He works downtown at Safari Books Online, the digital library for Pearson Education and O’Reilly Media, where he manages their software engineering teams. We caught up for an email Q & A after the photo shoot, in which Cris talks about riding at night, staying warm the stylish way, and the fallacy of “waterproof” clothing.
What do you do at work?
Our work ranges from helping people get better at coding languages like Java and Python, to working with publishers to make electronic books more awesome, to building websites for reference sources like the Oxford English Dictionary. Just this past week, we were invited to be part of a new initiative from the White House to help K-12 students get a solid foundation of tech skills, which is super exciting. It’s a lot of fun and I work with a lot of smart, funny, and humbling people everyday. I can’t ask for a better workplace or co-workers.
Where do you ride most often?
I live in Inman, work downtown, and have friends all over the city. If it’s anywhere between JP, Newton, Somerville, or Arlington, I’ll ride my bike rather than take a car. I love riding at night, leaving a friend’s house or a venue somewhere between midnight and sunrise, when the streets are quiet and the air is crisp. It’s a different city with an air of new mystery and potential. I’ll take the long way home just to indulge in a bit of exploration, and listen to a stranger’s laughter echoing from a few blocks away, or dish out a high-five to someone trying to hail a taxi cab and listen to them holler in delight as I ride past.
How do you stay warm during the winter?
Layers, layers, layers. In this photo I have a wool t-shirt and a pair of tights underneath the office gear and that keeps me warm but isn’t too hot for the office. The coat is also good for blocking the wind, which is key for staying warm. Also remember that you lose a lot of heat in your head and your hands. Go heavy on the gloves, scarf, and hat, and you can afford to be a bit chilly in your core. Finally, waterproof clothing is a myth. Either it’s non-breathable and will get you sweaty or it’s not really waterproof and you’ll get damp. Wear clothes that dry quickly, so even if you get to the office a little damp, within an hour you’ll be dry and forget what the weather was like.
Tell us about your bike…
This is a project bike that I built up myself about three years ago. I wanted an all-weather commuter for the city, and for a moment got fixated on the Pashley Guvnor, but thought to myself that I could probably build up an equivalent bike for less than the $1500 that a Guvnor would cost. I also participate in brevets and randonnees, which is this form of long distance, unsupported adventure cycling and so had all of these spare parts (front rack, hub generator, headlights, etc.) from a brevet bike that I had been upgrading. Still, the Path Racer look of the Guvnor was the inspiration. The Raleigh is essentially this speedy heritage mixed with a bit of the traditional English 3-speed utility roadster. Fenders, headlights, front rack, three speeds, etc. but also fixed gear and low handlebars for racing friends on empty streets.
Ride on, Cris!
Aaron is a graphic designer and illustrator who lives in Mission Hill and works at tech firm in Kendall Square. A lifelong enthusiast for all things bike-related, Aaron had a lot to say about the utility and pleasure of riding a bike:
I find bikes to be moving pieces of artwork, created and altered by their owner. The bike really becomes an expression of oneself. It’s always interesting to see a bike and it’s rider together because it often looks like those cartoons in which a dog takes on a similar appearance to the owner.
As a whole spend a lot of time in transit every day, but unlike taking public transit or driving a car, when you are on a bike you directly interact with your environment. You really get to see where you are. You discover new shops, landmarks, parks, things you wouldn’t find if you are stuck in a vehicle. I consider it to be more of a journey than a simple change of position.
I’m always trying to encourage my friends to ride. It’s one of those things that can double as entertainment as well as serve a utilitarian function. I find it much quicker than trying to build a schedule around public transit. Instead of having to wait for a bus, or transfer from one train to another, I can quickly get from point A to point B when I want to.
As a graphic designer and illustrator, Aaron makes a lot of bike-themed work. Check out his neat designs on his website.
Ride on, Aaron.
This is Najah Shakir, Program Manager at Boston Bikes, the City of Boston’s bike department. During the warmer months, you will usually find her riding Hubway to work and around the city, but until the system gets running year round — an idea Cycle Style Boston fully endorses — she rides her Globe Daily 3-speed in the off-season. We caught up with Najah recently for a little Q&A about her work and biking in Boston. Read the rest of this entry »
Readers of this blog may remember my earlier feature on Bekka Wright, the artist and creative force behind the witty, imaginative and popular blog Bikeyface. Earlier this year, my friends over at Momentum Mag got in touch about doing a photo shoot for their BikeStyle series featuring Bekka. The premise? To show Bekka with a drawing of her character, the protagonist of the Bikeyface cartoons. This photo appears in the current issue of Momentum Mag, currently on the shelves. Go pick up your copy today! Here are a few outtakes from the shoot. Read the rest of this entry »
Residents of Cambridgeport have been putting up with construction along the length of Western Ave for over a year now. Finally there is a light at the end of the tunnel. After doing major utility work along the corridor, construction crews are starting to put the street back together. But what was once a wide, highway-like roadway cutting through the neighborhood will return as a human-scale city street. The design maintains two lanes of one-way traffic going westbound and parallel parking on both sides of the street, but moves the bike lane up onto sidewalk level where people riding bikes will be protected from roadway hazards like double-parked cars, aggressive drivers, potholes, and opening car doors. Read the rest of this entry »
This is a potentially game changing week for making proposed bicycle infrastructure improvements a reality in downtown Boston. For those not already familiar, Boston recently received a TIGER Grant from the U.S DOT to make some major streetscape upgrades in and around downtown. The project, called Connect Historic Boston, calls for a family-friendly, bi-directional bike loop protected from car traffic that will provide residents and visitors a safe route into and around downtown and the North End.
This week, two major public meetings are happening to get community input on two important sections of this proposed bike route. Here is a rundown:
TONIGHT (Wednesday, November 20): the City of Boston will present a concept plan for the Atlantic Ave/Commercial Street protected bike lane. North End residents are especially encouraged to attend. Where? Nazzaro Community Center, 30 N. Bennet St. When? Tonight at 6pm!
TOMORROW NIGHT (Thursday, November 21): the city will host a public meeting to present and discuss the redesign of Causeway Street to include protected bike lane. Where? CBT Architects, 110 Canal St When? Thursday, November 21 at 6:00pm
With more people riding bikes in Boston everyday, and more to come, bicycle advocates are encouraging high turnout for both meetings to make sure these needed safety improvements get built.
Elly Blue is a bike activist, blogger, and publisher extraordinaire based out of Portland, OR. I was already familiar with her blog/zine series Taking the Lane, which covers issues around equity in cycling, but recently got further acquainted with her work after picking up a copy of her latest book Bikenomics at Brookline Booksmith (it turns out this was a fluke, as the book hasn’t even been published yet. Nonetheless I am a beneficiary of this happy mistake). When I was visiting Portland last week, we met up for coffee to chat about the cycling scenes in our respective cities, her upcoming tour of the East Coast in Spring 2014, and just generally geek out about cycling. She was kind enough to let me get her photo as well. Elly owns a few bikes, but on this particular day she was riding a customized mountain bike outfitted with an Xtracycle cargo trailer.
Ride on, Elly!