“If you bike on the street you are familiar with the ‘door zone’ (also known as the ‘bike lane.’) You are probably also familiar with another frequent obstacle in the bike lane. Butts….Yes, the bike lane is the place where people mess with unseen shit inside their car….Because I find myself dodging butts so often, I’ve started to wonder what is so fascinating inside their cars.”
This wit is brought to you by Bikeyface, a blog featuring cartoons and humor of a local biker. The illustrations depict various scenes around Boston, including the horrors of riding a crowded MBTA, the Charles River bike path, Kenmore Square traffic, Jamaica Plain hipsters and even a few puppies.
“It was kind of an accident,” says the woman behind Bikeyface, who wishes to remain anonymous, about how she came up with the idea for the blog. “I’ve always drawn and done cartoons, but not to this sustained level.”
Bikeyface moved from LA to Boston last November, and immediately knew she wanted to bike commute here. “I was looking to get involved in bike organizations in Boston and explored a few, but I never felt I could use my own skill set within them. I started the blog in hopes of finding my own community.” She started her bike blog at the end of June, and officially named it Bikeyface about a month ago.
At first, however, Bikeyface didn’t publish most of her sketches. “They were too whiny and complainy,” she tells me, explaining how that differed from her actual attitude about biking in Boston. “Eventually, I realized the sketches had to be my own style. Now, the blog is just me.”
She tells me most of the inspiration for her cartoons comes from her daily commute and simply watching people. She also reads a lot, anything from other biking blogs to biking advocacy documents as well as tech and business publications. “I like to, as much as possible, have a consciousness about what’s going on in Boston regarding biking infrastructure and advocacy. I’m aware of every biking group’s marketing strategy.”
Luckily for us, her ideas aren’t running out anytime soon. Bikeyface tells me she has a backlog of about 40-50 post ideas right now. “I can’t draw fast enough! I don’t have a shortage of ideas – I have a shortage of time,” she laughs.
Bikeyface isn’t short on cycling experiences either, estimating she rides about 20 miles a day. Besides biking to and from work every day, she also pedals to her errands, various restaurants and other meetups after work. On the weekends, she goes for longer rides, upwards of 50 miles, “which a lot of city cyclists don’t do,” she explains.
So how does she feel about biking in Boston? “I’m not used to biking with infrastructure because I moved here from LA, which has no infrastructure. But that’s not to say Boston is perfect,” explains Bikeyface. She believes Boston still has a long way to go, pointing to certain intersections she still gets nervous about riding through. One area in Brighton sounds particularly terrifying: “The cars don’t have any tolerance. If you want to go left, you have to cross 3 lanes of traffic.”
For those new to city biking, like myself, she advises it takes a long time to get comfortable and build up confidence. “Confidence is definitely the biggest thing…Even if you know the rules of the road, there are a lot of quick decisions that you constantly need to make.”
Looks like I still have a long way to go. For now, I’ll stick with the Bikeyface cartoons.
Images via Bikeyface.com