Rainy Bike Week Updates, And Free Stuff At MassBike Office

[caption id="attachment_4560" align="alignleft" width="280" caption="Courtesy of http://mrdaveygie.blogspot.com"][/caption]

As they say, if you don't like the weather in New England, just wait a few minutes - and this spring has proven the wisdom of that sentiment.  The rain has come, and gone, and come back, and for this week it has decided to loom heavy.  As a result, it is very important to check the Bay State Bike Week Calendar to ensure that the event you want to attend hasn't been postponed or canceled. A few events, like the Boston-area Ride of Silence on Wednesday and the Cape Cod Cycling Club/MassBike Ride in Hyannis on Thursday, have been postponed, and the MassBike Pump & Lube stations on Monday and Tuesday have already been canceled (it's not very effective to lube a dripping wet chain). We don't want you to be disappointed, so please stay tuned.

Indoor Bike Fun! However, there are several excellent events going on regardless of the rain!  These include many indoor happenings, such as Bike Night at The Peoples Pint (Tuesday @ 5 pm at The Peoples Pint, 24 Federal St, Greenfield); Ciclismo Classico 2nd Annual Bike Film Festival (Wednesday @ 7 pm at the Regent Theatre, 7 Medford Street, Arlington); or the MassRIDES Travel Options Workshop (Thursday @ 12 pm at 10 Park Plaza, Conference Room 3, Boston) - just to name a few.

Free Stuff! Missed us at a MassBike Morning Giveaway (or it was rained out)? Bike to the MassBike office, 10am-4pm the rest of this week for your free Bay State Bike Week T-Shirts and Ankle Straps! We are located at 171 Milk Street (corner of Milk and India), 3rd Floor, in downtown Boston. So swing by and grab your swag, and as an added bonus meet MassBike staff in the process. We hope to see you soon!

Ask MassBike: Riding In Rain

We get a lot of questions here at MassBike, and we like to think we also give some pretty good answers. We realized that sharing these questions and answers on our website would be a valuable resource to others looking for the same information.

We got this question from Theo about riding in the rain:
Hello MassBike!

I have started riding for Bay State Bike Week, and unfortunately every time I go outside I manage to bike when the rain starts pouring! This makes it super stressful, not to mention soaking wet and potentially dangerous. What can I do to rain-proof my ride?

Wet and frustrated,

Hello Theo,

Your concerns about riding in the rain are definitely understandable, especially as a beginner. However, with the right gear and riding strategies, riding in the rain can be just as easy and safe as riding on a nice, sunny day.  Our tips for rainy day riding fall into three categories:


  • Brakes don't don't work as well on wet rims. It can take much longer to stop (up to ten times normal distance!). Start braking earlier than usual, and be sure to periodically "wipe the rims" applying the brakes lightly for a short distance, ideally a little bit before you need to make a stop. Alternately, if you are interested in getting a new bike or some new parts, disc brakes provide much better stopping power in wet conditions than rim brakes.

  • Paint is slippery. Try to stay off pavement markings and lines - they can be extra-slippery when wet.

  • Metal is slippery too. Avoid manhole covers, grates, construction plates, and other metal objects. These things can be tricky to ride on in the best of conditions, and can act like ice when wet.

  • Tires lose traction when wet. Take turns more slowly than usual, don't lean into turns as much, and avoid quick maneuvers.

  • Stay out of puddles. Innocent looking puddles can conceal wheel-swallowing potholes, so you're better off going around any puddle you can't see the bottom of.

Above all, though, Slow Down! Motorists cannot see you as well because of the rain on their windows, and you probably can't see as well either because of the rain coming down on your face. It's even worse if you wear glasses. Be sure to wear bright colors and use a front white light and rear red light to make yourself more visible.

[caption id="attachment_4576" align="alignleft" width="250" caption="A Rain Cape. Courtesy of www.catoregon.org. "][/caption]


In addition to bright clothing, getting rain-specific clothing will make biking in wet conditions much more tolerable. A rain jacket, rain pants and shoe covers are a good way to go, as is a rain cape. There are also helmet covers to keep your head dry. Try to get materials that breathe pretty well, otherwise you will keep the rain out but get soaked with sweat.


Getting your bike ready for the rain is crucial to a pleasant journey. Fenders are a great place to start, as they keep water from kicking up your back, reduce the amount of spray from the front wheel, and also can protect the person behind you from getting a face-full of dirty water.

[caption id="attachment_4579" align="alignright" width="300" caption="A rusty chain. Courtesy of steel-cut.blogspot.com/"][/caption]

There is a lot of salt and sand, not to mention dirt and muck, on the roads at this time of year. Be kind to your bike:

  • Wipe it down. Or spray it with a garden hose (gently, never with high pressure) once you get home to keep your bike from rusting and making all sorts of annoying pops and clicks.

  • Lube your chain. Lubing your chain keeps it cleans, prevents rust, and keeps things moving smoothly.

  • Clean your rims. Dirt and sand grind down your brake pads and rims much faster than normal use.

Riding in the rain doesn't have to be stressful or dangerous. If you follow some of the tips above, we think you will significantly improve your ride and will even enjoy the trip.

Test Yourself In the Mt. Washington Century Ride

The Mt. Washington Century ride is fast becoming known as New England’s Most Challenging Centurytm. We have mountain passes that thrill the eye and challenge the soul. For those wanting to ‘test their personal best’, the Mt. Washington Century Ride is it - Saturday, July 16, 2011! AND the first 250 registrants get a great tech t-shirt that wicks away your cycling sweat … SWEET!

For additional Mt. Washington Century information - http://www.tinmountain.org/?page_id=1205

To register - http://www.bikereg.com/events/register.asp?eventid=12264

The Mt. Washington Century Ride participates in MassBike’s Charity Ride Partner Program to help support MassBike’s advocacy and education program.

MassBike's Bike Week Events

The busiest time for bicycling in Massachusetts is right around the corner: Bay State Bike Week starts this Saturday!

MassBike will be out at events all week, encouraging people to ride and letting bicyclists know just how much we love them.

On Monday through Thursday, MassBike staff and Boston-area volunteers will be doing t-shirt and ankleband giveaways at various locations during the morning commute. In the evenings, we'll be doing our Pump & Lube service stations, giving bicyclists some air for their tires, cleaning their chains, and telling them about what is going on for bicyclists and at MassBike.

We need volunteer support to make our events happen, so if you can join us during a morning or evening commute please let us know! We'll have t-shirts for volunteers, plus our undying appreciation and the good feeling you get from supporting your state-wide bicycle advocacy organization.

If you can join us for volunteering, please email volunteer@massbike.org to let us know when you can help out. If you can't volunteer, stop by to get a shirt or get some love for your bike.

Here is where we'll be:

Morning Giveaways - 8:15am-9:00am
Monday: Broadway & Galileo Galilei Way (Cambridge)
Tuesday: Southwest Corridor (near Stony Brook)
Wednesday: Massachusetts Ave. Bridge (Cambridge side)
Thursday: Beacon & Aberdeen St. (Boston)

Pump & Lube Stations - 5:15-6:15
Monday - Southwest Corridor (Near Stony Brook)
Tuesday - Broadway & Galileo Galilei Way (Cambridge)
Wednesday - Davis Square
Thursday - Massachusetts Ave. Bridge (Cambridge side)
Friday - Charles River Esplanade (near the Hatch Shell)

The MassBike Pioneer Valley and Cape Cod Chapters will be at their own local events, too.

You can check out the PV calendar here, but highlights include the Bay State Village Big Bike Bonanza, Northampton and Amherst Bike Breakfasts, and the Manhan Rail Trail Grand Opening (MassBike Executive Director David Watson and Program Manager Price Armstrong will also be on hand for the ceremony).

Highlights from the Cape Cod & Islands Chapter include Bike-to-Work Day on Wednesday, May 18 and the Cape Cod Cycling/MassBike Ride in Hyannis on Thursday, May 19 (David & Price will be on the Hyannis ride as well). You can find the full calendar for the Cape & Islands here.

Plus, there are a couple events during the week whose proceeds go to MassBike.

On Sunday, May 15, you can ride on the Pedal2Pints Bike Brewery Tour. Take your bike our for a spin and enjoy some local breweries, all while supporting bicyclist advocacy.

You can also come to the Ciclismo Classico Bike Film Fest on Wednesday, May 18 from 7-10pm. Stop by to enjoy some great bike films, a raffle, and free refreshments!

Upcoming Ride Of Silence To Raise Bike Safety Awareness

MassBike will lead the Boston-area Ride of Silence on Wednesday, May 18, 2011, one of hundreds of such rides taking place worldwide to honor bicyclists killed or injured while riding on public roads, and to raise awareness of the need for motorists to exercise more caution around bicyclists. The ride occurs during Bay State Bike Week, the statewide celebration of bicycling. We've seen lots of you riding this spring, and we urge as many of you as possible to attend this important ride. We need to send a strong message to the public that bicyclist safety on the roads is an important issue that affects many people. Let us know if you plan to attend by RSVPing to Rides@MassBike.org.

The idea of the Ride of Silence is to draw attention to the human toll caused by roads that are poorly designed for bicycling and by motorists who fail to drive safely around bicyclists. While biking remains a generally safe mode of travel, it is still important to note that we bicyclists do have significant vulnerabilities that may not be recognized or fully appreciated by the general public, and motorists in particular. This ride highlights the fact that as gas prices rise and more people take to the streets on two wheels, we all need to slow down a little and exercise good judgment.

The ride will depart Seven Hills Park behind the Davis Square MBTA Station in Somerville at 7pm (plan to arrive no later than 6:45pm so we can depart promptly), then make its way through Cambridge to Boston where it will conclude at the Charles Street entrance to the Boston Common. The six-mile ride will take place in total silence, at a slow pace, with only signs worn by the riders to explain the purpose of the ride. The route intentionally takes busy streets in order to draw the greatest amount of attention, though the riders take care to follow the law and minimize interference with motor vehicle traffic.

The ride will conclude with brief remarks at Boston Common. If you would like the name of a friend or relative who has been killed or injured in a bike crash to be read aloud, please notify us at Rides@MassBike.org. Also, if you would like to say a few words at the end of the ride, we welcome your thoughts.

In addition to the Boston-area ride, there are rides in Leominster and Worcester. Check our calendar or the Ride of Silence website for details.

MassBike has led this ride for several years, and the opportunity to ride silently and think about those whose lives have been changed or ended because of a bike crash, and everyone we're trying to protect by raising public awareness and advocating for better roads, has always proven to be meaningful. Please take some time to join us for this very important event.

You CAN Get There From Here (With Your Bike) On The Blue Line!

Next Wednesday, May 18, 2011, at 3:30pm, state, city, local officials, and community organizations will join Transportation officials at Maverick Station to officially announce the Bikes on the Blue Line Pilot Program. The MBTA, in collaboration with the Chelsea Creek Action Group (CCAG) and MassBike initiated a six-month pilot project on the Blue Line beginning March 19, 2011 expanding bicycle access during rush hours. Bicycles will be allowed on the Blue Line at all times except from 7-9AM towards Bowdoin and 4-6PM towards Wonderland weekdays. The changes provides an additional two hours of bike access during peak periods (inbound in the morning and outbound in the afternoon), and an additional six hours of bike access in the reverse-peak.

Bring your bike to the event, then you can take it on the Blue Line to downtown Boston DURING EVENING RUSH HOUR!

The MBTA recognizes that Boston Harbor poses a barrier to cyclists to and from East Boston and welcomes the opportunity to use existing Blue Line capacity to improve customer mobility. This pilot project allows residents of Blue Line communities to travel a few stops by public transportation and then complete their trip by bike, opening up more economic and educational opportunities that are not easily reached directly by T. The project also promotes more bikeable communities, which leads to more livable, healthier communities and reduced pollution.

This pilot project is exciting for the communities on the Blue Line because of the collaboration between the MBTA, organizations such as MassBike and the Chelsea Creek Action Group, and community residents. CCAG is a grassroots organization formed by East Boston and Chelsea residents, the Chelsea Green Space and Recreation Committee, and the Neighborhood of Affordable Housing (NOAH). Youth from CCAG's Environmental Chelsea Creek Crew (E3C) have been the lead advocates for the Blue Line pilot, working together with MassBike and the MBTA. Ultimately, this pilot project serves as a model for agencies and government entities to work with community groups and other stakeholders to achieve excellent public transportation and improve the city.

This pilot project will be in effect on the Blue Line ONLY; unfortunately, bicycles remain restricted on the Orange and Red Lines between 7-10AM and 4-7PM weekdays. We recognize that challenges remain to expanding rush hour bicycle access on the other lines due to higher ridership and crowding, but we hope that the lessons we learn on the Blue Line will help us find solutions. This is the latest chapter in MassBike's ongoing efforts to help bicyclists take full advantage of our public transportation system.

MassBike Seeks Office Space

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="230" caption="MassBike needs to find a bigger home. "][/caption]

It’s generally a good thing to be a growing organization.  For the first time in MassBike's history, we have three full-time staff positions, with the hope of expanding it to six by 2014. More staff means more time spent on bicycling advocacy and education aimed at making Massachusetts the best place in the nation to ride a bicycle.

However, like a hermit crab seeking a new shell, our growth in staff and volunteers means we need to find a bigger office.  While we are sad to leave our home at 171 Milk Street, we are also very excited at the prospect of finding a new shell.

If you know of a space that might be a good fit for MassBike, we'd love to hear from you. We're looking for a location that is easy to get to from all areas of Boston and that has access to the T. We need a space that is around 1000 square feet or more.  Amazingly good rent deals are also much appreciated.  If you do know of an available space, please send an email to david@massbike.org.

Bike Month Volunteer Night

MassBike's monthly volunteer night is tomorrow, Tuesday, May 10th. We're in the midst of Bike Month and we have much to do to prepare for Bay State Bike Week, which starts this Saturday! Come out to the MassBike office (171 Milk Street, Suite 33, Boston 02109) from 5-8pm tomorrow to help us fold, stuff, and prep. Volunteers get free pizza and drinks, enjoy some good company, and help their statewide bicycle advocacy organization.

RSVP to volunteer@massbike.org if you can make it. Thanks!

MassBike Membership Deal: Join During Bike Month And Save

The weather is beautiful, and MassBike wants cycling in Massachusetts to be just as nice. We need your support to make it happen. So, just as budding flower blossoms sweeten the air, MassBike is sweetening the incentive to become a member of the Commonwealth’s only statewide bicycling advocacy group.

During Bike Month (May) you can save $5 when you support MassBike’s advocacy efforts by becoming a member.

MassBike members get discounts at bike shops, bed & breakfasts, auto insurance, new Zipcar memberships, and on other great services. But most importantly, MassBike members help to improve bicycling for everyone in Massachusetts. They add their voice to thousands of other bicyclists already speaking out for bicycling.

MassBike works year-round to make Massachusetts a better place to bike for fun, fitness, and transportation. But we are a member-driven organization and we need you to continue growing on our past successes! When you join MassBike, your membership adds to the power behind our advocacy. When we attend town meetings, support new legislation, and visit Washington, DC on the Commonwealth’s behalf, it is your membership that says, “Massachusetts wants better and safer cycling laws and infrastructure.”

So if you ride once a year, only in the summer, or every day, we need your support to represent bicyclists. Join MassBike during Bike Month – save some green and support a better Massachusetts for all!

Bay State Bike Week Needs Your Event

The month of May brings with it many things: blossoming flowers, the mass exodus of college students, musings over how next year's hockey season is going to be (even) better.  Perhaps most importantly, though, is Bay State Bike Week, that one magical week in the middle of the month where biking is elevated as the preeminent form of transportation in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. It comes with the hope that, someday, biking will be so commonplace that such a week isn't even necessary.

Until that day comes, however, we need hundreds events to make Bay State Bike Week 2011 an overwhelming success!  We so far have 117 events registered, which already breaks last year's record of 110, but we need your event, too. 

No matter where you are in the Commonwealth, if you have a bike-related event going on during the month of May, you should let us know.  We will help promote it and, if you sign up to be a partner, give you t-shirts and ankle straps.  If you don't have any bike events going on, then organize one!  The only catch is that if your event is a fundraiser, the proceeds need to go to a bike-related cause.

For event registration, the events calendar, and all sorts of more information, check out the website at www.BayStateBikeWeek.org.  Let's all work together to make Massachusetts a golden place for getting there by bike.

Donate Join our Mailing List Volunteer
Accept Credit Cards