charles River between Cambridge and Boston, will be closed to traffic from 9 PM to 5 AM each week (Sunday to Thursday.) The upstream sidewalk will remain open during the bridge closure for bicycle and pedestrian access. Drivers are encourages to plan ahead and seek alternative routes during the closures.

MassDOT crews will be completing demolition work as part of the first phase of construction on the Boston University Bridge Rehabilitation Project. All Cambridge-to-Boston traffic and Boston-to-Cambridge traffic will be detoured to the Massachusetts Avenue Bridge. Buses and emergency vehicles will be permitted to cross the bridge.

For transportation news and updates visit the MassDOT website at
www.mass.gov/massdot
the MassDOT blog at
www.mass.gov/blog/transportation
or follow MassDOT on twitter at
www.twitter.com/massdot

Spring Volunteer Opportunities Abound

Even though you may not be thinking about spring yet (unless you are wishing for its quick arrival), MassBike is busy preparing for an exciting 2010 spring season. We've got lots planned and we need your help!



Starting in late March, MassBike will be hitting the streets to reach bicyclists where we know they'll be: on their bikes. We'll have separate events to petition for our upcoming legislative campaign (more details soon), to hand out info based on our Same Road, Same Rules campaign, and continue doing our service stations for cyclists. To do this, we'll need lots of volunteers to help to flag down bicyclists and get the word out. We'll also need help tabling at events across the state to spread the news about bicycling and let people know what is going on at MassBike. All these events are fun and a great way for you to support bicycling in Massachusetts.

Plus, because some of our volunteers will be out in the great wide open, we'll need extra office support. Our monthly volunteer nights are a good way to meet other bicyclists and help out the cause. Spots fill up quick, though, so RSVP early. We'll also need help in the office during the workday to complete some of the less glamorous, but just as important aspects of bicycle advocacy.

Volunteer events will be happening all the time throughout the spring and summer. To find out what is going on, check out our volunteer calendar, which will be filling up with events soon.

Volunteer support makes MassBike work! Come out and lend a hand.

Kyrgyzstan To Kathmandu: A 6-Month Bicycle Adventure (Update!)

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Don't Miss this inspiring slide show about a physical and cultural bicycle journey across Central Asia. Listen to Sage Cohen from the Boston University School of Public Health tell her tale of cycling across some of the most rugged and beautiful terrain on earth. Be inspired, and awed by this amazing bicycle journey through Kyrgyztan, Tajikistan, Pakistan, Xinjiang, Tibet and Nepal.

Arrive at 6:30 to enjoy light refreshments with new and familiar friends - presentation at 7pm.

This event is a benefit fundraiser for MassBike, all donations will go to support MassBike. Sliding scale admission ($5 minimum, $10 suggested $40 or more gets you a free MassBike membership).

Thursday March 18th, 6:30-9pm at the BU George Sherman Union. 775 Comm. Ave (2nd floor conference auditorium)

CLAMP federal funding for bike/ped projects

The Clean Air and Mobility Program (CLAMP)

$2,000,000 in federal funds available for wide range of small transportation projects including bicycle and pedestrian facilities

The Boston Metro MPO has launched the Clean Air and Mobility Program in order to fund a wider variety of projects that improve air quality and mobility, and reduce congestion in the region using federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) funds. There is $2 million in funds available in federal fiscal year 2010 for CMAQ-eligible projects and programs. The deadline for proposals for funding in the Clean Air and Mobility program is April 1, 2010. There will be four public seminars to provide opportunities to discuss the program with MPO staff. MPO staff will also provide technical assistance to applicants.

Regional transit authorities, municipalities, transportation management associations, chambers of commerce, and nonprofit transportation advocacy groups in the MPO region are invited to submit proposals. All projects must have an RTA, a municipality, or a transportation agency as a fiduciary agent. Joint proposals are accepted.

There are three meetings in Feburary:

Wednesday, February 17, 9:00 AM:
TIP "How-To" Seminar Lynn City Hall, Room 302

 

Tuesday, February 23, 9:00 AM: TIP "How-To" Seminar Marlborough City Hall, Memorial Hall (3rd Floor)

Wednesday, February 24, 9:00 AM: TIP "How-To" Seminar Weymouth Town Hall, Council Chambers

We encourage you to attend meetings and talk to your local officials


 


More information can be found at http://www.mapc.org/smart-growth/transportation/funding-programs or contact Eric Bourassa, Transportation Manager, MAPC, at ebourassa@mapc.org or 617-451-2270, ext. 2043; or Hayes Morrison, TIP Program Manager, MPO staff, at hayesm@bostonmpo.org or 617-973-7129.

Ask MassBike: Art Bikes

We get a lot of questions here at MassBike, and we like to think we also give some pretty good answers. We realized that sharing these questions and answers on our website would be a valuable resource to others looking for the same information.

We got this question from Scott about art bikes.


Do you have any leads on art bike groups that can be hired for a festival in Boston?


Hello Scott

I am pretty sure what you mean by art bikes are bicycles done up in awesome/outrageous/artistic ways, including custom built bikes (low riders, tall bikes, etc). The only organization I can think of are the wonderful folks over at SCUL, while I am not sure you can "hire" them as they are a quote "an anti-elite band of pilots testing out experimental ships, exploring the Greater Boston Starystems and occasionally other galaxies. We are an organized battalion of funk." they might show up if you asked nicely. Learn more about SCUL here.

Below is some examples of their work

[gallery link="file" columns="2"]

If you know of any other groups like this that could help Scott out leave the link in the comments.


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