The Latest From BostonBiker.org
News, Events, Updates
Don’t you love it when someone manages to read all the way down a several hundred word article you have written and then for some reason chooses to miss the entire point of the article, while at the same time cherry picking quotes from your post so it seems to convey the opposite message of that article? Me too!
Not only was I lucky enough to merit the main pull quote in this rather poorly written piece of drivel parading as news, but I was used in the sensational title as well! The Metro creatively titled it’s anti-cycling flavored article “Boston winter biking ‘a hellish nightmare.”
Nate Homan the guy who wrote it also talked to some other folks I know and they say he misrepresented them as well. Well it’s good to know that he has consistency.
Here is the quote he used from me (by the way he never bothered to contact me):
“In the winter the sidewalks and bike paths become a hellish nightmare of ice and snow. It’s really not worth it to even think about riding on them.”
Sounds like I am really down on winter riding…too bad the article this is from is called “Winter Riding In Boston: Riding In The Snow” which is part of my “how to ride in the winter” series, which is linked on the right. (or here here and here) The series is all about riding your bike safely in the winter and the very first part of the article he cherry picked this quote from is:
You might have noticed, it snowed. Just a smidge here and there, but it is a perfect opportunity to discuss the ins and outs of snow riding.
First off we should discuss the most important part of winter riding. It is freaking fun! Nothing is more fun than sloshing around in some newly fallen snow, and if you are properly dressed, and your bicycle is well maintained (see the links above), snow cycling is not only possible, but very enjoyable.
See how “hellish nightmare” and “freaking fun” don’t really go together at all. The article then goes on and on for several hundred words about how fun riding in the snow is, how its not that hard, how it can be done safely, and how the whole experience is really rather fun. Don’t believe me go read for yourself.
The quote he used to click bait his article is waaaaay down at the bottom in the section about what happens when the sidewalks and bike lanes are not plowed, where I suggest that the best way to avoid these problems is to take the lane:
Ride in the road
In the winter the sidewalks and bike paths become a hellish nightmare of ice and snow. It’s really not even worth it to even think about riding on them (even the Minute Man is poorly plowed). Get out into the road where the large salt filled trucks have cleared you a path. This can sometimes mean riding in that little gap plowed out by the car wheels in front of you, or it might mean riding several feet further into the road because the snow plows have filled up the bike lane. Either way, be visible (lights, reflectors etc), and be confident.
If there is a bunch of snow and ice in front of you and you need to take the lane to avoid it, DO IT. Look over your shoulder, make sure no one is going to run you over, and take the lane. Be confident, get right out to where you need to be and stay there. If you halfheartedly take a lane, cars will try to pass you, and you don’t want them doing that when you are trying to avoid a bunch of slippery ice and snow. If they honk that is just their friendly holiday way of saying “I see you and approve of your full legal right to take that lane, good show!” Once you can SAFELY get back over to the right, do so and allow the other cars to pass.
These simple tips should help make your snow/slush/ice riding a bit more pleasurable. Have fun out there and be safe.
Homan DRAMATICALLY misrepresented both the message and the content of my piece by selective quoting, so I am going to do the same to him, here is a quote from his most recent article about winter riding in the snow:
Nate Homan “reporter” for the metro had this to say about winter riding, “…Other small details, like checking [facts]…don’t…concern…me…I…have…cobbled…this…pothole-riddled, slush-covered…[article]…[together]…from…nothing. Luckily it’s really not worth…[reading] it.”
The above quote I think sums up his article nicely.
I have written an email to Nate asking him why he felt the need to so purposefully misrepresent what I wrote, I will let you know if he writes back.
Tags: go ride in the snow, metro, nate homan, poor reporting, winter riding is fun
Posted in bostonbiker | 1 Comment »
Suffering a huge influx of spam users, if you really really want a new account/blog use the contact form and I will make you one.
Also I updated the code base, so let me know if anything is strange with the sites.
Tags: site news
Posted in bostonbiker | No Comments »
GET A LIGHT FOR YOUR BIKE! A bright WHITE one for the front and a bright RED one for the back. Turn them on when its dark. This is not rocket surgery.
This goes for joggers in the street as well, you are completely invisible, I don’t have head lights in my eyes, your reflective vests do nothing unless there is a car about to run you over to illuminate you. Also don’t run in the bike lanes, you don’t want me riding on the sidewalks, you don’t run in the streets…it seems like a fair trade.
This also applies to car drivers, you have to turn your damn lights on…its dark, there is a little knob, use it.
That is all.
Tags: bike lights, min-rant
Posted in advocacy, bostonbiker | No Comments »
As I open my door the pleasant whirrrrrr of an old internal three speed coasting down the hill greets my ears.
Looking left I see an elegantly dressed woman swishing past in the crisp morning air.
As I mount my bike I see my neighbor carrying his bicycle down the front porch stairs of his home.
We exchanged slight head nods, I have never spoken to this person, but because we both ride bikes we make contact.
The sun shines peacefully as I join the tiny tributary of cyclists in Union Square. First one, then two, collect at the red light, then start together, forward.
Three, then four, then many. The tiny tributary becomes a running stream of cyclists heading towards Cambridge.
By the time I reach Hampshire street the cyclists outnumber the cars, heading in groups of ten or more towards downtown. The bike counter already reads over 300.
We move as a large mass towards Boston, moving in groups bunched up by the rhythm of the red lights.
Our swift movement a sharp contrast to the relatively few cars that have none the less managed to clog the streets.
The incline of the Longfellow does its work thinning and spreading out the group of cyclists into a long line. Each cyclist propelling themselves over its gentle hill.
The view from the top the best in town, the Red line rumbles past with its hermetically sealed occupants pressed against the windows.
Boston is such a contrast, the many cyclists much dart and weave around opening doors, parked cars, walking pedestrians. The bicycle lanes are gone.
This morning however the cyclists have carved out their own passage, taking street space, even though none was set aside for them.
The car drivers conceded them their lane, perhaps bowing to their superior numbers. Perhaps in a concession to their superior speed.
Downtown, a heady rush, impotent stuck cars and distracted pedestrians. Car horns and high rises.
Pillars of finance moving busily, money on their minds, do they know that only a bicycle is economical enough to profitably ply these streets?
Then work, with its fluorescent dead air pallor, can never match the glory of the commute.
The pain is tempered knowing that you get to do it all again on the way home!
Tags: bike ride, bliss, sunny morning, zen
Posted in bostonbiker | No Comments »
It always strange to me how one day can have a completely different traffic situation than the day before or after it. Something must have been in the air yesterday (all the students returning?), but it was total gridlock traffic in the morning and afternoon commute. And then this morning, almost no traffic, but crazy amounts of cyclists on the road. Coincidence, I think not! (perhaps)
Bikes, good for traffic, good for you.
Tags: gridlock, ride bikes every day
Posted in bostonbiker, Commuting | No Comments »
In what can only be described as click bait written by a person who seems to have suffered a head injury (perhaps a helmet would help?) Jeff Jacoby continues the Globes tradition of publishing foolish OpEd’s about cycling (see here here and here).
The death last month of cyclist Anita Kurmann, who was fatally struck by a tractor-trailer turning from Mass. Ave. onto Beacon Street, was a terrible tragedy. The 38-year-old medical researcher was at least the 13th cyclist killed in collisions with motor vehicles on city streets since 2010. That number is sure to rise if Boston keeps encouraging people to ride bicycles where bicycles don’t belong.
Busy thoroughfares aren’t meant for cyclists. They are meant for the cars, trucks, and buses that transport the vast majority of people moving through the nation’s cities. Those vehicles weigh thousands of pounds, operate at 300-plus horsepower, and are indispensable to the economic and social well-being of virtually every American community. Bicycles can be an enjoyable, even exhilarating, way to get around. So can horses, skis, and roller skates. Adding any of them to the flow of motorized traffic on roads that already tend to be too clogged, however, is irresponsible and dangerous.
I can’t imagine a less tactful way to talk about the very real problem of cyclist road safety. Not only is he being incredibly crass about a recently killed person, he is missing the point that cycling as a mode of road share has been growing rapidly over the last 5 years. With surging numbers of cyclists on the road, you would expect much higher number of fatalities in a city so poorly designed for cyclists (like Boston). Indicating that cycling is a much safer mode of transportation than he lets on.
He goes on to assert that because someone died we shouldn’t use that method of transportation anymore? Did anyone tell him that in the same 5 year period (2010 to 2015) over 1000 people have died in Massachusetts due to fatal car crashes. (source) many of them in Boston, including pedestrians. Are we to assume no one should walk or drive either?
He also seems to forget that it was cars that were added to pedestrian and cycling traffic, not the other way around. Cars were late comers to the road mix, and have done nothing but kill and maim since they were introduced.
He also fails to address that Boston is only several feet above sea level, and continued use of oil (cars still run on oil) puts the very city itself in danger of destruction. Business as usual use of oil will not only clog city streets with traffic, it will submerge those streets under water. Also you know cars make people fat, angry and clog our air with pollution. Cycling, solves many if not all of those problems, and causes very few new ones.
He continues to confuse his imagination with reality to such an extent that it seems to be pointless to even type out a response to the whole mess.
Seriously this guy…I think this comment summed it up best:
The distinction between a newspaper columnist and an internet troll gets more subtle every day.
Tags: boston globe, it burns, Jeff Jacoby, the stupid
Posted in bostonbiker | 1 Comment »
For the last 7 or so work days I have noticed that on my morning commute, there are significantly more cyclists than their are motorists. The insane part of it is, the cars still take up vastly more room.
You will pull up to a red light and see 10 cyclists crammed into the tiniest little area, and next to them 3 people in cars taking up the entire road. The light changes green and all the cyclists cram into a narrow bike lane (happily I might add), while the 3 or 4 cars struggle to find room on roads clogged with on street parking and construction.
There are two lessons I have learned form this.
1. WE ARE WINNING! Cycling is clearing a preferable form of transportation, this is due to many peoples hard work promoting cycling infrastructure and education.
2. Driving a car is about the dumbest way to get to work. If you don’t have a really good reason, leave the 4 wheel vehicle at work, dust off that bicycle, and join the crowd!
Have you seen an uptick in the number of cyclists on your commute? Have you noticed that you are outnumbering cars? Let me know in the comments.
Tags: cars, cyclists, outnumbering, winning
Posted in advocacy, bostonbiker, Commuting | No Comments »
I am back from Iowa, 520-ish miles over 6 days, lots of fun. Expect a full review post later.
Posted in bostonbiker | No Comments »