Jeff and I chat often about commuting by bicycle, in which we’re joined by student staffers Hania and Virginia. He has a far longer ride than I do, so I’ll let him spread the word on two-wheeled transport in the area.
Have you thought about bringing a bicycle to campus? If you have one hanging around, and can easily get it here, you should. If you don’t have one, consider buying one when you arrive – there are plenty of bike shops in the area, or you can find great inexpensive bikes at a yard sale or through craigslist. Many students live within a 15-minute walk of campus, but no matter where you are, a bike ride will cut your travel time or expense. Plus, it’s greener and a great way to exercise.
In an effort to stay active this spring, I decided to start riding my bike to work. I don’t live too far from Fletcher (about 9 miles) and I figured it would be a good way to wake up and burn some calories in the morning, and to decompress in the afternoon. I still drive sometimes, or take the T, but I’ve found that I really enjoy cycling.
My bike is fine, but nothing special. I got it when I was 15, but then I started driving and never used it again. Recently, I returned home and grabbed it from my mother’s garage. (It had been sitting there for 15 years and still looks like new.) I commute through Boston, primarily on Mass Ave., which can be both interesting and intense, and then through Cambridge where the bike lanes begin. At that point, the ride gets a bit more relaxed (though I still have to watch out for opening doors on parked cars).
Boston is becoming more bike friendly by adding bike lanes, installing racks, and allowing bikes on public transportation. I think Cambridge is ahead of the curve in that regard. Regardless, I was shocked by how many people I notice biking each morning and afternoon. To assist with city riding, Boston, Cambridge, and Somerville have maps detailing bike routes and cautionary areas. (Note the steep hill markings by Tufts on the Somerville map.)
Aside from the commute to school, there are many ways to enjoy biking in the area, from the Minuteman Bikeway (an 11 mile trail), to the Charles River Bikeway (18 mile loop), to the Bay Circuit (150 miles winding its way around the Emerald Necklace), to the Middlesex Fells Reservation (numerous trails throughout the 2060 acres). They all contain both walking and riding trails (some also have hiking and cross country skiing), and are quite beautiful any time of year. Enjoy the weather and the beauty that the area has to offer by taking a bike ride. If you aren’t yet into cycling, give it a try — you may just end up hooked!
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