Hubway is back in Boston. After the mildest winter I can remember, with barely any snow, the paths are clear and, as the mercury passed 81 degrees today, I found myself breaking a sweat. I leisurely rode from my job near North Station, along the Esplanade to the new bike lanes on Mass. Ave to the bike lanes on Columbus to the Southwest Corridor park. I checked my bike in at Roxbury Crossing–currently the southernmost extent of the bike share network–then hopped on the T for the rest of the ride home.
Five years ago, that paragraph would have been science fiction. I was riding then–a Lycra and Spandex clad warrior of the bike commuter class–and it was a different world. The parks existed, but there were no bike lanes. Plenty of people rode bikes but we were usually solo riders–a few dorky commuters mixed in with students and hardcore messengers.
Today, I regularly see strings of 5-10 riders in the morning…queuing up at crossings and then stringing out again along the 50+ miles of bike lanes that have been added to the city. When Hubway re-launched, I immediately saw other riders. I had worried the success of last summer and fall might see its momentum lapse, but if my anecdotal observations are accurate…the success rides on!
Boston has a way to go still…even with bike lanes drawn on Mass. Ave, I still think it’s a treacherous weave that make Columbus seem like a virtual linear park in comparison. But the progress is palpable…regular people are riding their bikes in the streets of Boston. Their numbers are growing and what was once adventure sport is becoming the new norm. Who needs to move to Portland or Copenhagen…just give our city a decade and watch the world change.