Doug's Bike Week 2005 Journal

All photos by Doug Mink, unless otherwise noted.
Check out what happened in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, and 2004.

Sunday, May 22

Start of ride
MassBike Board members (past and present) leave on a post-meeting ride

Cape Cod core group
Neil Scott, Ed Gross, Ted Hamann, and Rob Miceli from the core of the new MassBike Cape Cod chapter I

Board Ride
MassBike Board members (past and present) across the road from Nobscot light

I was late to the MassBike Board meeting in Falmouth on Cape Cod because I had to print out the minutes from the last meeting because I didn't get finished typing them until Sunday morning, other people got stuck in traffic, so I wasn't late to the start of the meeting. It was held in the conference room of the Woods Hole Research Center which does land use studies and has one of the greenest buildings I have ever seen. We had a tour after we adjourned, and then Ted Hamann and Ed Gross, who live in Falmouth, and Rob Miceli, who has bike everywhere on the Cape, gave us a tour of the southern part of Falmouth. It's always fun to bike around a town with people who can answer every question you ask and even those you didn't know enough to ask.

Ed's shirt
Ted Hamann
Ted Hamann at the beginning of the next stretch of the Shining Sea bikepath

Saturday, May 21

Cambridge Common
Dick Bauer talks about the Somerville part of the Cambridge/Somerville Historical Ride on Cambridge Common

Steve Miller
Steve Miller recounted the history of the highest land in Cambridge, the capped landfill of Danehy Park

Davis Square
Brandon Wilson of the Somerville Historic Preservation Commision talked about Seven Hills Park in Davis Square

Saturday morning I biked to Cambridge, jsut like every weekday, though I stopped at the Cambridge Common to join this year's joint Cambridge/Somerville History Bike Tour. Somerville's History tour was fun last year, and I heard good things about Cambridge's previous ride, so I hoped for synergy. So did lots of other people: there were 150 at the start, and as proof of how good the ride was, there were still 125 at the next to last stop two hours later. It was fun to connect with people I have biked with before and new people with interesting bicycling pasts while riding through places I have gotten to know over the past 25 years. The high points for me were the Davenport St. murals, the round house on Summer St., and the renovation sites we got to explore near Union Square at the end of the ride. There were two food stops, always a great attraction to me, too. Cambridge leader Tim Ledlie has the map and history pamphlet on his web site, along with links to all of the sponsors. Thanks to Dick and Roberta Bauer for showing me around their interesting converted two-family after the ride.

A trompe l'oeil meets cyclists at the Davenport St. end of Orchard St. in Cambridge

Friday, May 20

Lilacs on the back of Bussey Hill in the Arnold Arboretum

Cambridge rewards
Cambridge city employees rewarding bike commuters

With no breakfast today, I took a more leisurely route through the Arboretum on an unpaved path, getting a glimpse of my favorite local tree, a weeping beech, and seeing the famous lilacs from behind. After crossing Route 9 at the end of the Jamaicaway bikepath, I followed the same former bridle trail along the Riverway all of the way to the beginning of the Muddy River Path at Netherlands Rd. The Emerald Necklace Greenway Project would like to get this path paved so cyclists don't have to deal with heavy Brookline Ave. traffic or the bumpy sidewalk path along it. After a pleasant ride up the Charles River, I encountered a couple of nice women from Cambridge handing out tire patch kits to bike commuters. I told them about trying to patch my flat tire on Tuesday and finding that all four tubes of cement in the house were dried up, so they gave me two patch kits. I rode home at sunset with great light, but didn't take any pictures.

Riverway Bridle Trail
Olmsted's bridle path along the Riverway should be paved

Thursday, May 19

David Straus
ABC TMA's David Straus modelling the Bike Week T-Shirt at the Back Bay Breakfast

Stephanie and Jeff
Stephanie Anderburg from the CIty of Cambridge and Jeff Bennett from the Charles River TMA show the back of this year's T-shirt

George and David
George Ulrich and David Wean are daily bike commuters from Roslindale

This morning, I got to take a different commuting route, heading northeast on the Southwest Corridor to lunch at the Prudential Center. Somehow, the SW Corridor path is friendlier than the Emerald Necklace paths. Maybe it's because you have to stop or slow down for so many intersections, but I struck up fairly long conversations with two other cyclists on my way in, though I couldn't convince either of them to drop by the bike breakfast. Once I got to the Prudential Center, I met lots of old friends and neighbors--two of my Roslindale bike buddies were there, too. After a bit of schmoozing, I biked over the Harvard Bridge, where the fog lines which used to allow a 2-foot safety zone next to the curb have not been repainted, to Vassar St., where I shared the bike lanes with quite a few other cyclists, to the Kendall Square Bike Breakfast. There was a pretty good turnout, with more people snared off the street than on Boylston St. in the Back Bay. I missed most of the food, but had a good time meeting new people and telling Lyall Croft, a former colleague on the defunct Boston Bicycle Advisory Committee, about the Neponset Riverwalk proposed for his hometown of Quincy. Then it was off to work calibrating fiber spectra of distant galaxies and attending two talks on relativistic cosmology.

Lyall Croft checked out bikes mechanically while his dog, Piper, kept watch

Wednesday, May 18

Harvard breakfast
Cyclists getting information and food in Harvard Square

Holly Bogle
Harvard Commuter Choice bike advocate Holly Bogle dispenses advice

Wednesday of Bike Week has been Harvard's day for breakfast for the past few years, and today had the best attendance ever, despite a slight drizzle that hit me as soon as I crossed Memorial Drive on my way toward Harvard Square. It stopped and there were enough people to eat most of the food Harvard put out. Holly Bogle from Harvard's Commuter Choice program ran the show; she encourages all non-single-passenger-automobile commuting, but is a bike commuter herself. Stephanie Anderberg represented the City of Cambridge, which also wants to see more people on bikes. It was great to meet a few more people from the massbike list and some members of the Harvard cycling team.

Tuesday, May 17

Goslings and parents along the Muddy River

Commuter bike
MassBike board member David Loutsenheizer with his Trek commuter bike

Band playing in Adams Park in Roslindale

This morning was warmer, but still cloudy as I headed off up the Emerald Necklace. This year's first goslings were out along the Muddy River in Brookline. The annual pancake breakfast at the Broadway Bicycle School in Cambridge was as tasty as usual, with some great blueberry and pecan pancakes, as well as lots of urban cyclists. MassBike board member David Loutsenheizer showed off his German-made Trek commuter bike, with a fully-enclosed chain, internal gearing, and hub generator, and I ran into my MIT classmate Meredith Porter and got caught up on his family. After a day at work, I stopped to listen to a band playing in Roslindale Square as part of a celebration of Adult Literacy Week.

Monday, May 16

Arnold Arboretum
Blooming redbud and azaleas in the Arnold Arboretum

Crowd at Redbones
Chester St. in front of Redbones filled with bicyclists

Doug on electric bike
Doug Mink on an electric bike (by Scott Jenney)

After a ride through Arnold Arboretum, where the blooming redbuds and azaleas rival the more famous lilacs--yesterday was Lilac Sunday--I had my first flat tire of bike week while riding along the sidewalk next to the Jamaicaway. While walking my bike toward a bench to change the inner tube, Steve Gag, half of the Boston Bike Festival Steves, came by, and we discussed the current status of the Festival. After the tire was fixed, I visited the first bike commuter breakfast of the week at University Park in Cambridge. The Charles River Transportation Management Association sponsored it and had great croissants and bagels. Jeff Rosemblum of the Boston Bicycle Planning Initiative lives only a few blocks away in the direction in which I was leaving, so we talked for quite a while about projects for the MassBike MetroBoston chapter to work on.

After spending the day adding documentation to an archive of astronomical spectra and refining the calibration on data from our new multifiber spectrograph, I pumped up my already flat tire and headed to the annual Redbones barbecue via Ace Wheelworks, where I got a couple of new tubes. Chester St. in from of Redbones was jammed, and there were lots of interesting bicycles and bicyclists around. Scott Jenney talked me into trying the latest electric bicycle he is selling (not too hard a job), and I had fun riding it around Davis Square. Half the MassBike Board was there, and one of the cofounders of MassBike's new Cape Cod chapter, Rob Miceli, even made it up from the Cape.

Sunday, May 15

Steve and Hannah
Steve and Hannah at Southeast Expressway underpass mural on the Neponset Trail at Pope John Paul II Park Harbor Point Ride
Group ride on Harbor Point
Steve Winslow of the Bike to the Sea groups, which is working on a trail called "The Northern Strand Trail" from the Mystic River to the Atlantic Ocean in Lynn, asked me to lead a tour of the Neponset Trail for his group. We tried last year, but it rained really hard and we didn't see much of the trail before we were soaked. This year's forecast was not much better, but the clouds held off, and we only felt a few drops at the furthest point from our start. Steve and his wife Helen brought their grandchildren, Hannah and Ashley, who did a great job on Alley Cat and mountain bike, respectively. Everyone enjoyed riding around Columbia/Harbor Point past the Kennedy Library and UMass/Boston, with some of the best Boston skyline views in the city, even on a cloudy day. My wife Claudia came along, and we made it home before much rain fell, and there were even some sunny breaks. We had one accident, a collision with an unnecessary bollard on the Harbor Path near UMass.

Saturday, May 14

Milton Family Ride
Kids on Milton Family Ride)
I always consider Bike Week to be (at least) nine days long, from Saturday through Sunday, and people who set up Bike Week events fill both weekends with fun things to do. Today, I started my day in Milton, at the Second Annual Milton Bike Day sponsored by the Milton Rotary Club. Since most things which support bicycling on the ground in Massachusetts are accomplished by cities and towns, interest in bicycling has to be encouraged in each of the 341 communities in the Commonwealth, and Milton's event, which includes races, a family ride, information tables, food, and a bike auction is a good example of what a group of people who want to encourage bicycling can do, even if they are not all bicyclists themselves. I ended up helping Mike Blackwell of the Milton Bike Committee with the Family Bike Ride.
Scarborough Pond cormorant
Cormorant on Scarborough Pond in Franklin Park
After the ride, I zipped up to Franklin Park to catch the end of the annual meeting of the Franklin Park Coalition. They are sort of the host nonprofit for the Boston Bike Festival on Sunday, September 25, so I thought it would be a good idea to show the flag. On the way out, I told a fellow complainer about the lack of bike racks in Franklin Park who to call in the city government and had a pleasant ride home on Circuit Drive (past Scarborough Pond where I saw the local cormorant) and the Blackwell Path through the lower Arboretum.
BBPI table at Wake Up the Earth
Larry Slotnick, David Wean, and Jeff Rosenblum
Jamaica Plain's annual "Wake Up the Earth" festival got postponed by last Saturday's constant rains and moved into Bike Week this year. Mixing left-wing politics with environmental issues and art and good food, I always meet people with whom I have worked on community projects, parents whose kids went to school with my daughter, and other people whom I've known for years. This picture shows Larry Slotnick, whose brief term as acting director of MassBike set a great example for Tim and Dorie who followed him, David Wean, Southwest Corridor activist (whose daughters went to school with mine), and Jeff Rosenblum, who has reinvigorated bicycle activism in Boston in the past six months. I also talked to a friend who is starting a new private middle/high school which will use bicycles as part of the science, math, and physical education curriculum.