[Somerville Beat] Cycling in the City: Somerville Shops & Resources

The following article was originally published by Elyse Andrews in Somerville Beat on April 29th, 2015.

It took me a while to get really comfortable riding a bike in the city after I moved to Somerville. I had little (OK, no) city biking experience and was really intimidated by the other cyclists, pedestrians and cars. After lots of local rides, I got confident enough to venture farther and farther from home. That was until I got in a bike/pedestrian accident nearly two years ago.

With my confidence shaken, I sort of gave up biking for a while. But I last summer I got back on the wagon bike and I’m so glad I did! Being a cyclist in the city can be scary at times, but it’s also really liberating (you can always find a parking spot), it’s good exercise, it’s environmentally friendly and it’s fun. So if you’re looking to start biking or get back on your bike after a hiatus, here are some resources in Somerville to get you started.

Bike Shops
Ace Wheelworks (145 Elm St.): With two locations in the area (the other is in Belmont), Wheelworks has lots of bikes, gear, a repair shop and friendly service to get you going. This is a great place to get started if you’re new to biking or get your bike tuned up if it’s been stashed for a while.

Bicycle Belle (368 Beacon St.): Opened in 2013, Bicycle Belle sells bikes specifically for use in the city with accessories like kickstands and racks for carrying cargo. And the shop has a big focus on biking with kids.

Bike Boom (389 Highland Ave.): Located in Davis Square, Bike Boom specializes in restoring used, high-quality commuter and recreational bikes. The shop also offers repairs and tune-ups.

Paramount Bicycle (104 Bristol Road): Blink and you’ll miss this small shop in Ball Square, but make sure you don’t because owner Tyler has lots of great biking knowledge to share. He helped my husband build some custom wheels a few years ago and provided some helpful advice to go along with them.

Somervelo (361 Somerville Ave.): The new kid on the block in the Somerville cycling scene, this Union Square shop does repairs and tune-ups, builds wheels and sells bikes. And you can book your next appointment online.

Artisan’s Asylum Bicycle Building and Maintenance Classes: Somerville’s makerspace Artisan’s Asylum (10 Tyler St.) offers a plethora of classes in a variety of subjects including bike building and maintenance. Learn the basics of taking good care of your bike, build your own wheel, get a handle on winter biking and more.

Hubway: With the introduction of the Hubway bike-sharing system in Boston it’s easy to get around on two wheels even if you don’t actually own a bike. Hubway has pick-up and drop-off locations all over the city and a variety of membership options, which makes getting around by bike extra easy.

Minuteman Bikeway: This 10-mile long path starts at the Alewife MBTA Station in Cambridge and winds through Arlington and Lexington before ending in Bedford. Somerville residents can pick up the path in Davis behind the College Avenue MBTA stop. The paved, gently rolling bikeway makes a great place to ride with plenty of places to stop along the way for a picnic or break.

Somerville Bicycle Committee: This group works to improve biking conditions in Somerville, help implement policy and programs and promote cycling as a means of transportation in the city, among other things. The Somerville Bicycle Committee puts on all kinds of events, like group rides that happen several times a year, and has meetings on the third Tuesday of the month from 7 p.m.-9 p.m. in the basement conference room at City Hall (93 Highland Ave.) that are free and open to the public.

Pedal Power: Why Biking Is A Public Health Winner

The folks at Online Masters in Public Health have recently produced an infographic, Pedal Power, included below, that we thought you might find interesting. Click here to see the original article and learn more about Online Masters in Public Health.

Courtesy of Online Masters in Public Health.

Station Alert: Newbury / Hereford station is open in Back Bay

Station Alert: Effective Tuesday afternoon, April 28th, the Newbury St / Hereford St Hubway station is open and operational. This is a 19-dock station located on the northeast corner of the intersection of Newbury & Hereford, across the street from the Boston Architectural College.

Please use our Spotcycle app for smartphones or visit for up to the minute system information on system availability.

Thanks for using Hubway!

Station Alert: Boylston / Berkeley station is open in Back Bay

Station Alert: Effective Tuesday afternoon, April 28th, the Boylston St / Berkeley St Hubway station is open and operational. This is a 15-dock station located on the south side of Boylston, just west of Berkeley Street.

Please use our Spotcycle app for smartphones or visit for up to the minute system information on system availability.

Thanks for using Hubway!

[Mobilizing the Region] Can Philadelphia's Bike Share Be an Example for Citi Bike's New Leadership?

The following article was originally published by Matthew Norris in the Mobilizing the Region on April 28th, 2015.

Philadelphia’s Indego bike share network was officially launched last week with over 600 bicycles connecting various corners of the city. Mayor Michael Nutter and hundreds of bicycle enthusiasts came out to celebrate the opening of the system with a ceremonial ride from the Philadelphia Museum of Art to many of the 60 docking stations scattered across various neighborhoods.

Indego is unique in that it is the first system in the United States that was launched from the start to allow riders to utilize the system without needing to have a credit card (Boston’s Hubway and Washington D.C.’s Capital Bikeshare now offer limited cash payment options, but there are geographic and income-level restrictions for this privilege). Over a third of Indego’s docking stations are located in low-income neighborhoods, and those without credit cards can sign up for a $15 30-day membership, which allows for unlimited one-hour rides. Cash users receive a key fob in the mail that grants access to bike share stations, and payments can be made at any local 7-Eleven or Family Dollar store.

Philadelphia already has by far the highest bicycle commuting rate of the ten largest US cities—2.3 times higher per capita than New York City’s bike commute rate. With a planned threefold expansion of Indego’s network in the next three years, along with the continuing growth of area bike lanes and the Circuit regional trail network, many pieces are coming into place to make Philadelphia a world class bicycling city. If Indego is successful, the program may offer a number of lessons for cities across the country in how to implement a truly equitable bike share system. Especially New York City.

Since its launch, New York City’s Citi Bike program has suffered its fair share of criticism for failing to to make itself more accessible to low income residents of the five boroughs, who often have the longest commutes and fewest transit options. And while it is in the process of doubling the size of its network and expanding beyond lower Manhattan and brownstone Brooklyn over the next two years, unlike Indego, Citi Bike program receives no public subsidies—a sore spot for many, as it has resulted in greater reliance on corporate sponsorship and membership cost increases and has been an impediment to the program’s expansion. Citi Bike currently offers a $60 discounted membership for qualifying users, as long as they have a credit card. And those who don’t want to pay the annual membership rate must still use a credit card to pay for hourly or daily passes and have a $101 security deposit placed on the card until the bike is returned.

The good news is that Citi Bike’s new leadership is prioritizing a system overhaul and technology and design upgrades, in addition to focusing on private local sponsorship opportunities and corporate collaborations to promote the brand and bring in more revenue. While these changes will increase confidence in Citi Bike and encourage more widespread use, the next focus should be on how to match Philly’s efforts to make bike share an affordable option in low-income neighborhoods.