As gas prices soar, so does interest in bicycling in Mass. BOSTON--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 hovering near $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 for the crush of bicyclists. 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." ( Read more.)
Great news from my native state of Massachusetts. (Need I mention my enthusiasm for the Boston Red Sox?) Exciting things are happening in the Bay State, including moves to improve transit access (including a new " bike cage" at an MBTA stop), install bike racks, create bike maps, and even a quiet interest in a possible Paris Velib style bike-sharing program.