Ready to Take Off the Training Wheels

BSA Space Presents Let’s Talk About Bikes

Photos by Vatche Manoukian II.

Bostonians know that bicycles are everywhere—even Menino says that “the car is no longer the king in Boston.” Walk Scores 2012 Bicycle Rankings placed us at number four, trailing behind Minneapolis, Portland, and San Francisco. To showcase just how integrated bikes have become within Boston’s city limits, BSA Space is hosting “Let’s Talk About Bikes“, a free exhibit running through August 31st.

“Let’s Talk About Bikes” opens on the ground floor with a re-creation of a neighborhood bike shop window. Three bikes hang in the window, beckoning visitors. The adjacent wall is covered with testimonials from thousands of local bikers who’d filled out questionnaires online before the show (shown above). Based on their answers, they’re branded confident commuters to aggressive racers, and everything in between. It’s a powerful way to demonstrate the sheer number of people now riding two wheels in the city.

Up the gallery’s flight of shocking electric green stairs (another reason to come to the new BSA headquarters), you’ll gain insight into the emerging role that bikes are serving in our city. Curator Mark Pasnik AIA (along with Chris Grimley and Michael Kubo) says he wanted to frame the exhibition around the “many passionate voices linked to the bicycle—from advocates and riders to city officials and planners.”

One wall showcases those whose careers revolve around the bicycle—from Fleet Admiral Skunk, who founded the local bicycle gang SCUL in 1996, to custom-frame builder Lauren Trout of Salia Bicycles.

The exhibit also offers a comprehensive guide to commuter bikes, displaying the different styles and explaining their various merits. The Montague Park and Pedal folding bike (shown above) was by far the most exciting—it’s half of its original size when packed up, making it easy to transport and simple to store. Blue and white bubbles throughout tell more about our bourgening bicycle culture such as Cycle Kids, the work of bicycle messengers, and bicycle races in Boston.

All of this made me wonder how would Boston’s public transit be impacted if enough residents trade in their Charlie Cards for Hubway memberships. Only time will tell.

“Let’s Talk About Bikes” is worth a look, even if it’s just to stop by and check out the new BSA Space. Plan to visit on a sunny day and take advantage of the $10 flat rate underground parking garage. Better yet, go to the nearest Hubway Station and find out what all the fuss is about.