Friday, October 19, 2012

Bike Jax Visits Boston

Hello, it's Koula here.  I love the Northeast, and my guy and I have friends and family scattered around Boston, so we visit every chance we get.  This time, we flew in and spent 7 days with friends near Brighton. We mostly took the bus and train to wherever we needed to go, aside from one short bike ride and couple of car rides. In this post, I'll share my thoughts on traveling around Boston, and how I think some of their transportation solutions would benefit Jacksonville.
The T.
During this visit to Boston, taking the bus and train were by far the easiest ways to get from the 'burbs into the city. The freedom I feel in riding my bike for transportation is similar to the freedom I felt in Boston upon using a well thought-out public transit system. In a nutshell, it felt- dare I say- luxurious to be able to hop on a bus or the train, and not have to worry about where to park a car, or how much said parking was going to cost. I'm also a chronic worrier when parking a bike, as I've been a victim of bike theft much like everyone else who rides. I didn't really want to mess with taking my friend's bike into the city and risk losing it to theft, so riding the bus and train ended up being great. We were able to hop onto a bus a few houses away from our friends' place into the city, and could walk or transfer to the train to get to our destination.

I absolutely had to visit two places while in Boston. The ICA is by far one of my favorite art museums. It was refreshing to see a giant installation by Swoon and some smaller pieces in the gallery and out on the town by twin street artists, Os Gemeos. Love seeing street art being appreciated!
Os Gemeos
Harris Cyclery was also a must-visit place; I'd learned about Harris five or so years ago while researching bicycle maintenance articles published by the one and only Sheldon Brown. I had no idea what exactly to expect, but I knew I'd see some interesting bikes and bike accessories. The bike ride to the shop was a quick three miles from my friend's house, and the headwind definitely gave Chi-town a run for its money. The sales people and bike techs were super friendly and not even a hair condescending, an attitude that I've come to accept as being fairly typical at bike shops. This shop stocks so many quality bikes and accessories, and I definitely felt like a kid in a toy store! Harris sells a ton of Rivendell bikes- more than anyone except for Rivendell themselves- and it was really cool to see so many of their frames in person for the first time. I'd been eyeballing an Atlantis bike for quite awhile, and they had one in stock that was small enough for me, so I took it on a test ride. A friend asked if Riv. bikes were worth the hype-- they definitely are all that!
Two Pashleys with curved twin tubes
Rivendell frames, and the Atlantis' headbadge
What intrigues me about Boston is the fact that they went from being a pretty terrible city for bicycling, to being one of the best in the nation in the past five years. Knowing this, I also observed that a majority of cyclists appeared to be obeying traffic rules, and I'd love to see the same thing happen here in Jacksonville.
Green bike lanes, and well-used bike parking

One of the many well-used bike corrals around town
One thing I really wanted to do on this trip was to rent a Hubway bike to get around at least a couple of times, but I didn't get to do this. Bike Jax has been in discussions regarding implementing a bikeshare system in Jacksonville, and I mainly wanted to try out bikeshare in another city first. Hubway has been around since July 2011, and immediately after launch, use of the Hubway bicycles exceeded expectations. More stations are built each year, and membership and usage continues to increase, as Hubway is wedging its way into being a viable transportation option in the city.  I noticed alot of people out and about on them; if I stood at a street corner in Back Bay for five minutes, I might see a dozen or more whiz by.  My unfamiliarity of the Metro Boston area and my fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants travel planning made it difficult to make plans around the Hubway stations in such a way as to make the Hubway bike a more convenient mode of transportation over the bus or T. Next time I'm in Boston, I will definitely use a Hubway bike.

I'm hoping Jacksonville can integrate painted bike lanes, bike boxes, bike corrals, and bike share into our public transportation plans in the future. The key with Jacksonville right now is to make our public transit connected, and I think these bicycling-related solutions can help make that happen.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Bike Jax Bike Art Show - Call for Artists

 Join us for the Bike Art Show at CoRK East Gallery. Opening is November 16th at 6pm. All mediums and sizes welcome. Artists will retain 80% of all sales. 

The only restrictions are that all work must contain bicycles in part or whole. 
Email: info at for more details or with any questions.
Submission deadline is Noon on day of show.
Non local artists welcomed and encouraged to submit work. Contact us to make arrangements for shipment of work.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Community First Saturdays / Calling All Volunteers!

Bike Jax is happy to announce a additional bike valet on the First Saturday of every month starting in October. We'll be working with Jax Chamber and Community First Credit Union on their new event Community First Saturday.

What is it? Jax Chamber is hosting a gathering on the first Saturday of each month to showcase downtown and our beautiful North Bank Riverwalk and the St. Johns River. There are will be a bunch of different family friendly events going on, most of which are free. You should really check out their website for all the details.

Sounds pretty great, right? And, in our humble opinion, the best way to arrive to an event downtown is by bike. Bike Jax is pleased to participate in Community First Saturdays by providing a free bike valet service under the pavilion on the Riverwalk, at the end of Pearl Street.

Along with our usual location at Riverside Arts Market, we will have another location under the pavilion on the River Walk at the end of Pearl St.

Click Here For Full Size.
This means that we'll be running TWO bike valets on the first Saturday of each month. While we have a small core of dedicated volunteers and we have October covered, we are eventually going to need some more help. As a bike valet assistant, you will meet cool people and will get to see tons of awesome/beautiful/amazing bikes!

Please email [email protected] if you are interested in volunteering, or stop by the RAM bike valet any Saturday.