After being cooped up for (let’s be honest) the better part of the past year, you may have that itch to get outdoors, garden, walk, and ride a bike. May is National Bike month, and our team was recently talking about all the ways biking intersects with real estate. I decided to capture these in one place for you, and I hope to inspire you to get out there and bike, maybe even today.
Get access to a bike that suits you
If you don’t already have a bicycle, or your current bike has rusted away in storage, you have lots of options for acquiring one. Some people like to tool around town or do errands by bike, while others crave weekend mountain biking in the woods. Whatever your preference, there’s a bike for you—but where to go?
Rent or bikeshare
If you don't want to purchase a bike, you can rent one from a bike shop (we list some good ones below), or if you live in Greater Boston, use a bike share program like Bluebike. For a monthly fee (from $5-$25), you can grab a sturdy Bluebike at any kiosk, at any time, and use it to get around town. It's a great option if you don't want to take on the storage and maintenance risks of owning a bike.
Buy a bike
If you wish to purchase a bicycle, you can find one at Walmart or REI, but your best bet is to find a reputable bike shop in your neighborhood. There, you can work with one of their employees to choose the right type and size for you. Ask friends and neighbors where they like to go; my absolute favorite is City Cycle in Stoneham, but our team has also had good experiences at Ace Wheelworks and Bicycle Belle in Somerville.
Be wary of a bike shop where they don’t welcome you right away or answer your questions in a patient manner. You could fall prey to the “hard sell” at a place like this, and end up with an expensive bike that doesn’t meet your needs.
No matter where you buy your bike, pick up a helmet as well. Helmet advocacy site helmets.org reports that helmets reduce the risk of serious head injury from crashes by up to 88%, so wear your helmet, y’all!
Take care of your bike
Just as your furnace needs maintenance, your bicycle should be tuned up once a year to ensure safe riding, and every 6 months if you’re riding a lot. Most bike shops offer tuning services, and they’ll get you rolling for around $50-$100. Some places require an appointment, so call ahead and ask about how to get your bike in for service. Alternatively, consider learning how to tune up your own bike if you’re a handy kind of person (or if you want to become a handy kind of person). This article from Popular Mechanics is detailed and clear.
Ride your bike
City dwellers and suburbans alike have plenty of options for getting out and cycling thanks to the trend of making cities and towns more bike-friendly (Massachusetts was recently ranked in the top 5 states for bike-friendliness). Dedicated bike lanes, lowered speed limits for cars, and plenty of bike racks are vital for commuters. Rail trails, mountain biking tracks, and good maps benefit sport cyclists and Sunday afternoon riders. Whether you pop your bike on a car and head out for a country ride or you cruise down Mass Ave to pick up dinner, you’ll appreciate the efforts of the town and city officials who have spent time and funds to encourage safe bicycling.
Protect your bike
If you’re planning to use your bike for errands, or to get you to your friend’s home for a spring barbecue, you’ll need to secure it. First, register your bike with a national bike registry like bikeindex.org, which can help recover a stolen bike. Then buy a lock that’s strong and easy to use (the U-shaped style is a classic), and find a bike rack or other sturdy place to lock it. I suggest you read this guide, from the City of Boston, about how and where to lock your bike. There’s even a nifty map of all the bike rack locations in the Boston area. You’ll need to secure your bike at home, as well. If you live in an apartment without a private dedicated storage area, you can tuck it behind your couch, store it (locked) on your balcony if your building allows it, or hang it in a hallway like Jerry did on Seinfeld. This Apartment Therapy blog gives apartment dwellers more ideas, as well.
Bike more, get happy!
I remember one perfect spring day when I biked the paved loops at Breakheart Reservation in Saugus. I could hear birds calling as I cruised through the beautiful forests, and I took a rest on a bench at the lake. My spirits were soaring from the physical exertion and the thrill of speeding along with the wind on my face. This memory is one of my favorites, and I often recall it when I’m feeling like a couch potato; it helps me get my bike out, pump up the tires, and get back on the road. This May, find your motivation and enjoy the fun and freedom that comes from pedaling along the road.
Wondering which neighborhoods in and around Boston are great for bikers? Contact us. We're here to help.