She had three interesting comments. Firstly, she noted that I was the only woman who spoke up as a year round cyclist. I didn't really think about it, but I guess it made some impact.
Secondly, she said that she had seen data that indicated that 80% of the drivers who crossed the Longfellow, made the trip from less than 5 miles away. I would credit that, as practically the only time I drive it is when I'm heading to 93 North from Cambridge. That seems like an incredibly potent argument for better facilities. 5 miles is nothing on a bike, and if the facilities made people feel safe and comfortable, I could imagine a lot of people would ditch the hassles of a car or the T to bike into Boston.
Finally, and I hope this isn't confidential, but we were discussing bike routes in and around Harvard Sq, and she said that the City of Cambridge wants to put in more cycle tracks (specifically on Concord Ave) but that Mass Bike has been fighting them. That is really disturbing to me if it's true. Cycle tracks seem like the apogee of cycle-forward design- of acknowledging that bikes really do deserve their own infrastructure, and to oppose them (on some VC principle) seems reactionary to me. If bicycling is really to become a commonplace means of transportation- not limited to the fit and the brave, and dare I say it, the majority male, I really believe that we need more and better infrastructure. Wide bike lanes, separated cycle tracks, space to go at the speed of bike, without having to constantly be evaluating and worrying and feeling pressured to keep up with the inhuman speeds of automobiles.
Maybe it's a dream to hope for those kinds of facilities for bikes. But it's that kind of dream that lured me from the Car-centric lands of my youth (Houston Texas) to the Boston area, and specifically Cambridge. I hope that someday it will be a dream completely fulfilled.