By Doug Mink
As keeper of the
Bike Week Calendar,
I had access to events as they were
scheduled, but as it all went on the web as soon as I found out about it,
I didn't know anything which wasn't public knowledge. I decided to go to
as many events as I could, talk to organizers, and find out what went well
and what we could do better next year.
Saturday, May 15: Tour of Scenic Woburn
After a soccer game in Norfolk in the morning, I had to ferry my daughter to
a birthday party in the afternoon. I took my bike with me on the car so
I could reacquaint myself with the bike/ped path west of Horn Pond. I left it
for a once-paved trail up to an overlook from which I could see Mt. Wachusett,
50 miles to the west. Then, after looping past a couple of nice ponds in
Winchester, I discovered the Horn Pond Brook Path, a green gem in an
industrial city, which I had never ridden before. It was a great warm-up
for Bike Week.
Sunday, May 16: Tour of Arlington
For the second year, the Arlington Town Bicycle Committee led a tour
on the back streets and bikepaths of Arlington, with a long stretch
of Mass. Ave. thrown in so that riders felt like they earned the free
brunch at Trader Joe's in Arlington Heights at the end. Jack Johnson
handed out cue sheets, and Doug Willen gave a safety speech, then 75
riders, led by the town's bicycle police, headed down the Minuteman
from Spy Pond to the John Wald Memorial on the Cambridge line on
Alewife Brook. There were numerous families, including kids on kid
seats, in trailers, on trailer bikes, on tandems, and on their own bikes.
Most people were from Arlington or adjacent communities, and the weather
was perfect. My new bike path for the day was the one on the southern
edge of Spy Pond, next to Route 2 from Lake St. to Pleasant St., a
useful link, but in need of repair. I met some old friends and got a
good sense of what was happening in the Arlington Bicycle Community.
Monday, May 17: Dinner at Redbones
Redbones, Somervilles premier barbecue restaurant with valet bike parking,
once again fed bicyclists some of its wonderful sandwiches, closing down
Chester St. near Davis Square and turning it into a Bike Week minifestival.
The Somerville Bicycle Committee had a booth as did cosponsor Independent
Fabrications and the
Major Taylor Humanitarian Association, featuring spokesperson and
Worcester Telegram and Gazette columnist Lynne Tolman.
Tuesday, May 18: Broadway Bicycle School Breakfast
Today I had to drive my daughter's car pool, but that didn't keep me from
bicycling across Cambridge to attend the annual pancake breakfast,
which features delicious pancakes of various types (including chocolate
chip) with maple syrup and local bicycle celebrities on the side.
Cambridge Bike/Ped Coordinator Cara Seiderman stopped by, after dropping
her bike off at her office across the street. Andy Rubel discussed
Boston bike routes and paths with Milton Trimitsis and me for almost an
hour, so that the next revision of the Boston Bike Map, due by the end
of the summer, will be more accurate. Thanks to the staff of Broadway
Bicycle School for staying involved with Metro Boston's bicycle
commuters. Because I didn't bike commute on Bike To Work Day, I didn't
get my workplace entered in the
Corporate Commuter Challenge, where we
might have had a chance at the under 1,000 Ben and Jerry's party.
Wednesday, May 19, Morning: HI-ENE Breakfast
For breakfast I stopped by the new
office in Allston for breakfast. It faced outbound traffic, so we had to
work to get people to stop, but it was fun to see Bonnie Friedman and Ron
Gallagher again and catch up with what the former AYH has done since I
was on the board almost 10 years ago.
Wednesday, May 19, Evening: Movie Night at Bikes Not Bombs
The back of the Bikes Not Bombs shop in Jamaica Plain was turned into
a theater, complete with popcorn, for a double feature Wednesday night.
Return of the Scorcher, a movie made in the early 1990's about
how bicycles were coming back as transportation, had interviews with
activists around the world and showed some good footage of cycling in
China before the anti-bike forces started to take hold.
Four Wheels Bad; Two Wheels Good is a new film made by a BNB staffer
about Bikes Not Bombs, its history, and its current projects. Many of the
stars were in the audience, so it was especially fun to watch, and it showed
some good examples of what bicyclists are doing now to make the world a
better place. Production quality was high, as it was made on digital video,
and the soundtrack was good, too.
Thursday, May 20: Carpool Day
I didn't bike at all... (:().
Adam Schulman of the Boston Transportation Department estimated
500 people passed through the festival over its 3 hours. I would
say that there weren't that many, but there were as many cyclists
as at any previous Boston Bike Day, and there were more exhibitors.
I agree with Bonnie that more food would have been nice. One of
the pleasant surprises was that there were *50* entries in the
Corporate Commuter Challenge--that's
companies, not individuals.
Not just an attendee, but an exhibitor, I joined Pat King in showing
off the proposed East Coast Greenway
Pat and I, among others, got interviewed by Channel 56, the
only local TV station to show up, at least during the time I was
there, from 11:30 until after 2:00. I have a tape of their 10:00pm
newscast, and have heard from a friend that I was on it, but I
haven't watched it yet.
Andrea D'Amato, the Mayor's
cabinet secretary in charge of bicycle issues, said some nice things and
gave out the Commuter Challenge awards, but I don't remember anything
which she said. Attempts will continue (thanks, David) to get her to
bike to work from her home in Roslindale.
Mayor Menino missed the Bike Festival for a walk-on on David Letterman
Friday night. He delivered a pretty lame Top Ten list about Fenway Park
hotdog vendors (from headquarters in Quincy) and walked off without saying
a word. For that I stayed indoors and missed the last naked-eye lunar
occultation of a bright star of the millenium.
Saturday, May 22: Connecting the Emerald Necklace
A group of us from MassBike/Metro Boston led a cycling planner
through some of the horrible connections between the
fragments of Boston's Emerald Necklace. Along the way, we started to
list ways to fix the problems, as part of the work on the grant we
got from the Mass. DEM Greenway Program to figure
out how to reconnect this great system of parks and greenspace.
We even picked up a couple of other local cyclists for a while, then I
had to leave for my daughter's soccer game.
Sunday, May 23: Tour of South Brookline
Those who don't live near Brookline might not realize the vast difference
between its urban North and country-estate-filled South. The Brookline
Bicycle Committee capped off a week of bicycle breakfasts with a great
tour of the town south of Route 9, led and mapped by Marian Lazar. About
25 of us started at the historical center of Brookline, at the Town Green,
once on the road from Boston to Sherborn, now at the intersection of Warren
and Walnut Streets, for a 5-mile ride which passed lots of mansions and some
great puddingstone outcroppings. One of the best views of Boston, from
the west on the top of the hill in Larz Anderson Park, was followed by
a great decent down Goddard and Cottage Streets and back to our starting
point. I got to meet Rebecca Kushner, who organized Brookline's Bike
Week activities, Marc Lisle, who designed
the logo for Brookline Bike
Week, and Dick and Jill Miller, who are working hard to get support
Cochituate Rail Trail.
We had just enough time for refreshments
before it started to rain, so my daughter didn't complain too much from
the Trail-a-Bike on our 5-mile ride home.