Bikes in Massachusetts (Mostly Cambridge) & Northern Virginia

I’m not sure why I am so interested in taking pictures of bicycles.  Maybe it is because I really enjoy bicycling, but don’t get to do it enough.  For whatever reason, when I pass ones that that is interesting or aesthetically pleasing during the course of my day, I take pictures.

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On the Wellesley Trails Again

The nail that ended my ride!

The nail that ended my ride!

Today I went for another bike ride on the Wellesley Trails, only this time it didn’t go so well.  I got through about 5.5 miles on the Aqueduct Trail, then to the Fuller Brook Trail.  They are doing a lot of work on that trail.  When I got to the Senior High/Hunnewell Field Area, I took a turn onto a closed trail.  Then I ran over the nail in the image to the right.

I didn’t realize it right away.  The trail is partially closed, but there’s no warning when you approach the closure.  I got to a gate, then turned around, just as a couple of runners came down the same path, so I wasn’t the only one who didn’t know about the closure.

When I started riding again, I heard a clanking as my wheels turned.  I stopped and this was sticking out of my back tire.  I pulled it out but the tire was already flat .

So my ride became a walk back home, but fortunately it was only about 2 miles.  Here’s a gallery.

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Biking the Trails of Wellesley

I went on a long bike ride today, mostly on the Wellesley Trails.  The system is brilliant, containing more than 25 miles of trails that pass some beautiful historic homes, lovely lakes, and the Charles River.  Today I biked along the Aqueduct Trail which I’ve not done before, at least not for any substantial distance.  It runs along the Sudbury Aqueduct, a historic landmark, though I spent time on several of Wellesley’s trails.  Click here to see the map of my route.

Below are a few photos I took on my ride.

Teen Birth Rate Here and There

from "Trends in Teen Pregnancy and Childbearing." Adolescent Health Topics. The Office of Adolescent Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 12 Dec. 2014.

from “Trends in Teen Pregnancy and Childbearing.” Adolescent Health Topics/Reproductive Health. The Office of Adolescent Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 12 Dec. 2014.

On Friday WBUR reported from Boston

The birth rate among teens in Massachusetts is at its lowest recorded level in the state’s history, a report out Friday says.

The birth rate of teens ages 15-19 fell 14 percent last year, from 14 births per 1,000 women in 2012 to 12 births per 1,000 women in 2013, the Massachusetts Department of Health reported.

“This is terrific news for all Massachusetts families, and a dramatic indication that our decisions to invest in our young people — through education, support and resources — can have a real and lasting impact on their lives and in their communities,” Gov. Deval Patrick said in a statement.

Indeed, according to the Department of Health and Human Services,  the statistics on teenage birth rates were also terrific news for Massachusetts and for most of New England, New York, New Jersey, and Minnesota in 2011 when all those states already had rates below 20 births per 1000 women between the ages of 15 and 19.  They were the only ones, and they really stand out on the map. Continue reading

Wellesley College Statue Story Shouldn’t Be So Big

The Wellesley College statue story is making news in New Zealand, and I just saw it on Al Jazeera, too!  It’s clearly blown way out of proportion, so much that I now regret doing my insignificant part to give it legs in my social media presences.

Let’s be clear, only 713 people have signed the petition to move the statue as of this writing.  Wellesley has approximately 2500 students.   The petition is open to the public so anyone can sign.   I can’t see the signatures, but I suspect that many of the signatories are not from the campus community at all.  Still, even if  we assume that everyone who signed is a Wellesley student, the vast majority of students have no problem with the statue being where it is.  That is consistent with what I am hearing.

I have spent my entire adult life in higher education environments of various sorts: public and private, large and small, technical and liberal arts, foreign and domestic.  Student protests are frequent and healthy.  They seldom get much traction in the media, even when they are much larger and even when they work for it.  What is it about this one that has caused such buzz?  Would this story have gotten so much attention if it had happened at a coed liberal arts college?  Or is it the fact that Wellesley is such an highly rated college, so there’s delight in knocking it down?   Or is it that people delight in seeing a students at a liberal arts college behaving so narrow-mindedly?  Whatever it is, the story has been carried way beyond whatever legs it should have had.

More Bikes of Cambridge

Bikes of Cambridge in the winter.  Hubway Bikes remain available in Cambridge as a pilot program.

Unequal Clashes on the Roads: Bikes, Pedestrians and Motor Vehicles

The Overpass

The Overpass

I biked to the Green Line today from my home in MetroWest.  For most of the way to the Woodland stop I ride along Route 16 feeling relatively safe. Sometimes the vehicles come a little close for comfort and I worry I might get run off the road.  But I’m usually riding down the edge of the road, wearing a helmet, and not at risk of getting pushed into ongoing traffic, so I feel fairly safe.  But then I get to that giant clusterf–k of roads surrounding the 95/128 overpass.  In rapid succession you have Wales St., Quinobequin Road, the On and Off Ramps for the interstate, Neshobe Road, and finally Beacon Street.Every time I get there I feel like I take my life in my hands!

I obey the rules of traffic as much as possible when I commute by bike.  It seems like the safest way.   Today I tried to go straight through a green light while oncoming traffic was turning left.  I had the right of way, yet they started and just kept going.  If I wanted to get through, I would have had to insist.  I started forward and whistled as loud as a could.  An oncoming utility van with open windows slowed down, yelled at me, “You’re supposed to act like a car,” and then kept going.  It was a nerve-racking situation.  I was, in fact, behaving like a car, obeying the rules of traffic and I had the right of way.  I made it through safely, but I was flustered, and a bit breathless.

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Mea Culpa: I’m a Dirty Rotten Polluter!

My Mug Shot

My Mug Shot

I didn’t realize what evil I do when I put on that goofy bike helmet and ride down the road or trail, I swear.  According Seattle Bike Blog Washington Representative Ed Orcutt argues,

“You would be giving off more CO2 if you are riding a bike than driving in a car,” he said. However, he said he had not “done any analysis” of the difference in CO2 from a person on a bike compared to the engine of a car (others have).

Wow!  Just WOW!  Every once in a while a public figure says something that just leaves me speechless, and this is one of them.

 

Even if we never don’t register handguns, maybe we should at least start register these!

Shelved Bike

 

 

Why I Worry About Turnout

On the CBS Evening News, Bob Schieffer just made the point that no matter what the polls say, everything ultimately depends on voter turnout, and that Republicans have been better with turning out their supporters in recent elections.  This really worries me.  I am not registered with a party but I am, philosophically, a liberal.  I believe put those policies are best for America and so I nearly always vote Democratic.  But I must confess that in this election my interests are also personal.

I worry Republican advances in Congress will jeopardize aspects of the new health care law.  Provisions of the law are still coming into effect, so many people don’t realize how beneficial it is. Rollbacks will have minimal impact on me as a resident of Massachusetts, but I spent last year in another state and I can assure you, this system is better. I’m still cleaning up some of the financial mess from an inadequate insurance plan last year.

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