Have Fun With MassBike At Oktoberfest

October 09, 2009
Want to hang out with MassBike for a couple of hours in the heart of Oktoberfest this Sunday? We are looking for some volunteers to help run our tent in Harvard square. If you want to chill with the fine folks from MassBike, talk to the public, and in general just have a good time we are looking for volunteers for the following shifts:



2pm to 4PM

4pm to 6pm

Volunteering will get you a free limited edition MassBike water bottle. And our gratitude. If you are interested in volunteering please email David at [email protected]
Add your reaction Share

Man Vs Trash Can: Man Loses

October 08, 2009
I saw the most improbable bicycle crash today on my way to the MassBike office. Don't worry, no one got hurt. But it does present an opportunity to talk about the dangers of riding on the sidewalk. I was riding down the street, in a perfectly nice bike lane no less, when I saw another rider coming in my direction on the sidewalk. Not just any old sidewalk, but an obstacle course of sorts. You see, today was trash pickup day, and the sidewalk was full of empty trashcans strewn haphazardly about by the garbagemen. And this cyclist was weaving his way down the sidewalk trying to dodge all the trash cans, when he zigged when he should have zagged, crashing into one and toppling over in slow motion.

Trash cans, parking meters, mailboxes, street signs, telephone poles, benches, trees, bus shelters - the sidewalk is full of obstacles, not to mention pedestrians, baby strollers, skaters, wheelchairs, and unpredictable children. If you manage to safely navigate all of that, you still have to watch out for cars pulling out of driveways and turning at intersections, and they are not expecting bicyclists on the sidewalk. On top of that, riding on the sidewalk is actually illegal in many places in Massachusetts, including all business districts and anyplace else that local towns decide.

Undoubtedly, there are places where the road is not safe for bicyclists, and the sidewalk may be your only option. But give the street a try - you may like it! Look here if you need some help getting comfortable riding in the street.
Add your reaction Share

MAPC Regional Bike Parking Program

October 07, 2009
The Metropolitan Area Planning Council has unveiled a new program to help communities provide bicycle parking at minimal cost. This program, which is supported by the Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization, the Executive Office of Transportation, and the Federal Highway Administration, provides communities with the opportunity to purchase bike racks and related equipment and receive full reimbursement for the purchase. All 101 communities in the MAPC region are eligible to participate, as are the DCR and the MBTA. This is a great opportunity to get new or upgraded bike racks for parks, schools, business districts, and transit hubs “ don't let your community miss out!

For details about the program, click here

(Note: this is information from our old website, but still good so we wanted to share it with you.)
Add your reaction Share

Bicycle Movies

October 07, 2009
(this is the old list from our old website, if you know of a new bike movie please contact us with information so we can add to this list!)

The obvious ones . . .

Bicycle Thief (1948) Directed by the Fascist-era matinee idol Vittorio De Sica from a script by veteran screenwriter Cesare Zavattini, said by the Village Voice to be the most universally praised movie produced anywhere on planet earth during the first decade after World War II. A workman spends a whole day looking in vain in the streets of Rome for the bicycle someone has stolen from him.

Breaking Away (1979) Local cyclist in a small town (townies AKA "cutters"), lives, eats, and breathes cycling and everything else Italian, comes of age in a race against college kids. Based on Dave Blaze, and his experiences at Indiana University and the Little 500.

American Flyer (1985) Two brothers, a former National caliber rider (Kevin Costner) and his enthusiastic brother, take an adventure to the 'Hell of the West' (AKA Coors Classic) stage race. Lots of good 'Coors Classic' footage in this one, even Eddy Merckx makes an appearance.

Quicksilver Trials and tribulations in the tough world of bicycle messengers in New York City. Stars Kevin Bacon, and Nelson Vails, with great stunt shots of cycling (often in illegal ways) in traffic.

The less obvious Ones . . .

2 Seconds (1998) A mountain biking film about a female bike racer who gets tired of the racing life and finds the true meaning of life with the help of an old, grouchy bike shop owner. There are good downhill racing scenes at the beginning. It's French Canadian with subtitles, was directed by Manon Briand, and stars Charlotte Laurier and Dino Tavarone. This movie is available in VHS and DVD formats.

20 Shades of Pink (1976) A middle-aged house painter, going through mid-life crisis, takes up cycling for exercise and meets up with an attractive young bike racer. The painter thinks she is interested in him on a personal level when she really only wants to help him prepare for an age-group bike race. Directed by Paul Stanley, with Anne Jackson, Eli Wallach, and Keenan Wynn.

Beasts of Burden It depicts the hard side of the bike messenger's life and society. It may be realism, with emphasis on the unhappy side, but it certainly makes you want to avoid that life. It shows drugs and alcohol, insufficient money, an alienated approach to living, a very hard job. On the other hand, the scenes of cycling in traffic, taken by a bike-mounted camera, are very exciting.

Beijing Bicycle (Shiqi sui de dan che) (2001) While watching this movie I couldn't help but be reminded of The Bicycle Thief (Ladri di biciclette). This is a story of determination of two young men. One works hard for a bicycle courier and on the day he would have earned the bike, it is stolen. The other steals money from his family and buys a bike so that he can impress a girl. Yes, it's the same bike. Amazingly, Guo is able to find his stolen bike, but that isn't the end of his troubles. I couldn't help but feel for all the crap he has to put up with, especially since all he wanted was to be a hard worker. Yet, like us all, life threw him a curveball and he does everything in his power to deal with the situation.

Breaking Away (TV) In this TV series, based on the movie of the same name, Shawn Cassady plays the role of Dave Stoller, bike racer. This one is tough to find, as it only lasted one season in the early 80's.

The Day I Became a Woman Three short stories about women in modern Iran, one of which is about a woman who wants to enter a bicycle race and her husband who is very much against it.

Hugo's Magic Pump Hugo is the winningest 6-day racer in Italy, beating everyone, including the Mafia's 'Fixed' riders. To stop losing gambling moneys, the Mafia decides to wear Hugo down by throwing beautiful women at him, hoping to reduce his endurance and stamina. This Adult movie from the late 70's was Competitive Cycling Magazine's choice for best cycling footage in the era before 'Breaking Away'. Dubbed.

Joey Brown, 6 Day Racer A 1940's bike messenger wins the big 6-day race. A hard to find B/W film from the 40's. Lots of 6-day footage, starring era comedian, Joey Brown.

Jour de Fete (1949) In this French film, filmmaker/comedian Jacques Tati plays a wacky bike-riding postman attempting to modernize delivery service.

One Less Car (1991) A Boston filmmaker profiles people who use their bicycles instead of cars for a variety of transportation uses.

Return of the Scorcher (1992) This movie was made by bicycle activist Ted White to show the superiority of the bicycle to the automobile, with scenes from all over the world. One of its claims to fame is that it's where the name "Critical Mass" comes from.

A Sunday in Hell: 1976 Paris-Roubaix This movie shows the trials of long-distance, "radonneur" bicycle racing.

Stars and Water Carriers Stars and Water Carriers is a better movie with much better scenes of Eddy (The Cannibal) Merckx and how he won so much. The film shows the strain on Eddy's face and clearly shows how much effort he put into his racing. This is a Danish documentary with added English sound track so it sounds a bit funny, but it takes my vote for best cycling video to date.

Who Owns The Streets/We Are Traffic (1999) Ted White's documentary traces the unique Critical Mass bike movement from its early days in San Francisco to its growth of thousands of cyclists each months and its spread to more than 100 cities in 14 countries. The movie explores the ideas of reclaiming public space, commercial-free cultural events, and rethinking traditional models of political demonstration.

The Yellow Jersey A PBS Documentary from the Early 70's, showing the trials of the American team at a stage race in Canada. BicycleCam Videos filmed on a bike during a professional bike race. The first, of the 2000 Golden, Colorado Pro 1/2 Circuit Race is available now. Samples of the upcoming video of the 2000 Bannock Criterium are on line, but I'm looking forward to the announced "Chicago Bike Messenger" video.

Movies Where Bicycling Plays a Part

Americathon I haven't seen this, but apparently it's a really bad B-movie about a post-apocalyptic (or post-energy-crisis) California where there's no oil and everyone bikes. Old cars are used as houses, and there's a Beach Boys song about biking. Also, Meatloaf is in it and eats a car.

A Midsummer Night's Dream The 1999 version is set sometime in the late 19th Century, and has lots of bicycles in it. While adhering to Shakespeare's dialogue, it manages to work bicycles into the plot.

Better Off Dead Not about biking per se, but there's a tenacious paper boy who follows the protagonist everywhere on his bike -- including down the dreaded K12 ski slope -- in hopes of collecting his $2 payment. "I want my $2!" has lived on in form of a $2 coupon for Pedro's.

Brainstorm No bicycle plot, but Christopher Walken commutes on a recumbent and scenes of him arriving at work and at home on it are pretty cool.

E.T. The Extraterrestrial Directed by Steven Spielberg in 1982, this movie is about a boy named Elliot, a lovable extraterrestrial named E.T. and their quest to get E.T. home. The film climaxes in one of the greatest chase sequences ever filmed - as Elliot and his friends (the good guys) take off with E.T. on their trusty BMX bikes, fleeing from the government authorities driving official motorized vehicles (the bad guys). This is a movie where the kids and bicycling dominate - and it's sheer joy to see bicycles crashing onto and demolishing cars, for a change! And with E.T. riding in Elliot's front basket, of course, the kids get the bike ride of their lives - and so does the audience. "E.T." is one of the ultimate feel-good movies - great for family/group-viewing anytime.

Key Exchange The play on which this movie was based used bicycles as scene transitions. The male star waxes rhapsodic about cycling around Central Park. I have heard that the movie de-emphasizes the bicycle motif. Its cast includes with Danny Aiello and one of the actors from "Breaking Away".

Life is Beautiful Director/star Roberto Benigni, before being imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp, tools around Italy on a bike, including into the arms of a charming woman he later marries.

Little Miss Marker A depression era bookie (Walter Matthau) gets stuck with a little girl, left as an IOU (marker). Only about 5 minutes of 6-day racing in this one. The track is a portable one, built by the same builder as the portable Atlanta Olympic Velodrome.

Pee Wee's Big Adventure The opening scene is Pee Wee Herman dreaming about winning the Tour de France, and the whole plot of the movie is about Pee Wee looking for his stolen bike.

Project A (1983) Beyond great fights, this movie features a chase scene through alleyways with Jackie on a bicycle that should be included in any "great moments on film" compilation. Plus, it has a great Harold Lloyd homage scene with a clock tower. (from The Jackie Chan Mailing List Proudly Presents the Annotated Jackie Chan Filmography otherwise known as "John's Little Opinions" at http://www.tmn.com/~schone/chan/com.htm)

The Straight Story (1999) Admittedly a small scene, but look carefully and see the recumbents pass lawn tractor riding Alvin Straight (Richard Farnsworth), in this David Lynch movie.

The Tall Blonde Man With One Black Shoe (1972) A power struggle at the French Secret Service spills into the life of an innocent concert violinist who fiddles obliviously while rival spies and hit men try to set him up for a final bow. Not entirely innocent, as he carries on an affair with a fellow musician while her husband is out bicycling every weekend. Some of the bicycling scenes are pretty funny.

Time Chasers Not only does the hero of the movie ride a bike as a major form of transportation (though he uses an airplane to make his time machine), but when he travels into the utopian future there are tons of bicycles, along with buildings made out of recycled material. This movie was heckled on Mystery Science Theater 3000 and is available from its maker, Edgewood Studios (They even have a trailer online).

Un Affaire D'Hommes (1981) Jean-Louis Trintignant is an architect and joins a bicycle racing group where a detective (Claude Brasseur) is member. He uses this friendship to cover the murder of his wife. The film includes several scenes of the group's weekly race (which also plays a part in the murderer's alibi), and the final confrontation is done using bikes, not guns.

Other Bicycle Movie Sites
Rec.Bicycles Frequently Asked Questions 5.7 Bicycle Racing Movies Updating this list was how the MassBike Bicycle Movie list got started. It has longer descriptions, though.

Bicycle Austin A good, but shorter, categorized list. Sometimes it has more information about individual movies.
Add your reaction Share

The New Bicycle Commuter Benefit: What Does It Mean For You?

October 07, 2009
We've received many questions about the new benefit for bicycle commuters that Congress included in the financial industry bailout bill. The bottom line is that bicycle commuters nationwide are now eligible to receive up to $20 per month for commuting expenses, either as a cash reimbursement or a pre-tax deduction, and their employers can obtain a tax benefit for participating in the program. The League of American Bicyclists has provided guidance on exactly what this means for you and your employer.

Click here for current guidance on the bike commuter benefit
Click here to see the actual text of the new law
Click here for Congressman Blumenauer's (the bill's author) explanation of the bill

MassBike member Bill Schwab, an Employee Benefits professional, has generously offered to assist Massachusetts bicyclists to explain the new benefit to their employers and formalize the plan (free-of-charge!). If interested, contact Bill directly:

William H. Schwab, CLU
Mount Vernon Insurance Agency, Inc.
50 Cross Street
Winchester , MA 01890
781-729-3787 FAX
[email protected]

Add your reaction Share

MassBike Spin Series Presents: Boston Tweed Ride

October 05, 2009
The tweed ride was a rousing success, many finely dressed Lords and Ladies showed up for a day or riding, tea sipping, games and prizes. Many a "ello govnah" and "Huzzah!" were uttered as we made our way about town in our finery, see some pictures below for a good idea of the fun times had. (more pictures here, and here)

[gallery link="file"]

The MassBike spins series are rides organized by other orginizations but presented through MassBike. This allows MassBike (we are small but feisty) to present all these great rides, and other orginizations to get the publicity (on our website, and our email list). It also allows the rides to get liability insurance free of charge. To include your ride in our spins series you have to do a couple of things. You have to call your ride "MassBike Spins Series Presents: Name of your ride here." The people in the ride have to wear helmets. You have to give a short pitch for MassBike at the start of the ride. The ride must not cost money, and finally you have to have participants sign a waiver (we provide this to you). If you have a ride you want to put into the series contact us. We also have charity ride partnerships for rides that do cost money. If you run a fundraising ride that you would like us to promote we can do that as well. again contact us for details.
Add your reaction Share

MassBike In Boston Magazine

October 01, 2009
Executive Director David Watson was quoted in the recent issue of Boston Magazine!

Just one problem with Menino's mission: There aren't enough places to park our bikes”not nearly enough. According to David Watson, executive director of the nonprofit MassBike, that shortage is one of the biggest factors deterring people from riding more. Bicycles are not inexpensive, and with theft an ever-present concern, people know they can't dock their ride just anywhere. (Boston magazine world headquarters is located on the relatively genteel Christian Science Plaza, and if the beneficent pooh-bahs here didn't let me roll my bike inside the office for safekeeping, I'm not so sure I'd pedal in every day.)
"People don't want to lock their bikes to trees and fences and parking meters. They don't feel good about it," Watson says. "You could build bike lanes everywhere, but if you don't have sufficient bike parking where people want it, then they're still not going to ride."

Check our the rest of the article here.

If you want to get in touch with MassBike for your news organization or magazine contact us here.
Add your reaction Share

MassBike's Weekend Adventures

September 30, 2009
Wow! Were we busy this last weekend.

Friday we provided high quality valet bike parking for Bikes Not Bombs 25th anniversary fundraiser.

(these great images provided by Sheryl Lanzel (617) 756-8930 www.sheryllanzel.com be sure to check out her site)

If you would like to have our high quality bicycle valet service at your event contact us.

Saturday we had a booth at the Mayor Cup Pro Race. It was a great time, check out the video below, wow were they fast!

Congratulations to Boston and to Boston Bicycle Coordinator Nicole Freedman on such an amazing event!

Sunday we braved the rain along with other intrepid cyclists to ride and table at Hub On Wheels. The hardy members of Team MassBike rode in this annual event to support MassBike and Technology Goes Home.

If you enjoy the many great things that MassBike does you can support us, become a member, your support keeps us going!http://www.youtube.com/v/GBE_zDQGnyQ&hl=en&fs=1&
Add your reaction Share

Executive Director Speaks At Bike Cage Opening

September 29, 2009
[caption id="attachment_268" align="alignright" width="215" caption="Celebrating the unveiling of the T's first bike cage in Boston, Transportation Secretary James Aloisi cuts a ribbon with (from left to right) Livable Streets Alliance Director Steve Miller, BRA Director of Bicycle Program Nicole Freedman, MassBike Executive Director David Watson, Secretary Aloisi, and Acting MBTA General Manager William Mitchell."][/caption]

MassBike Executive Director David Watson spoke at this morning's press conference officially opening the new bike cage at the Forest Hills MBTA Station. MassBike has been working closely with the T and other advocates expanding access to public transportation for bicyclists, and this is the latest in a string of improvements. The new secure bike parking facility holds 100 bikes. Forest Hills is the first station in Boston to get one, following last year's launch of the bike cages at Alewife Station in Cambridge. The T also announced that it has received $4.8 million in federal stimulus funds to expand bike parking throughout the MBTA system, including more bike cages at locations to be announced. "The T is moving from merely accommodating bikes to embracing bicycling as an integral part of the transportation system," said Watson. "Adding secure bike parking will encourage people who live a little further than comfortable walking distance to the station to ride their bikes instead of driving. This morning, I rode my bike two miles to Alewife Station, then took the T to get here - I want everyone to be able to do that."

Read more about this here and here.
Add your reaction Share

MassBike On NPR Talking About Bike Safety

September 29, 2009
[caption id="attachment_260" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Shane Jordan, left, education director for MassBike, talks to a participant at a recent bicycling workshop he conducted at Suffolk University. (Sacha Pfeiffer/WBUR)"][/caption]We made it on NPR last week talking about bicycle safety. Click here to listen. The talk that WBUR came to listen to was one of our Commuter Workshops.

Our Commuter Workshops are a fast paced one hour lunch time talk that companies, schools, and other groups request. They cover everything you will need to know to get started commuting, including bike choice, clothing choice, gear choice, route planning, rules of the road, how to look professional, and a whole host of other good stuff. We even have a winter version for you intrepid riders who want to learn how to commute year round. Check out more about commuter workshops here. If you would like to request a commuter workshop use our handy new contact form here.
Add your reaction Share