Dear Future Cyclists of America,*

*MBTA Passengers

Does your commute look like this?

Future Cyclists of America

Or like this?

Future Cyclists of America

You’re probably nervous about biking on the roads, but maybe it’s time to consider a change.

But if you’re not ready to take the leap to cycling just yet, just know that when you’re going to always be more than 30 minutes late meeting me for brunch I’m going to go ahead and take the long way there. So when you are stuck here:

Future Cyclists of America

Know that I am here…

Future Cyclists of America

…greeting Hubway users. Maybe I’ll take them to brunch if you don’t show.

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28 Responses to “Dear Future Cyclists of America,*”

  • Whenever I’ve had to take the T to work, a disabled train occurs on my route at least 50% of the time. On the other 50% somebody farts in my face. I pine for the day when Hubway gets to Cambridge.

    I kind of wish that your Red Line tunnel included the Coraline ads. Those staunch and valiant Coraline ads.

    • Bikeyface

      I heard they finally changed the Coraline ad. But of course I haven’t been on the red line since maybe April.

    • Erin

      It’s now an advertisement for blue man group.

    • AJ

      Make sure to stand, not sit, on the train. It makes for a much more pleasant experience. Also, no farts in your face.

  • That was one of the first things I noticed about riding my bike places instead of taking the bus is, not only was it quicker for most trips, but it was WAY more consistent. When going between the same two places, my travel time is almost exactly the same regardless of time of day, traffic, etc – unless I *choose* to make it longer.

  • Mark

    How true! I especially liked the last two frames. The T’s see something, say something campaign with the oversized teddy bears, carpet rolls, and backpacks is rather bizarre – they almost look like an add campaign for an outdoor/toy store.

  • Jim

    WTH – I don’t want these people ruining my urban idyll!

    The boor on the train is the next fixie douche blowing stops. And the body odor guy? Oof, riding behind that dude going the same pace is murder. Try to pass you get threatened and raced, because that’s what meth will do for ya.

    I hope to God these people don’t see the light so I don’t have to see them. JFC.

  • A relief to read that it’s not just me and my pessimism/paranoia. Because I swear, the T breaks down nearly every time I try to take it. Every time I use it, my conclusion is “never again.” Brrr!

    • Bikeyface

      It’s not just you, I took the T every day to work for several months when I first moved here. Even though I left the same time every day I would get to work anywhere from 30 min early to 45 min late. And it’s real hard to call in to the office to say where you are when you’re stuck in a tunnel. I love public transit, but in Boston bikes are exceptionally practical when you really need to be at that 9am meeting on time.

  • T!!!

    I don’t know…..but I’ve never had much problem with the mbta. Every day I take the red line, then a bus to drop my daughter off at school, then another bus to get to work, then again bus, bus, train to home. I’ve been doing this since September 1st and have only been late 30 minutes once to pick her up. When we go to school we always talk about all of the different people riding in the bus/train with us, sit/stand in different spots to see what it’s like, or talk about how the train/bus works. It’s a lot more fun then strapping her into a bike trailer and biking to school and then lugging the trailer to work. We’ve also gone on the green line to check out the stations as they’ve updated them. I guess my only complaint would be the Italian green line trains are badly designed for the Boston system, but the new blue line trains more than make up for them!

  • Some mornings when I just don’t feel up to taking the lane, and dealing with even the potential of driver hostility, I’ll take the train, and honestly, if I have a book, it’s generally not too bad. Everyone’s a bit dazed going in in the morning, and I take the train home late enough that it’s pretty sparse. But yes, I’ve been very glad to be on a bike on a couple of occasions when I’ve seen hundreds of people trying to catch cabs, or just walking across the Longfellow because the redline has pooped out.

  • CD

    Only downside to East Boston. Blue line is great, then I hit the green.

    • KD

      Yeah, you can’t bike into/out of Eastie at all, can you? Without going through Everett?

    • CD

      True story. Price I pay for dirt cheap rent and the best skyline views in the city. Due to the mass gentrification taking place I give it less than 5 years until someone raises enough hell to fix it.

  • The second sketch really hit home for me—I was on the train that got stuck between Porter and Harvard over the summer, and have a very similar looking photo on my phone from the experience. That was the day I had my “never again” moment, and have been biking to work ever since. Before that, I would ride to work maybe 1-2 times a week, now its every day, and its lovely. And I am loathing the day when it gets too cold/icy to bike and I have to switch back to the T for the winter.

  • Not really fair to pick on the T. Public transportation and bicycling have a common enemy in cars or more accurately in the car culture in which all the funding and infrastructure goes to making life cheap and easy for motorists (example: $14 billion in public money spent on the Big Dig yet it’s political suicide for anyone to mention that the people who benefit from the tunnels have to pay a toll or a gas tax at the same time that MBTA fares keep raising). Don’t pit bikes versus the T. Public transit AND bikes need to stand against the common enemy.

  • hg

    I like your art but as a logical argument this cartoon is highly intellectually dishonest. You contrast a highly rare event like a tunnel evacuation and somewhat more common events of delayed trains and noisy customers with a nice pleasant day out biking. Why not make it an accurate comparison by comparing it to some of the common hazards and hardships of biking, some of which you’ve shown in other cartoons? For example instead of a nice pleasant day of biking why not show someone getting doored or clipped by a car, or biking to work in a driving snowstorm on a 12 degree January day while the T quickly rumbles by all toasty warm? Why not accurately contrast the effort needed to bike to work with the freedom allowed by public transit to do something other than manage your way through the world? Furthermore, your depiction of biking along the esplanade is also dishonest in that you contrast this with commuting. Well most of the biking going on on the esplanade is for fun and exercise, not for commuting and lots of people who ride the T will also go out and enjoy the Esplanade.

    • Miranda

      To be fair, there’s actually a bike path all the way along the Charles River on both sides, from Watertown Square all the way to the Museum of Science in Cambridge. (http://www.bikexprt.com/massfacil/pdwhite.htm) It goes right past the Esplanade, but is separate from it. I commute this way by bike frequently, about ten miles from Newton to the east side of MIT. (Just because it’s a commute doesn’t mean it can’t also be fun and exercise.)

  • Jim

    BF has hit the big time – the Bike Dogmatics are here.
    Good name for a band.

  • Love it & so true! Bikes rule!

  • I am living in Toronto and visited Boston for a week back in Sept. I bought a 7-day charlie pass, and a 3-day hubway pass. I found Boston MBTA Subway and Boston Hubway bike sharing program equally impressive. I was really surprised by how smooth the subway run despite the age of the subway system, not to mention the lower fare compare to my city. As for the hubway, the # of bikes and coverage may not match my town, but Boston did a good job in using the limited docks and bikes and I saw Bostonian took full advantage of them.

  • Porky Robuck

    My bike makes me just BETTER than everyone else. Having to use public transport? GO FUCK YOURSELF. You should ride a bike! Disabled? Got no legs? NO EXCUSE. If you don’t ride a bike you should kill yourself.

    Did I do this right? This fits in.

    • Allison

      don’t forget, if you ride a bike everyone has to dive out of your way so they don’t get run over by your entitled ass, and then bow down to you for saving the environment.

  • Allison

    I’d be more okay with encouraging people to ride bikes if I were confident they would stay on the road (where they legally belong, for safety reasons), follow the pattern of traffic, stop at red lights and crosswalks, and actually signal when they turn. but as it is, too many bikers ride on sidewalks and are generally so unpredictable they pose a serious threat to pedestrian safety. so no, I’d rather you NOT strive to put every Bostonian on a bike. Also, if everyone stopped riding the T, they’re not going to be more inclined to fix things, they’re going to be less inclined to maintain it, and fares will go up for the people who’d rather not arrive to work reeking of BO or freeze their asses off walking or biking across town, which won’t make more people ride bikes, but make more people drive cars, which I’m sure is the opposite of what you want.

    • Team Sara G

      I just wanted to note that I totally agree with you that while the T is a good thing because public transport is a good thing, but I don’t think Bikeyface was truly suggesting otherwise, so much as making a cute joke at the T’s expense and in support of cycling. Additionally, I wanted to clarify the common misconception that people are not allowed to ride bikes on the sidewalk. The law actually allows one to cycle on the sidewalk outside of a business district, unless a local ordinance otherwise prohibits it (towns usually post if and where they prohibit sidewalk biking – see Cambridge; so far as I know, no such ordinance exists for Boston proper). (For the text of the relevant law, see http://www.malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartI/TitleXIV/Chapter85/Section11B; for the City of Boston’s official summary of biking laws, see http://www.cityofboston.gov/bikes/bikesafety/laws.asp.)

      Cyclists are, however, supposed to yield to pedestrians and signal if passing someone on the sidewalk. I know you’re specifically referring in your comment to the cyclists who try to race down the sidewalk, with no regard to the pedestrians. But I wanted to clarify the law – there’s a part of my commute where I pass through an area that’s not a business district, and where it is safer to be on the sidewalk for a block or two (a one-way road with cars parked on both sides, such that it is very hard for a car to pass me if I am in the street). I go slow, and I stay out of the way. I also do all those other things you want cyclists to do (as does Bikeyface, according to her posts). We’re trying – we might be in the minority right now, but we’re really trying and I think, slowly, our rule-following will encourage other cyclists to do the same.

      Sometimes it feels like we can’t win. I was biking through Dudley Sq., on Washington St., on a stretch marked with large and frequent “sharrows,” and literally as I biked along said sharrows, someone honked at me and yelled at me to get out of the street.

  • I love your blog and this post especially (given the subject of my blog)! I’d be a bike commuter already if I didn’t live some 45 miles away from work. Sorry, but there’s no way I’m bringing a folding bike on my morning standees-only commuter rail train!

    Keep up the fantastic work!

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