City Hosting “How To” Discussion on Traveling Around Boston by Bike During the Winter Months

Contrary to popular belief hundreds of new residents moving into Eastie are arriving without a car and relying more on public transportation, ZipCars and bike-share programs like Hubway.

In fact, owners of some larger development projects will tell you that while they provided ample parking for tenants, many of their garage spots remain empty.


Let’s face it, owning a car in Eastie can be very expensive. Take the average monthly payments, gas, insurance and other fees like excise tax and parking fees you can easily be looking at well over $5,000 to own a car in Eastie. So with an average cost of over $400 a month millenials are putting that money towards renting nicer apartments in the neighborhood and throwing that old notion you need to own a car in the city to the wind.

Since 2011 more than 8 million trips have been taken on Boston’s Hubway Bluebikes by residents here and around the city.

But let’s face it, not owning a car in Boston isn’t the same as not owning a car in say Florida where most of the year is filled with warm weather and sunshine.

It can be a bit tricky getting around on a bike or other modes of transportation once the snow falls and the temperatures drop.

This week the Boston Transportation Department (BTD) announced it is hosting ‘Riding Through Winter Forums’ to share tips and strategies for bicycling around Boston during the winter months.  The forums are meant to bring together a community of residents interested in continuing to cycle in cold weather conditions.  Together, they can ask questions and share what’s worked for them.

“At last count, over 40,000 bike trips per day were taken at key locations in Boston,” said BTD Commissioner and Eastie resident Gina Fiandaca.  “The BTD team works to plan and design bike infrastructure that will attract even more riders aligned with our Go Boston 2030 goals.  These forums will help encourage residents to take advantage of our growing bike network all year long.”

Each forum will include a guided discussion of common concerns.  BTD staff will share tips and source ideas from attendees on how to dress for very cold days, the best strategies for biking during darkness and winter-specific bike maintenance, among other topics.

According to Fiandaca tips include:

  • Using Hubway’s Bluebikes as your winter bike
  • Don’t overdress. You’ll be chilly at first but will warm up in a few minutes.  Wear insulating layers and choose moisture-wicking fabrics since you’ll still perspire.
  • Cold weather can drain your bike’s light batteries faster so bring back-up lights or extra batteries. Remember to always have a front-facing white light and a rear-facing red light or reflector.
  • Stay hydrated. Stop in at your favorite coffee shop, bakery or café.
  • Just try it. Go at your own pace and ride only when you’re comfortable doing so.

“We want to help socialize the fact that most people can continue to bike in Boston throughout the winter,” said City of Boston Active Transportation Director Stefanie Seskin.  “The forums are a great way to connect with other bicyclists and feel supported, whether you’re trying winter riding for the first time or you’ve been at it for years.”

The forums are free of charge and open to the public.  The next forum is scheduled to take place on Thursday, January 24, 6pm-7pm at the Brighton Branch Boston Public Library, 40 Academy Hill Road, Brighton with others scheduled for the future.

“The City of Boston Public Works Department works to provide safe access for bicyclists during the winter months,” said Fiandaca. “As part of neighborhood plowing operations during winter storms and to ensure the safety of our riders, the Public Works Department consistently allocates pieces of equipment to clear snow from our dedicated bike lanes. The PWD utilizes skid-steer equipment (Bobcats) for snow clearing efforts in bike lanes, as well as spreaders to distribute salt to assist in ice melting efforts. The PWD has also added three new pieces of equipment dedicated strictly to bike lanes.”

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