Doug's Bike Week 2002 Journal

2000 and 2001 journals are also online.
Saturday, May 11

Pictures to come

After staying up until 2:00 am and 1:00 am the past two nights working with Delorme's Street Atlas and Topo USA to map out rides, I got out of the house around 9:15 so I could help set up the Franklin Park Bike Festival site. I was looking forward to leading the morning ride through the hills of the part of the city in which I live and was especially glad that Boston Bicycle Program Manager (and festival organizer) Paul Schimek had translated my cue sheet and map into a useful handout. I helped Katie Egan, Rebecca Kushner, Bike Advisory Committee Chair Bill Reyelt, and Paul set up tables; then Paul held down the fort while I led a group of nine cyclists on two-and-a-half hour of climbs, descents, and occasional good views. Tom Revay did a great job of sweeping; he and Bill missed a turn while following an error in my cue sheet, but they caught up with the rest of the group on Bellevue Hill, Boston's highest. We climbed eleven hills, including two within a couple of blocks of my house, but in the final stretch, I realized I had missed a hill I can add to the route next time. Thanks also to Bikes Not Bombs, who adjusted brakes before the ride, so we didn't lose anyone to crashes at the end of some pretty fast descents.

I split before the end of the ride to go home and switch to the tandem, returning with my daughter, Sarah, to lead the afternoon tour of the Southwest Corridor and Emerald Necklace bikepaths. The festival was in full swing, with speeches by Transportation Commissioner Andrea D'Amato, who arrived by bike, MassBike president Carol Blair, and Paul Schimek, and music by Deb Pasternak. Bikes Not Bombs, MassBike, the Franklin Park Coalition, and the Larz Andersen Bike Swap.

Eight people joined our tandem on the short ride, after I gave tandem rides to four girls who had been looking enviously at the bike. Twice as many people went on the ride through Dorchester, South Boston, and Roxbury which Paul led and Tom Revay swept. I hope they made it through the construction at the base of Mission Hill we saw from the Southwest Corridor; it wasn't there when Paul and I checked out the route last Wednesday. Mowing the lawn and doing laundry kept me home and not at the videos and films at Mass Art tonight.

Sunday, May 12

Pictures to come

I biked downtown to see if would be possible to walk on the Zakim Bunker Hill bridge. I got there at noon, just as it was starting to rain. There were at least 100,000 people in a very long line wrapped around the Fleet Center. I decided that it wasn't worth waiting three hours in the raind and biked home. Sarah had to work on homework all afternoon, so we didn't get in our tandem training ride.
Monday, May 13

Doug in camera store
Doug in the camera store

Redbones block party in the rain
Redbones block party in the rain

The Ride's Scott Mullen
The Ride's Scott Mullen

After a bit of searching, I found the bike commuter breakfast on Longwood Ave. Melissa from CommuteWorks laid out a good spread of bagels, cream cheese, and orange juice, though I don't think we recruited many new bike commuters in today's cold rain. I lobbied for more bike parking for patients and talked to the other people who rode their bikes today. Sarah Freeman from the Arborway Coalition, the Emerald Necklace Greenway Project, and Walk Boston, was there, as were two other hardy souls at 9:20, when I got there.

Since I forgot my camera, I started thinking about getting the digital camera I had been thinking about for several months, and the Ritz Camera at Carleton St. and Beacon St. in Brookline was right on my way. The manager took my picture with a Nikon Coolpix 775, blew it up to 8x10, and I was convinced. I bought one to document the rest of Bike Week.

A bit after 5:00 pm, I biked through a heavy, windy rain to Redbones in Somerville. Bike parking and a few exhibitors were outside under tents, but the food was inside, where it was much warmer and drier. I sat with Joel Bennett, who brought me up to date on the Community Path, and Jack Johnson, who discussed Arlington's upcoming improvements to the Minuteman Bikeway. The barbecue, as always, was delicious, and my heart goes out to the bike valets who froze in the rain. I took a few pictures and biked the 11 miles home through a soaking rain. I eventually dried off, got my daughter to bed, and started trying to upload the pictures from the new camera. Good old Windows 98's USB implementation was not up to the task. After a while, I gave up and used my video capture card, so these pictures are not as good as they could be.

Tuesday, May 14

Broadway Bicycle School
Broadway Bicycle School, Cambridge

Broadway Bicycle School breakfast
Broadway Bicycle School pancake breakfast

After dropping my daughter at school (she didn't want to bike because it was too cold at 40F--I biked to the nnual Broadway Bicycle School Pancake Breakfast in Cambridge. I got there around 8:45 am, in time for a couple of freshly-made pancakes, some orange juice and talk with other bicyclists about aardvarks, riding with kids, mapping software, and the vagueries of high tech employment in Massachusetts. Somehow I volunteered to map out the Historical Tour of Somerville on Saturday and add mileages to the cue sheet for Ron Newman. I was so engrossed in a discussion with Kate Adams about biking with kids, that I forgot to look at my watch until I had 10 minutes to get to a meeting in my office at the other end of Cambridge. It took 12 minutes to get there, but the others were not too upset about being kept waiting.

After the meeting, the Boston Phoenix called, asking for some opinions to inform their editorial on bicycling this week. They asked for the three things I though could be done to most improve bicycling in Boston, and I replied: 1)Better connections between the bikepaths of Boston, 2) Better education of motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians, and 3) More bike parking.

I had an interesting ride home, with bright sun alternating with rain over the half-hour and seven miles it took to get to my daughter's school. She didn't bike today because of the 40 degree temperature this morning and felt the evening's rain justified her decision. She says she'll bike on Thursday, when it's supposed to be warmer and clearer. Once again, homework (and making dinner and watching "The Gilmore Girls") kept me from going to the night's bike movies.

Wednesday, May 15

Pictures to come

I got a late start and had a headwind all the way, so I didn't get to the Bicycle Commuter Breakfast in Harvard Square until 9:00 am. Holly Bogle of the Harvard Commuter Choice Program had a lot of food set up on the Holyoke Center Plaza, and said cyclists were waiting when she brought out the food at 7:30. The Harvard University Police were registering bicycles, so I finally registered mine. I ran down the battery of my camera last night downloading pictures, so today's photos won't be posted until they get developed. I had a great discussion about bike paths and routes with Kate Adams, who sometimes bike commutes from Medford to Lowell, her husband Dave, and Bryce Nesbit, our GIS guru who has biked the entire Mass. Central right-of-way. It rained for a couple of seconds on the way in, but stayed dry through breakfast.
Thursday, May 16

Sarah on the SW Corridor
Sarah biking to school, SW Corridor

Prudential Center Bicycle breakfast
Prudential Center Bike Commuter Breakfast

Contraflow bikelane
Contraflow bikelane, Waterhouse St., Cambridge

Contraflow bikelane
Contraflow bikelane, Concord Ave., Cambridge

Sarah and bikes at Wapo Taco
Bikes parked for dinner at Wapo Taco in Roslindale

The weather was much warmer and drier, and the forecast was for more of the same, so Sarah was willing to bicycle to school. The first half of our trip is down busy Washington St., where motorized traffic at 8:15 am is at a standstill. The next mile is on the Southwest Corridor bikepath over and next to the MBTA Orange Line and Amtrak, a pleasant change from traffic, and the reason Sarah is willing to ride the three miles to school sometimes. The last half-mile is a steep uphill ride, but by then the destination is close, so it's not so bad.

I rode to two bike breakfasts this morning. At the Prudential Center, Boston's Transportation Management Associations (TMAs), who help employers get employees to work by means other than single-passenger motorized vehicles, hosted a pretty good spread. We discussed the Boston Phoenix editorial (bike part at the end) and bike commuting article which came out today. I also talked with the head of the Airport TMA and asked for bike access to the terminals.

At 9:15, I zipped across the river to the Kendall Square Breakfast, hosted by the Charles River TMA, where I talked to Jim Gascoigne, its executive director, and Holly Bogle, Harvard's Commuter Choice program director, about getting Harvard, where I work, but not my employer, and local US Government installations, such as the Smithsonian, for whom I work, involved in the TMA. I saw Ron Newman, and promised the Somerville cue sheet mileages, and taked to ex-MassBike Board Member Michael Hering. On my way to work, I use a number of Cambridge bikelanes, including the contraflow lanes on Waterhouse St. (next to the Common at Mass. Ave.) and Concord Ave.

After work, I biked to Sarah's school and, after looking at a schoolmate's parents' new Civic Hybrid, we biked to the library and to our favorite restaurant, Wapo Taco in Roslindale. There is a convenient city bike rack right in front of the restaurant, visible from our table. After a short ride home, we got to work on Sarah's project on the Salem witchcraft trials, and she discovered that her journal entry was used on a Scholastic Books Dear Diary page, a fine ending to a busy day, though the need to help with homework kept me from representing bicyclists at the Franklin Park Coalition's annual meeting.

Friday, May 17

Boston Commuter Breakfast
Speeches at Boston Commuter Breakfast

Paul Schimek
Paul Schimek at Boston Commuter Breakfast

Lyall and Adam
Boston Bike Tours' Lyall Croft and BTD's Adam Shulman

Scott and Tim
Mulley and Tim model TA and MassBike t-shirts

Susan and Maureen
Susan and Maureen model Bike Week t-shirts

Despite a nice mention in yesterday's Phoenix, no one joined me in Roslindale or Jamaica Plain to ride to the City Hall Bike Commuter Breakfast. There was a sad occurence on Stuart St., when a helmetless bike commuter passed me and, seconds later, flipped his bike in front of the Radisson Hotel. He mostly landed on his body, but he did bang his head, was briefly unconscious, and less than coherent for a bit longer. Passersby called 911 and helped him off the road. The ambulance took 15 minutes to get there, longer than it should have for a head injury. I stayed with him until the ambulance packed him and his bike off to the emergency room. This event reinforced the fact that while helmets may not be the only thing you need to bike safely, the absence of a helmet can turn a minor accident into a life-changing event.

I caught up with the group from Quincy and Milton, and we arrived on City Hall Plaza to a smattering of applause while Paul Schimek, Boston's Bicycle Program Manager, was speaking. There were tables from MassBike, the South Bay Harbortrail, The Ride magazine, Boston's Transportation Management Associations, and the city, with bagels, cream cheese, and orange juice for breakfast, and friendly bike commuters to shmooze with. I thought I would make it to Cambridge in time for their giveaways this morning, but I talked with too many people and left after 9:30.

After a day of dealing with spectra, star catalogs, and astronomical images, I rode home at sunset, with fantastic lighting along Jamaica Pond and through the Arboretum.

Saturday, May 18

A steady rain all morning postponed most events until Sunday; I hope we still get a reasonable group for the East Coast Greenway ride, with all of the competing events. If the rain stops, we'll get out on the tandem somehow.
Sunday, May 19

At the Charles
ECG Tour at the Charles River Dam

At Mothers Rest
ECG Tour at Mothers Rest in South Boston

Lunch at Ryan Playground in Mattapan
ECG Tour Lunch at Ryan Playground in Mattapan

Today Sarah and I combined our last tandem training ride before the Memorial Day Dash to Montreal with a 40-mile tour of a possible route of the East Coast Greenway route through Boston. The route started in Sullivan Square in Charlestown, so we had a ten mile ride to the start and ten miles home from the finish, getting the 60 miles we didn't get to do because of last Sunday's rain. Fifteen people showed up at the start and five finished, though people timed out rather than wore out. It took six hours to get through the route, but we stayed together, stopped at all of the interesting places, and took most of the route I hoped to take. Skinny tired bikes and really wet ground kept us off unpaved stretches of the Harbortrail route, the Columbia Point trail to the Kennedy Library, and the new Blackwell Arborway path. Staying on the trail routes meant lots of turns, though, so not losing anyone was a major accomplishment. Maybe next year we can try going north or west from Boston. As I predicted in my online schedule, I collapsed for a few hours when I got home at 6:00 pm, so I guessed right at the sort of delays the group would create.