A Family Adventure

Tyson, Emilie & Isaac

Emilie Bicycling Progress and Oops

August 4, 2016
Emilie Phillips

After a month of bicycling to work on my electric bike, I have peddled over 300 miles. I am consistently commuting both in to Cambridge and out to Bedford in 40 minutes. New England is in a drought, so I have only been drizzled on once.

Best commute to Cambridge

Speeds for best commute to Cambridge

Observations I have made so far:

  • All the real road bikers know some secret way through the Arlington center intersection. I pass them on the minuteman bike path before Arlington and then I have to pass them again later.
  • White men are significantly more likely to hog the middle of the bike path than any other demographic. Three moms abreast pushing strollers are rather annoying too.
  • It’s not a good idea to draft delivery trucks even if you can go pretty fast. Visibility is poor and obstacles on the street pop out unexpectedly.
  • Some of the bumps in the pavement are nasty and you have to secure things to the bike as if you were going kayak surfing or they fly off.
  • Having a side mirror is really handy.

I still haven’t figured out how to work traffic. Some of the time I try scooting by on the right side of traffic. But I’ve clipped a pedal on the curb and whacked a mirror. Other times I sit in the middle of the lane like a car, but then it takes a long while to go anywhere. Out in the suburbs, I’m pegged at the bike’s 28mph upper limit. So the only place to hasten the commute is in Arlington, Summerville, and Cambridge. There I am faced with shared pedestrian-bicycle paths, stop and go car traffic, and lots of lights, turns, and one way roads.

My standard route in to Cambridge:

Wednesday I tried experimenting with a different route in Cambridge. It was slower. However, that will be the last experiment for a month. Almost back at the apartment, I accelerated too fast out of a light, lost traction on the front wheel, over corrected, and crashed. I came away with a few minor scrapes and a broken elbow.