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Boston Commuters Out in Full

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Boston Commuters Out in Full

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Old 06-02-08, 07:34 AM
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chumbolly
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Boston Commuters Out in Full

Here's an encouraging article from the Boston Globe about commuters in Boston. I ride through Cambridge and Somerville (across the river from Boston) every morning, and today I was stopped at a light with 8 other cyclists in a row. It's getting so we need multi-lane bike lanes...

http://www.boston.com/news/local/mas..._on_the_roads/
Record numbers of bicyclists on the roads
By Steve LeBlanc
Associated Press / June 2, 2008

Drivers, clear a lane; bicyclists are taking to the road in record numbers in Massachusetts.

In Cambridge, ridership has soared 70 percent in five years, the MBTA is launching a "Bike Coach" to let riders bring their bicycles to beaches this summer, and across the state bicycle shops are struggling to keep up with demand.

With gas prices now topping $4 a gallon, the surge shows no signs of slowing.

During a recent bike-to-work week, activists hoped to get Massachusetts riders to pledge 50,000 commuter biking miles. Instead they got 125,000 pledged miles - more than half the distance to the moon.

For bicycling enthusiasts - once a subculture of bike messengers, car haters, cash-poor students, and eco-activists - it's beginning to feel like a tipping point.

"People are coming back to the cycle in a big way," said Shane Jordan of the nonprofit Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition. "There's a whole lot more people out on the street around this time than there were last year."

Cities and town are adapting in big and small ways.

In Lexington, near the popular 11-mile Minuteman Bikeway, activists installed a half-dozen new bicycle racks in April.

On a recent Saturday every spot was taken, with extra bikes locked to sign posts and parking meters.

"I couldn't believe how many people were out there," said Stewart Kennedy, head of the local bicycle advisory committee. "It's getting into the zeitgeist that it's cool."

Boston is planning to install hundreds of new bicycles racks and create a new "bike map" of the city while one of the Massachusetts' largest planning groups has launched a statewide inventory of ridership on bicycle trails.

Riders are also flocking to sign up for safety and training courses, according to Jordan, the bicycle coalition's director of education and outreach.

The group offers one-hour sessions at companies to help workers learn the ins and outs of bike commuting. Last year the group gave three training sessions. This year they have given about a dozen, Jordan said.

At Ace Wheelworks in Somerville, mechanic and salesman Memet Ozgoren said business is booming.

Sales have been especially good among riders looking for sturdy commuting bikes, according to Ozgoren, who said several customers told him they sold their cars.

"Bike sales have been excellent in general, especially bikes geared toward urban riding - bicycles that are more practical as opposed to pleasure craft," he said.
© Copyright 2008 Globe Newspaper Company.
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Old 06-02-08, 07:59 AM
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once a subculture of bike messengers, car haters, cash-poor students, and eco-activists
uhh... isn't it still this?
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Old 06-02-08, 09:16 AM
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A little off topic, but I absolutely love Boston I visited last year and I would kill to live there.

You are very lucky to live in such an awesome part of the country!
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Old 06-02-08, 09:29 AM
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Originally Posted by evan_phi View Post
uhh... isn't it still this?
Cars r coffins! /capri pants

Nice article. I guess when I see rude cyclists in NH I can call them Mass-achusetts-holes too eh?

Last edited by Industrial; 06-02-08 at 09:34 AM.
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Old 06-02-08, 10:00 AM
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Originally Posted by evan_phi View Post
uhh... isn't it still this?
Mixed, in Boston. Plenty of fashion victims etc., but also plenty just using a bike as utility transport and nothing more. Some of them are a pain in the neck - weaving along on a squeaking MTB with the saddle 6 inches too low, at 7mph in the bike lane.

Boston is pretty ideal for bike commuting. Quite flat. There are few places within 4 miles of my office I could get to more quickly in a car.

I also ride through Somerville and Cambridge, and they've just painted a lot of bike lanes. they're a surprisingly significant improvement. A lot of streets were always wide enough for car + bike, but the cars frequently seemed to resent having to go close to the center line. Now we each have our lane and everything goes more smoothly. Unfortunately, the bike lanes are right beside parked cars, so you have to ride near the line to avoid the danger of getting doored, but they're still better than nothing.

As an aside, talking about subcultures and fashion victims: I just had a medical checkup (helmet in hand) and the doctor asked if I rode FG. He said that every few years a fashion comes along that keeps them busy - the current one is FG riding.
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Old 06-02-08, 10:06 AM
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I have noticed many more people riding in the mornings this spring, but it is mostly when I am getting into the city. It is more than the usual spring thaw.

I was acutally disappointed in this article that it didn't mention commuting more prominently than the bike-to-work week pledge.

Edit: and the mention right at the end of the article. Duh.
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Old 06-02-08, 10:17 AM
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I've been commuting since moving to an E Cambridge office last summer, except when there was ice on the road, and I find it really ironic that the warm weather brings out the bikes.

While for other purposes I welcome the end of the cold, for the commute I'm slightly sad. It means I'll have to slow down to avoid turning into a sweaty mess at each end, and shortly there'll be no avoiding that no matter how slowly I go. I feel like telling everyone "Winter is the best time to commute - don't put your bikes away!"
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Old 06-02-08, 10:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Industrial View Post
I guess when I see rude cyclists in NH I can call them Mass-achusetts-holes too eh?
I guess, as long as we can call you alcohol-guzzling, one-tooth-having, snowmobile-riding, Republican-voting, live-freeze-and-die throwbacks.
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Old 06-02-08, 10:25 AM
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Originally Posted by lil brown bat View Post
I guess, as long as we can call you alcohol-guzzling, one-tooth-having, snowmobile-riding, Republican-voting, live-freeze-and-die throwbacks.
I think you have us confused with maine!
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Old 06-02-08, 10:47 AM
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Originally Posted by sping View Post
Mixed, in Boston. Plenty of fashion victims etc., but also plenty just using a bike as utility transport and nothing more. Some of them are a pain in the neck - weaving along on a squeaking MTB with the saddle 6 inches too low, at 7mph in the bike lane.
With school out, the bikes-as-jewelry brigade has walked their fixed gears else, but the seat-too-low mountain bikers are out in force lately.
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Old 06-02-08, 10:57 AM
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I started the bike commute for two reasons: 1. Reduce the mileage on the car...I'm not a "car-hater". 2. To get in shape. Why spend $50 a month at gym when i can ride to work.
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Old 06-02-08, 11:07 AM
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Who all live in the city of Boston??

Does anyone?

Or do you all live right outside of the city?
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Old 06-02-08, 11:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Industrial View Post
I think you have us confused with maine!
Do I? Ok, how about small-minded name-calling whiners?

(yeah, you really probably shouldn't have gone there in a thread titled, "Boston Commuters Out in Full", no matter how many smilies you put on it. It's a hostile thing to say and smilies don't change that.)
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Old 06-02-08, 11:16 AM
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I was just trying to poke some fun by proposing a highly unlikely scenario that there would be so many bicycle commuters in Mass they would start overflowing into New Hampshire and we would start using our label for bad drivers from Mass for bad commuters from Mass instead. Sorry you can't take a joke. Go f--- yourself and have a nice day. edit:
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Old 06-02-08, 12:34 PM
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Originally Posted by jaa1085 View Post
Who all live in the city of Boston??

Does anyone?

Or do you all live right outside of the city?
Well, like many cities, what people think of as the city of Boston, and the legal/administrative definitions are different. e.g. I live 4 miles from the center of Boston, in the City of Somerville. It's part of the conurbation, on the subway, but not strictly in the city.

It's not Manhattan-style city - it's mostly 2-family, 2 or 3 storey houses on 3500sq ft lots... Suburban to some definitions, urban to others.
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Old 06-02-08, 12:37 PM
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Originally Posted by sping View Post
Well, like many cities, what people think of as the city of Boston, and the legal/administrative definitions are different. e.g. I live 4 miles from the center of Boston, in the City of Somerville. It's part of the conurbation, on the subway, but not strictly in the city.

It's not Manhattan-style city - it's mostly 2-family, 2 or 3 storey houses on 3500sq ft lots... Suburban to some definitions, urban to others.
What is the median price range in your area?

I visited last year and loved it, but I just did the tourist thing and stayed at the Radisson by Boston Common. Favorite city I have ever been too!

Didn't see too many cyclists which I thought was surprising.
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Old 06-02-08, 12:37 PM
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The "New" in newbojeff is for Newton.
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Old 06-02-08, 12:59 PM
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Originally Posted by jaa1085 View Post
What is the median price range in your area?

Didn't see too many cyclists which I thought was surprising.
Totally unscientifically measured (by me), the median price around me (Davis Square), is about 600k for a two-family house (two 3-bed apartments, 3000 sq ft total, 3000-3500 sq ft plot. Davis Square is nice, and it's about the expensive part of the expensive part of Somerville, but still cheaper than much of Cambridge. Rent is $2000+/month for these apartments, making it arguably a better financial bet than buying, even though prices are probably 10-15% off their peak. Therefore I think prices still have a way to drop from their bubble heights.

On the upside - lots of community activity, facilities etc., within 5 minutes walk, including the subway for a 10-15 minutes ride to the center of Boston.

I think there are still fewer cyclists than there should be, given the city is fairly flat. Perhaps are put off by the terrible drivers, the potholes and the cold winter, none of which are as much of a problem as they first appear.
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Old 06-02-08, 01:02 PM
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Originally Posted by sping View Post
Totally unscientifically measured (by me), the median price around me (Davis Square), is about 600k for a two-family house (two 3-bed apartments, 3000 sq ft total, 3000-3500 sq ft plot. Davis Square is nice, and it's about the expensive part of the expensive part of Somerville, but still cheaper than much of Cambridge. Rent is $2000+/month for these apartments, making it arguably a better financial bet than buying, even though prices are probably 10-15% off their peak. Therefore I think prices still have a way to drop from their bubble heights.

On the upside - lots of community activity, facilities etc., within 5 minutes walk, including the subway for a 10-15 minutes ride to the center of Boston.

I think there are still fewer cyclists than there should be, given the city is fairly flat. Perhaps are put off by the terrible drivers, the potholes and the cold winter, none of which are as much of a problem as they first appear.

I asked some college girl when I was there, what she pays up on Beacon Hill and she said over $2000 for a one bedroom. I couldn't help but throw up in my mouth a little.
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Old 06-02-08, 02:03 PM
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Originally Posted by jaa1085 View Post
I asked some college girl when I was there, what she pays up on Beacon Hill and she said over $2000 for a one bedroom. I couldn't help but throw up in my mouth a little.
She's paying high (or mom and dad are, more likely). There are some luxury digs to be had here, and you'll pay top dollar for them. Mere mortals pay less, walk up the stairs and do their own laundry.

I live out in the woods half the week, in Brighton half the week (that's a Boston neighborhood), commute to downdown.
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Old 06-02-08, 02:07 PM
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Originally Posted by lil brown bat View Post
She's paying high (or mom and dad are, more likely). There are some luxury digs to be had here, and you'll pay top dollar for them. Mere mortals pay less, walk up the stairs and do their own laundry.

I live out in the woods half the week, in Brighton half the week (that's a Boston neighborhood), commute to downdown.
Thats awesome, next time I am there I am going to drive around the outskirts and check out the neigborhoods.

It is somewhere I am really interested in living, but I couldnt afford the downtown area.

Any good bike shops in the Boston area?
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Old 06-03-08, 06:44 AM
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Originally Posted by jaa1085 View Post
Thats awesome, next time I am there I am going to drive around the outskirts and check out the neigborhoods.

It is somewhere I am really interested in living, but I couldnt afford the downtown area.

Any good bike shops in the Boston area?
In my opinion, the neighborhoods a couple of miles from the center are much better places to live anyway. One of Boston's big thing is its subway, so you can be be a quick, easy trip from downtown if you want in, or want to work there.

There are plenty of bike shops of all varieties, big, small, quirky...
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Old 06-03-08, 06:58 AM
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Originally Posted by sping View Post
As an aside, talking about subcultures and fashion victims: I just had a medical checkup (helmet in hand) and the doctor asked if I rode FG. He said that every few years a fashion comes along that keeps them busy - the current one is FG riding.
Did he mean from hipsters crashing into each other while holding their lattes, or from the knee damage?
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Old 06-03-08, 07:08 AM
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Years ago I lived in Cambridge & Somerville when I was a student, and when I moved there, my parents bought me a bicycle as a sort of college graduation present. I still have that bicycle, but it is no longer my daily commuter (it is gathering dust, unfortunately). I think the bike shop where I bought the thing has since closed (on Bow St in Cambridge, near Harvard Sq).

Yes, the city is generally flat, and the roads are fairly straight. Very nice for cycling. Where I live now, we have a lot further to go.
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Old 06-03-08, 07:25 AM
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Originally Posted by jaa1085 View Post
Any good bike shops in the Boston area?
Belmont Wheelworks and Harris Cyclery (RIP Sheldon Brown) are awesome. I (and friends of mine) have had mixed experiences at Landry's, but on a good day they are great, too.
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