When I was a freshman, one of my first weekend adventures in Boston was on a bike: pedaling along the Charles River, ogling at the sights and navigating through the city’s West End where the Esplanade hits the Museum of Science. It was an amazing way to cover a lot of ground in a short period of time and to see the places that weren’t as accessible on foot or by the T.
But after that inaugural ride, biking in Boston (and borrowing my roommate’s bike) fell to the wayside as I grew accustomed to the wonders of the BU Shuttle and the far reaches of the Green Line. It wasn’t until this year, when I started my internship at America’s Test Kitchen in the Seaport (hey there, CA Jamey!), that I rediscovered the wonders of taking on the city on two wheels.
I use Bluebikes, Boston’s citywide bikeshare program, to get from point A to point B — and oh, what a difference a bike makes! Instead of squeezing onto a rush-hour train underground, I’m lucky enough to cruise past Boston landmarks like Fenway Park, Copley Square, and the Boston Public Garden as I pedal my way down Boylston Street. While walking through the city gives you the chance to soak up all the sights and sounds, there’s something blissfully breezy about gliding past buildings and watching the landscape blend together at a low-to-moderate speed. (Just keep an eye out for the cars, too).
But the real magic of the bike is that it takes me outside the BU bubble — that cozy hub that stretches along Comm. Ave. and bleeds into the edges of Back Bay, Brookline and Allston. Biking takes me outside of the far reaches of the Green Line and into a whole experience of Boston.
While riding to work, I get to watch Chinatown wake up and the throngs of people head to their offices at South Station. I get to marvel at the shiny, towering behemoths of the Seaport and take in the sights and the smells of the harbor while I get my blood pumping and wake up myself. The ride home is even better: I take the scenic route through the North End, fueled by the sounds of a lively neighborhood (I once overheard an outdoor opera concert!) and a whiff of something delicious from one of the dozens of incredible restaurants. These are places I probably wouldn’t stumble upon if I weren’t following bike paths and lanes, and gliding around from the perch of my seat feels all the more exciting in these previously-undiscovered areas.
My ride home also takes me along one of the most beautiful stretches of bike path in Boston: the Charles River Esplanade (and during golden hour, no less!). Riding along the river — and dodging the occasional scooter-er — is a great way to decompress after a day at work, and it allows me to savor the sights and sounds of the city we’re so lucky to call home instead of tuning them out. (Yes, this blog is getting soft and mushy, but I’m a senior and I’m very soft and mushy!)
As the weather gets chillier and riding the T becomes more of a necessity, I find myself wishing I had started biking around the city much earlier than I did. Freshmen, sophomores, juniors: if you can bike, do. It’s a wonderful world out there — so strap on a helmet and see for yourself!