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.
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.Read more
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.
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"Read more
- Regional trail updates
- The Mass Central Rail Trail Feasibility Study
- How MassBike can support your local trail project
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.
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.
A huge thank you to everyone who participated in our April Bike Challenge. We hope that the challenge encouraged you to get biking and served at a kickstart to the riding season. We had a hardy group of riders who took a trip every single day last month and we loved seeing everyone's updates on the MassBike Love to Ride group.
Another huge thank you to Cleverhood for graciously donating three rover rain capes for our challenge. The winners of the capes are:
- Adam Shutes
- Brian Pearson
- Jane Wang
We hope all of our April challengers join for our May Challenge and chose a day each week to commute by bike. All of these challenges are leading up to Bay State Bike Month in September during which we hope to be able to ride with you in person to celebrate.
by Chrystal Walsh
The truck camper was loaded up with their bicycles and a canoe. My grandparents traveled by air perhaps only three times in their lives, but from their Massachusetts home they knew the eastern seaboard from Canada to Florida well. A dog-eared book of maps moved between their vehicle and home, and my grandmother documented their travels, tracking fuel prices, campground rates and favorite camp sites, and where and how far they biked or canoed. Sadly these log books were thrown away during my grandmother’s Alzheimers, but some photos remain with handwritten notes on the back showing the sites and people they visited. Their appreciation for adventure, nature, and exercise lives on in me, an occasional participant in their journeys.
My mother, my grandparent’s youngest daughter, became a paraplegic at age 19 from a car accident. Gender, generation, and handicap limitations definitely impacted my mom’s life story, and my dad, well that’s a whole other blog. But as a child, I helped my mom reach things on the grocery store shelves and was allowed to ride my bicycle solo into town to get basic necessities and a candy or Slush Puppie treat for myself.
Outside of a cousin having to teach me how to ride a bike, my childhood bicycling experience was what I consider traditional. Riding to a friend’s house, bicycling to my first job at a local seafood restaurant, and occasionally riding a round trip 6 miles to my grandparent’s to swim in their in-ground pool. I wasn’t much of an athlete and after college and a move to the Bay Area of California, I would bicycle to the train station for work, until theft took its toll. Two bikes later I switched to walking.
Fast forward 20 years and I am married and balancing the needs of my children, aging relatives, and work. I had been living in Western Pennsylvania, in my husband’s hometown, with a long car commute for work in Pittsburgh. Exercise was at the bottom of my to-do list, but Covid changed everything. Daily walks became a part of our new family routine and soon we decided to try bicycling a 50-mile rail trail spread out over several weeks. We were hooked on cycling as a fun family activity!Read more
Update: After posting this article, Springfield re-opened their ValleyBike system.
On April 22nd, West Springfield launched their ValleyBike system with a station outside the West Springfield Public Library making it the seventh city/town to join the regional bike share network. The West Springfield system is made up of two stations for now; the second is located on the corner of Memorial Ave and Union St where a major complete streets project is planned to take place.
Just a few days later, on April 24th, Easthampton launched a new station on Parsons Street. ValleyBike came to Easthampton in 2019 during the second year of the regional program and Parsons Street is the city's fifth bike share station. The launch in West Springfield and Easthampton addition is just the beginning of ValleyBike’s planned expansions in 2021.Read more
Mark your calendars, Bay State Bike Month is happening this September. Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, we’re hosting Bay State Bike Month in September again with the hopes of hosting in-person events. This year’s Bay State Bike Month will include social media challenges, the annual MassCommute Bicycle Challenge, and more! All with the chance to win great prizes and celebrate bicycling across the commonwealth.
We’ll be posting information about Bay State Bike Month on www.baystatebikemonth.org. Just as in previous years, we will have a calendar of events where you can submit your local bike events. Every year, we love to see all the bike breakfasts, rides, and other bicycling-centric events across the state. Last year those events were successfully shifted to a virtual format, but we hope that this September we will be able to ride together again in person to celebrate.
Each month leading up to September, we’re hosting monthly ride challenges to encourage you to get biking. By participating in our monthly challenges, you’ll have a chance to win prizes, ride some miles, and encourage others to get biking. In May, we’re challenging you to Bike to Work, Bike to School, or Bike Before Your First Meeting.
To stay in the know about Bay State Bike Month and MassBike’s Monthly Challenges, join our mailing list to get email updates and make sure you are following MassBike on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. We are currently deep into planning and working on obtaining sponsorships. If your business would like to sponsor Bay State Bike Month or a Monthly Challenge, please contact Chrystal at [email protected].