If you value parks and open space, now is the time to be heard. The National Park Service requires the state to complete a Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP) every five years to remain eligible for funding from the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). Since the LWCF was established in 1965, more than $95,000,000 has been awarded across the state for the acquisition of conservation or park land, development of new parks, or renovation of existing parks.
To help inform the SCORP process and guide future use of LWCF funds, the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs is conducting a survey to gather input about Commonwealth residents’ preferences for recreational activities. We encourage you to tell the state and Forest Service about the value you place on recreational biking! It should take about 15 minutes to complete, and could make a huge difference.
Here is the link to the survey and any questions should be directed to Melissa Cryan, LWCF Stateside Coordinator, at (617) 626-1171 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On July 23rd, MassBike was in East Boston helping out with putting on the Chelsea River Revel. The annual event, organized by the Neighborhood of Affordable Housing (NOAH) and the Chelsea Creek Action Group (CCAG), builds community and supports a sense of place in East Boston through events like river kayaking, a soccer tournament, and bike rides. MassBike was there with many other community groups providing bike valet parking, handing out educational materials in both Spanish and English, and even got to go on a bike ride with our partners at the Boston Collaborative for Food and Fitness.
The bike ride was the "Environmental Justice Tour," highlighting many of the hardships faced by residents in East Boston. This includes the lack of supermarkets, industrial pollution and other brownfield sites, and, of course, Logan Airport. MassBike was happy to provide assistance to NOAH and CCAG in tweaking the route, giving tips on proper signaling, considerations about length of the ride, and route map markings. Click on the picture above to view a high resolution copy of the map, sponsored by Communities Putting Prevention to Work.
Luckily, Executive Director David Watson was able to go along with our partners at the BCFF on the bike ride. This ride and event, driven by the local youth in East Boston, was an impressive demonstration of how biking can form a fundamental part of a more livable, healthy, and cohesive community. MassBike was proud to be able to help.
To receive these courses, the school needs to contact MassRIDES at the Massachusetts Department of Transportation. Talk to your school's principal, P.E. teacher, or another employee and let them know you want these classes offered. To schedule a class, they should contact Ben Hammer, the statewide Safe Routes to School Coordinator, at Ben.Hammer@state.ma.us.
More about Safe Routes to School
MassBike is able to offer these youth safety classes through the state's Safe Routes to School Program. Safe Routes to School is a federally-funded program which promotes healthy transportation alternatives for trips to and from school. The program aims to foster a mobile and active lifestyle, and to reduce traffic congestion and improve public health by encouraging the use of alternative transportation.
In only three months this past spring, MassBike alone educated over 1,200 elementary and middle school students through the Safe Routes to School Program. We also trained staff members at two elementary schools to give the safety lessons, dramatically expanding the number of kids potentially reached. In all, the Massachusetts Safe Routes to School Program has reached 25% of the state’s students and developed partnerships with nearly 350 elementary schools in 116 communities.
MassBike held its 2nd Annual Summer Century & Family Fun Ride last Saturday, July 30th and it was a huge success! We had over 300 riders join us for a fun ride, beautiful weather, and good food. Riders took on routes from 12 to 100 miles which traversed the heart of early American history, from Paul Revere’s Ride through Lexington and Concord and to nearby battlefields. Longer rides visited the towns and villages that sent the first Minutemen.
With the success of the ride, the proceeds help make MassBike better advocates for bicyclists across Massachusetts. MassBike works through legislation, education, and infrastructure projects to get more people on bicycles and to make our roads and paths safer. Your support was important to making sure that bicyclists are protected in Massachusetts!
One reason our event was so successful was because of our fundraisers who went the extra mile to help us out! In addition, a big thanks goes out to all of our board members and volunteers who helped to organize the event and make sure that everything went smoothly on Saturday.
We also want to thank our fantastic sponsors who donated their products and services! Thanks goes out to Redbones BBQ, Ride Studio Cafe, Luna Bar, Food Should Taste Good, Jason & Fischer, and Mass Land Law, who helped provide support and fuel our riders throughout the day.
We'll be reviewing this year's rider feedback (which you can send to email@example.com) and will begin our planning for next year's ride. We'll be posting photos as we get them. If you have any you'd like to share, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks to all our riders for joining us!
All rides (12, 23, 45, 62 and 100 routes) leave from – and return to – Lexington High School. The routes will traverse the heart of early American history, from Paul Revere’s Ride through Lexington and Concord and to nearby battlefields. Longer rides visit the towns and villages that sent the first Minutemen. As you leave in the morning, Ride Studio Cafe will be providing support for our riders. After the rides, everyone is invited to stay at Lexington High School for lunch and socializing. Food will be available until the mid-afternoon, so even intrepid century riders can share in the fun. After your ride, Redbones Barbecue is cooking up lunch (included with your registration) – their famous pulled pork, BBQ beef, and portobello sandwiches!
Plus, by joining in the MassBike Summer Century & Family Fun Ride, you’ll be helping to make bicycling better in Massachusetts. All proceeds go to support MassBike’s bicycling advocacy. MassBike works through legislation, education, and infrastructure projects to get more people on bicycles and to make our roads and paths safer. Your support is important to making sure that bicyclists are protected in Massachusetts.
Find out descriptions of the routes here.
See you tomorrow!
Our new and improved on-bike safety class, Basics of Better Biking, has three scheduled times and locations - with more coming soon! The classes so far are:
Saturday, August 13th
10:00 AM - 2:00 PM
Parking Lot at the intersection of Lincoln St. and School St.
Saturday, August 20
9:00 AM - 2:00 PM
Parking lot behind Norwood Bank (11 Central Street)
Sunday, August 21
9:00 AM - 1:00 PM
Boston, MA (Seaport District)
Parking Lot at 29 Stillings St. (Off of Congress St.)
We go over tips on how to stay safe on city streets, a 30-second routine to make sure your bike is properly functioning, some very basic bike mechanics, and on-bike drills. After this class, you will know how to quickly avoid that pothole, why your bike has a front and rear brake, and what a "Copenhagen Left" is. To register, visit our Adult Education page, or email Price at email@example.com.
Earlier this year, MassBike, along with community groups and advocates, was invited to join the project's Working Advisory Group (WAG). The group's purpose is to help develop an alternative vision for the area. Because the area is used by commuters of all types (motorists, bicyclists, public transportation riders, and pedestrians), this is an opportunity to create a safe and improved area for all the roadway's constituents and for the neighborhood itself. MassBike is lending its bicycling expertise to the WAG, while local community advocates lead the way to a solution that works for their neighborhood.
So far, the Working Group has been meeting to discuss the current problems of the Casey Overpass, establish priorities for addressing these issues, and begin to look at various design alternatives. Most recently, the design alternatives have been narrowed down to four basic concepts: a split bridge, a single bridge, surface roads with a wide median, and surface roads with a narrow median. The WAG met this week to discuss the pros and cons of each approach. You can see all the information presented at WAG meetings here. As the group continues to meet throughout the summer and into the fall, we'll have more of an idea of what a possible solution may look like. One thing is clear - everyone is committed to finding the best solution for the community and all those who use the area.
MassBike is involved because we see this as a great way for MassDOT, the community, and advocates to work together at the earliest stages of a project. MassDOT and its consultants have created a process that is admirably community-driven and responsive to community input. While no project design process can satisfy everyone, this is a pretty good one so far, and we hope MassDOT will use this approach regularly.
On Thursday, July 28th, the City of Boston, in partnership with the MBTA, MassDOT, and MAPC launched the New Balance Hubway Bikeshare Program. Executive Director David Watson was there among other advocates and officials to kick off the start of the program. We are especially excited because MassBike members make up about 25% of initial Hubway registrants!
Among the speakers were LivableStreets Alliance President Nina Garfinkle, MBTA General Manager Rich Davey, and Mayor Thomas Menino. Everyone emphasized how excited they were to have the program coming to Boston, formerly the "worst bicycling city in America" according to Bicycling Magazine. Mayor Menino in particular also stressed safety and following the rules of the road.
[caption id="attachment_5438" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="MassBike's Hubway Station!"][/caption]
David took his first Hubway ride from the State Transportation Building to the MassBike office, and he has a few tips:
- Handling: The Hubway bikes handle a bit differently from my own bike, so it's a good idea to take a minute to get used to it before heading out into traffic the first time. Ironically, this won't be an issue for people who don't ride their own bikes!
- Saddle: Take a moment to adjust the saddle height - there is a quick release on the seatpost. Your knees will thank you!
- Speed and Pedaling: I found the lowest gear ("1") too easy in Downtown Boston, and the highest gear ("3") too hard - so the middle gear ("2") is probably your best bet. But these bikes are leisurely in any gear, so just relax and enjoy the ride.
- Returning the Bike: You need to roll the bike into the station firmly and make sure the little green light goes on, otherwise the bike is not locked in! I got it wrong the first time, but a helpful Hubway employee happened to be there to explain it.
Also, MassBike has partnered with the city to provide free bike safety workshops for Hubway members. If you are a Hubway member, please sign up for one of our classes.
Our ride is this Saturday, 7/30, and the weather forecast predicts a beautiful day. Riders get to enjoy a fun ride, support their state-wide bicycle advocacy organization, enjoy Redbones lunch, and the first 300 riders to register get a free ride t-shirt! Find out more info about the rides here.
Or help us with our ride by volunteering!
MassBike needs volunteers to make our ride a success. We need volunteers throughout the day and at various locations. There are lots of ways for you to help out. Volunteers get to help their state-wide bicycle advocacy organization and get free Redbones lunch in the afternoon. Here's how you can help out:
6:00pm: PB&J Party: We need help making lots of peanut butter & jelly sandwiches for our riders on Saturday. We'll get together in Watertown to create some culinary masterpieces.
6:30am-11:00am: Registration - We need help to register our day-of riders and help wave people into the Lexington High School parking lot.
Rest Stops: Great Brook Farm State Park or in Groton - help us greet riders and make sure everything everyone is safe along the route.
12:30pm-4:00pm: Food Service - We need volunteers to help dish out Redbones meals to our returning riders.
If you are interested in volunteering, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!
See you Saturday!