Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Hi there! Let's ride again on July 13th!

Hi Everybody!

You might be seeing this post because in the last few days or weeks, I handed you a business card with our blog address on it. If so, welcome! You can find a lot about Kidical Mass in general and BTV Kidical Mass by clicking over to the "About Us" tab and feel free to ask any questions you have there or in the comments on this post.

We've been setting the regular rides up for the first Saturdays of the month, but the first Saturday in July falls on the weekend of the Independence Day holiday and I imagine many people will be traveling or will have their own plans that may not jive well with fitting in a group ride on a Saturday morning.

So, let's get back to it on July 13th!

What about a ride that ends up downtown, at Phoenix Books? Just in time for story time and to browse their wares?

Let's do it!

Meet at 9:30 by the circle in front of Echo for a leisurely cruise along the bike path (an out and back to North Beach perhaps?) and then we'll scoot up the hill for story time at 11!

See you there,


Friday, June 28, 2013

Pop-Up Bike and Parts Swap, 7:00PM June 30th at ArtsRiot, 400 Pine Street in Burlington!

It's a good old-fashioned Bike Jumble! 

Come buy, sell, or trade your bicycles, bike parts, and bike accessories Sunday night at ArtsRiot, then stay for the  bike-in-movie at 9:00!

Bring your hoard of unused bike parts, bike accessories, and whole bikes to ArtsRiot and prepare to haggle, trade, and find some sweet deals with your fellow Burlington-area bicycle enthusiasts! No bike or parts to sell? No problem! Come on down and browse!

  • Sunday, June 30th, starting at 7:00PM at ArtsRiot, 400 Pine Street
  • Bringyour cash, your bikes, bike parts, and accessories, and a blanket or table to spread them out o
  • Stay for the bike-in movie, starting at 9:00

This is a free event. No cost, no reservations required to sell stuff

Monday, June 3, 2013

Friday, May 10, 2013

Next Kidical Mass Ride: Saturday, June 1, 2013: Farmers Market and Get Jazzed for Big Joe Burrell Day!

Hey, our next ride is coming up on June 1!

What about, in honor and celebration of Jazz Fest in Burlington, we end our ride at...

Big Joe Burrell Day!

That would be the free jazz concerts happening at City Hall Park from 12:00 until 5:00 (but most of us won't hang out that long, as we need to get back for naptime!

Here's the lineup:

Sofia Rei
Originally from Buenos Aires, Sofía Rei has been called “one of the most versatile and in-demand singers on the New York music scene” (All About Jazz) She’s collaborated with countless jazz greats, including Bobby McFerrin and won the Independent Music Award® for World Beat Album in 2010. Singing in Spanish, English or Portuguese, Sofía’s voice haunts even as it uplifts.

Uri Gurvich
A powerful musician, Israeli-via-New York saxophonist Uri Gurvich has been called “a new major voice in jazz” (All Music). A critically acclaimed bandleader and composer, Gurvich is a fixture on New York’s progressive jazz scene and released his second album, BabEl, in April on John Zorn’s Tzadik Records.

The Boston Horns
The Boston Horns are Beantown black belts who pump out an intoxicating mix of funk, jazz, and soul. The world-class party outfit has toured around the world and appeared on stage with Tower of Power, Susan Tedeschi, Los Lobos, Maceo Paker, the Del Fuegos, and Barrence Whitfield, among many others.

But Matt, the bike path doesn't go to City Hall Park! Are we going to have to ride on the streets?  

Yeah, at least some. But I've been looking around at Kidical Mass rides all around the world, and many of them use and even celebrate riding on streets, even when those streets have no bike lanes or other infrastructure! Bike paths are great, but our communities are never going to have the resources necessary to build bike lanes everywhere. It's up to us to help our kids learn how to ride safely and effectively- even when there isn't a bike path to do it on.

So that said, here's the route:

View Larger Map

That's about seven miles.

You can meet us at South Burlington High School at 10:00 if you like, or feel free to catch us on our way.

We'll stop and wait at the Forest Service building on Spear Street until 10:20, then continue to Shaw's by Shelburne Road and wait there to pick up anybody who wants to join the train at 10:30. One more stop by the parking lot at Oakledge at 10:50 to catch anybody who wants to meet us there.

Then onward! Things don't get cranking at the park until 12, so we'll be there in plenty of time if even we take it slow or if anybody wants to make a caffeine stop at Maglianero. The Burlington Farmers Market will be going on as well, so there will be plenty of food opportunities!

See you there. Email me at, comment on this blog post, or find us on Facebook or twitter for any questions!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

A little more on "riding to the ride."

Yesterday when I posted about this Saturday's Kidical Mass ride, I mentioned that anybody coming from South Burlington by bike might want to catch me and Austen as we go by. Here's our route:

View Larger Map

 Google says it's 30 minutes but it will probably take us closer to an hour to do, so I'll be over by SBHS at about 8:00 (right by the driveway onto Dorset Street).

I'd encourage others who are coming to the ride from other directions to consider buddying up and riding together as well!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Second Kidical Mass Ride: Saturday 5/4 at 9:00AM. Do-Over!

Hey everybody!

Our second Kidical Mass ride is upon us this Saturday, 5/4. And it's a do-over of our last one in terms of time, location, destination etc.

So that's easy.

I can't guarantee anything about weather, but my guess is it probably won't be 23 degrees with a 20 mph headwind!

Second monthly BTV Kidical Mass Ride

Saturday, 5/4, 9:00 AM, arrival at the playground by 10:00. Back to the starting point around noon, maybe grab a coffee at Maglianero if anybody is interested.

By the railroad shelter behind One Main on the bike path.

You, of course! Austen and I will be there with my bike, our trailer, and his balance bike for riding when we get where we are going.

Let's go for a ride!

For those of you coming from South Burlington of the South End, I'll be "riding to the ride" leaving from SBHS around 8:00 and taking the Dorset Street path across to Spear Street and then the to the  path north of 189 to hook up with the Burlington Bike Path at Oakledge and from there on in. Feel free to catch up with us anywhere along that route if you want to "ride to the ride" too! Hit me up in the comments, on twitter or Facebook if you want to join us!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Kidical Mass First-Ever Ride Report. Next ride is Saturday, 5/4

April 6th has come and gone. The day dawned clear, cold and windy. I had been nervous all night. Would anybody show up? Was a ride on a day like this even the sort of ride I wanted to go on myself?

As I got up and got breakfast going, I thought about the core principles that brought me here- to organizing indoor group rides with Vermont Indoor Cycling, to taking on Kidical Mass, to starting Vermont Bicycles United.

1. Decide what to do.
2. Do it. 

That's it. Done is better than perfect. Decide to go for a bike ride. Tell people about it. Go for a bike ride.

We cyclists tend to over-complicate things. We buy all kinds of gear.We obsess over just the right sort of infrastructure we ought to be advocating for, or what our tire pressure ought to be, or just the right chain cleaning and maintenance regime. We debate about the best way to get drivers to like us better. Those things have their place and can be important. But they aren't why we got into this. We got into this because bikes are awesome.

April 6. 8:00AM. 23 degrees. 20mph winds out of the north.  Ready to go.
Bikes are freedom machines that shrink sprawl. Lots of sprawl isn't walkable to stores, services, and community gathering places. Lots of sprawl isn't on bus lines. But almost all of the sprawl in Chittenden County is easily bike-able to parks, playgrounds, libraries, schools and coffee shops. Sometimes there are paths and bike lanes. usually there aren't. Lanes, signs, racks and what-have-you will all make that biking better and easier in the future, but you know what makes that biking better, easier, and more fun right now, with no taxpayer expense? DOING IT. The more you ride your bike, the better it gets. You get stronger. You get more familiar with the places you ride. People in cars see you riding more often, and they pay more attention. People see you riding and think that they might be able to ride too.

I put my two-year-old son into his boots, snow pants, neckwarmer, jacket and helmet. We decided to ride from the railroad shelter on the Burlington Bike Path, initially because I thought April might mean a rainy day. It felt more like mid February.   Any doubts I had were quelled when my son saw the bike and trailer out. He knew- we were going on a bike ride together. He got even more excited when he saw his balance bike lashed to the back of the trailer. We were going somewhere where he could ride, too!

I'm not going to sugar-coat it. it was cold, and it was really windy. We wound our way from our South Burlignton home down to the waterfront.  Thankfully, Chapin at Local Motion had offered to come by and open up his Steele Street office as a warm-up spot. We had a nice chat about coordinating with them on future rides, which should only help us make them bigger and better in the future.

Then, the best thing of all happened. Other people showed up! A couple from South Burlington and their daughter were there, every bit as bundled up as we were! We made some introductions, and we were off. Given the hard wind, we weren't really sure if we were going to make it to North Beach or not, but the next wonderful thing happened just as we passed the boathouse. We found ourselves in a place of relative calm as the hill blocked the wind. A very easy and short cruise later, the six of us were at the playground at North Beach.
Beautiful Sun. 

We had it all to ourselves. The sun sparkled and warmed our faces, the Adirondacks gleamed in the distance, and the air was mercifully still. The kids played. When we were done, we rode off on our separate ways. I had an ear-to-ear grin.

1. I said I was going to do a bike ride.
2. I showed up to do the bike ride.    
3. Somebody else thought it was a good idea, and they showed up, too.
4. Best of all, we rode bikes. Together.

I can't wait to see where this goes on May 4. With any luck we'll be bigger and better, and the weather will be even more cooperative.

Friday, April 5, 2013

First-Ever Burlington, Vermont Kidical Mass Ride- Saturday, April 6 at 9:00 AM on the Burlington Bike Path Behind One main

Kidical Mass looms large in my brain.

Tomorrow, in the early morning, I'll pack my 2.5 year old son and his balance bike in our Burley, hitch it to one of my bikes, and we'll ride on over from Burlington the South to Burlington proper, to the railroad shelter behind One Main on the bike path.

We'll be there by nine in the morning. Local Motion will probably show up to help us do a little helmet decorating.

By 9:30 or so, we'll start riding along the path to the playground at North Beach, where we will play and hang out for a while, then ride back to Maglianero, where we will have a cup of coffee.

Those are the only things I am sure will happen. What I don't know is if anybody else will show up to ride with us. It's that lump-in-the-throat, top-of-the-roller coaster feeling. It's the same familiar feeling I got when I showed up for the first VTIndoor ride, and the same feeling I had when started trying to get roller racing going again, and the same feeling I had when I hit the "Go" button on our indiegogo fundrasing campaign

It's like this when you start to pursue something you're passionate about. You bought the ticket, you strapped in for the ride, and you set things in motion- then there's the moment before that first drop on the roller coaster when you're not quite sure how it's all going to work out. In roller coasters as in bicycle riding, it usually works out pretty well in the end. At the worst, I'll have gone for a bike ride in Burlington with my son. Anything else is just gravy.

See you there.

Monday, March 4, 2013


Hi there!

My name is Matt Boulanger, and I like bikes. No, wait- I love bikes. I ride my bike to and from work. I ride a bike all over Vermont for fun. I even ride my bike indoors, at home and on a set of rollers at Maglianero all winter long with Vermont Indoor Cycling- which I also founded. I write about riding my bike as a Spoke for Muscles Not Motors. I also serve on the South Burlington Recreation Path Committee, because I want to make sure that our communities get more bike-friendly for everybody else who likes, no- loves bikes. When I'm not doing all that I'm working as a land-use planner for the town of Williston, where part of what I get to do is participate in a municipal planning program that integrates bike access and infrastructure into many of the things we do.

So when I'm not riding and writing and meeting and planning and everything else, there's a couple of other someones in my life who I love very much- My wife Kate and our son, Austen. And they like bikes too- but not the part where all that riding and stuff I do takes me away from them. So the other day, while I was out riding my bike, I had a thought:

It gets lonely out on the road. 

What if we all rode bikes together? (I always have my best ideas when I'm on my bike.)

The next thought came pretty quickly after that:

I bet lots of kids and their adults would like to all ride bikes together.

Kids love bike maintenance, too!

And then I wondered:

Has anybody ever done this before somewhere else?

So I Googled around a bit (I was off the bike at this point, don't Google and ride, for heavens' sake!) and sure enough, here was this thing called "Kidical Mass." It's a take on Critical Mass, a movement where lots of people on bikes get together to ride at the same time to assert their rights to the road, but the focus of Kidical Mass is on riding together with kids. Some Kidical Mass groups ride on streets, other ride on paths. Most Kidical Mass rides involve a fun destination, like a playground.

A typical Kidical Mass ride- looks like fun!

Check out what Kidical Mass is doing in Eugene, Oregon, for example!
Yeah, a pirate-themed ride. Eugene has also done a hot cocoa ride and even "Kidical Camping, which sounds excellent!

And in the Burlington area, we have paths, streets, and playgrounds and other cool places to ride to- so it sounds like a pretty good fit.

Come ride with us!

I have no idea how many people might be interested in such a thing, or where people might want to ride, but it seems like a pretty safe bet for a first ride would be to meet somewhere along the Burlington Bike Path and ride along the path to somewhere fun, then back again. It might make the most sense for it to be a regularly-scheduled ride, in which case I am thinking the first Saturday of every month at 9:00 (C'mon, parents, you have kids- you've been up for HOURS by 9:00!) in the morning might make sense. And let's get started soon, like in April.

So in true kid tradition, I'm going to "call it!" Saturday, April 6, 9:00AM in by the covered railroad stop behind One Main and we'll ride to the playground at North Beach, hang out, then ride back!

We'll start here, where we can be undercover if there are any April showers!

See you there,