How could Oktoberfest get any better? By adding bikes into the mix! At least, that’s the idea behind the Boston Cyclists Union’s Biketoberfest, which will welcome more than 300 area pedal pushers to the Armory on October 15 to eat, drink, socialize and celebrate the work the union has been doing.
Any time an area street is redesigned, explains Community Organizer Doug Johnson, the union is there working with municipalities to ensure that two-wheeled travelers are being taken into account. For example, the Cyclists Union provided much of the push for the coming protected bike lanes on Commonwealth Avenue. Their newest campaign, Bikeways for Everybody, will eventually create five major cross-town bike routes, beginning with a path connecting Assembly Row to Mattapan. “Usually when roads are redesigned it’s done really piecemeal—different jurisdictions don’t communicate with each other,” Johnson explains. “The Bikeways for Everybody campaign takes a lot of these different projects that are already in the works and links them together, then shows the missing links that cities aren’t looking at yet.”
“It’s really important to know that someone is advocating for making biking safer,” says Daniela Cardenas. An intern with the organization since May, Cardenas, who also serves on the Somerville Bicycle Committee, says she wasn’t aware of the behind-the-scenes work being done by cyclists throughout Greater Boston until she started volunteering. Over the last six months, she’s gotten involved with programs like Bike to Market, which provides free labor and instruction to cyclists in underserved communities throughout Greater Boston where people ride bicycles out of necessity but don’t have a neighborhood shop that can do general bike maintenance.
Cyclists Union members get free admission to next week’s soiree, but if you’re not a member, your $25 ticket gets you into the event and grants you union membership for the next year. In addition to granting you access to a big ol’ party, that purchase “allows you to support our work, which is basically making Boston, Brookline, Cambridge and Somerville better for biking,” says Johnson. (Membership also comes with a few added perks like discounts to local businesses.) And if you’re a cyclist who wants to learn more about the union but can’t make it to Biketoberfest, there are plenty of other ways to volunteer throughout the year.
“Before I started volunteering, I just biked!” Cardenas says. “I didn’t realize how much I could get involved. When I realized there are all these amazing organizations around, it made me want to be a part of them.”
Boston Cyclists Union’s Biketoberfest
Thursday, October 15, 6:30 – 9:30 p.m.
Center for Arts at the Armory
191 Highland Ave.