It’s Bike Week in Boston

Boston Bike Week kicks off a series of events designed to encourage riding in the city. Coordinated group commuting rides from all surrounding communities make it fun and easy to test out a bike commute, or to re-invigorate your commuting experience.

Bike Week culminates in the first “Bike Friday” event of the season. Bike Fridays are coordinated rides that end at City Hall Plaza with a free breakfast and expo. They are a fun way to motivate yourself for the commute, meet other city cyclists, learn about local cycling companies, and get a free breakfast.

Find out more about Bike Week here: Boston Bikes.

Do you commute to Boston? What’s your best tip? Answer in the comments.

Photo credit: John “Pathfinder” Lester

Boston’s Hub On Wheels Event – A Day of Cycling in The City

Last Sunday I rode in my first “Hub On Wheels” ride in Boston. The event has been around since 2005 and is designed to promote cycling and good health, showcase the various neighborhoods of the city, and to raise money for charity. About 6,000 riders participated in this unique event this year.

Storrow Drive

Boston’s busy Storrow Drive is closed to traffic and open only to cyclists on the morning of the event. This presents a unique opportunity to ride on a big, wide road with a bunch of cyclists while taking in a unique view of the city. Riding down Storrow Drive on a bike allows you to take in the Charles River and Boston skyline views in much more detail. The ride goes out to the end and then doubles back on the other side.

Touring the city streets and parks

Once off the cycling “highway” the route (if you’re taking the 30 or 50 mile version) takes you through the city streets of Boston, and through the Arnold Arboretum, Franklin Park, and the Forest Hills Cemetery, before heading out to the coast. The ride comes back along the shoreline and ultimately via the Harborwalk and back into Downtown Boston.

Events on the Plaza

Once back from the ride, there are tons of things going on at City Hall Plaza. Bike stunt shows, beer and food tents, and professional racing. A great way to wrap up the ride.

For more information about the event, check out their website at www.hubonwheels.org.

The race to the Harpoon ride

The Harpoon Brewery to Brewery (or “B2B”) Ride is a New England Classic. It’s tough and fun. A serious commitment for serious cyclists. And when you’ve done it, you feel a sense of achievement (and you get free beer and a t-shirt to memorialize the event).

It’s been a couple years since I’ve done the ride, here’s my post on the 2009 B2B Ride to give you a feel for some of the details. The good folks at Harpoon have continued to tweak and evolve this ride, and they continue along that path this year. The ride is not for the faint of heart, yet it’s always sold out. Alumni get first dibs at registering in subsequent years, but now they’ll have to register appropriately via the new electronic measurement system to verify that they’ve completed the ride, and at the pace they signed up for.

And even then, alumni status does not guarantee entry after this year:

Along with other qualifications, alumni status will be considered very favorably for ride admission.

You can get the entire low down on the event here: Harpoon Brewery to Brewery Ride

Registration opens next Tuesday, February 15th. Good luck on getting into the event. And if you get in – good luck with the ride!

It’s not just about the bike

Along with the renewed commitment to making/keeping this an event for serious cyclists, Harpoon is raising the bar on the charity aspect of the event:

$100 minimum donation, split evenly and paid directly to these two charities:

  • 50% of your donation will go to The Jim Kenary Brain Tumor Research Fund at Dana Farber Cancer Institute
    • 50% of your donation will go to Team Psycho’s Elite Development Fund, 3 athletes are training to qualify for the 2012 Olympics!
    • MTB or fixie, you have my admiration

      image

      Boston is getting slammed by weekly snowstorms this winter. Total snowfall is approaching the height of Shaquile O’Neal – and he’s 7’1″! And, it’s only February 2nd…

      Many riders persist in commuting to work, or working, throught it all. I’m impressed. In some ways, it seems to me that these are the folks who have their priorities in order. They’re active outdoors while many of us cower from the storms (and complain).

      Hats off to you, Boston area snow riders.

      Bay State Bike Week: May 17th to 21st

      Massachusetts is promoting cycling through a series of events taking place across the state during “Bay State Bike Week.” The effort is being spearheaded by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation and MassBike. The City of Boston is running some events in the city, ending with its first “Bike Friday” of the season on May 21st.  There seems to be a lot going on for bike week, but you’ll need to dig around the above web sites a bit to figure out what you might want to participate in, as there doesn’t seem to be a central web site with all the events/details.

      Photo Credit: John E. Lester

      Harpoon Indoor Time Trial

      Cycling and beer go well together. Nobody seems to know that better than the folks at Harpoon Brewery in Boston. The Harpoon Indoor Time Trial takes place two weeks from Saturday, providing a great mid-winter goal for many competitive cyclists and recreational riders alike.

      Though I’m not a competitive racer, I raced in the first Harpoon ITT last year. The event provided great motivation for off-season training and provided a good mid-winter personal training assessment and baseline.

      It was a lot of fun too. The folks at Harpoon did a great job with all the logistics, from sign-up to warm up to the racing action. Fast Splits provided two 8-unit banks of Computrainers so 16 racers were able to compete in each heat. Real-time action was projected onto two large screens overhead. A DJ kept music pumping while a live announcer shouted play-by-play and encouragement for all the racers. It was a really great, fun scene, all taking place right in the middle of the brewery.

      The brewery also has a working bar, and there’s nothing better than a cold, fresh beer after an intense ride. Two free beers were included with each race registration.

      This year the event is taking place on a Saturday instead of a Sunday, and the schedule is shifted to run from the afternoon into the evening. This format should make it even better. They’ve also organized the heats a little differently in order to group the most competitive pro, collegiate, and club teams together.

      Find out the rest of the details by checking out the event web page here. Also check out my post on last year’s event, which includes a photo from the race floor.

      Photo Credit: bdjsb7

      Boston’s Stolen Bike Network

      There’s a new Bike Sheriff in town! Well, not really, but something pretty darn close. The City of Boston has setup a pretty sophisticated system for dealing with bike theft.

      You can register your bike online at www.stolenbikesboston.com. Then, if your bike is stolen, the system will alert the police, local bike shops, hospital and school security, and everyone who follows them on Twitter or Facebook. You can also become part of the network by following Stolen Bikes Boston on Twitter or Facebook.

      There’s even a Blogspot blog with a complete list of the bikes that have been reported stolen, with descriptions and photos. Check it out here: stolenbikesboston.blogspot.com.

      Photo Credit: velcr0

      Find A Safe Route Through Boston

      Safe Routes Navigating the streets of Boston and Cambridge safely can be tricky, even for experienced cyclists and commuters. Many tips are shared via riding buddies, cycling clubs and around the water cooler. Now there’s another great “Web 2.0” resource for getting and sharing tips in the Boston area – The Right Ride website at therightride.org.

      The site is a nice little mash up with Google Maps that allows contributors to point out hazards and identify safe routes. Maps can be marked up by anyone who is a member (membership is free) and the implementation is very nice. Comments pop up for each hazard or safe route and each entry can be rated by subsequent visitors to the site.

      Of course, all the information is unverified advice as the site’s disclaimer points out, so use it at your own risk. Still, the site has a lot of potential to be useful and should certainly be better than just going out to chart your own routes from scratch.

      Photo Credit: Hey Paul

      Boston Cycling “State of the Hub” Annual Report

      As you may be well aware, Boston has a dedicated, full-time “Cycling Czar.” Nicole Freedman, former pro racer with two U.S. National Championships and a spot at the 2000 Olympics under her belt, took on the role a few years ago. Recently, she published a report “State of the Hub: Boston Bikes Year End Update.” The report reviews all the progress the city has made through the Boston Bikes program since its official start two years ago. You can find the full report here.

      The report covers what the program calls the five “E’s” of bicycling planning for Boston – Engineering, Encouragement, Education, Enforcement, and Evaluation. The report is only 16 pages long and full of pictures, charts and graphs. It’s an easy read and well worth reviewing if you are interested in the details of Boston’s plans for cycling.

      I also found this blog post to be very helpful. The author is clearly following the developments of the program very closely, and provides a good summary of the report if you don’t want to read the whole thing.

      Photo Credit: gkristo

      Boston Mayor’s Cup Race

      Exciting times for cycling in Boston… A great race this past Saturday around City Hall Plaza. It was very exciting to see pro peletons speed around the bend and up the hill by the old State House.

      Many vendors were present with food and giveaways, and there was plenty of opportunity to see the racing action. With the entire course inside barriers and the event well staffed by marshalls and police, it was easy to get around and safe for riders and spectators alike.

      The mascot race was great fun for the kids. Wally, Pat Patriot and others sped down the final stretch in an exciting show of spirit for cycling and Boston.

      Would love to see more racing in Boston!