It’s still one of the best parts of my day.
I’ve been commuting to work by bicycle for 10 years now — not every day and less so as the kids get older and need to be shuttled around more — but as regularly as I can manage. I live in Newton near the Brighton line and work at the Globe offices in Dorchester; my various routes, each around 10 miles, take me along the Charles, or through Allston and downtown, or through Roxbury from Longwood to Savin Hill. It’s hardcore urban bicycling, and I love it.
This gets me expressions of both concern and occasionally scorn. And when tragedy occurs, as it did recently to two bicyclists in the Boston area, one killed in a collision with a car, another with a tractor-trailer, people start looking at me like I’m crazy. Why take the risk? How is that fun?
Let me tell you. First off, it’s my direct experience that cycling in the city is safer than in the suburbs. The car traffic is generally slower and more managed, for one thing, and drivers are more on the lookout for pedestrians and other random moving objects. Outside Boston the minivans come whipping around corners, their denizens yakking on the phone or talking to children in the back seats. A rider can be lulled into vulnerability in suburbia, too. I’ve also come to the conclusion that biking down Commonwealth Avenue through Allston, with its stoplights and fairly orderly lines of cars and cyclists, is far less nerve-wracking than dodging the joggers, strollers, and rollerbladers of the Charles River bike paths.