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Its that time again, July will be here soon, and I will be off to the corn to pedal my humble bicycle several hundred miles through some very nice corn fields. Anyone else going?
Here are some gems from last year, Click below for all the pictures:
Tags: beautiful, corn, iowa, miles and miles of nothing but open road, RAGBRAI
Posted in bostonbiker | No Comments »
This morning riding through Cambridge was like a bike parade. There were times when the number of people on bikes outnumbered the people on cars 2 to 1 or even 3 to 1. It felt…revolutionary.
We are entering into a new territory, where more people are riding than driving. Maybe just on the nice days now, but soon perhaps on the not so nice days, and then all year round. We have a long long way to go, but seeing the hundreds of cyclists ride made my morning and put a big smile on my face.
Did you ride today? Did you see the masses?!
Tags: amazing, so many bikes!
Posted in bostonbiker, Commuting | 1 Comment »
Lets all build these and see how things go. I am going to guess people might get a bit peeved, but the point will come home. One person doesn’t need that much road space. RIDE A BIKE!
Tags: better traffic, we are traffic
Posted in bostonbiker, crafts | No Comments »
While it’s true that our transportation system, and how it works, involve engineering data, and traffic flows, there are less obvious aspects of human behavior that are often not as talked about, that feature prominently in how our road system work. I have written a lot about these more esoteric natures of our road system, it is very much about shared trust, behavior, and attitudes.
So lets shine a light on these less often explored aspects of human behavior. I think about this a lot when I am riding around. Someone walks out in front of you after looking you right in the eye, someone pulls out of a parking spot when they know you are next to them, they cut you off, they do things that just seem wrong and you ask yourself…Are these people stupid, do they not know any better, or are they simply jerks? I see the options breaking down like this:
1. They are ignorant. They really just don’t have the information they need to make a good choice, so when they run a red light, or walk out in front of you, its because they didn’t know they were not supposed to do that. In many ways this is both the least offensive option, and the most terrifying.
2. They are stupid. They have the information they need, but choose not to use it. This may be because of lack of attention, or lapse in judgement, or because they are on their phone. They are not doing these things maliciously, but if asked, they do know better.
3. They are jerks. They know better, they have thought about it, and after all that they still chose to do some horrible thing. Because fuck you, that’s why!
I have lived in a lot of different parts of this country, have visited even more places, and have found that by and large the difference is not the first two. There is about the same number of people in all locations that are both ignorant, or stupid.
The real issue, especially in places like Boston, and other east coast locations, is that we have a LOT more jerks.
Boston has a culture of rude road sharing. They walk the way they bike the way they drive. I am sure if the trains were not on rails they would be cutting each other off. I don’t know how it got like this, but I am confident that it is our culture of road use that is the problem.
I think the problem is that people in this town have cognitive dissonance, that is they hold two contradictory ideas in their heads at the same time. They hate it when a cyclist runs through a red light, but then do the same thing when they ride their bike. They hate it when pedestrians crowd out into the street and then do the same when they are walking around. They hate when there is traffic, but they drive big cars around that take up lots of road space.
Everyone is guilty of this at least some of the time, I have done it, I am sorry. This even happens in other less toxic road cultures, the problem is we Bostonian’s seem to do it ALL THE DAMN TIME!
I think this misses an important point, folks around here are generally good. You are are basically a good person! We all need to remind each other that we are good people. Good people wait for the walk signal. Good people don’t run through a red light nearly hitting pedestrians on their bike. Good people don’t speed up at yellow lights, and use turn signals, and look in their mirrors. Good people are patient, and good people are not so quick to get violent, or retaliatory.
Next time you are out and about using our limited road resources, remind yourself you are a good person, and act like it. The only way to change the culture of how our roads are used is to change the way each of us individually use our roads.
Tags: don't be a jerk, rant, you are a good person
Posted in bostonbiker | 1 Comment »
Some of you may know that I occasionally dabble in metal working (see here and here and here, as well as on the right hand side of the page). Well I am going to actually go out into the real world, put my shingle out and see if folks like my stuff up close. I will be attending a bike craft fair at Brooklyn Boulders Saturday May 3rd from 11am-2pm, 12A Tyler Street Somerville. Stop by and buy my stuff! It is my understanding you will have to buy a day pass to see the bike craft fair, but for 19$ you also get a day of rock climbing including gear rental!
Here are some of the things I will have on sale.
More info below
Tags: bike craft fair, bike month, brooklyn boulders, shameless self promotion
Posted in Bike Business, bostonbiker | 1 Comment »
Happy Earth day. Remember, earth is not just were we keep our stuff, its also the only planet we can live on. You were going to anyway, but in case you needed motivation, bikes are in fact good for the environment.
If you are a young person, you can expect to live long enough to experience the very real and very negative effects of climate change. If you are in your 20-30′s right now you may very well live to see the total collapse of the ecosystems ability to support human civilization. You will spend your silver years in a nightmare hellscape of droughts, floods, wars for resources, and the steady decline of all the things you love and hold dear… or we can make dramatic and cost effective changes to the way we power our civilization now, and you can live our your elder years in something resembling a normal future.
Those are your two choices, the science is in, the debate is over. Either doom yourself and your children to a world of increasingly erratic and destructive weather patterns, or fight hard for changes now so that we can bend the curve of dangerous climate change. A great first step towards this more normal future is to ride your bike. Stop using your car, stop burning fossil fuels, and take a very real step towards protecting the future for yourself and your children.
Happy earth day!
Tags: earth day, ride your damn bike
Posted in advocacy, bostonbiker | 2 Comments »
You have a better chance of being struck by lightning than you do of dying in a terrorist attack. The same can not be said about other dangers we face every day:
Comparing the CDC numbers to terrorism deaths means:
– You are 35,079 times more likely to die from heart disease than from a terrorist attack
– You are 33,842 times more likely to die from cancer than from a terrorist attack
(Keep in mind when reading this entire piece that we are consistently and substantially understating the risk of other causes of death as compared to terrorism, because we are comparing deaths from various causes within the United States against deaths from terrorism worldwide.)
And yet “safety” seems to be all that anyone can think of when say, people want to go for a ride at midnight the night before a big running event. We are willing to spend many more millions of dollars per victim to protect us against the very unlikely event of terrorism, than we are to protect us from fatty foods, sedentary car based lifestyles, or global warming. All of which kill hundreds of thousands of more people a year.
Many tens of thousands of people die in car crashes every year, and yet we are spending relatively little effort to prevent those tragic deaths. We clearly do not react to other threats to our safety the way we react to terrorism. If we did our daily lives would be pretty hectic. When was the last time you had to get a full body pat down before getting behind the wheel of a car? Or had to take your shoes off and walk through a metal detector before buying a pack of cigarettes? Perhaps we need TSA agents at every McDonalds, NSA spying on big tobacco companies, Drone strikes on car dealerships…
Contrary to what you might think, having a more people out riding and walking actually DECREASES your risk of getting run over by a careless driver.
In the hysteria that predated the launch of New York’s bike-sharing system last year, many critics cried that the bikes would make the city’s streets less safe. All those cyclists wouldn’t be wearing helmets! They’d have no insurance! Accidents would skyrocket, and with them lawsuits against the city. Fatalities would triple!
The system’s safety record quickly turned out to be less sensational. But this was as bike advocates expected. Biking — as with walking — offers a prime example of the power of crowds. As more people bike and walk, cycling and pedestrian fatalities actually decline. That’s because the more people bike and walk, the more drivers become attuned to their presence (either on sidewalks or road shoulders), and the more cities are likely to invest in the kind of infrastructure explicitly meant to protect them (all of which further encourages more cyclists and pedestrians).
This pattern is confirmed in a large biannual benchmarking report released this week by the Alliance for Biking & Walking in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The report, based on data from census travel surveys, the American Community Survey, and local data tracking cyclists and pedestrians, offers some crucial national perspective outside of cities like New York and Washington.(via)
Click for larger pictures.
While a statistical analysis might not be as emotionally charged as our responses to the suffering of victims of violent crime, the math doesn’t lie. Your risk of dying from terrorist related activities is basically zero. Other dangers such and being hit by a car, or having a heart attack are much higher. Cycling and walking reduce the risk of dying in traffic, or having a heart attack.
So as our city contemplates how to react on the first anniversary of a horrific and cowardly crime, we are faced with a tough choice. What do we do? How do we react?
I propose a radical solution…I propose we do nothing. Absolutely nothing.
Don’t change a thing, keep on acting like we did before. Ride your bike, go for a walk. Do all the normal things you did before the attacks. Why should we relinquish our freedoms because a couple madmen tried to kill us? Why should we live in a Orwellian police state because some insane cowards tried to use bombs instead of political discourse?
If you really need to make a change, eat more vegetables go for a bike ride, leave your car at home, and stop smoking. All of these things will increase your safety much more than refusing to set aside a private train to a bunch of people riding their bikes on a public road.
Real people have been the real victims of terrorist attacks. We must never forget the vibrancy of the lives that have been lost. But we can not allow the emotionally charged events of last years marathon bombing to obscure reality. Far more good people are taken from us every day by less obvious, but just as real dangers. Be it car crashes, obesity, getting cancer from pollution or climate change. These are systematic dangers that sneak up on us slowly, but that can be dealt with in real and concrete ways.
This marathon Monday my best wishes go out to the families of everyone lost at last years attack, and everyone still struggling with recovering from injuries both mental and physical. I urge everyone to behave the way they would have any other Marathon Monday, live your lives just as free and as proud as you did before the attacks. No act of violence can take away what makes us great, our freedom.
Tags: bombing, go ride your bike, marathon monday
Posted in bostonbiker | 1 Comment »
If you have a site with us, you will notice some new fun features. For everyone else, shouldn’t notice a thing. Let me know if anything is broken.
Tags: site update
Posted in bostonbiker | No Comments »