Jes Slavin

  • Introducing #LightsBrigade by Bkin

    For the past several years, MassBike’s popular #LightsBrigade program has been brightening up cyclists across the commonwealth. Each winter, we’ve worked with volunteers, bicycle clubs, and civic & municipal groups across the commonwealth to distribute free bike lights to help cyclists be legal and seen when riding at night. We are thrilled to be able to expand this popular program thanks to a new partnership with Delta Cycle and their Bkin lights.

    MassBike’s #LightsBrigade by Bkin is on a mission to shine bright lights across the commonwealth year-round. Many riders find themselves out at night without the required lights to help them stay visible to drivers and others on the roads and paths, and also be in compliance with the law. The #LightsBrigade by Bkin program engages riders where they are, on the roads and paths, and provides free bicycle lights. Previously our #LightsBrigade program ran during the dark winter months. Now, thanks to the support from Delta Cycle, we’ll be handing out free lights during the spring and summer months when the streets are busy with bicyclists of all ages. 

    As part of this new partnership, we will be distributing Bkin lights across the commonwealth. Bkin lights have a powerful built-in battery, their bike tail light lasts up to 20 hours per charge. Bkin lights plug directly into a USB port for a quick, easy and cord-free charge. You can learn more about their lights at www.thebkin.com.

    MassBike’s #LightsBrigade by Bkin program will work with local bicycle clubs, civic & municipal groups, and volunteers to distribute free front and rear bike lights in the following ten regions: Berkshires, Cape & Islands, Connecticut River Valley, Central MA, Greater Boston, Metrowest, Nashoba Valley, North Shore, South Coast, South Shore. We are actively recruiting volunteers to help support light distribution events. If you’re interested in volunteering, please email [email protected] for more information.


  • MassBike Monthly Meet-Ups Begin this Month

    Want to know what MassBike has been working on in 2021? Join our first MassBike Monthly Meet-Up on Monday, April 26th at noon. Bring your lunch and get ready to learn about what MassBike has been up to in 2021. 
    MassBike’s Executive Director, Galen Mook, will be discussing:
    • Our statewide bicycling education efforts
    • Legislative updates
    • How you can volunteer

    Have a topic you want to bring up? Submit your questions via the comments below. 

    This is the first in a series of monthly lunchtime updates. Every fourth Monday of the month, MassBike will host a virtual chat to fill you in on our work, give you a chance to ask questions, and let us know what you’ve been working on in your community.

    RSVP Now


  • MassBike April 2021 Meet-Up with Galen Mook

    Join our first MassBike Monthly Meet-Up with Galen Mook on Monday, April 26th at noon. Bring your lunch and get ready to learn about what MassBike has been up to in 2021. MassBike’s Executive Director, Galen Mook, will be discussing:

    • Our statewide bicycling education efforts
    • Legislative updates
    • How you can volunteer 

    This is the first of a series of monthly lunchtime updates. Every fourth Monday of the month, these virtual chats will fill you in on our work, give you a chance to ask questions, and let us know what you’ve been working on in your community.

    Have a topic you want to bring up? Submit your questions via the comments below. 

    RSVP below for the zoom link to join us.

    WHEN
    April 25, 2021 at 12pm
    2 rsvps rsvp

  • Halfway There - 30 Days of Biking Update

    April’s 30 Days of Biking challenge is almost halfway through and at MassBike we’ve been enjoying getting on our bikes every day. For your daily dose of 30 Days of Biking encouragement, make sure you are following us on social media. The MassBike team has been bringing supporters along for our rides on the MassBike Facebook page and in the MassBike Instagram stories

    As part of the MassBike April Challenge, Riders who take trips every day this month & log their rides on the MassBike Group on Love to Ride will be entered to win a Rover Rain Cape from Cleverhood. If you have been participating in 30 Days of Biking, you can still join the MassBike Challenge & log your previous trips.  

    For those of you who may have missed the beginning of the April challenge, you can still join in the daily biking fun. We’ll be raffling off weekly MassBike prize packs for riders who ride every day for a week in a row and log their trips on the MassBike Group on Love to Ride. MassBike prize packs will include MassBike branded and bike-themed mystery items.

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  • Should Business Make Way for Bicycles?

    A Guest Post by Zach O’Brien

    Biking has many advantages over driving a car and biking obviously improves one’s own health, but did you know that biking also increases a city's well-being? In the fall of 2007, when New York City put in their first protected bike lane (a lane separating bike lanes from car traffic using permanent barriers, such as Jersey barriers or medians), the stores along the bike route reported a 49% increase in sales versus a 3% increase in the rest of the city. 

    According to the U.S. Bicycling Participation Benchmarking Study Report from 2015, 15% of all Americans (45.1 million Americans) had ridden a bike at least once a year for transportation purposes. That might appear to be a high percentage until one delves a little deeper. Of that 15%, only 11% of those people rode their bikes to work 104 days a year or more. If we consider this, only 1.65% (4.96 million) people in America are committed to cycling as a means of transit.

    How would these US biking statistics compare to another country? The Netherlands may be an extreme example, but a good role model nonetheless. According to the Special Eurobarometer 422a Quality of Transport report from 2014, when asked about their preferred modes of transport, Netherlanders used their bicycles 36% of the time. The United States has a long ​way to go to catch up to these bicyclists!

    The U.S. Department of Transportation reported in 2010 that 86.1% of people in the United States used cars as their main means for commuting. However, the story is a bit different for dense urban cities that were established before the widespread use of cars. In these areas, the percentage of people who commute by car is far less than in other areas of the country. Dense urban areas have different modes of commuting than their less-urban counterparts. In 2010, the New York City Department of City Planning reported that fewer than 5% of the people who work in Manhattan drive a car to work. While cars remain undeniably important to the transportation needs of much of the US, dense urban areas work differently. Many other large cities in the US have similar patterns when it comes to commuting. 

    A promising trend is developing; from 2000-2009 in Chicago, New York City, Boston, Portland, Seattle, San Francisco, and Washington DC, the relative number of people who commuted by car decreased from 6.0 to 12.7%. At the same time, the number of people who cycled increased from 50.2 to 230.0%, maybe we have headed in the right direction after all! 

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  • 30 Days of Biking Challenge

    Get riding this April with MassBike's "30 Days of Biking Challenge". Ride every day, even if it’s just once around your block, and you'll have a chance to win a Rover Rain Cape from Cleverhood. The April 30 Days of Biking is just the beginning of what we have planned to get you riding this year. We’ll be promoting monthly ride challenges leading up to Bay State Bike Month in September!

    How to Join the 30 Days of Biking Challenge:

    1. Join the MassBike Group on Love to Ride
    2. If you use Strava, connect your Strava account in your Love to Ride profile to automatically log your rides (don’t forget to join the MassBike Strava Club!)
    3. Start riding & log your miles on Love to Ride! If you connected Strava, your rides will log automatically, just double-check after your first few rides to make sure they’re uploading properly.

    Everyone who rides every day in April & logs their trips on Love to Ride will be entered to win a Cleverhood Rover Rain Cape. After biking through all those April showers, you'll have earned it. Challenge winners will be able to select the size and color rain cape of their choice. 

    We are extremely excited for our monthly ride challenges leading up to Bay State Bike Month and will be rolling out challenge themes & rules soon– so stay tuned. Make sure you are following MassBike on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter so you don't miss any announcements.

    Want to help sponsor Bay State Bike Month or one of our monthly challenges? Reach out to [email protected] for more information.

     

    How to Connect your Strava to Love to Ride

    • Go to your Love to Ride Profile using little gear next to your name & clicking "Edit Profile"

    • Find the "Strava" line & follow instructions, when you are successfully connected it will look like this

     


  • Bike Cleaning Tips

    Giving your bike a regular cleaning guarantees it will keep you rolling for miles to come but sometimes it’s hard to know where to start. MassBike's Executive Director, Galen Mook, recently joined Ciclismo Classico to break down the dirt on the bike cleaning know-how. His tips stick to the basics, without needing a lot of space or fancy equipment. You can follow along with Galen's bike cleaning workshop using the materials list and cleaning tips provided below. 

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  • Support the Belmont Community Path

    The Belmont Community Path needs your support in the next two weeks to secure funding for the path – please read below for action items to contact the Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO).

    This two-mile bike and pedestrian path is a critical link in the 104 mile Massachusetts Central Rail Trail from Boston to Northampton, many pieces of which are now open. Specifically, this path will connect Waltham and points West to Cambridge’s Alewife Station via the Fitchburg cutoff. It will also provide connections to the Minuteman Bikeway and the Somerville Community Path. The Belmont Community Path is an essential piece in a broader transportation and recreation network for local communities and the state, and cannot go unfunded. The path is currently in the design phase and the town of Belmont is seeking funding for construction. The state legislature has already allocated some, but not all funds, and the town is now seeking further, federal, funding from the Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO).

    #5: Belmont, just to the east of Waltham, is designing a “community path" that would link to the existing Fitchburg Cutoff Path, the Alewife Red Line station, and the Minuteman trail. (Waltham is also in the advanced stages of designing its own segment of the Mass. Central Rail Trail. The first section, between Main Street and Beaver Street, could begin construction in 2021.) (Source: StreetsBlog Mass)

    Are you in support?  The MPO has already heard from a vocal minority in Belmont who are in opposition, and it is critical that path supporters make their voices heard by sending comments to the MPO as they evaluate transportation improvement projects for funding. To express support please email MPO TIP Manager, Matt Genova at [email protected] by March 22. The MPO will be making funding recommendations on March 25th.

    The Friends of Belmont Community Path has created a template email that you may use to send your comments to the MPO. Feel free to cut and paste and customize to your liking. Personalized comments, though helpful, are not required.

    If you have any questions about the project, you can reach out to the Friends of Belmont Community Path at [email protected]. You can also plug-in to more ways to support the path by joining the Friends of Belmont Community Path Google Group.

     

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  • Work For Your Local Bike Shop in 2021

    With longer days and warmer temperatures on the horizon, many of us are starting to bring our bicycles into our local bike shops for their springtime tune-ups. In turn, bike shops around the commonwealth are gearing up for another busy maintenance season and adding staff to handle the demand of the spring and summer months. If you are looking to find a job in the bike industry, now is the perfect time to check in with your local bike shop to see who is hiring.

    Here are just a few of the local bike shops where we’ve seen job opportunities, click on the links below to learn more:

     

    Do you have open positions at your shop? Email us at [email protected] and we’ll add you to the list.


  • National Bike Summit 2021 Wrap Up

    The League of American Bicyclists hosted their National Bike Summit virtually this year and over 30 people from Massachusetts attended the three packed days of bicycling advocacy education and the annual Bike Summit Lobby Day. Our delegation included long-time bicycling advocates, first-time Bike Summit attendees, and youth from all across the commonwealth. We not only had the largest turnout to ever attend thanks to the virtual format but our state's bike-friendly work was highlighted throughout the conference. 

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  • Bike Parking

    Bike Locking - League of American BicyclistsBike Parking is a vital and easy way to support the use of bicycles for transportation and recreation. When planning bike parking, you must consider if users need short-term parking (less than 2 hours) or long-term parking (2 hours or more). All bike parking racks should allow locking of the frame and at least one wheel with a U-lock and be intuitive to use. You don't want to let bad bike parking stop your community from riding. 

    Below we’ve cited some best practices and online resources to help you plan your bike parking. Whether you're looking to install public parking, a bike parking area for your business, or a solution for parking your bikes at home- we've got you covered.

    Public | Businesses | Bike Parking & the MBTA | Bike Parking at Home

    Resources


    Public Bike Parking

    Short-Term Parking

    Short-term parking should be convenient & easy to use and is designed for parking 2 hours or less. Successfully short-term parking solutions must be highly visible and in close proximity to businesses/key destinations.

    Long-Term Parking

    Alewife Bike Cage photo by Christina MilNeil Streetsblog MassLong-term bike parking should be secure & sheltered and is designed for parking 2 hours or longerPhysical security is the most important aspect of long-term bike parking. Access is limited by the use of locks, keys, or smart cards available to users and signage is often necessary for first-time users of this type of parking. Alewife Station’s Bike Cage is an excellent example of secure, long-term parking. 

     

    If you are looking to get more public bike parking in your city or town, email [email protected] and we can help you find who is in charge of public bike parking in your area.


    Bike Parking for Businesses

    Short-Term Parking

    Short-term parking is used by visitors to your building. This type of parking should be visible & located within 50 feet of the entrance it serves. To ensure security, all racks should be well anchored. High public visibility is key not only for security but for ensuring awareness and usage of the racks.

    Long-Term Parking

    This type of parking would be used for employees or residents and sheltered. This parking is physically secure with access control through the use of keys, smart cards, or other technology. The design should have space to accommodate trailers & longer bikes, such as cargo bikes, by ensuring an additional 36 inches of clearance for a portion of racks. 


    Bike Parking & the MBTA

    Station Parking

    The MBTA offers 3 types of parking:

    • Regular racks - offered at 95% of stations
    • Covered bike parking - protected from the elements
    • Pedal & Park facilities - secure, enclosed parking

    You can check their website to learn where you can find covered bike parking and you can register your bike to use “Pedal & Park” facilities with your CharlieCard.

    MBTA Bus Racks

    Man puts bike on MBTA bus rackAll non-electric MBTA buses have a 2-bike rack. When using an on-bus bike rack, you must notify the driver before you walk in front of the bus. You can find more information about how to use bus racks at the MBTA’s Using the Bike Rack Photo Guide.

    Bringing your bike on the Train

    Bike are not allowed on the T during rush hours, click here to find more details on when you can ride with your bike. Only 2 bikes are allowed per subway car, one on each end, do not board through the middle door when riding with your bike. When riding the Commuter Rail, follow the conductor’s orders when boarding the train with your bike. Before bringing your bike on the train, check the MBTA Rules.

    You can find more information at www.mbta.com/bikes.


    Bike Parking at Home

    Outdoors

    Good outdoor parking at home is secure, protects bikes from weather, & easy to useBike Sheds can be an option depending on if you have a yard and your budget. 

    Indoors

    The right indoor bike storage depends on your space & the type of bike needing to be stored. Wall hooks are a great option if you can drill into the wall & can hang any bike type. Gravity stands can hold two bikes of any type without needing to drill and require minimal install time. You can also build a custom bike parking set up to fit your space and bike parking needs.

     


    Resources

     


    Page photo credits


  • Education Resources

    MassBike offers bicycling education for all ages and abilities. We host classes both in-person and virtually to provide education statewide. You can find a list of the types of education courses we offer below along with some online resources.

    Bicycling Basics | Youth Education | Adult Education | Basic Bike Maintenance | Workplace Lunch & Learns

     

    Bicycling Basics

    How to Ride

    We teach how to ride classes for all ages that go over the basics of smart and legal cycling.

    Online Resources:

    Commuting basics

    Our commuting basics covers a range of topics for the everyday bicyclist:  from types of bikes and carrying options, to locking up, to clothing tips, and how to decide your best route and avoid the most common crashes. Bike commuting is great for your health and the environment, our class will help you feel empowered to start doing everyday trips by bike.

    Online resources:

    • CyclingSavvy’s online resources are focused on bicyclists who want to get comfortable riding with traffic.

    Winter riding

    Our winter riding classes focus on bike & body. We discuss what clothing and layers we recommend and how to modify the bike to fit the weather, and we'll cover tips on how to change up how we ride for routing and snow clearance

    Online resources:

    • League of American Bicyclists What to Wear video covers some tips for cold-weather layering and visibility. 

    Youth Education 

    We work to educate youth throughout the commonwealth through Bike Safety classes and Bike Rodeos. We work with the Massachusetts Safe Routes to School Program and have instructors available to teach youth courses statewide. You can learn more about Massachusetts Safe Routes to School Program and request a program through their website.

    If you have a high schooler looking to get into mountain biking, check out the New England High School Cycling Association at nehsca.com

    Adult Education

    We teach classes for adults across the commonwealth on a variety of topics- from how to ride, to commuting, to bike maintenance basics we can tailor a class to suit your interests. 

    Online resources:

    Basic Bike Maintenance

    Our basic bike maintenance classes cover the ABC Quick Check and what you should make sure you carry with you during your ride. We can also teach you how to fix a flat to keep you rolling.

    • Before you ride you should always check your ABCs- Air, Brake, Chain.
      • Air: Check to see that your tire is inflated to the proper psi suggested on your tire. Tires have suggested ranges. 
      • Brake: Your brake levers should move smoothly and engage approximately halfway through the lever’s movement. If the lever pulls all the way to the handlebar, your brakes are too loose. 
      • Chain: Your chain should look clean, not rusty or dirty. 

    Online Resources:

    Workplace Lunch & Learns

    MassBike offers Workplace Lunch & Learns on a variety of topics. From commuting basics to winter riding, we have done both on-site and webinar format courses to help get people riding.

    For on-site Lunch & Learns, we offer basic mechanic services which include a Quick Check of the ABCs to ensure bikes are ready to ride and can refer you to a local bike shop for any bigger issues we may find.

    Reach out to us at [email protected] to learn more about how to book a class with MassBike for any of the topics listed below. Pricing depends on the type of class, in-person or virtual, and group size.


  • Bike Instructors

    Are you looking for a bike instructor to teach a group class or one-on-one lesson?

    The list of League Cycling Instructors from the League of American Bicyclists has certified instructors who have been trained by the League in classes designed to reach people of all ages and abilities by improving skills, building confidence, and teaching others.

    For road riding, the organization Cycling Savvy teaches people to use their bikes to go anywhere they want, safely and confidently, with the approach that bicyclists are expected and respected as a normal part of traffic.

    If you are looking for information on learning to ride, either after years off the bike or for the first time, the Bicycle Riding School in Somerville teaches people 5 years old and older to ride bicycles, including adults who never learned as children.

    MassBike also has trained cycling instructors throughout the commonwealth who excel at youth and adult cycling education. We can also connect you with MassBike instructors. Our instructors specialize in safe and legal cycling workshops, specially catered to the tricky roads and paths in Massachusetts. Feel free to reach out to us at [email protected] and we can connect you to our stellar instructors

    For mountain biking lessons in Massachusetts, we recommend reaching out to your local chapter of the New England Mountain Bike Association, which you can find at www.nemba.org

     

    Do you want to become a MassBike Instructor? 

    We are always looking to grow our team. Reach out to [email protected] and we can give you more information.


  • National Bike Summit Lobby Day Asks 2021

    Legislative advocacy season is currently in full swing at both the state and national levels. Usually, the MassBike team along with a group of bicycling advocates from across the state would be headed down to Washington D.C. for the League of American Bicyclists’ National Bike Summit. The Summit is a time to learn from bicycling supporters from across the country and engage with our stalwart public servants during the annual lobby day event on the hill.

    Like much else, this year’s National Bike Summit has moved to a virtual format. So, we are logging in for education and advocacy from behind our screens. 

    While many of us will be missing the in-person camaraderie that the Summit brings, this virtual format has allowed us to bring the largest Massachusetts Delegation ever to the Summit. Over 30 Massachusetts advocates are attending this year and will be bringing back a wealth of information to their communities. This ability for increased participation will allow us to further take advantage of the bike boom and further our impact to make our communities more bike-friendly.

    Beyond the educational benefits, one of the more important aspects of the Summit is the opportunity to engage with our elected officials during lobby day. Each year, the League of American Bicyclists puts together a list of bike-friendly bills and initiatives to ask our electeds to support. This year is a transportation reauthorization year, which gives us the opportunity to push for more bicycle-friendly transportation initiatives. 

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  • Bike Cleaning Workshop

    Learn the tips and tricks of keeping your bike clean and happy from MassBike Executive Director, Galen Mook. Giving your bike a regular cleaning makes sure it will keep you rolling for miles to come. In this workshop, Galen breaks done the direct on the deep cleaning know-how while sticking to the bascis, without needing a lot of space of fancy equipment.

    Want to follow along as you watch? Check out the Galen's Bike Cleaning Materials List below the video & grab your bike for a good cleaning.

     

     

    Galen’s Bike Cleaning Materials List

    Solvents 

    • Simple Green (diluted) or Green Fizz (bike specific wash)
    • Bike-Specific Degreaser
    • WD-40 (sparingly, you will need to regrease after using)
    • Rubbing alcohol

    Lubricants

    • Thin “Dry” lube 
    • Thicker “Wet” or “Wax” lube 
    • Thin lube in a spray can.

    Rags and Brushes

    • Preferably an old bike month t-shirt for rags
    • Plastic bristle brush (not metal)
    • Pieces of cardboard to get in between cogs.

    Tools

    • Watering can (preferably with warm water)

    Optional

    • Gloves
    • Apron

  • Maine to Canada Bike Tour Webinar

    Are you searching for some bikespiration or tips on planning a bike trip? Join Randi, one of MassBike's Safe Routes to Schools instructors, and her friend Jen on a virtual tour with pictures and stories from a month-long cycling trip from Maine to Canada in 2017.

    During this webinar you will experience the beautiful scenery along the coast of Maine, around Prince Edward Island and the Cabot Trail on Cape Breton and learn a little bit about how to plan and what to bring on your own bike touring adventure. At the end of the presentation, Randi and Jen hosted a Q&A about trip planning, gear, food, clothing, and more!

     

    In the webinar Q&A we discussed the "No Turn Away Policy", the MassParks Policy is designated for emergency use only


  • How MA Bike Laws are Made Webinar

    Most laws and regulations that affect your riding are made on a statewide level and involve a lot of tough conversations about crafting legislation, enforcement, education, and insurance. To help step us through the process of creating bicycling laws, and to see how they are implemented in the real world. We were joined by Andrew Bettinelli, Chief of Staff to State Senator Will Brownsberger (Second Suffolk and Middlesex District) and Josh Zisson a lawyer from Bike Safe Boston for an informational webinar.

    This webinar includes a Q&A with Andrew to answer your questions about the status of certain bills and with Josh to hear of examples from his profession dealing with the aftermath of crashes on our roadways.

    You can find the recording of the webinar on the MassBike Youtube Channel.


  • Pedaling Through the Pages Webinar

    We hosted a conversation with two bicycle book authors Larry Finison and Christina Uss as they discussed their work in researching and writing about the cultural, historical, and inspiring aspects of the bicycle. These two authors represent two very different approaches to bicycling literature; historical non-fiction and children's books. 

    Larry Finison comes with a historical lens as he details his research and explorations of Boston's bicycling history with his books Boston's Bicycle Craze, 1880-1900: A Story of Race, Sport, and Society and Boston's Twentieth Century Bicycling Renaissance: Cultural Change on Two Wheels. And Christina Uss remembers the joys of bicycling as a kid in her book The Adventures of a Girl Called Bicycle, about an introverted 12-year-old girl learning to make friends by riding her bike from Washington, D.C. to San Francisco.

    This was an hour-long lunchtime workshop to hear stories from the other side of the page about the research and discover voices that bring bicycling, both fiction and non-fiction, to life. The authors read from their works, talked about the writing process, and answered questions participants brought about bicycling as told through the pages of a book.

    You can see the whole presentation on our MassBike YouTube Channel HERE.


  • Register for the 2021 National Bike Summit

    Join MassBike for the National Bike Summit- virtually! The 2021 National Bike Summit will be taking place online, February 28th - March 3rd. Attend educational workshops, network with bicycling advocates from across the country, and advocate for your congressional district during the virtual lobby day.

    The National Bike Summit usually takes place in Washington D.C. every year and our mighty Massachusetts delegation usually travels down to Washington to learn, share, and lobby for better bicycling policies with our senators and congresspeople. With this year’s virtual format, we're looking to grow our team to have a bigger group than ever before attend the summit. Bicycling advocates from across the commonwealth are encouraged to attend, to share knowledge, learn from each other, and show our legislators that we have statewide support for better bicycling for all in Massachusetts.

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