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Lovely Ride To Work: Open Thread

Written by Boston Biker on Jan 02

I had an absolute lovely time riding in today.  Roads were empty and not too bad, no traffic, and it wasn’t as cold as I thought it was going to be.  We will see how going home is.

 

EDIT: Ride home was also pretty good.  I slipped and slid all over the Longfellow, but other than that wasn’t too bad.  Been hibernating every since.  I am becoming more and more convinced that a bicycle will do just fine in most weather conditions.  But then again you don’t need to ride in the snow if you don’t want to.

For those of you that asked, I ride a fixed gear aluminum bicycle, with 25mm slick gator-skin hard shells on them year round rain/snow/shine.  I am sure snow tires, or something else would be better, but this is what I am used to so this is what I go with.

 

Anyone else ride?  Share you stories.  Open thread below.


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Posted in bostonbiker | 4 Comments »

Yes It Is Possible To Ride Your Bike All Winter, Even At The South Pole

Written by Boston Biker on Dec 28

While I know its technically their summer down there right now…its all relative. But this lady rode her bike TO THE SOUTH POLE!

southpolefattrike

Shortly before Christmas, we heard about 35 year-old British adventurer Maria Leijerstam’s planned attempt to ride to the South Pole on a recumbent fat-tired tricycle. On December 27th at 1am GMT, she achieved that goal, becoming the first person to ever successfully cycle from the edge of the Antarctic continent to the Pole.

ICE used its Sprint trike as the basis for the extreme build, including standard component…
ICE upgraded the design from a US$3,000 stock trike to a ~$33,000 extreme polar-cycle
Maria’s route took her approximately 400 miles (644 km) long, stretching from the edge of …

Leijerstam used a modified version of the commercially-available Sprint trike, made by recumbent tricycle manufacturer Inspired Cycle Engineering (ICE). She chose to go with a recumbent trike because it would allow her to maintain stability in the often very-high winds. This allowed her to concentrate simply on moving forward, instead of having to waste time and effort keeping her balance.

The strategy paid off, as she not only made it, but also beat two other cyclists who had set out for the Pole on two-wheelers, days before her Dec. 17th start date. Her victory wasn’t just due to the fact that she could move faster, but also because the stability of her trike allowed her to take a different route that was shorter but technically more challenging.

British adventurer Maria Leijerstam has braved savage conditions to become the first person to cycle to the South Pole from the edge of the Antarctic continent.
Maria, aged 35 from Wales, raced two men for the title and arrived at the pole hundreds of miles ahead of her nearest rival.

After 9 days cycling Maria completed the 400 mile expedition at approximately 1am GMT on the 27th December 2013.

Despite starting days later than her competitors Maria made quick progress on a recumbent trike designed specifically for the challenge by Inspired Cycle Engineering. The custom-made trike is stable and aerodynamic, which has allowed Maria to focus her energy on progressing through the gale-force winds and hazardous terrain.

Amazing, proving once again that there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing. More here, and here.

Thanks Charlie for the tip.


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Posted in news | 2 Comments »

Winter Cycling Open Thread

Written by Boston Biker on Nov 25

Got a question about how to stay warm, what to wear, how to ride in the slush.  Ask them here and I (and everyone else), will do our best to answer them.


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Posted in education, Questions | 9 Comments »

Boston Bikers Braving The Brisk Breeze (Winter Riding Pics!)

Written by Boston Biker on Jan 08

Thank you very much to the many folks that sent in pictures, I have contacted the first few of you with requests for your addresses. I will be handing out randomly a whole bunch of bike riding books I have, I am not sure you will all enjoy them, but hey they are free and you can always re-gift. So without further delay here you all are in your riding finery. Way to ride Boston, way to ride!

We got some great submissions, everything from cycle chic to high tech ninja biker, below in order of submission are some great winter cyclists.

Greg Says:

Both these photos are from the same group ride a year ago, during a snow storm last December, when my drum bike was a bucket on top of my front-mounted milk crate. I’m wearing ski goggles, winter everything, with a reflective safety construction vest to top it off. I look like an insane person. Drum biking in this weather was exhilarating, to say the least.

The other photo was taken later on the path near Carson Beach, where we ended up.

Todd says:

I commute 26 miles, round trip. I bundle up as if my life depends on it:

Head:
Merino Wool beanie
Packing tape over helmet vents (thanks for this tip!)

Torso:
Merino wool long sleeve base layer
Heavy wool sweater
Woolrich button wool shirt
Gore-tex windbreaker

Hands:
Pearl Izumi Barrier Gloves

Bottom:
Polypro briefs
Merino/Lycra base layer
Corduroys
Gore-tex gaiters

Feet:
Heavy wool socks
Plastic shopping bags
Heavy wool socks
Leather hiking boots

Ben Says:

Cait and I raced in Superb’s Blizzard Man race last night. Some good pics on their site http://superbbicycle.com/2010/12/27/superb-bicycle-snow-race-results/ and one attached of Cait, after she came in third!

Veloria says:

Snow pictures from “Velouria” at Lovely Bicycle!

Jonathan says:

A couple pics. Not great, but you get the idea.

Dave Says:

Here are some photo of me in the snow last weekend.

Gina says:

I ride 15 miles roundtrip between Amherst and Northampton on the Norwottuck Rail Trail. I like the motorcycle rider /slick skier look. This is me after the last run of the day. Yee hah.

Phil Says:

OK, so here is what I typically wear on an ‘average’ winter day. I’m sorry there isn’t any snow scene available where my photographer is anyway…

Outfit:

Cords (usually have a pair of flannel lined chinos)
Wool socks
Dress Shirt
Cashmere Sweater
Cashmere Scarf
Wool Gloves with cool neon colored bike gloves over. Folks STOP when you wave with those for sure.
Hand made Wool knitted felt hat
Helmet has pads removed to make room for the warm hat
Sun glasses (but I have a pair of orange ones for cloudy days and clear ones for night time…these are important)
Harris Tweed Jacket (as bought at Boomerangs for $14.99) is the KEY!

I ride from Peabody Square in Dorchester to the Brewery at Amory Street each day. Typically we go from Amory to Centre Street to the PO as well…AND BACK. Also ride just about everywhere in the city which includes one or two evening meetings a week… Figure we ride about 75 miles a week on average over the course of the year. It’s probably closer to 50-60 in the winter months.

If it gets colder we add:

A half length woolen overcoat.
Sheep skin mittens
Sheep skin hat with ear flaps
Better warmer shoes
Wool pants
long underwear
ski goggles (if it’s nearing zero)

Carice Says:

So not much snow or visible “winter” in this photo, but it was 29 degrees when I was going out the door to work this morning, and this is what I was wearing:

Geoff Says:

That triangle thing? That’s my nose!

Rebecca says:

This is a photo of Paul Larrabee riding in a blizzard on Park ave. in Somerville in 1980

Galen Says:

Last minute addition. Nothing too special about these shots, except I get to show off my santa helmet and facemask. And the Jambike’s killer wheels for this type of weather.

I was super impressed with the diversity of the entries. I have been seeing an explosion of year round riders in Boston, so expect to see a whole lot more of the people above out on the streets this winter.

Whats your winter riding style? Which submitted picture is your favorite? Got any winter riding questions?

Happy and warm cycling everyone 🙂


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Posted in fun | 8 Comments »

Taking The Lane

Written by Boston Biker on Jan 04

The snow has come and gone, and the plows have come and gone, oh winter you are so lovely. You might notice that the streets have shrunk a bit. With giant piles of dirty ice blocking a foot or more of each side of the street everything has squeezed inwards towards the center. I thought now would be a great time to go over taking the lane.

Before I get into the how, when, why of taking the lane I want to explain what I mean. “Taking the lane” is the act of a cyclists riding in the middle of the lane (not the middle of the street). It is totally legal, and as we will see later is not only legal but sometimes a very good idea.

Taking the lane is an act of control. You are controlling what other vehicles do on the road. By taking the lane you allow vehicles to pass when you want them to pass. You can also prevent vehicles from turning until you are ready for them to turn. This might seem rude or impolite, but if you think about other vehicles on the road do this all the time. Motor vehicles do this by using the size of their vehicles, they are wide enough that they physically prevent people behind them from passing them in their lane, or from turning around them, thus they “take the lane” by default.

Taking the lane is not for everyone. Its kind of scary, can cause some motorists to get angry, and in general is a more advanced riding tactic. But once mastered it can dramatically increase your safety, and when done properly, calm motorists down. Its also a very important skill for the winter time when the available road surface for cyclists shrinks as the snow piles grow.

So lets get into some of the details about taking the lane.

How To Take The Lane:

Taking the lane is a physical act, you place yourself in the middle of the lane you are traveling in and thus you prevent vehicles from using that lane. Its also a mental one, if you don’t feel comfortable doing this you probably are not ready for this cycling tactic. How you take the lane safely is a lot like how you make a left hand turn.

These steps assume you are traveling on the right hand side of the right hand lane.

1. Look over your left shoulder to see if anyone is in your lane.
2. Once the lane is clear signal that you are moving left, you can do this by pointing with your left hand at the center of the lane (that’s what I do).
3. Move to the center of the lane.
4. Stay in the center of the lane until you are done taking the lane.
5. Be sure to look over your other shoulder before moving back onto the right, don’t want to cut off another cyclist.

If you want to control the left hand lane, repeat the above steps one more time to get into the middle of the left hand lane.

If you are taking the lane while making a right or left hand turn, stay in the center of the lane until you have completed your turn.

If you are taking the lane and passing through an intersection, control the lane until you make it all the way through the intersection.

Why To Take The Lane:

Taking the lane is not a complicated maneuver, you plonk yourself in the middle of the lane and use your body as a shield to keep people in cars from using your space. You might be asking yourself, “why in the world would I ever want to do something like that?” Here are just a couple of the many reasons why you might want to take the lane.

  • There is debris/cars/slower cyclists/snow/etc in the bike lane.
  • You are on a narrow road, and it would be unsafe for a car to pass you.
  • You are approaching a red light and don’t want to have to deal with cars squeezing you as they try to turn right on red.
  • You are making a left/right hand turn and don’t want cars squeezing you as you make the turn.
  • There is no shoulder to ride on.
  • You want to make sure you are seen by motorists.
  • You want to pass another cyclist.
  • There is a right turn lane that leads into a parking lot, and you are going straight.
  • There is a bunch of snow piles up on the side of the road making it too narrow to safely ride on the right hand side.
  • You are making your way through an intersection and don’t want anyone passing you until you make it all the way through

Things To Keep In Mind:

Just because taking the lane is both legal and useful doesn’t mean that everyone knows that. You will get honked at, its going to happen. Hell I get honked at when I am in a bike lane, people in Boston just love to honk, I suggest you just wave smile and keep on pedaling.

Also just because you can take the lane, doesn’t mean you should. If there is plenty of room on the right, and you are not making a turn, and no one is in danger of squeezing you, get over and let the cars fly by. Just because you can legally do something doesn’t mean that its always the best idea.

Can you think of other reasons to take the lane? Have questions about taking the lane? Hit the comments below.


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Posted in advocacy, education | 8 Comments »

The Word On The Street

  • RSS Here is what people are saying

    • 8th Annual World Naked Bike Ride July 21, 2017
      TweetStarting location: 45 Danforth Street, Jamaica Plain, MA – 6PM Saturday! Final details for World Naked Bike Ride BOSTON! Pass it on! We've a pre-party location and will release that info 24 hrs prior to the ride. pic.twitter.com/dx15bKNZIh — WNBR Boston (@WNBRBoston) … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • 2017 Midnight Bike Ride – Saturday August 12th July 21, 2017
      TweetBoston by bike… at night. Saturday, August 12, 2017, Midnight ’til dawn Twenty ninth annual tour of architectural and historic sites. Meet at 11:15 pm in front of Trinity Church in Copley Square Bring a bicycle with a light and wear something reflective.  … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • Action Alert: Send Thank Yous For Brattle St And Mass Ave Popups July 21, 2017
      TweetFrom the email: Safe protected bike lanes for all ages and abilities are here on sections of Mass Ave and Brattle St. We’re so excited about the latest two segments of what needs to be a network of protected bike … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • Bikes Not Bombs Update July 21, 2017
      TweetFrom The Email: We’re Hiring! We’re hiring! Please help us spread the word about our openings. Development Manager – Works to increase the organization’s visibility and cultivates, stewards and expands the relationships between Bikes Not Bombs and its donors at all … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • Commonwheels Partners with Scouts to Help Homeless June 19, 2017
      This time we have guest authors from Girl Scout Troop 75006 who we partnered with this spring: This year, we really wanted to do something that would help our wider community. After looking into some issues we care about, we learned that there is a se... Continue reading →
      commonwheels
    • Commonwheels Partners with Scouts to Help Homeless June 19, 2017
      This time we have guest authors from Girl Scout Troop 75006 who we partnered with this spring: This year, we really wanted to do something that would help our wider community. After looking into some issues we care about, we learned that there is a se... Continue reading →
      commonwheels
    • Bikes Not Bombs Update June 19, 2017
      TweetOn Sunday June 4th we welcomed 635 riders to our 30th Annual Bike-A-Thon! These hard working riders raised over $176,000 for our youth, international and bike shop programs. Over 130 folks joined us on our brand new 100 mile Century … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • DCR Public Meeting On 6/27 RE: Morrissey Blvd Redesign June 19, 2017
      TweetFrom DotBike: On the evening of Tuesday 6/27 there is an important public meeting to learn about DCR’s preliminary plans for the redesign of Morrissey Boulevard and to provide feedback.   See below for details.     PUBLIC MEETING #3 … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • Livable Streets Update June 19, 2017
      TweetFrom the email: ———– What’s happening 3 reasons to sign up for Tour de Streets today Tour de Streets is LivableStreets’ biggest fundraiser of the year, and – more importantly – it’s a ton of fun! Here are three reasons to … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • Bicycle Lockers Coming To Framingham Commuter Rail Station June 19, 2017
      TweetFrom The Email: ——————— As part of the development of the MetroWest Regional Transit Authority (MWRTA) Intermodal Center http://mwrta.com/ at the Framingham commuter rail station rental bicycle lockers are being installed for commuters to safely store their bicycles and accessories on … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker