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Saturday, May 05, 2007

Boston: Soft pedaling

From the Boston Phoenix, 05.03.07:

Soft pedaling:
Urban bikers need to be careful, prepared, and paranoid

If you commute to work every day, the thought might cross your mind on the morning you're running a half-hour late and idling at yet another red light, only to realize that the lady with the walker has overtaken you. Or it might be while you're on a Green Line train, someone's wet umbrella jammed into your back, waiting out the latest "temporary delay" so you can resume your noisy, swervy ride. You're uncomfortable, you're antsy, and you have to wonder: wouldn’t this be better if I were on a bike?

For a devoted population of city bikers, the answer is a resounding "Hell, yes." Sure, as a driver or pedestrian you might occasionally curse those maniacs on two wheels. But don't you often wish that you, too, could squeeze in between a long line of stopped cars? That your commuting frustrations could be quelled by endorphins? (Read more.)
From my former hometown--I lived for years in Jamaica Plain and remain a Red Sox fan--comes this extensive and helpful article. The writer interviews veteran Beantown cyclist Mike Budka, who offers insight into bikes, traffic, routes, and street behavior.

In a reverse of the typical bicyclist-pedestrian conflict, Budka points the finger at Boston's walkers:
Cars may be huge and lethal, but as Budka points out, at least they're fairly predictable--they're on the road and they have to stay there. Pedestrians, on the other hand, are loose cannons: "They're everywhere!" Budka says. "They behave as if they're entitled to walk wherever they want without paying attention, which is annoying as all get out." So even if they're not looking for you, make sure you're looking for them.
Image: Boston Phoenix
Visit: Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition
Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips

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