Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Beantown


So I have been in Boston the past week for the USGBC Greenbuild Conference and Expo...Let me just say right now- if I complain later on in my blog about being cold, just remind me about the arctic weather in beantown. I am definitely a cold weather wimp, so just keep that in mind, but when I first got to Boston it was at night, temps in the 20s and windy. But even with the air numbing my face, I instantly loved the city. Getting from the Airport to my Hostel was no problem because they have a great public transportation system. For $15 I bought a 7 day pass that gave me full access to trains, subways, and buses. So in about 30 minutes I was at my stop (it took less time to get across Boston that it took for me to change terminals in Charlotte-go figure). As I walked from my T-stop to the Hostel, I passed five bikers braving the weather all geared out and with a whole bike lane to themselves. They were all wearing face masks and gloves, both of which I have now ordered as the temperature starts to drop here in Charleston. During my trip I lost count of how many people I saw on bikes and it was great. The first day of the conference, I paid a little extra to go on a biking tour of green buildings in the city (picture above and below). Now this sounded like such an awesome idea when I was sitting at my computer all warm and toasty, but when the moment arrived and it was under 30 degrees and windy I got cold feet... literally. But I was too excited not to go and braved the cold weather in the southern version of winter clothes (five layers of cotton clothing with a cutesy scarf, no hat, of course) and tried to stay warm. I have to admit it felt weird getting on a bike other than mine- I kinda felt like I was cheating on my little blue bike back home. I definitely missed having shocks- especially since the seat had NO padding...frozen bum meets cold hard seat... yeah. Anyway..our group had about 20 people in it and our guides tried to keep us from getting squished by taxis (they are totally ruthless). When we were all talking about where we were from I said "Charleston" and someone said "oh, well then you must be used to this weather". I was totally confused for the entire ride until someone mentioned that there is a Charlestowne outside of Boston...BIG difference. I chatted up the guides about biking in Boston and surviving the weather. They said that the right gear makes a huge difference but that you just have to be prepared to be cold. He has led bike tours in the snow but said it gets a little dangerous- ya think?. After talking to other people during my trip, it seems that while the city has bike lanes there are still plenty of people that have no respect for bikers- which I guess is going to happen where ever you are. When I was riding in my friends car, it did seem like some serious cutthroat driving and more than once I had to tell them to watch out for bikers. One guy I rode with said he had actually hit a biker that passed him on the right in his blind spot when in a turn lane... luckily they were both going slow and it wasn't bad. Needless to say, I'm not ready to bike commute in a city like Boston yet... and since the T-system is so great, you really wouldn't have to. Charleston is a long way from this point, that's for sure. One guy I was talking to said that he wished he didn't have his car because the only time he drives it is to move it for street cleaning and snow plowing. What ever public transport you are using there, you never wait longer that 10 minutes, unlike here where you can wait up to an hour. And they have maps, schedules, and info kiosks everywhere, so you never have to worry about getting lost. But even with all of its convenience, beauty, and people- I still rather live in Charleston :-)


3 comments:

Magellan said...

It looks amazing there. Such a shame its so cold.

Geoff said...

love the leaf picture on the pond! that was a nice place ...

Cedar Posts and Life Floating By said...

Newberry Street and South Boston, the food at both is amazing and the crowds are so different.

By the way nice story in the PnC. Funny I didn't read it but my cousin was in town and was completely wowed about you.

She's an architect with the state department, and her specialty is green architecture. She and now I are very impressed. Major Kudos to you!