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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Riding on the Charles River

The heat wave finally broke here in Boston, thanks to the rains yesterday.  While it was kind of a drag having to walk around downtown in the pouring rain, it was worth it.  Here's a shot of the rainy weather from the window outside our data lab on the 12th floor of the Boston University Medical Library:

So, let me start by saying that as lovely as Boston and the Charles River are, riding on the Dr. Paul Dudley White Bike Path here is NOTHING like riding on the Erie Canal in Syracuse.  For one thing, you don't get to see the Boston University crew team members practicing on the Erie Canal.

Also, the Charles River has some views of some really beautiful parts of the Boston skyline...

... and the Eric Canal isn't quite as polluted as the Charles River.

There are also some beautiful bridges on the Charles...


... and some really spectacular boat houses....

And all of this is in downtown Boston. This picture shows you how close the bike path is to the four-lane road that runs along the river.  So, while you are technically biking on a nature trail, you are also constantly surrounded by the sounds of traffic and the city.  On top of that, the path is pretty narrow in many spots, and you have runners and bikers traveling with you in both directions, at different speeds, so that you have to pass them, and they have to pass you, often when someone else is coming in the opposite direction.  It's a little nerve-wracking for a small-city girl like me, to say the least, but it was worth it to be out in the open air and to be near the water.  I think the next time, I will try an early-morning ride and see if that's any quieter, at least in terms of the traffic.

The other alternative to the bike path is to ride on the actual city streets themselves. I did a little of that to get to the bike path today, but only on the little street here where my dorm is, which isn't too heavily trafficked.  Most of the other streets are more like the photo below, however, and I am absolutely terrified about riding on them. I don't know if you can tell, but that white car down the road doesn't really care about being in the bike lane, and that happens quite a bit, not to mention the times when you might have 1 or 2 other bikers in that little lane alongside you between the parked cars and the cars flying by you on the road. And this guy's not wearing a helmet! No, I am definitely NOT an urban biker. Good to know!