Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Bike Friday

Last Friday was the first Bike Friday of the year. This is a program run by the city of Boston and awesome Boston Bike Czar Nicole Freedman. Volunteers and Boston Bike Police escort commuters into the city from several locations in the greater Boston area. You meet at 6:45 and roll with an organized convoy to City Hall. It's a great way for folks who haven't commuted by bike before to get out there in a safe, comfortable way and see how cool and not-so-scary-really commuting by bike can be.

Fellow IBCer Jeremy and I volunteered to lead the Oak Square ride out of Brighton. I commute to our Newton shop from Somerville every day and heading down to Oak Square deviated just ever so slightly from my regular route. I opted to Google Map the difference, clicking on "Walking Directions" in hopes that I would be shown a new and exciting way to ride my bike to Brighton. I got more than what I asked for.

At one point I was instructed to take a right on the Watertown Branch Rail Trail,
this was a new one on me, I was excited to see what it was all about. What it was all about was not so great. At the intersection where I was supposed to turn off all I could see was an un-paved parking lot full of tow trucks with a large dirt pile at the end. I rode around the dirt pile into the bushes following the partially interred, ancient train tracks. I pushed aside the wet, over-hanging brambles and quickly found myself rumbling down rotten, but still intact railroad ties. More rail than trail.

You know it's early when you have to put a light on for your morning commute. Watertown Branch Rail Trail needs some work. Something from the set of Lost. How to make a size XXL shirt fit a Medium bike racer. Jeremy getting awesome and safe! The Police Escort.

So that didn't work out, I back tracked and headed back down Arlington St. and picked up the directions a little further along. The next move didn't turn out that well either, the road dead-ended into an office park and a giant wrought iron fence. I followed what was basically a path created by homeless men looking for camping sites until I found a hole in the fence and scaled through, coming out on North Beacon.

Google Maps doesn't yet have a "By Bike" option. But they do have walking directions, which are apparently mapped by an office full of drunk homeless men. Although that Rail Trail business would have been tough to navigate with a shopping cart. Coming soon...Google Maps "By Shopping Cart" directions. Maybe when they're done with that project they'll add the "By Bike" feature, maybe.

But Bike Friday went off without a hitch. The convoy was solid, I do have to say I derived a huge amount of enjoyment out of watching from the back as angry SUV drivers buzzed the convoy, honking away only to get waved over by one of the bike Police for a reprimand. Things did get a little hurly burly as the convoy split up. The Policeman on point would close an intersection, then roll on, the light would change or the walk signal would light up and conflict between cyclists, motorists, and pedestrians would ensue. Perhaps a bug we can work out for next time, that would be Friday May 29th.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

We Got Yer Demo Bikes Right Here!

2009 Gary Fisher Paragon

Here's an idea...
we're doing these Wednesday Mountain Bike rides in Cutler park out of our Newton shop (71 Needham St., 617-527-0967) at 5:45 (that's PM for you sickos) and ya see we've got these demo bikes. They're '09 Fisher Paragon 29ers and Trek Fuel EX 8 26" wheeled 5" travel full suspension bikes. What I'm thinking is that you or one of your fun lovin' friends should come down and arrange to take one of these bad boys out for a spin with the guys from the IBC MTB Team.

If that sounds like a good idea to you, give a call over to the shop and we can arrange it, no problem.

2009 Trek Fuel EX 8

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Wednesday Cutler Park MTB Ride

Had another good turnout for the IBC/NEMBA Wednesday Cutler Ride. Jon Lewis from Saris/Cycleops was in attendance, as were Tom and Chase Ennis. Chase is a budding Mountain and Cyclocross racer. The kid has some serious potential. The group was rounded out by Pam and John from Southborough, Javier from Natick, Stalwart attendee of the Wednesday ride, Corey French, and Me.

Not long into the ride we had a saddle bag explosion. I rolled up to find Chase and Tom trying to extricate a road tube from Chase's back wheel. "How did this happen" I thought "Did Chase run over a discarded road tube on the trail?". Nope, they had thrown a road tube in the bag because it was all they had in the house. Stop by the shop before the ride next time guys, we'll get you sorted out!

Very shortly after that Corey had a chain detonation. Luckily John had some spare links and after a few minutes of tinkering Corey was up and rolling again. We got him set up with a new chain when we got back to the shop.

We'll be out there again next Wednesday. Meet at IBC Newton 5:45, 71 Needham St., 617-527-0967.

Oh, and don't forget, next Saturday the 16th is NEMBA's Trail Care day at Cutler. Meet at the DCR Parking lot on Kendrick St. from 9AM-12PM. Breakfast and coffee will be provided courtesy of IBC. Word is there'll be a bit of off-road pedaling following the trail work,
so come on out and show Cutler Park some love! It's a great resource right here in our backyards.


Friday, May 1, 2009

B.U. Bicycle Safety Day

Last Thursday was Boston University's Bicycle Safety Day.

A few guys from IBC were down there doing bike check ups, quick bike-fittings, and some more involved stuff. The majority of the bikes simply needed air in the tires and some lube on the chain but there were a few more frightening cases. We did what we could for those and sent the more critical victims down the street to IBC Boston.

As the event reached its peak, it became apparent that there was no way we could possibly attend to the insane number of people lined up across the parking lot. Earlier in the day we were pulling wheels off bikes to true them, installing brake cables, and performing all sorts of time consuming tasks. Later on we had to move through bikes a little quicker, really just making sure they were safe, not exactly giving them Tour De France level performance tuning.

We left the event with the impression that a huge number of B.U. students use their bikes every day to get to class or around town. Not a bad thing at all.

Thanks to Jarrod and all the other guys that put this thing on.