Winter Biking: I’ve got my messenger bag but I’m walking all the time
With snowfall for this season expected to eventually overshadow the Celtic’s new center, Boston’s rapidly-growing bicycle community has been forced to either adapt to massive snowbanks or lock up their bikes until things thaw out.
So far I have erred on the side of caution this year, save for a few dashes across town between blizzards. But to find out what type of people still find themselves pedaling through snowdrifts at this time of year, I grabbed a camera and tracked down a few people to ask them how they manage to dodge black ice every day.
Some riders, like Northeastern University student Albert Keever, have invested in all-terrain tires in response to the piles of snow edging into the street. Despite the added traction, Keever said he finds himself riding much slower than during warmer months.
“The off road tires help with the loose snow, but I need to watch out,” Keever said. “If you hit a patch of ice, you’re done.”
Although the roads get more intimidating by the day, Boston Bicycle repairman Jeremiah Gardner said an overall rise in Boston bicycle ridership over the past five years has made this winter the busiest he can remember. Although roads get tighter as snowdrifts form along roads, Gardner said the majority of the jobs his shop deals with during this time of year involve rusted parts damaged by the salt used to melt ice, not bicycle-snowplow collisions.
While many cyclists choose to ride through the winter as a point of pride, riders like Mohamed Barakat continue to brave bone-chilling wind and even angrier than normal drivers for a single purpose – total avoidance of the MBTA.
“I work in Alewife, it’s a twenty minute bike ride or an hour-long train,” Barakat said. “And I’m a nice person, so I don’t want to talk about the T.”