Folding Bikes Blog

Paradise City?

We’re in the Paper!

An article entitled “Biking to the Future in Boston” by Peter DeMarco appeared in the recent The Boston Globe Magazine.

…and guess who’s representing on the front?  Team Montague (denoted by the fuchsia arrow)!

Boston Globe Magazine

Boston Globe Magazine page

[Copyright belongs to The N.Y. Times Co. for The Boston Globe Magazine]

The photograph is from the June 2012 opening of the Boston Society of Architects’ Exhibition Opening for Let’s Talk About Bikes by over, under at the BSA Space, which features two Montague Folding Bikes. (More on that here.)

More importantly, the content…

The article goes about exploring the current trend in the city of Boston and it’s surrounding towns – of making a commitment to bicycles becoming an essential part of the city’s pulse and flow.  Over the past several years the city has expanded its spending and building to support cycling with increasing devotion.  The big question is, can Boston become, or rather, will Boston become, one of the great cycling cities that exemplifies all of the virtues of this often untapped urban transit resource?  Many say yes, the city (and by city I continue to mean its extended metro neighborhood of surrounding towns) is headed in the right direction; it’s going to get there.  However, we’re not there yet.  Many paths end, are in disrepair, many routes are not that friendly to the new cyclist.  The routes that do exist are often not contiguous.

We’re getting there, but we’re not there yet.  Just a few years ago I was a new cyclist – there were almost no bike lanes then, but I braved the streets anyway.  At that time I lived in Cambridge, MA, a town ahead of the curve, bicycle-wise, according to the article – as it invested in cycling infrastructure long before it’s neighbors.  (Montague HQ is also in Cambridge.)  At that time cycling was often terrifying and I had to go through all those learning experiences a new commuter encounters.  The going became a test of devotion during a period of time living in Waltham, MA.  My daily commute was 25 miles a day.  The glaring holes (both literal and figurative) of our cycling infrastructure, not just in Boston, but with incredible variation from town to town, became part of my daily reality.  For some individuals would ordinarily consider cycling most,or at least part of the time, these concerns are very great and keep one more person from joining in on the great joy that is the cycling life.  This can change.

Bridging the Gap (until Boston becomes a true cycling paradise)

As Boston moves forward to become that great cycling metropolis that others across the nation will point to as the forerunner of great bicycle-inspired urban design there are things we can do to keep cycling, even if we live in metro-West or have a commute that isn’t cycling friendly.  And this idea is applicable to so many of the other cities across the nation and around the world that are not yet that friendly to cycle in.  It’s a familiar idea here at Montague, but it works – park and pedal; or ride and pedal, etc.  Some routes just take too long.  My Waltham commute took an hour – to bike from the suburbs to Boston everyday, from summer to winter, required a reinvention of daily life, but cycle commuting doesn’t have to do that.  A folding bike addresses many of these needs.  Bike to the commuter rail, fold bike, ride into city – disembark, unfold bike, ride to destination.  The bikes fold so they’re allowed on the Massachusetts commuter rail and subway system, even during peak travel times; a time period during which normal bicycles are not allowed.  Light enough to carry, and simple to store, at home, at work, in the car.  And you don’t need to carry your tool kit around in order to unfold and refold.  If I had known such a thing existed during my winter commute to and from Waltham, I might have saved myself several trips in sub-zero weather that could have been dangerous for my health and safety.

Wherever you live, we propose, that you don’t stop riding when the going gets tough – but instead bridge the gap.  Folding bikes make a great bridge while Boston (and other cities) come into their own.  And even once that great dream comes to fruition the bicycle will keep taking you wherever you need to go.

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