Thursday, December 6, 2012

Today Was a Sad Day in My Neighborhood

As someone who is on my bicycle every day. As someone who believes that riding a bicycle is a step towards saving our planet from the number one issue of our day. As someone who shares my neighborhood with the students and staff of Boston University. Today was a very sad day.

A memorial to Christopher Weigl at the intersection of Comm. Ave. and Pleasant St.
Today a 23 year old graduate student from Boston University was killed by a turning tractor trailer just a few blocks from where I live. He was riding in the bicycle lane that I have ridden on many times. He was the fifth bicyclist killed by a motor vehicle in Boston this year. With more and more thousands of bicycles using the streets every day, it has never been more important to design our transportation network to account for those on bicycles.

As someone with a 22 year old son, my heart aches for the family of Christopher. I can't imagine the pain of losing a child. I also have compassion for the driver of the truck. Regardless of whether the driver was guilty of breaking any laws, or even showing poor judgement, I can think of no punishment worse than living with the knowledge that you have taken the life of an innocent fellow human being.

Tonight when I placed flowers at the intersection, I prayed for comfort for those involved directly. I also pray that this prompts action on how we can make our streets safer for all who use them.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

This Woman is My Hero

The things Americans are doing with bicycles gets more amazing every day. You have to check out this article.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

"Let's Talk About Bikes"

I found out yesterday that the Boston Society of Architects has an exhibit about bicycles. The exhibit, "Let's Talk About Bikes," is on display at 290 Congress Street through August 31. Here is a link to the webpage about it: Let's Talk About Bikes. The person who told me about, said that it was a great exhibit.

Having studied architecture, and being a big supporter of bicycling, I can't wait to see this exhibit. I'll update this blog post after I see it.

Bicycle as Work Vehicle

On Thursdays my wife sells her crafts at the farmer's market in Coolidge Corner. The company next to her is Taza Chocolate, a Somerville company. The person who represents them left and was replaced by someone new.

I went to pick up my wife this past Thursday to help her pack up. I looked over and the guy from Taza Chocolate was packing up everything (large tent, table, coolers and more) onto a bicycle trailer. I wish I had taken a photo of what he was transporting back to Somerville by bicycle (trust me it was impressive).

He did tell me that it was purchased from "Bikes At Work," and though this doesn't show you what it looks like loaded, this is what he was pulling:

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Thinking About Commuting by Bicycle?

Found a website dedicated to bicycle commuting: Commute by Bike. Among the offerings are some tips for those starting out:

I thought the tip about "The Slackers Guide to Bike Commuting" might be of interest to the reluctant.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Bike Superhighway in Denmark

Just came across this article about a new superhighway for bicycles in Denmark. It is an 11 mile path into Copenhagen.

I first ran into this in a New York Times article on July 17.

Being a 58 year old schoolteacher, this caught my attention:

"Susan Nielsen, a 59-year-old schoolteacher, was one of a handful of people taking advantage of Denmark’s first “superhighway” for bicycles on a recent morning..."

This is from a Huffington Post article:

Denmark Bike Superhighway
Copenhagen's bike superhighways are part of an ongoing $47 million project. The city aims to be Europe's first carbon-neutral capital by 2025. 
Apparently the path has pumps along the way, and traffic lights timed for bicycle commuting.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

"Bicycle Your Way to Better Brain Health"

A little over a year ago, I got very interested in how exercise can improve neurogenesis and brain health. This was triggered by the book "Spark" by John Ratey.

Today I found an article from Psychology Today, published last week, entitled "Bicycle Your Way to Better Brain Health."

Here is a quote from the article:

"It turns out that although everyone benefits from a lifestyle that includes regular workouts, it’s the bicyclists who seem to garner the most rewards from their efforts, including the benefits of greater road safety."

Here is a link to the article:  "Bicycle Your Way to Better Brain Health"

Why Bicycle?

I started bicycling as a means of transportation when I was in high school. I used this as a way to get from my home to school in New York City. A distance of just over a mile. I most certainly was influenced by my father who started riding a bicycle to his office during a NYC public transportation strike and never went back. On a future post perhaps I will talk about the joys of trying to secure a bicycle in the Big Apple.

When I went to college, I purchased a used bicycle that worked well, but did not attract theft (remember I was conditioned in the Big Apple). I used it to get all around the campus and loved that I could get quickly from one end of campus to the other. I think I particularly liked that I could sleep for an extra 15 or 20 minutes and still get to class on time.

Other than a four year period when I lived in Back Bay and worked in Natick, my bicycle has always been my favored means of commuting. In my 20s, exercise was not a factor in my transportation choice, now in my 50s, it is certainly a welcome bonus. Another recent benefit to my long standing mode of transportation is that without making any changes, I am doing more for the environment with each passing year.

Despite the health benefits (my own and the environment's), bicycling just makes sense in Brookline. Parking is often difficult for cars, but difficulty parking a bicycle means the sign or meter in front of your destination is occupied. I love going to Fenway Park, a 10 minute ride by bike and parking is free (savings - $30). I can always park across the street - closer than the most expensive parking lot.

Traffic is often an issue when driving in Brookline, particularly in Coolidge Corner or Brookline Village. Not so with a bicycle. I never have to add time to a trip to account for traffic.

The final benefit of bicycling? Cost. I spend about $100 per year maintaining my bicycle (and I don't do it myself). That's probably 2 or 3 tanks of gas, never mind insurance and maintenance.

So I guess the question is, why wouldn't you want to bicycle as a means to get around Brookline?