World Day of Remembrance (Bike Ride) 2017

Photo credit: Kyle Ramey

Copied and pasted from the Facebook event page:

Join us for the 2017 World Day of Remembrance. Stand in solidarity to honor those who have been injured or killed by a road traffic crash. The vast majority of these crashes are preventable through engineering, education and enforcement. In numbers, we can recognize our loved ones, and also demand action from our elected officials. 

Please wear yellow. 

SCHEDULE
12:00 pm: Meet in Copley Square for the Memorial Bike Ride
1:30 pm: Gather at Charles St and Beacon St on the Boston Common for the Memorial Walk. 
2:00 pm: Rally on the steps of Massachusetts State House for the Memorial Vigil
3:00 pm: Head to a post-vigil gathering at CIC Boston (50 Milk St) 

More info about the Memorial Bike Ride:https://www.facebook.com/events/1320977614678150/

More info about the post-vigil gathering:
Attendees are encouraged to warm up indoors after the vigil at a reception hosted by MassBike at CIC Boston, 50 Milk Street, Boston -- the baristas at Render Coffee will be on duty. There will be ample secure and covered bike parking available near the Devonshire Street entrance. 

World Day of Remembrance is an annual, international event during which we gather as a community to reflect upon those we've lost and commit ourselves to improving our roads. 

#WDR2017
#safetyoverspeed
#crashnotaccident
#visionzero

These events are organized by the Massachusetts Vision Zero Coalition. Learn more at http://www.visionzerocoalition.org/

Brainstorming PN2K Bike Repair Training

Team meeting: we had a productive and refreshing walk around JPond, followed by chili turkey hosted at Ye's place.  During our meeting, Miranda showed us the new PN2K bright green neon stickers recently designed. We love them, and we hope you will, too!

We did a bit of brainstorming on how we might want to revise MIT PN2K's activities to reflect our mission and better serve the growing number of PN2K members we have.  One problem has been that bike events require large-scale organization and requires everyone helping to be available. Volunteers who aren't working full-time (aka students) are often flooded by MIT homework and psets and unable to commit to organizing monthly large scale events.  Even more importantly, bike problems happen spontaneously-- sometimes requiring immediate attention (e.g., bike brakes not working, flat tire, etc.).  As frequently as our bike events are held, timing-wise, they are still suboptimal since a cyclist cannot just email us to receive immediate help (in which case, they are once again forced to either wait it out until our next bike event or take their bike to a shop and pay $40-$100+ for their repairs  (in which case, they throw up both hands in exasperation and yell, "Why do I bike??!") Well, that's not what we want.

So, Yaoming gave us his idea, which essentially boils down to this:

PN2K hires bike professionals (or recruits bike savvy individuals) who would train a focus group of 10-15 "bike apprentices." These apprentices would go through several steps of bike repair and safety training.  They would learn about PN2K, basic bike safety repairs, practice tons (on the bikes we have in the office), then help others under the guidance and supervision of these professionals.  This process leads to the possibility for our apprentices to obtain a PN2K Bike Safety certification.  These bike apprentices then become our instructors who train the next generation of bike apprentices.  As we increase the number of PN2K certified bike safety instructors, we can hold regular and flexible "office hours" in our PN2K office.  For our PN2K members, this means you don't have to wait for 30 days or until the next bike event for your regular bike needs.

We have a few people already interested in being part of the training process.  If you are someone who knows bike skills and would like to be part of the first generation of trainers, subscribe to our mailing list so you're kept in the loop with everyone that's going on.

Keep Calm & Pedal On~

PN2K BBQ cook-out

Marshmallows.  Nature.  Grilled and seasoned avocado, salmon, tofu, corn, mushroom, peppers… Friends.  Being so full you’re in a coma for the next hour.  Walk in the woods.  Board games.  Conversation.  Community.

Bike Safety 101

Dustin Weigl, one of our MIT PN2K bike safety guys, also represents bike safety for the Graduate Student Council.  He recently held a Bike Safety 101 presentation, which had about 70 sign-ups and attendees.  His presentation with Anna and the two MIT campus police officers was very on-point.  Until you host one of these presentations, you don’t realize how many people have questions about seemingly “simple” points on biking.  You realize that there is no such thing as what’s simple or not — just a difference in the range of biking experiences out there and that learning all the rules of the road is a process. For instance, one slide of the presentation struck me: It was titled “How to turn left?”  This slide struck me because the intersection depicted on the slide was the exact intersection on which Phyo had died.  He died likely making that left turn going down Vassar Street onto Mass Ave.  The truck likely struck him making a wide turn coming up to make a right turn from Mass Ave onto Vassar St.  Phyo did nothing wrong — Cycling is an experience requiring constant vigilance as safety requires not only you to be safe but others to operate responsibly as well.  Bike safety is important as much to motorists and pedestrians as it is to cyclists.

So how does one make a left turn?  There are two ways: move with traffic in the left turn lane (though I find this to be really unnerving if you’re in between cars; it helps if you’re at the front so you move before all the cars do).  On the Mass Ave & Vassar St intersection (or any extremely busy or high-risk traffic intersections), you can also stay in the biking lane on the far right side of the road and bike across the huge intersection and stop when you’re on the other side.  Then turn towards the street you were going to turn onto and wait for those traffic lights to turn green and simply bike straight.  This second method takes a few more minutes than the first, but it is far less stressful.

If you’re interested in helping to promote bike safety and teaching others bike safety tips, we always need more advocates.  Subscribe to our newsletter and say Hi to our officers at our next event.  Keep Calm & Pedal On ~

Nicole on a VBike!

I biked all the way from MIT to Newton on a VBike (it only cost $2) and met Nicole Freedman!  When I started working with PN2K is when I first became involved with the bike safety.  When you’re at MIT and in the field of bike safety, you’re bound to hear some names, one of them being Nicole’s.  Nicole was formerly known as the “bike czar” of Boston, one of the main instigators of the stationed bike share system Hubway.  She’s also really cool in person, and I was thrilled to have the chance to meet her.  Nicole is now the Transportation Director of Newton, and she met with me to discuss a mode of station-less bike share and possibly introducing this into the City of Newton.  I will thrilled to just meet her, and the prospect of working with her to make the surrounding cities more bike friendly is mind-blowing.  Thanks for your time Nicole, and for all you’ve done with transportation in Boston and the Greater Boston area!

P.S. Just in case you’re wondering, VBikes is a new station-less bike share system being introduced to many cities in Massachusetts.  They’re super snazzy designs — I couldn’t help noticing all the looks that random people gave me (heads turning) when they saw my bike.  This one in particular had no gears, but it’s also our prototype bike and is by no means the final version (final version will include adjustable seats, dynamo hub powering front light, solar panel powering bike lock, Shimano gears and Shimano brakes, lighter bike, etc.)  Why this beats out stationed bikes?  The entire ride from MIT to Newton cost me $2! (and I did not have to worry about kiosks). Now hey, no technology is perfect, but these new no-kiosk VBikes are definitely worth considering, especially when they don’t cost $100K+ in taxpayer’s money and are pretty high quality, sturdy bikes! More info on their website: www.vbikes.com (download the app to use a VBike)

 

August Bike Event & Dumpling Party

August bike event!  Summer's not over so naturally we decided to hold another bike event.  During one of our last MIT PN2K officer meetings, we decided that we should offer more options than the annual membership, particularly when sometimes we have 6-month visiting students at our event (and it doesn't make sense for them to purchase the 1-year membership).  So now our membership include a 6-month option for a $5 discount from the normal prices: 

One Year Membership Prices: 
student $15/MIT Affiliate $20/Non-MIT Affiliate $25
Half Year Membership Prices: 
student $10/MIT Affiliate $15/Non-MIT Affiliate $20

Our August event included: Bicycle Safety Check, Minor Repairs***, Bicycle Pressure Washing***, Bicycle Registrations, Clean U-­lock Station***, $20 Bike Helmets, $15 Bike Lights, $2 Batteries(CR2032), Free Food & Music 
(***PN2K membership purchase required. You can always buy your membership with us online or on-site. Our online store is now updated with the 6-month membership options: http://www.pn2k.org/product/buy-membership/)

As always, great event with lots of friendly faces, laughter, and free food/music and fun!  But we couldn't stop there.  We took the party indoors and had some festivities making more than 100 dumplings (about 20 from scratch!).  Look out for more fun gatherings to come.    

 

VBiking on the Esplanade

We did our first trial run of a bike ride using a VBike.  We decided to keep to the Charles River bike path along Memorial Drive, given the new construction there in the past year (thanks DCR for all the renovations!) and the fact that we wanted to keep this ride more relaxed and social (conversing while biking).  We went around the Museum of Science on Charles River Dam Road and then looped back on the Esplanade.  We decided to stop for a quick break on one of the docks, which is where we met a ZipCar representative and his friends (one from the City Council) who saw the VBike and were instantly attracted.  They came over and asked questions, super intrigued by seeing something other than Hubway! (aside: the lack of docks along the Esplanade and the restriction on 30-minute rides makes using Hubway infeasible for biking along the Esplanade — one of the sadder things I discovered long ago).  Anyway, to finish off the trip, we decided to go for vietnamese cuisine at Pho in Boston, had great conversation, and called it a night.  Good times!

 

Yaoming speaks with Aditya about VBikes.  Aditya and his friends had questions about VBikes and dockless bike share.  Admittedly, I would be, too, considering if I had friends who didn’t own bikes, I would want them to have this option for riding along and down the Esplanade — one of the great joys of Boston.

VBikes (in the PN2K house!)

Exciting news: recently one of our teammates went to interview David Shan, the owner of VBikes, a stationless bicycle sharing company originating in Dallas, Texas with headquarters in Garland, TX.  They were interested in our mission and work and heard about our dilemma and troubles using Hubway bikes for our long Blue Heron bike ride.  (We have been wanting to increase the number of bike rides we lead, but we are trying to encourage people without bikes — so you can see where our dilemma lies). After speaking with a VBikes company contact (Shawn), VBikes decided to partner and support our efforts.  We don’t know exactly where the collaboration will go but in the meantime, we are excited to announce that we have five new VBikes at the PN2K Office. Here’s Yaoming with our snazzy new VBikes! The great thing is that they don’t require kiosks and only cost us $1/hr to ride. I think we’ll need to take this out for a test spin soon! ~ Keep Calm & Pedal On

All the bike parts!

Thanks to an Anonymous Donor who donated about 20-30 bikes to PN2K!  Admittedly, they are not whole bikes; some are frames, some have missing cables, some are missing the seats, etc. so don't expect just yet that we have a lot of bikes that can be borrowed 😉 Through our team meetings, however, we have discussed holding DIY workshops involving "frankensteined" bikes. This requires having bike parts, and boy, do we now have lots of use-able parts.  These bikes with their parts will reside in our MIT PN2K office space until further notice... One great thing is that we did receive at least one ride-able Giant bike that's in pretty great shape that we can fix up a bit and PN2K members will be able to rent/borrow for our bike rides!  Exciting stuff.  (Meanwhile, hey, does anyone know where we dispose of unused bike parts and frames?) 

Summer Island

Join us for our June summer bike event, Summer Island. We'll transform the Student Center Plaza and Front Steps into our own little island as we perform free bike safety checks (a quick diagnosis to tell you what's wrong with your bikes). Be sure to grab one of our annual memberships for service on your bike-- for those who asked at previous events, we will have our pressure washer set up.  As always, our event includes free snacks, food, and drinks as always. Stop by to say Hi and introduce yourself to the PN2K community! 

PN2K Blue Heron Bridge Ride

Did you know there was a hidden gem along the Charles River, called the Blue Heron Bridge?  For cyclists of all experience levels who live in the Greater Boston area, you must check out the Charles River Greenway, which begins at the McKenna playground in Waltham, MA.  For our cycling group, we had John Innes leading the ride with co-biking leaders from the MIT PN2K team (Yaoming, Tian, Rudy, Ye, Dingfang).  We were glad to welcome nine other cyclists in our group of 15.  We are proud to host this bike ride for four new cyclists (meaning they don't have bikes and it's basically their first times riding in the city -- we are honored their first time riding was with PN2K!)  We bought our four cyclists 24-hr day passes for Hubway; however, a word of caution: in a large group with new cyclists (or cyclists riding at different paces), we do not recommend depending on Hubway outside the main Hubway cities.  We love that Hubway promotes biking for short distances, but having to undock and dock bikes before every 30-minutes ended (sometimes docks were all full, and we had to find another dock nearby) and having to take four detours away from our trip to undock/dock bikes was logistically challenging and stressful.  Nonetheless, this was a great learning, teaching, and bonding experience.  For us, it's all about getting more cyclists out there, even if it means some trial-and-error.

Here's a shot of our group at the Blue Heron Bridge.  A beautiful ride on a gorgeous day! [PC: Yaoming, Dingfang] 

The great thing about holding these bike rides is that we have the chance to meet new faces, burn some calories, eat some snacks, enjoy the great outdoors, and learn new things about the cities in which we live (for instance, how long the Charles River Greenway bike path extends and how to take safe bike paths to reach specific destinations like restaurants or shops). Before our bike ride, we held a brief bike safety talk (thanks Rudy) and post-ride, we brainstormed a few things after this bike ride, including do's and don'ts for future (long) bike rides.  You can bet we discussed ways of encouraging new cyclists to bike with us without using Hubway in the future (sadly, four 24-hour day passes should have cost us only 4 x $8 = $32 but as our entire group including four cyclists went over 30-minutes four times, the cost of over-charges was 4 cyclists x 4 overcharges x $3 per overtime = $48. Total for the bike ride was a whopping $80 for which really should have been a free bike ride. Yikes! Well, thank goodness we had some UA Finboard funding to cover this, but $80 might have gotten us a (rudimentary) new bike for PN2K 😉  Besides this, we really enjoyed hanging out with everyone and seeing some old faces! We hope to ride with others again and hope more people will join us as our rides evolve. 

If you're interested in being one of our future bike leaders, please drop us a line at pn2kmit-officers@mit.edu.  We are always looking for more 3-season and winter bike riding leaders! 

Keep Calm & Pedal On! 

More photos from our bike ride on Facebook here.

“I feel great!”

It’s always great to see familiar faces from our growing PN2K community.

We’ve been steadily growing since we started our first bike event a few years ago (see previous blogs). Expanding operations means needing a more sustainable funding model so we can provide a greater range of services to the biking and PN2K community (for instance, we’ve been wanting to sell customized water bottles, winter accessories, high visibility and useful PN2K biking gear, etc. forever!). This event was one of the first in which we tested out our new membership option ($15 for 1-year student membership up to $25 for non-affiliates). Three volunteer bike mechanics (Rudy, John, Felix) helped with minor tune-ups, while Dingfang, Yaoming, and Tian welcomed people to our event and answered questions of passersby. With MIT Finboard funding (thanks MIT Undergraduate Association!), we were able to offer free food (subway), snacks (bananas, chips, cookies, apples), drinks, and more. (Sadly, MIT Finboard does not fund projects like customized PN2K accessories and gear — and thus our look towards alternative, self-sustainable sources of funding).

We sold nine new memberships today and a couple of helmets. Fantastic! Remember that you can always purchase your helmets with us online too and pick them up at the MIT COOP.

Last, but certainly not least, a shout out to the Boston Bike Party guys and Peter Cheung especially for his continued support to our team — if you see him and his crew, be sure to give him lots of love from us! And remember: every second Friday of the month — Bike Party! Learn more about Boston Bike Party here.

Thank you to Landry’s Bicycles also (and Galen Mook) for donating a $25 gift certificate to Landry’s for our bike event! Winner of our raffle prize is Felix Arroyo.

“I feel great!” (– coined by Yaoming D.)

Keep Calm & Pedal On~
See other photos from our  May 28th bike event on facebook.

May is Bike Trivia time!

Join MIT PN2K for our May bike event: Bike Trivia! Join the greater MIT and Boston biking community, including food and music -- free. We believe that riding your bike shouldn't be a safety hazard, and we also (like you) don't see the point of paying for bike repairs that cost more than what you paid for your bike! However, we do know that a number of you routinely ride around on bikes with faulty brakes or rusted chains; bring in your bikes and biking friends and one of our friendly mechanics/volunteers will give it a safety check to let you know what needs to be changed and how we would fix up your bike. Repairs in-store might cost $40, $80, or more than $100. At our event, your repair and workshop time will just be the cost of an annual membership ($15 students, $20 MIT affiliates, $25 everyone else). Memberships are sold each year and last till the end of the school year (membership for 2016-2017 ends on August 31, 2017). Your membership entitles you to join bike events and workshops we hold, as well as bike store discounts with local partners. Visit our Facebook Event page to learn more about our bike event and RSVP. 

 

Welcome to 2017!

Welcome to 2017 PN2Kers! 

In 2016 after the summer happened, our team and MIT PN2K officers received so many inquiries from you all, wondering when our next bike event will occur (OK, there was about 5-7 inquiries--which we consider a lot!) It made me realize the importance of MIT PN2K's mission of serving the biking community at MIT and the Greater Boston community (as our events are open to the public). So like any team, we had a different round of officers operating the club after last summer, and sadly, due to lack of communication, performance was low. However, we are rounding out another year and we shall learn from past experience in recruiting excited, dedicated, and high-performing individuals to our team. (I was actually just reading a post earlier today from Steli, a really charismatic fella I met at the Business of Software Conference in 2015, about hiring A+ players).

Last December 2016, PN2K was contacted by Dustin Weigl, the brother of Christopher Weigl, who was also struck in a bicycle-truck collision the year after Phyo's accident--same type of collision, also in December, also fatal. I can't help feeling inspired by Dustin's story. From his brother's accident, he started pursuing ways of making cycling safer in the city. Dustin is now a first-year master's student in the Technology and Policy program at MIT. It's a heart-wrenching story, and it took me back to painful memories of Phyo and when I had buried my head in my work with the PN2K Foundation, just to churn past that pain. Anyway, it's been fun reuniting the most committed members of the MIT PN2K Club, and we are all looking forward to hosting our next bike safety event on March 27, 2017. (You heard it here first!) 

To keep up the work of the club, we are changing a few things up: 

First, starting on March 2017, bike safety events will be open to members only. The services offered at the bike event require you to be a member with us, but the membership is affordable, allows you entrance to future bike events, and comes with benefits and discounts to select bike shops around town (see our Membership page and the list of benefits). Costs are $15 for students, $20 for MIT affiliates, and $25 for everyone else. (Purchase membership now)

Not long ago in January, we held our IAP social bike ride. It was great fun, and we even witnessed a car crash right in front of us! We were very lucky. Luckily, Tian and Frank (the two in the front) were alright. Luckily, Peter Cheung casually dropped in to ride with us that afternoon. Luckily, when a driver/witness next to us had said, "It was those cyclists!" Peter called that BS out immediately ("That guy [driver] ran the red light! He ran the red light!") Luckily, another witness at the intersection was part of Boston Police. Luckily, the guy who ran the red crashed into the car next to us, instead of Tian and Frank who were on the other side of the collision. The group of us talked it out and then decided to laugh it out at Bertucci's in Kendall. We had discussion from bike safety and infrastructure to politics and hiking. A great time with great friends over great food. 

Not long ago in January, we held our IAP social bike ride. It was great fun, and we even witnessed a car crash right in front of us! We were very lucky. Luckily, Tian and Frank (the two in the front) were alright. Luckily, Peter Cheung casually dropped in to ride with us that afternoon. Luckily, when a driver/witness next to us had said, "It was those cyclists!" Peter called that BS out immediately ("That guy [driver] ran the red light! He ran the red light!") Luckily, another witness at the intersection was part of Boston Police. Luckily, the guy who ran the red crashed into the car next to us, instead of Tian and Frank who were on the other side of the collision. The group of us talked it out and then decided to laugh it out at Bertucci's in Kendall. We had discussion from bike safety and infrastructure to politics and hiking. A great time with great friends over great food. (Side photo: John helping to lube a cyclists' bike chain before our ride)

Join us for future bike rides and events! We're short-staffed so don't have the means to post all the exciting things we're doing on our blog immediately -- the best way to stay current is to join our mailing list (pn2k-bikesafety@mit.edu) and to join us as a member ($15-25). We're also currently building our MIT PN2K team for the upcoming 2017-18 school year. So if you feel you got what it takes to be part of an A-team, let us know what you want to bring to the table and nominate yourself (and friends) here (http://www.pn2k.org/mit-pn2k-nominate/). We need everyone to help, not just cyclists. G'luck and bike safe! 

~ Keep Calm & Pedal On 
Chief Jedi

MIT PN2K February 2017 GBM

MIT PN2K (formally called Phyo Nyi Nyi Kyaw, MIT) is the MIT chapter of the Massachusetts incorporated 501(c)(3) PN2K Memorial Foundation. You don't need to own a bike to be a member, but it certainly does help as the MIT PN2K club holds activities that are centered around biking throughout the year (e.g., bike fests/repair events, bike rides)*.We are the first, and only club, at MIT that has ever attempted, and successfully, held student-led campus-wide bike safety rides during MIT orientation (2014, 2015). So, if you do own a bicycle (or unicycle -- we aren't picky), and/or want to get into casual/social biking as a way to explore and commute around the city, join us at our Spring General Body Meeting on Monday, February 27 at 5:30 PM. The meeting will be an general information session held at MIT, Building 1-135.  Learn how you can become a MIT PN2K member, how a membership will allow you to enjoy more benefits of biking around the city (well-maintained bikes for low-costs!), and how to join organized group rides. Note: we are not a racing club! We cycle casually, fix bikes, and enjoy post-rides over lunch at Bertucci's sometimes. Speaking of which, we'll have free pizza at our meeting. Come for the pizza and bring your friends!

You should also join our mailing list if you would like to learn of opportunities to purchase bike gear or ride bikes. Are you the leader type? See all positions that you can apply for for the coming semesters.

Safe biking, and we hope to see you there!

*Other options, if you don't have a bike: You can borrow a bike from a friend, buy a used bike from fellow cyclists, purchase a bike at a local shop or with our partners for a discount, or purchase a Hubway annual membership.

Scapegoat Cyclists

There are some things you don't expect. We definitely didn't expect a car collision to happen a few meters away from us on our first bike ride around Harvard Square. We (cyclists) were all obeying the rules, but an unfortunate couple's new car was smashed by a guy running a red light. Thank goodness Peter Cheung was with us -- Before we could process everything happening around us, Peter was already stating the facts of the case, saying, "He ran a red light! That guy in the red ran a red light!" We were also fortunate that right across from us was a pedestrian who so happened to be an officer. The young man who ran the red light seemed dumbstruck. Our cycling crew was slightly in shock also -- two of our cyclists were just on the other side of the hit car; without that car... well, it's hard to speculate and not too pleasant to think what might have happened. Sadly, we learned later that the parents in the car were heading to a birthday party (they had balloons in the backseat) and it was the first new car they'd had in 20-odd years. 

Our team shook off the post-accident shivers and decompressed by going to Bertucci's.  We had a pretty diverse and solid conversation, ranging from cycling to random movies/shows.  One thing we learned from one of our cyclists was that a nearby "witness" during the accident had said, "It was those cyclists!" in response to seeing the accident. Wait, what? How did us cyclists cause the collision in any way? It was strange, and this kicked off a conversation on stories of personal experiences where cyclists have been scapegoated or somehow marginalized/ignored (particularly in accident scenarios).  There's a lot of interesting debate and discussion that evolve from the intersection of law and biking (like why the law does not necessarily protect cyclists).  This will be an ever-evolving field, and we encourage more discussion and engagement in your own biking communities and events.  If you don't know where to begin, start with jumping on a bike or joining one of our future (virtual) meetings.  Email us if you have stories/experiences you want to share.

Winter Bike Ride with MIT PN2K

MIT PN2K presents WINTER BIKE RIDE

Saturday, Jan 14 @ 84 Mass Ave.

Meet at 12:45 PM, depart at 1 PM.

Meet at the MIT Student Center on 84 Mass Ave and join our MIT bike safety community!
Learn about rules of the road and put them in practice on Saturday, Jan 14 (RSVP your interest below)

RSVP

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Join PN2K for a guided, 4-mile bike ride around Cambridge! We will take you along common biking routes between MIT, Harvard Square, and Kendall Square. Preview the bike route here: https://goo.gl/maps/RXmxP713TCn

Meet at MIT Student Center (84 Massachusetts Avenue) steps by 12:45 pm on Saturday, January 14th, 2017. We will go over safe biking rules, the bike route, and address any questions or concerns. Remember to wear your helmets and dress warmly.

Please RSVP to help with our planning efforts! RSVP’s are not binding, nor necessary–so feel free to show up day-of with friends. If your plans change last-minute, we’ll catch you on the next ride.

“What Does the Tanuki Say?”

Hint: Bi-i-i-i-ike Safety!

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Today was our second event of MIT CPW (Campus Preview Weekend for prefrosh). We had two back-to-back activities lined up this afternoon. From 12-2 PM, MIT PN2K was out on the Student Center Front Steps, giving passing pre-frosh info about MIT PN2K and campus bike maps, as well as some little kids who passed by with their parents some tanuki stickers.

Pre-event planning consisted of moving boxes of items from our "office base" in Central Square to the Student Center Front Steps, with a detour to pick up John Reyes at Simmons who had begun to receive Amazon boxes filled with fun stuff over the past 1-2 days -- items ordered for our "Tykes for Bikes" kids' bike program (with thanks from the MIT Community Service Fund). There, we greeted Will, Dingfang, and Yaoming. Will did most of the talking with the prefrosh, and Tian joined us a bit later. Dingfang and Yaoming went around campus to take some shots of bike cages and useful scenes for our music video. I made Tian and John work with me to start brainstorming ideas for our "Get out of the bike lane!" sticker that we hope to plaster on vehicles illegally double-parked in bike lanes. We came up with some pretty fun ideas, that we shall hold in secret until final production! Let's just say, we came up with many versions, with the styles evolving from "adamant" to "crude"; we scratched those for "passive-aggressive" versions (think adamant message, tempered with smiley faces), but then John came up with some very simplistic, clever versions that we just might go with and iterate a bit more upon at our next meeting. 

One of the most exciting things we ordered was a box of vehicles (including a boat, helicopter, huge truck, cars, traffic cones, and more!) for our "Tanuki" song video, which constituted the second part of our day (2-4:00 PM, filming for "What does the Tanuki Say?") The filming was at Northeastern University's Recording Studio in the Snell Library, which Yaoming helpfully reserved for us weeks in advance. I was on the first floor getting the Wifi password (note: MIT affiliates have free access to the Snell Library, just bring your MIT ID!), when I saw Yaoming and Dingfang coming down to fetch me. So I went up with them to the second floor; they said John Innes had already arrived ("He's very excited," Yaoming said with a smile, and Dingfang laughed, too). I finally reached the recording studio, and all I can say is that the place was impressive -- I'd never seen so much legit recording and audio equipment (I definitely saw a Mac Pro), and standing behind the microphones practicing with John Innes the most bizarre lyrics I've ever co-created with Carmel, I began to forget about being fearful or music-shy and began to focus on how the lyrics sounded and trying to produce quality work that Dingfang, Yaoming, and Rebecca could use for the video. Garrett, a guy/student who was working the studio at the time, thought we sounded great, as did Tian who joined us a bit later. I must say, singing was not something I thought I would do, but the entire experience was definitely a worthwhile one to have and to remember! 

We will be holding future video sessions, and the final music video will be uploaded sometime in May, we predict. In the meantime, Dingfang created a snazzy little video that, for now, you can find on our facebook page here, titled "Tanuki Music Video Recording Session One" -- gives you an idea of the ambiance! Keep Calm & Pedal On, folks.

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Popo meets TIM + tanuki stickers!

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MIT PN2K was invited out to CPW 2016 Public Service Expo held at the MIT Z-Center Johnson Lobby. The Public Service Center works with hundreds of student organizations focused in the area of service for the community. This Thursday, Apr 7 from 6:30-8:30 PM, our team tabled and spoke with a flood of MIT prefrosh (term used for potential incoming freshman) to demonstrate what we do for the community. We told them how Popo, our tanuki (to the left), was our mascot and represented our club, founded as the chapter of the PN2K Memorial Foundation, in order to work on making cycling safer for the MIT community. We told them how we held monthly bike events, with free minor repairs, pressure-washing, food, bike registrations, music, and cool people. In this image, you can see Popo meeting TIM, the MIT beaver. It was friendship at first sight.

On another happy note, we also finally began to put in orders for our Tykes for Bikes kids' bike program (with funding from the MIT Community Service Fund), which included our tanuki stickers. Given that we had so many, we started to test them out as laptop stickers and helmets stickers -- tests passed! And they do look snazzy too. We hope these stickers will serve to make more kids and their families aware of bicycle safety! 

Thanks to everyone who dropped by and picked up a campus bike map! We hope you prefrosh make solid decisions on which colleges you'll accept, and if you happen to find yourselves at MIT, then say HI to us at MIT PN2K! We love new members getting involved. Keep Calm & Pedal On

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Spring Bike Fever (& Easter Sunday)

"Will did a great job managing the event and seemed like everyone knew exactly what they were doing. We cut off the line at around 4 and everybody was happy. I managed to fix some bikes and sifted through the line between repairs so nobody was waiting too long. We managed to start packing at 5 and by 6 were out. We kept the repairs at no more than 10 mins, customers with complicated repairs were advised that we are limited with what we can do for them and even took 3 bikes to the shop for more complicated repairs that needed specific parts or a full tune up. You guys/gals are great!" - Roy, Bike Boom 

For those of you who come regularly to our events, you know how long are lines for bike repairs are (people start coming in and standing in line 45 minutes before the show starts!) And thus it is a BIG deal that MIT PN2K managed to finish on time -- it marks the first time ever we did not run over by half an hour (or 60-90 minutes, as has happened in some 2015 bike events when we wanted to be ambitious and help everyone with everything!) 

We still love our cyclists, and we want to make sure everyone leaves with safe bikes, but MIT PN2K is now working with Bike Boom to consider ways that will decrease wait times and improve the experience of everyone there, so you're not standing in line for a few hours when all you need is something simple done! 

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For instance, our air/oil station is separate from the main line (where you actually need to have your bikes looked at by professionals). The main line is also separate from flat-tire repairs (which take a minimum of 15 minutes). As Will mentioned, he basically focused on flats the entire duration of the event (because many of you had flats!)

We also had cake and Easter candy eggs to celebrate MIT PN2K and the greater cycling community! This was supplemented by other helpful stations (bike registrations, managed by Nick) and bike trivia (by Jay). The friendly smile who greeted you upon registration is Dingfang, and your smiles were captured by Yaoming. Now that you know most of the MIT PN2K team, say hi next time! 

Due to a technical error out of our hands, we weren't able to set up our pressure-washer station, so please keep an eye out for our April event where we make this up. We know you guys want to clean your bikes, so we look forward to making that happen next month. In the meantime, look towards our PN2K calendar here where you'll see our upcoming meeting dates. 

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April will be a busy month with two CPW events, a bike event, a bike ride with Boston Bike Party, the Boston Midnight Marathon Bike Ride, and a Cambridge Connection Tent event organized by the Institute. Till next time, Keep Calm & Pedal On! 

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