June MassBike Meet-Up: How to Bike Month

June 17, 2021

Mark your calendar- this month’s MassBike Meet-Up is happening Monday, June 28th at noon and we’re going to be chatting all things Bay State Bike Month. We’ll be helping you set the groundwork to host well-attended bicycle-friendly events in your community. Attendees will get a sneak peek at our digital resource guides and help shape this year’s Bay State Bike Month celebrations.

Tune in to this virtual chat to learn about:

 

Attendees are highly encouraged to share some of their favorite ways to celebrate Bay State Bike Month and lessons they’ve learned about hosting bicycle-friendly events. Learn more about Bay State Bike Month at www.baystatebikemonth.org.

RSVP 

MassBike Meet-Ups happen every fourth Monday of the month, these virtual chats 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.

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Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for Pony Truss Bridge & Trail

June 09, 2021

 

Date: Thursday June 17th, 2021, 10 AM
Location: Riverside Park at the Pony Truss Bridge
Followed by a tour of the Pony Truss Trail and planned Greenway improvements.

The Riverside Greenway Working Group is hosting a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Pony Truss Bridge & Trail in Newton on Thursday, June 17th, 2021 at 10 am. The ceremony will be followed by a tour of the Pony Truss Trail and planned Greenway improvements. Please join DCR Commissioner James Montgomery, EEA Assistant Secretary Kurt Gaetner, State Representative Kay Khan, Newton Mayor Ruth Fuller, and the Riverside Greenway Working Group to celebrate the restoration of this historic trail which was completed in March 2021. The Pony Truss Trail restoration was made possible thanks to grants from the Mass DCR Recreational Trails Program and the Solomon Foundation.

According to the Riverside Greenway Working Group, "Since the 1850s the Pony Truss Bridge and Pony Truss Trail brought folks to the banks of the Charles River Lakes District to walk, boat, and enjoy the beauty of the Charles River. The restoration of the bridge in 2013, the trail in 2021, together with planned trail connections over the next few years, will restore the legacy of “The Riverside Recreation Grounds” as part of the Riverside Greenway." 



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Bay State Bike Month Needs a Theme & We Need Your Help!

June 09, 2021

Bay State Bike Month is happening this September and we need your help to come up with our theme! Last year our theme was “Ride your way, every day!” and bicyclists across the commonwealth showed off all the different ways they ride. This year we will be able to ride together again and we need the perfect theme to encapsulate the excitement Bay State Bike Month and the MassCommute Bicycle Challenge brings to bicyclists across the state every year.

The theme winner will get some MassBike swag and their tagline will be used on all of the 2021 Bay State Bike Month materials- including the coveted Bike Month t-shirt!

To help get you started, here are some words of inspiration for the theme:

  • Momentum
  • Together
  • Inclusivity
  • Equity
  • Multipurpose
  • Movement

We are looking for something short and sweet, but let your creativity roam free! Bike puns are always appreciated, but not necessary.  

Submit your theme ideas to [email protected] by June 20th and help us make Bike Month 2021 the best one yet!

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Bikes on Buses: MBTA Installs Bike Racks on Private Carrier Routes

June 07, 2021

Earlier this year, a MassBike member alerted us to an issue of MBTA bus routes being operated by private carriers that weren’t equipped with bike racks, meaning if you were looking to bring your bike on certain routes you were out of luck. Since our organization advocates for multi-modal connections that help bicyclists combine their trips with public transit, we worked to alert the MBTA of our member concerns and checked to see how possible it would be for the private carriers to install racks on all their buses (note: there are a few exceptions to bringing a bike on restricted routes that include tunnels or electric catenary wires).

Over the years MassBike has worked with the MBTA on several projects, most recently partnering with LivableStreets Alliance and the MBTA to redesign new bus operator training with an all-day curriculum for safe driving around people on bikes. So, we know the agency is aware of the challenges bicyclists face in making multi-modal connections and have shown a willingness to help make their services more accessible to bicyclists. It was through these relationships that we were able to inquire the reasons why the buses operated by private carriers on MBTA routes were missing racks, and how we could help get them installed as soon as possible.

We found that the MBTA was already having internal discussions about adding a requirement for bike racks to the service specification when they start the next round of contracts, expected for FY24. They had added bike racks to the Winthrop 712/713 contracted bus routes with the start of the current contract but hadn’t included it for the smaller shuttle-style buses used for the 710, 714, and 716 routes. At our prompting, the MBTA agreed to approach their current contractors to see what ability they had to add racks under the remaining contract.

In late March, we got a photo from the MBTA's Senior Director of Service Planning (a daily bicyclist herself) with the news that bike racks had been installed on the mini-buses utilized for Route 716 in Canton, and about a month later we received photos of the newly installed bus bike racks to be used on Route 714 in Hull! They were just as excited as we were about getting bike racks on these routes and they also look forward to seeing bike racks on more private carrier routes. Next up, they're working on other options for over-the-road coaches that substitute for rail services.

We are grateful for the partnership we're able to build with the MBTA, to help our multi-modal riders throughout the commonwealth. For a truly connected transportation network, bike+bus connections are crucial, and the addition of racks on these two routes mid-contract is a testament to the MBTA’s support of bicyclists' transportation needs and a willingness to quickly respond to their riders' concerns.

Have you tried out the bike racks on buses? Let us know how they work for you. And for more information on how the MBTA system supports bicyclists, you can check out their page here: https://www.mbta.com/bikes

 

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Surface Transportation Reauthorization Act Voted Unanimously Out of Key Senate Committee - Thank you to Senator Markey!

May 26, 2021

The Surface Transportation Reauthorization Act of 2021 provides a terrific opportunity to gain essential funding for active transportation projects. On May 26th, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee voted unanimously to report the bill out of committee with the inclusion of the Markey-Sullivan amendment, also known as the Connecting America’s Active Transportation System Act. 

The Markey-Sullivan amendment provides $200 million in dedicated funding for connected active transportation networks and trails through a competitive grant program. This funding is a high priority for MassBike and active transportation advocates across the country and will expedite walking and bicycling infrastructure, reducing reliance on cars in our communities.

The Massachusetts Lobby Day Delegation with Markey Staffer, Eric

Earlier this year, a group of Massachusetts bike advocates participated in the League of American Bicyclists Virtual Lobby Day where we shared stories with Senator Markey’s staff about the importance of bicycling infrastructure. We left our meeting feeling heard by his staff and Senator Markey’s push to include the Connecting America’s Active Transportation System Act in the Surface Transportation Reauthorization Act shows we were right. We are proud to have a bike and pedestrian champion in Senator Markey who continually fights for dedicated active transportation funding at home and in Washington, DC!

Please take a moment to contact Senator Markey’s Office and thank him for his hard work on getting this amendment included in the bill and for his continued leadership on bike and pedestrian priorities.

 

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E-Bike Demo Day at Hale

May 21, 2021

Last week MassBike hosted an immersive event at Hale in Westwood to invite policymakers, parks advocates, and other key folks to ride electric-assist bicycles in an effort to get to know this emerging technology first hand, and to help further the conversation around e-bike definitions and regulations. The issue as to what these devices are, and where they should and shouldn’t be ridden, has come to the forefront of our work at MassBike as e-bike ridership has grown dramatically over the past few years, and especially recently in the pandemic-prompted bike boom. More and more people are out riding bicycles. and we’re seeing riders come back to the bike after many years of not being in the saddle.  E-bikes have shown to be a powerful barrier-breaker to allow more people to ride longer distances, over more difficult terrain, and to ride with friends and family for both recreation and everyday use.

The demo day at Hale was designed to showcase the three classes of e-bikes, and to have folks ride them on pavement, gravel roads, and natural surface trails. Attendees included folks from the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR Commissioner Montegomery is pictured enjoying a Quadrini e-bike), the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, New England Mountain Bike Association, public land trusts, parks advocates and leaders of “Friends of ___” groups, and individuals who are advocating for the allowance of electric bicycles on our roads, paths, and trails. We had bikes in a variety of sizes and classes available from Specialized (national brand), Quadrini (based in Florence, MA), and 1854 Cycling (based in Framingham, MA). We did not have any local bike shops on hand, mainly because they're all slammed selling every bike available, and also to make sure this event is not about the local bike industry but more about the devices themselves.

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Bike to Parks this June

May 20, 2021

We want you to enjoy nature by bike this June, so we’re challenging you to bike to a park and share your adventure with us. You can bike to your local park or turn it into a longer adventure. Adventure Cycling’s Bike Travel Weekend is June 4th-6th, which is the perfect excuse to plan a bike camping trip to one of our great state parks (like Nickerson!)

How to Participate:

  • Bike to a park & take a photo during your adventure
  • Share your story with us! Either tag @MassBike in your bike to parks photo on social media or email us a photo and sentence about your adventure to [email protected]

Those who bike to a park between June 1st and June 7th and share their bike to park adventure with us via social media or email will be entered for a chance to win a free entry to the RoundQuabbin gravel fondo happening on July 5th thanks to Domestique Events. If a gorgeous day biking around the Quabbin sounds like fun to you, don't miss out on your chance for a free RoundQuabbin race entry.

Everyone who participates in our Bike to Parks challenge will be entered to win an Eno Hammock and straps thanks to your local REI Co-op

Make sure you're following MassBike on Facebook, Instagram, & Twitter so you can tag us in your bike to park photo. You only need to tag us on one platform to be entered into the challenge & we will comment/respond to your post to verify your entry. If your account is private, we won't be able to see your post. Those who email their photo & bike to park story to [email protected] will be given the option to be featured on the Bay State Bike Month website.

We can't wait to see where your bike takes you this June!

Looking for some bike travel inspiration? Check out Adventure Cycling Association’s Bike Travel Weekend Ideas or get inspired for a Massachusetts adventure with our Bikepacking the Bay Circuit Trail Webinar.

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Alan Bikes For Climate

May 18, 2021

A Guest Post By: Alan Wright

I'm riding my bicycle from Boston to Oregon leaving this Saturday, May 22 at 8:30. I’ll dip my wheels into Boston Harbor on Friday at 4:30 under the Seaport Boulevard Bridge at the Dragon Boat dock next to the Barking Crab. Then I'll go to the 5pm Boston Cyclist Union ‘Build Back Bikeable’ rally at Government Center.

I would love it if you could join me either Friday for the dip-in and BCU rally. You could even accompany me part of the way on my first ride to Woodstock CT. I'll end the trip with a dip in the Pacific sometime near the end of July and then spend a week enjoying Portland. This has been a dream since I was a teen that retirement and good health have made possible.

I have two objectives in addition to visiting friends and family and having fun: 1) promoting bicycling as a transportation solution and 2) raising awareness about climate change. I will post daily to Twitter @AlanBikeClimate and Facebook pictures and videos, accounts of my travels, snippets of conversations with people, and observations about climate change.  I will have signs on my panniers asking "Have you experienced climate change?". In my social media, I will have links to bicycle and climate change organizations for followers to learn about and donate to. Please help me promote these causes by sharing my social media links.

An inspiration for my trip came last year when Harvard ornithologist, Scott Edwards, set off from Boston for Portland Oregon in the midst of the pandemic. I followed his daily posts on Twitter at @ScottVEdwards1. You can read about his trip here: "Journey Complete, Scott Edwards Looks Back On His Cross-Country Bicycling Trip" 

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Let's Chat Trails - May MassBike Meet-Up

May 17, 2021

Our MassBike May Meet-Up is on Monday, May 24th at noon, we'll be discussing trails and how MassBike can support your projects across the commonwealth. We'll be joined by members of the state's MassTrails team who oversee the recently published Mass Central Rail Trail Feasibility Study. Bring your lunch and get ready to catch up on trail & pathway progress across Massachusetts.
Join to learn about:
  • Regional trail updates
  • The Mass Central Rail Trail Feasibility Study
  • How MassBike can support your local trail project 

RSVP

MassBike Meet-Ups happen every fourth Monday of the month, these virtual chats 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.

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Celebrating Bicycling in Holyoke

May 13, 2021

MassBike joined Holyoke’s Bike and Pedestrian Committee, ValleyBike, and RAD Springfield on Wednesday to celebrate National Bike Month and encourage Holyoke residents to get biking. The event teamed up with Neighbor to Neighbor and Neuva Esperanza’s food distribution to reach Holyoke residents who rely on bicycles for transportation. 

ValleyBike was sharing information about their free Access Passes for qualified community members and offering free test rides of their electric pedal-assist bikes. The ValleyBike Access Pass program is supported by the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts with the goal of providing reliable transportation to those who need it the most. Holyoke is slated to get three new stations thanks to a recent grant from MassDOT’s Shared Streets and Spaces program which will make their bike share system an even more convenient transportation option.

Rad Springfield, the community bike shop at Mike-It Springfield, provided free bike tune-ups to event attendees. Rad Springfield is deeply invested in supporting access to bicycles for underserved community members and has been working with Springfield community groups to outfit refugees with bikes to help them with crucial transportation needs. Their DIY bike shop space will be re-opening to the public soon after being appointment-only during the pandemic. 

MassBike distributed free bike lights with our Connecticut River Valley Chapter as part of our #LightsBridage by Bkin program. The free bike lights will help Holyoke riders be legal and seen when they ride at night. We were excited to support Holyoke's event and are always looking for volunteers to help host more #LightsBrigade events through the state. If you want to host an event in your area, reach out to [email protected] for more info. 

Holyoke was the first community in Western Mass to adopt a Complete Streets ordinance back in 2015 and they continue to work towards a more bicycle and pedestrian-friendly community.

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