|Friday, May 11||I started Bike Week by zipping around during my lunch hour getting Bike Week posters from Boston City Hall and Neponset River Greenway Festival schedules from the Boston Natural Areas Fund a few blocks away. After work, I was interviewed by "No Censorship Radio", a great news magazine on WMBR radio at MIT. We discussed Sunday's festival, Bike Week, Critical Mass, and cyclists' rights.|
|Saturday, May 12||I rode to Forest Hills Station, took the Orange Line all the way to its other end at Oak Grove and biked to the Middlesex Fells Visitor Center for the annual New England Regional Meeting of the East Coast Greenway Alliance, which is developing a mostly off-road paved bath bike route from Calais, Maine to Key West. Rhode Island and Maine have made great progress, with all of Rhode Island's portion on the ground or under construction and Maine's designation of an on-road route the full length of the state. Massachusetts, in comparison has not been doing so well until this week when Bill Reyelt and I had a quite positive meeting with the MDC concerning the designation of the Charles River bikepath from the Science Museum to Waltham as part of the East Coast Greenway.|
Sunday, May 13
||I spent from 10:0 am to 4:00 pm working at the Emerald Necklace Greenway Festival in Jamaica Plain. At noon Boston Park Commissioner Justine Liff formally opened the new Perkins St. bike lanes which, when Parkman Drive is closed like it was for the first time today, create separated bike route all the way around Jamaica Pond. I was one of the other speakers at the ceremony, following Mira Brown of Bikes Not Bombs who waxed quite eloquent about creating car-free spaces in the city. Around 300 people attended the event, although only 5, including my 10-year-old daughter Sarah, rode on my bike tour of Franklin Park. After helping clean up, Sarah and I practiced path-sharing by riding home through the Arnold Arboretum's Lilac Day Festival, which boasts an attendance of 20-30,000. After making our way through the crowds and over the hills of northwest Roslindale, we treated ourselves to ice cream at Emack and Bolio's.|
|Monday, May 14||Today Boston City Councillors Mike Ross, Paul Scapicchio, and Brian Honan kicked off bike week on the Congress St. side of City Hall, handing out water bottles to commuting cyclists and urging their City Hall colleagues to bike to work. The Boston bicycling community showed up in force to support their efforts, and each of the Councillors (and a few other City Hall people) tried Erin Gorden's Strida folding bike. Other notables included MassBike's Tim Baldwin, who I expect I'll see everywhere I go this week, new Boston Bicycle Advisory Chair Bill Reyelt, Somerville's Joel Bennett, who I recruited into the BABC almost 20 years ago, and a host of MassBike members. On my way through downtown Boston, I was overtaken by a fellow southwest Boston bike commuter who I dragged into the rally where he got into a rousing pro-bikelane argument with one of our anti-bikelane members. Read about this event in the Boston Phoenix.|
Tuesday, May 15
The multimodal day began when I folded up the tandem and stuffed it in the
back of my car, with a single bike on the bike rack, so I could drive my
daughter to school. I left the car there and biked on the single to the
Broadway Bicycle School's traditional pancake breakfast. I got there
just as a group picture was being taken in front of a giant SUV ticket
spread out in front of the store. It was a gathering of the usual suspects,
though we missed Cambridge Bike Coordinator Cara Seiderman, who just went
on maternity leave and has been at these breakfasts almost every year.
Tonight I biked back to Sarah's school, unfolded the tandem, and Sarah and I rode up the Southwest Corridor to the Boston Public Library in Copley Square and tonight's Boston Bicycle Advisory Board meeting. On the way downtown, we met a few friends headed the other way (Hi, Dave and Mitch!) and got lots of smiles. At tonight's meeting, Adam Schulman gave an overhead presentation on the year's accomplishments of the Boston Bicycle Advisory Committee and announced the installation of 41 bike racks around the city, with 100 within two weeks and 300 within two months. A few other good things were announced, but no one asked about the removal of the Bicycle Coordinator position from the highest priorities of the draft Boston Bicycle Plan. The printed version will be out Thursday, and we will see if our protests at this omission had any effect.
|Wednesday, May 16||It rained this morning, so the State House lunch was postponed until next Tuesday, and I got a chance to work more, though there were of course bicycle distractions, such as setting up a page and links to make contacting legislators easy, and updating the calendar to highlight Senator Cheryl Jacques release of a report on MHD's inaction concerning bicycle facilities next Tuesday. I also discussed my interview tomorrow at Channel 5 with Paul Schimek and John Allen. On the way home, I noticed that I had almost no brakes, so I stopped at International Bicycle Center for new pads, a new chain, and, after checking the wobbly rear wheel, a few spokes and freewheel cartridge tools so I can replace the broken one.|
Thursday, May 17
I took the morning off and bicycled out to Needham for an interview with
Channel 5 News for a feature on bicyclists and drivers sharing the road.
I think it went pretty well, but you never know what sound bites they will
use. I stressed that bicycles have a right to take a lane and should ride
predictably, and that motorized vehicle drivers should not cut us off.
I was planning to ride through Newton to the Charles and take the bikepath to downtown Boston for the City Hall Bike Festival, but after the producer said something like, "You don't plan to ride down Route 9, do you?" I had to give it a try. It took me only 45 minutes to get to City Hall from outside 128 on the mostly paved shoulders of Route 9. The underpasses and overpasses all lack shoulders, but I was cruising fast and traffic was light enough that I just took a lane. Things got worse when I got to the construction zone at the edge of the Medical Area in Boston, where I could swear the ouside lane sometimes narrows to less than eight feet. I figured we have gotten some new bikelanes and just rode down the middle of the lane, going as fast as traffic most of the time on the stretch which the state wants designed for 40 mph (though we heard at the Boston Bike Committee meeting on Tuesday that they *might* give on this). I even challenged myself by not biking through *any* red lights on this trip, after sort of committing myself to law-abiding riding on TV. I did, however, dismount and *walk* through a couple of them, a strategy of paravehicular cycling I have developed to avoid getting ticketed in Cambridge.
At today's Boston Bicycle Festival on City Hall Plaza, after Mayor Menino played drums in a band with cycling Councillors Ross and Scapicchio, councillor Scapicchio announced that the Mayor had said at a recent budget hearing that the position of Bicycle Program Manager would be funded in next year's city budget. I also noticed, in the printed version of the Boston Bicycle Plan released today that the "key recommendations" were modified to include "2. Create the position of a Bicycle Program Manager...", the first being to use the Boston Bicycle Advisory Committee to develop a program and the third being to "Adopt a bicycle Parking ordinance...". Boston will become more bike-friendly! Laurie Dougherty of Bikes Not Bombs added a note to the top of a stack of "Hire a Bicycle Coordinator!" postcards which she handed to the Mayor saying, "These people all thank you for the Bicycle Coordinator!" There weren't as many people at the festival as I would like, but the Boston Bicycling Community was there in force, and it was a good place to gather information from the people who are actually doing things.
|Friday, May 18||For the first time all week, I rode my normal commuting route, through Arnold Arboretum, down the Muddy River, and up the Charles to North Cambridge. I tried to get out of the house earlier, but I was too late to get any of the goodies the Cambridge Bicycle Committee was giving out on the Charles River Bikepath at JFK St. (near Harvard Square). The Boston Globe had absolutely no coverage of yesterday's bicycle festival, but the tabloid Metro had a picture of the Mayor on drums.|
|Saturday, May 19||This afternoon we did a two-tandem tour of Brookline's Open Studios, Sarah and I on one tandem, and Sarah's classmate Liza and her father George Ulrich on the other. Sarah picked two locations she really wanted to see, sculptors at Allandale Farm, conveniently close to our Roslindale starting point, and a painter's studio near Coolidge Corner, and we added a third a few doors away. We had a great time talking to the artists and seeing a lot of different techniques, then presented our signed maps to Marc Lisle at his studio for autographed copies of the Open Studios poster he designed. Although it was late in the afternoon, we were the first to show up on bikes, so I hope more people cycle tomorrow, when it promises to be sunnier.|
|Sunday, May 20||I got through the day without a car, riding the tandem alone to pick up Sarah at a picnic in Larz Anderson Park, with a stop a an ice cream fund-raiser in Roslindale Square where Emack and Bolio's cones were sold for a quarter apiece to raise money for a local youth group. Then I switched to my Specialized Crossroads, on which I had spent a couple of hours replacing broken spokes, the chain, and brake pads, and zipped to Somerville for the Redbones Barbecue benefit for MassBike and NEMBA. The portabello and pulled pork sandwich was fantastic, and I got an update from the Somerville Bicycle Committee on progress on the Somerville Community Path connecting the Minuteman Bikeway to Boston along the Lowell MBTA commuter rail line, as well as hearing complaints from several massbike email list members who have not been receiving the digest version of the list.|
|Tuesday, May 22||After driving the carpool to school today, I biked the last 7 miles to work, started downloading a huge star catalog from California, and headed off in the rain to Beacon Hill to hear Senator Cheryl Jacques announce the release of the Post Audit and Oversight Committee report, Getting on Track: Common Sense Ideas to Expedite Rail Trail Development in Massachusetts. This report urges the MHD to do something about the fact that "Massachusetts has approved and funded only 41.5% of its enhancements funds, and has only completed 17% of its enhancements projects." Tim Baldwin, MassBike's Executive Director, gave a great speech about how bikepaths fit in a world of bicyclists and introduced me as a long-time bike advocate and the only person who cycled to the meeting. People from the town governments of Hudson and Peabody spoke about how their projects were finally starting to move forward, and Craig DellaPenna of Rails-to-Trails talked from first hand experience about how far behind Massachusetts is. There was a nice exhibit by the Landscape Architects' association of good landscape architecture, including Carol Johnson's Upper Charles Reservation Trail, just outside the hearing room. On the way out, I stopped to talk with a Boston EMT at an exhibit which included one of their bikes. He told me about a science project his son had done making helmets for eggs to show how helmets protected heads, and how popular it was.|