News, schools, and views from a uniquely Lowell perspective
11th May 2008

I’m a believer!

posted in City Life, Environment, Healthy Living, In the News, Local Groups |

Did you know that May is National Bike Month? In Massachusetts we also have “Bay State Bike Week” (May 12-18) which tries to get folks to rethink their daily transportation choices and opt for two wheels instead of four.  In can be a challenge to bike in city traffic, but if you follow the rules and clearly signal your intentions, it can be safe and rewarding. Of course, a dedicated bike path would be a boon!

It feels like more than 10 years since I first heard about the proposed Bruce Freeman Rail Trail, a multi-use trail for bikers, walkers and skaters that is slated to run from Lowell to Framingham. I was excited, but excitement waned as the years went by, and I really didn’t believe recent reports from friends that work on Phase I (Lowell to Westford) of the trail had finally begun.  I had pretty much decided that I would be too old to ride a bike by the time the trail was finished, but last week, while biking to the Chelmsford library, I saw for myself — the old railroad tracks were gone and the brush cut back to create a swath through the woods – this was on Golden Cove Road where the trail crosses on its way to Chelmsford Center. Checking the website, I saw that the groundbreaking was last October. I totally missed that, and am feeling like a slug for never joining the volunteers and activists who have perservered to make this a reality.  But it’s not too late to get on board, I just sent a donation (you can join for $10, or $25 for a family membership).  The May meeting is on trail beautification and will be held on May 14, 6:30 pm, at the Byam School in Chelmsford, and will include a guided bird walk. 

There are currently 7 responses to “I’m a believer!”

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  1. 1 On May 11th, 2008, Lynne said:

    Cool…I think I will try and ride my bike to work at least once this week, you’ve convinced me! Unfortunately, it’s an inherited bike which is like 1 or 2 inches too tall for me. Ah well, you can’t argue with free. :)

  2. 2 On May 11th, 2008, tim said:

    That’s great…a good friend of mine lives in Westford. We’ll be making some good use of this trail.

  3. 3 On May 11th, 2008, Deirdra Murphy said:

    Thanks for bringing National Bike Week. You highlighted the Freeman Bike Trail. I want to let you and others know about the new bike share program at UML. It is a free bike lending library. Students, faculty alnd staff can take a bike to get around campus or for recreation. http://www.uml.edu/campusrecreation/Rec-cycles/Site/Rec-cycles.htm
    More folks are talking about using alternate forms of transportation to decrease the carbon footprint and get exercise. We are also talking with the city to get the conversation going to make Lowell a more bikeable community. Happy trails to you!

  4. 4 On May 12th, 2008, Margaret said:

    Thanks, Deirdra! The bike share program is one of those brilliantly simple ideas! In Barcelona, I noticed that they had generic bikes locked onto racks all over the place. It looked like people could use a pay card to get a bike, ride to their destination and then find another rack to leave the bike, kind of like the zipcar concept. I wonder if that would work for Lowell?

    I’m gearing up to ride to the dentist this morning…

  5. 5 On May 12th, 2008, Margaret said:

    Maybe bike week should be in June? It’s cold and windy today, but once I got out there it wasn’t awful. I was thinking that biking in Lowell is pretty easy since many destinations such as the library or downtown businesses are within a mile or two of anywhere in the city. Still, urban cycling shares many of the slings and arrows of urban driving: the potholes, unpredictable pedestrians, drivers who don’t use blinkers, double-parked delivery trucks, etc., with the added difficulty of left turns through traffic (scary, even if you have the light), blowing sand and grit, and NO BIKE RACKS! It seems that few businesses expect people to bike, especially at such traffic centers as Drum Hill Plaza and the strip mall in Dracut where my dentist is located, so it takes some creative effort to find a safe place to leave the bike. Hope to see more bikers out there this week!

  6. 6 On May 13th, 2008, massmarrier said:

    Bike week in June? Cold and windy?

    I don’t bike in sleet or when I can’t see drivers’ faces (figuring they can’t see me). However, what I hear from hard-core cyclists is that there are not bad weather days, just poor clothing choices. ;->

    Also, that’s certainly true about traffic. It takes a few goes to get it, but the phrase there is claim a lane. Confidence and a mirror are all you need.

  7. 7 On May 13th, 2008, Margaret said:

    Ok, I’m a wimp, and I don’t have real biking clothes (can’t even find my helmet at the moment), and I should definitely get a mirror if I’m going to keep this up!

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