“A four-mile car-free bike path that winds its way through parks, beaches, and under bridges”
Whether for traveling to other parts of the region or for rolling around the area’s incredible waterfront, Eastie is an awesome place to have a bike.
And for those who don’t have their own wheels, Boston Bike Rentals offers some interesting notable options, from a tandem bike for two, to a walking bicycle for gliding around, to a double-Surrey cycle, their four-wheeled “modern-day carriage,” “perfect for a fun outing with family or friends.”
You can rent them all on Bremen Street, across from the Bremen Street Park which connects to the Mary Ellen Greenway and three miles of open space with bike paths. It’s like it was meant to be.
We asked owner Azinga Ming about her innovative concept.
Tell us about your own background with bikes. How long have you been riding? Favorite bike? Where did you grow up riding? That stuff …
I was always a recreational bike rider. I have been riding for as long as I can remember, I think I first learned when I was four or five. Growing up in Dorchester I remember riding through Franklin Park having training wheels to balance and looking at my older sister jealous that she could ride without extra wheels. I couldn’t wait to get my training wheels off. That day was so exciting. I fell several times and was scared but the freedom I felt from riding was worth the bumps. As I got older, I stepped away from biking regularly but when I did, I would go for long bike rides to destress and reconnect with myself and nature.
My favorite bicycle is our single Surrey cycle. I love that I can still enjoy bike riding while chatting with my friends. As an adult, I can truly enjoy a day outdoors with my family.
Why was Eastie so perfect for this kind of an operation?
East Boston is the first town that understood the needs of recreational bikers. With the connection of the East Boston Greenway and the Mary Ellen Welch Greenway. A person has a four-mile car-free bike path that winds its way through parks, beaches, and under bridges. Past old factories and the airport. If you include the Massport harbor walk that is another mile of biking fun. Residents and customers can enjoy a bike ride and feel safe without having to fight cars or other vehicles for space on the road.
Tell us a little bit about biking in Boston in general, how far you think the city has come in terms of its cycle infrastructure, and how far you still think it needs to go.
Boston has come a long way in biking. Growing up in the area there was no place to enjoy biking except on the road or the sidewalk. The road was too dangerous because cars often forget that there are other types of vehicles on the road and on the sidewalks, you had to watch out for pedestrians. When the bicycle laws started to prohibit riding on the sidewalk the bikes were forced to ride only on the road. I was glad when Boston started marking certain roads, or designating sections of the road for bikes.
Even though Boston has implemented bicycle lanes they are inadequate for bicycle safety. Most bike paths were laid down to appease cyclists without thought to parking, maintenance, and interconnection. Boston has taken the right steps in acknowledging that there are other vehicles used to commute besides cars but it needs more support. I think having a designated bike path like the one in East Boston that cuts through parks but also allows you to avoid cars for the majority of the time is the direction all of Boston should take with biking.
We love the different choices of bikes available. How did you all come upon that model?
I can’t take all the credit, the Surrey cycle has been around for the better part of 30 years but never brought up to New England. As I mentioned earlier, as I got older, I wanted to enjoy bike riding recreationally again but with friends. Most of my friends are active but not consistent bike riders. So I was looking for a bike where we can ride together and enjoy ourselves outside. I started with tandem bicycles but didn’t want to constantly be looking behind me to chat. I found the single Surrey cycle. The carriage style blocks the sun while we are riding, and the bench-style seat allows me to sit next to my friend and chat. As people saw this bike, I realized that often large families want to ride together so I added the Double Surrey Cycle that fits four adults.
And finally, when we come out there to rent, what is one route we absolutely have to take? Best views? Maybe a good restaurant with bike parking we should stop at?
When you come to rent our cycles, you have to take the Mary Ellen Welch / East Boston Greenway to the waterfront. It is the most spectacular bike path. If you head towards the waterfront about 20 feet from the end of the path you have an unobstructed view of the Downtown Boston skyline, a million-dollar view. Also on the opposite end of the bike path is Constitution Beach. Who doesn’t want to ride a bike along the beach?
If you would like to stop for refreshments along your bike path I would stop to park your bike at the entrance of the Harborwalk park then go eat at the Tawakal Halal Café. It is slightly off the Greenway but worth the ride down Maverick street. It is the only Somalian restaurant in Boston and has truly delicious home cooking and the Ice Shaah is refreshing.
Or for a true shot of caffeine to have the energy to continue your ride you can stop at Café Iterum, right on the waterfront. It’s a new cafe directly off the Greenway. The owner uses all sustainable products and the location is really awesome to park the bikes while enjoying the views of Boston.