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LowStressBikeRoutesThere are a few distinctly different types of bike riders.  They ride for different reasons, in different ways, and prefer different routes.

Seasoned riders, especially daily bicycle commuters value direct routes and tend to use main roads.  Much good work has been done in recent years to improve the use of these main city arteries for bicycle riders.  Bicycle lanes, ‘sharrows’, and other types of bicycle accommodations  have been added to city streets to let bicycles and cars share the roads safely.  Bike Newton has published a good bicycle map that lay out these types of recommended bike routes.

There’s another large class of bicycle riders though that look for completely different types of routes.  For these riders the main goal is to minimize travel on roads with car traffic.  These folks are happy with longer, more circuitous routes if they can avoid main streets.  Some of these riders are running errands or pedaling to work, etc, others are just out riding for fun – particularly kids and families.

A while back, Jim Lerner set up a “crowd-sourced” Google map to collect low stress bicycle routes around Newton.  He asked volunteers to add their favorite low stress routes and fill in the map.  He’s  had a good response so far and the map is slowly filling in but he’s certain that there are other additional good routes yet to be identified.

Take a look here and feel free to add your own favorite routes to Jim’s map.  The blue lines are paved roads, red are unpaved and may be a bit trickier for some riders with road bikes.

For those of you who don’t know Jim, this guy is a quiet power house.  Nearly every project I’ve ever been involved with in the city, Jim’s also been involved in some way behind the scenes.   Where I tend to blab, blog and generally be a ham, Jim tends to stay in the background but work tremendously effectively and efficiently.  For example:

* Lots of people identify me as the “Upper Falls Greenway guy” but Jim’s  been working on that project longer and harder than anyone.  He’s done everything from build the web site, organized the annual volunteer cleanups, organized walks, written letters and is currently making a video documentary about the project.

* For last year’s Tour de Newton, besides riding as the Upper Falls group’s leader, he also dreamed up and put together a web app that generated the 26 schedules we needed to keep everything flowing smoothly.

* For the Upper Falls Live History maps project, Jim was the behind-the-scenes technical consultant that figured out all the tricky bits.  He tutored me so that I could tutor the Newton North students.

One of my first steps in starting nearly any new project is to give Jim a call, because one way or another he’ll always end up bringing something new and important to the project.

Hat’s off to Mr. Jim Lerner!  Now go and add a bicycle route to that map.