Cycle Diaries

Welcome to our newest contributor, Lisa Gordon! If you missed her introduction, take a look here.


I recently moved back to Boston after 8 years in San Francisco, where I honed my love for biking. Though it’s hilly, it’s known for its bike culture and prevalence of city bike lanes. Boston, however, is too. And it’s flatter, so I had that on my side! I moved back in January, and as soon as the snow cleared and the temperatures increased – luckily it wasn’t too bad of a winter for this newly unseasoned local – I knew it was time to start exploring on my bike. I was nervous, though. I knew how to get around these crazy city streets in a car and on foot, but on a bike? That was a very different story.

First, I needed to make sure my bike was in decent shape, as it had been sitting in my hallway for months, untouched. I quickly learned that Community Bike Supply on Tremont Street was the best shop in Boston. Luckily, it wasn’t far. After a tune-up, I was ready to ride.

First ride: Jamaica Pond

A friend suggested hanging out at Jamaica Pond, which I’d never been to. So it was two firsts in one. I took the Southwest Corridor bike lane, which is a ride in and of itself. Starting on Columbus Street (which has a nice bike lane), I followed that into the Northeastern University campus. It’s a little tricky to navigate from the street into the park’s bike lane – you essentially have to bike through across the campus sidewalk, but once you’re on the proper lane, you’re good for miles. The bike lane is separated from the foot path, making for an easy ride and a mostly smooth one (the lane is prone to some major sidewalk cracks and some gnarly stonework), but barring those minor issues, the ride takes you past playgrounds, parks, basketball courts, where I saw people playing and just hanging out, enjoying themselves. It’s an entire stretch of public space that’s worth walking through even if you don’t bike.

The path takes you through Jamaica Plain’s Jackson Square and then ends at Forest Hills Station, near the Arnold Arboretum. From there, I navigated through the windy neighborhood streets of JP until I found Green street, then turned onto Pond St.

There’s a path that loops around the pond, but bikers beware—it’s for pedestrians only. There is, however, bike parking in front of the clubhouse.

jamaica-pondThe pond is lined by Jamaica Way and Arborway Roads, bordering Jamaica Plain and Brookline, and is part of Boston’s Emerald Necklace of parks. Driving by, it looks like a nice enough pond, maybe one of a hundred others you’ve seen. Only when you’re sitting by it or walking around it, does it become clear how beautiful it actually is.

Lisa is writer who has recently returned to Boston, and is getting to know the city again from her base in the South End. Her work includes both fiction and non-fiction — be sure to check out her portfolio here, and catch up with her on Instagram.

Image Credit: Lisa Gordon

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