Ask MassBike: Youth Cycling And Racing

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 Josh about the youth cycling clubs, and youth racing.

My son is 8 years old and loves to bike... we have been looking for a sport that has many positive values and that he is passionate about and this seems to be it. do you have any resources, or contacts for youth clubs or how to buy the first bike with shifters for a young aspiring cyclist?



Hello Josh

It is so great that your son is into cycling and that you want to get him a nice bike. I would suggest that you stay away from big box retailers, as they are not going to have the experience needed to get your son a nicer bicycle. I would go to your local bike shop. Not only will you be supporting local business, but you will also be tapping into the years of experience that the local bike shops have. They are really the best place to learn about bikes, and get advice about bicycles. You can find a list of shops that support MassBike here.

As far as local clubs that do youth rides, we are not aware of any, but you can contact the ones we have listings for here, and see if they do any youth rides. I also think that NEBC has some programs to get kids into racing, which might be of interest.

Also be sure to check out our youth safety education here.

I hope this helps!

If anyone knows of any cycling clubs that have youth related rides please leave them in the comments, if you have a question for MassBike, contact us.

MassBike Welcomes It's New Board Members!

We are pleased to announce the results of the MassBike Board of Directors election!

The following people have been elected to serve a three-year term:

Ellen Gugel
Bob Nesson
Sam Thompson
Phil Posner
Timothy Libby
James Bradley
Michael Augustine

We had eight candidates for seven open slots. 230 members voted, which is an outstanding turnout.
Thank you to everyone who voted and we look forward to working with our board and making 2010 the best year yet for MassBike!

MassBike Leads Effort To Revise Bike/Ped Engineering Directive

[Ed. Note: We revised this post to resolve some confusion among our advocacy partners.]

Sometimes it's the seemingly little things that can make a big difference. We often work behind the scenes on the less-than-exciting minutia of government agencies. This involves many meetings, phone calls, and emails about things that most people never hear about, but have a big impact on the daily lives of cyclists in Massachusetts. We are able to do all of this because of the support of our wonderful members.

Last August, MassDOT (formerly MassHighway) issued an Engineering Directive (pdf) intended to clarify (1) the minimum standards for bicycle and pedestrian accommodation on roads statewide, and (2) the process for requesting an exception from those standards (in other words, how to ask for permission NOT to accommodate cyclists and pedestrians). Directives like this are used by MassDOT and engineers statewide to guide the design of road projects. While the state, with the help of MassBike and other advocates, has made great progress establishing more bicycle and pedestrian-friendly design standards, we thought this directive represented a step backward (though we are confident that was not MassDOT's intention).

MassBike's Technical Advisory Committee carefully analyzed the directive, then we organized a joint effort with MassBike, LivableStreets Alliance, WalkBoston, and the Institute for Human Centered Design, to bring these concerns to MassDOT's attention. We all met with them today. (our memo about the directive pdf)

To MassDOT's credit, they recognized that the directive was not as clear as it could have been, and invited the advocates to work with them to revise it. MassBike will work with the other groups on a revised directive and follow up with MassDOT. We appreciate MassDOT's willingness to recognize the problem and work with us to solve it.

Longfellow Bridge Bike Lane Saved, And Sidewalks Too!

In a victory for bicyclists and pedestrians, MassDOT today agreed to change its plans to remove a portion of the bike lane on the Longfellow Bridge in order to install sidewalks where none currently exist. Instead, MassDOT opted to build the sidewalks and keep the bike lane by implementing an alternative proposal submitted by MassBike, LivableStreets Alliance, WalkBoston, and the Institute for Human Centered Design.



MassDOT also agreed to perform further analysis of the traffic patterns on the bridge in order to determine whether the lane configuration currently planned for the long-term reconstruction of the bridge is necessary, or if alternative proposals to provide even more space for bicycles and pedestrians are feasible (such as this one submitted by MassBike pdf). Finally, MassDOT agreed to continue the discussion with the advocates about the future configuration of the Longfellow Bridge.

Thanks MassDOT, and thanks to all the advocates for a great joint effort! Special thanks to State Representatives Marty Walz and Will Brownsberger, whose leadership on these issues is making a real difference.

Broadway Commuter Repair Clinic Classes, Date Changes

Due to a slight mix-up the very fun and very informative Broadway Commuter Repair Clinics have had their dates changed.

Below is a re-post of the original posting for these classes with corrected dates. There are still some slots in each class but they have been going fast so sign up now!

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Be ready to protect your bicycle against the ravages of winter, or get it ready to start riding again next spring! Learning how to perform basic repairs on your bicycle is an important part of bicycle commuting. To help you get there, Broadway Bicycle School has teamed up with MassBike to offer some great commuter repair clinics.



Learn the ABC Quick Check, how to change a flat, how to use your barrel adjusters to adjust brakes, and how to determine when the bike needs repairs. These great clinics will also cover how to properly lube your chain and other parts of the bicycle, how to clean your bike and why that is important.

Bring your own bicycle. Learn hands-on how to maintain the bicycle you ride each day.

Class size is limited to 8 people, and classes are expected to fill up fast, so sign up now in order to get the class date you want.

Classes offered:

Each clinic is 2 hours long and from 4-6pm, cost is $30 per 2-hour clinic.

Dates have changed! below dates are correct



Jan. 10 (sign up here)
Jan. 17 (sign up here)
Jan. 24 (sign up here)
Jan. 31 (sign up here)

Each class will be at the Broadway Bicycle School, 351 Broadway, in Cambridge.

If you own or operate a bike shop that offers repair classes and would like to team up with MassBike to offer them to our members contact us.

Riding Your Bicycle To Logan Airport

We are still sorting through some good stuff from the old website, this gem turned up today. I have updated what I could, but it is not perfect, if you have information that can be added please leave it in the comments. Original Content by Doug Mink, John Allen and Dan Moraseski.



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Getting to and from the Airport

Bicycle Directions to Logan Airport

Bicycle Directions from Logan Airport

Useful Information

Map of route to/from Boston

Map of Route into and out of airport


Bringing a bike in or out of Logan International Airport is relatively easy: there are many options. This pamphlet covers the details; also call 800 23-LOGAN for latest updates on bicycle access to the airport.

You may bring your bike by subway, ferryboat, bus or car -- or ride it to the airport. Riding between Cambridge, Somerville, and North Shore points and the airport can be faster than driving, especially when highways are jammed with traffic.

You can ride into and out of the airport on service roads and paths. Even if you have prepackaged you bike, then you can take it in and out of the airport on the airport's free shuttle buses between the margins of the airport and your airline terminal. Allow 30 minutes for your bus trip, including waiting time, except as noted below.



Getting to and from the Airport



To ride there:

See map below

By ferry:

Ferries connect directly from the airport to downtown Boston, to Quincy, and Hull. However, you should check the ferry schedule -- it does not run at all hours.

A bus to the airport ferry dock, marked "Water Transportation," circulates through the airport terminals. This is the least crowded airport bus, and you do not have to take a ferry to use it. You may have to ride to the ferry dock unless your bike is packaged, and riding may be faster in any case. You can bike to and from the ferry dock on a very pleasant path which you can pick up by taking Sumner St. from Maverick Square to Jefferies St., then following the harbor. Call 800 23-LOGAN for details.

The Water Taxi ferry runs between the airport and the World Trade Center, convenient to downtown Boston, and this is also where ferries depart to Provincetown on Cape Cod.. See the Bay State Cruise Company Web site.

Using the airport shuttle buses

If you are going to the ferry dock, you may ride your bike (see map below) or take the special Water Transportation bus. Otherwise, take the #22, #33 or #44 bus to the subway station. If going to the Maverick Gate, then continue on the #44 bus and ask the driver to stop at the Edson building, opposite the Harborside Drive bus shelter. It is a short walk from there to the Maverick Gate. (**This might be wrong, be sure to check the Massport website for more details**)

Regional bus service

Massport Logan Express buses connect Logan Airport with Framingham, Braintree and Woburn. These buses accommodate packaged or unpackaged bicycles in their baggage compartments. Call Massport information at 800 23-LOGAN for details. Several regional bus lines also serve the airport. Some of them accept unpackaged bicycles on a space-available basis, and all accept packaged bicycles. Call the bus line you will take to find out about its policy.

Via the Blue Line subway

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) Blue Line subway stops at the Airport subway station and connects with other MBTA subway and commuter rail lines. Packaged bikes are permitted on the subway like any other baggage. Unpackaged bikes are permitted on the subway on weekends and at specified off-peak weekday times. For details, see the MassBike Bikes on the T page or call MBTA information at 617 722-3200.

From the station, airport shuttle bus #22 or #33 will carry you and your bike to your airline terminal, or you may ride (see map below). If you are traveling at peak commute times, the airport shuttle buses that serve the subway may be crowded, so it is better to ride, or to enter via one of the less crowded entry points described earlier.

The Maverick Gate: You can't park your bike and fly.

After long negotiations several years ago, MassPort promised bicyclists that they would be able to lock their bikes at the Maverick Gate (employees' entrance) to leave it at the airport and fly out: the bike rack has 24-hour surveillance from the gate attendant, so your bike would NOT have been stolen or vandalized! Massport no longer allows bikes to be parked there, citing "security reasons". You will have to find a different place
to park, somewhere outside the airport. Bring a good lock!

Transporting Your Bike By Car and Taxi

Some taxis take bikes -- call for a station wagon cab, especially if you have prepackaged your bike. If you are driving and parking at a satellite parking lot outside the airport, you can usually take your bike to the terminal in the parking lot's shuttle van -- check with the parking lot operator. Or drive through the airport first and leave off your bike. If you are traveling alone, you could ask a red cap (they work for tips) to watch your bike until you return from parking your car. If you are traveling with a companion, one of you can drive the car to the parking lot while the other takes the bikes and baggage into the airline terminal.

If you are parking your car in the airport's central parking garage, it's a fairly short walk to the terminals -- Logan is far more compact than many airports.




Other Useful Information

Most buses stop at the airline terminals on the lower level (arrivals). Most airlines have their baggage offices (with bike packing materials) on this level. Pack your bike and check it here before you go upstairs to the gate. If you are arriving at the airport in a large group, call Massport's Public Affairs Department at 617 561-1818, at least 24 hours in advance, to reserve a special bus for your group and its bicycles.

Packaging your Bike

Most foreign airlines will check a bike for free and transport it unpackaged if you have only one other piece of luggage. Most domestic airlines require you to package your bike, and charge for excess baggage. Fees and policies may affect your choice of an airline, so call to ask about them and to be sure that boxes are available. If your airline is out of boxes, you can buy one from another airline.

Airline boxes are big enough to hold most bikes with both wheels in place. Just remove the pedals and turn the handlebars 90 degrees, or remove the handlebars with the stem and hook them over the top tube. If you haven't disassembled these parts before, practice ahead of time with someone who can show you how.

If your bike is too big for the airline box, lower or remove the saddle, or remove the wheels if necessary. If you have to remove the wheels, install spare axles or blocks of wood between the forkends to protect the forks from being bent.

In addition to standard bike tools, you will need a felt-tip marker, scissors (or a sharp knife) and a roll of fiber- reinforced strapping tape or duct tape. Airline baggage tape will not withstand the rough handling most bike boxes receive in transit.

Pack your tools with the bike or other checked baggage, or you will have problems at the security gate. Pack your sleeping bag, panniers, helmet, etc. around your bike to keep it from shifting in the box and to avoid additional excess-baggage charges. Be sure that your box is marked "Bicycle -- Fragile" in large letters on all sides, and that your identification is on the box as well as each separate item inside the box, just in case it breaks open.

Commercial bike carrying bags and boxes (available at many bike shops) require more bike dismantling, but can often be checked as regular baggage, avoiding the hassle of going to the oversize baggage window as well as excess-baggage charges. A folding bicycle in its carrying bag is especially convenient for frequent fliers, because it can usually be checked as regular baggage.

At your Destination

Depending on where your flight lands, you may be able to cycle or take public transportation from the airport to your final destination. Be sure you know the route to your destination; that bicyclists are permitted on the roads you plan to travel; and that you are sufficiently hydrated: air travel dries you out.


Bicycle Directions from Logan Airport to Boston




  1. Follow the elevated walkways to the Central Parking Garage and take the elevator or stars down to ground level at the Hilton Hotel.

  2. Follow the smaller map until you reach Porter Street. Then follow the larger map and the instructions below.

  3. Go across the square and turn right onto Border Street. Follow Border Street to the sharp right turn at its end, then at the first traffic light past the turn, go left onto the McArdle Bridge.

  4. Take the first left past the bridge, onto Williams Street.

  5. Follow Williams Street through the produce market and tank farm. Along the way, it becomes Beacham Street.

  6. Turn left onto Robin Street just past the Exxon tank farm.

  7. At the end of Robin, turn right onto Dexter. At the end of Dexter, turn left onto Broadway (Route 99).

  8. Take the third right at the Sullivan Square rotary. (The second right, onto Washington Street, leads to Somerville and Cambridge.)

  9. Continue straight ahead on Rutherford Street. You can take the off-ramp and on-ramp near Bunker Hill Community College to avoid riding through the underpass.

  10. Turn right at the Charlestown Bridge (Washington Street). This has a steel grating deck, so you would do well to use the sidewalk in wet weather. Welcome to downtown Boston.




Bicycle Directions from Boston to Logan Airport




  1. Cross the Charlestown Bridge (Washington Street). This has a steel grating deck, so you would do well to use the sidewalk in wet weather. Use Boston's Bikemap to find your way to Washington St. in the North Station area.

  2. Bear left onto Rutherford Street. You can take the off-ramp and on-ramp near Bunker Hill Community College to avoid riding through the underpass.

  3. Bear right into the Sullivan Square rotary. (The second right, onto Washington Street, leads to Somerville and Cambridge.

  4. Take the second right off the rotary onto Broadway (Route 99) and cross the Mystic River.

  5. Turn right on Dexter, the first turn after the power plant.

  6. Turn left on Robin St. at the end of Dexter.

  7. Turn Right onto Beacham St. at the end of Robin St.

  8. Straight on Williams St. in Chelsea. Follow Williams Street through the tank farm and produce market.

  9. Straight on Marginal St.

  10. Right at light over McArdle Bridge.

  11. Right onto Border St. (First right after bridge)

  12. Continue on Border street past Central Square, and turn left on Decatur Street. Continue straight ahead and bear right on Porter Street to the Airport subway station.

  13. Follow the smaller map to the Central Parking Garage, opposite the Hilton Hotel.

  14. Take the elevator or stairs up to the elevated walkways, and the walkways to the terminal.



(**Both of these routes might be out of date**)














Click the title of either map for larger maps, and more directions.

Ask MassBike: City Of Boston Bike Share Program 2010

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 John about the bike share program that Boston plans on rolling out this year.

Hi MassBike,

I am excited about the Boston bike share program that is supposed to be in
place this year.
Are there any details yet?
Can I sign up yet?
Are there going to be bikes available at Sullivan Square (on the Orange
Line) ???

Please let me know.

John





Hello John

The information we know so far about this program was given to us at the City of Boston's Bicycle annual update late last year (2009). You can find our recap on that report here. You can also read the report here (pdf) and Nicole Freedman's (director of bicycle programs for Boston) presentation here (PDF). I have selected the relevant information from both pdf's below for your easy reading. This is what the city has self reported, but from what we know it has not been finalized yet. They as of yet have not finalized where all the stations will be, but if you read below they have the initial stations picked out. As far as I know you cannot sign up yet.

From the report:



Mayor Menino has been working together with the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) and neighboring communities and universities to bring a bike sharing system to Boston in summer 2010. The MAPC released a Request for Proposals and selected Public Bike Systems of Montreal (a.k.a. Bixi) as the vendor. Sponsors are already starting to sign on to the program, and other funding, including a title sponsor, is being sought.

Bike Share has already proven transformative in more than 50 cities on five continents. The program has achieved unparalleled success in changing transportation habits, with significant, measurable effects on greenhouse gas emissions and health concerns such as obesity and diabetes. Boston's Bike Share is projected to produce 635,000 bike trips in its first year and create up to 25 new green jobs.

Boston's Bike Share program will launch with 1,000 bicycles and 85 stations and will grow to 290 stations and 3,000 bicycles in Boston and 2,000 bikes at 150 stations in neighboring communities including Cambridge, Somerville and Brookline. Stations will be located at MBTA stops, universities, hospitals, commercial districts and tourist attractions. The initial launch will place stations in downtown, the South End, Roxbury, South Boston, Fenway, the Longwood Medical Area, and along Massachusetts Ave and Boylston Street.

Bike Share brings cycling into the mainstream by making it convenient, inexpensive, and even hip. Most users are residents, workers, tourists and students, not people who consider themselves cyclists. The design of the bikes favors everyday trips in any clothing, even skirts and suits. Participants access a bike with a swipe of a card and can return it to any station. Users will be able to purchase yearly, monthly, or daily passes, and the first 30 minutes of any ride are free to encourage short trips with frequent turnover of the bicycles.



From the presentation:



Boston (1 year forecast)
85 stations
1,000 bikes
2,319 daily bike trips
11,225 annual subscribers
635,095 annual bike trips
1,905,300 million annual miles

Boston (3 year forecast)
290 stations
3,000 bikes
9,124 daily bike trips
22,500 annual subscribers
2,500,000 annual bike trips
7,500,000 million annual miles


I hope this helps.

Ask MassBike: City Of Cambridge Bicycle Parking Laws

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 Jean about bicycle parking laws in Cambridge.

I live in a condominium near Harvard Square where parking/storage of a bicycle is somewhat of a problem. We leave our bicycle attached to a ramp in the back of the building. Someone got his bike stolen 2 weeks ago. I wanted to know if there are any regulations regarding safe storage of bicycles in condominiums.


Hello Jean

You can find out about Cambridge bicycle parking laws in their handy bike parking brochure. (pdf)

This lists the relevant laws regarding bicycle parking. I would also suggest you put your bicycle in your home if possible. This will be the best option for your bicycle (it is out of the weather) and the option most likely to prevent theft.

If you don't have the space you can buy small hooks that attach to the ceiling that allow you to hang a bicycle to reduce space needs.



Folding bicycles are also a good option for people with limited space as they fold down to be very small.


Ask MassBike: Business Districts And Sidewalk Bicycle Riding

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 John about riding on the sidewalk in Boston.

I enjoyed listening to you today on NPR, however there was one question which I don't think was adequately answered, the question was whether it's legal to ride on sidewalks, the answer was that it was not legal in certain "commercial areas," but I'm not sure what that means. Is it legal to ride on sidewalks in the Back Bay, such as Commonwealth Ave? Thanks, John


Hello John

Each town in Massachusetts gets to choose where its "business districts" are, so you will need to check with each town to figure out where it is OK to ride, and where it isn't. Almost every place in Boston and Cambridge is considered a "business district" and as such it is not OK to ride your bike on the sidewalk, If you had a specific question about a specific road you should contact the city.

If you have a question for MassBike, contact us.

Jingle All The Way

The 13th Annual Ciclismo Classico Jingle Ride raised over $2600 for MassBike last weekend, including $2000 from our great friend Bruce Lederer, director of the Mass BikePike Tour. That brings the total Bruce donated to MassBike this year to $7,000! We also got three brand new members on the ride! Thanks so much to the team at Ciclismo Classico.

The Jingle Ride brought together dozens of festively dressed bicyclists riding imaginatively-adorned bikes, spreading good will and song from Arlington to Boston and back. Words alone cannot do it justice, so here is the video:



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