Jeff biking with his kids

In celebration of Bay State Bike Week (May 9-17) I chatted with Jeff Palter, the owner of Cycle Loft in Burlington, about tips for buying a new bicycle and what can be done to make Massachusetts roads safer.

Do you have any tips for someone interested in buying a new bicycle?

The first thing they should consider is frequency. How many days per week do they plan on using the bicycle? How much time per ride do they plan on cycling? Where are they riding? Will it be on pavement, on the street, on bike paths? Or will it be multi-service road with packed dirt and rocks? These will help steer the direction of the conversation.

How has the industry changed? Are people now coming to buy bikes more interested in commuting?

The vibe really does differ from region to region. Even here, in the suburbs, where we’re not in the city, there’s a feeling of utility and the everyday traveler using a skinny tire, or “proper” road bike for everyday use. People are starting to use cargo bikes for everyday use. There’s also an uptick in electric-assisted bicycles. And there’s a growing niche for folding bicycles. 

With more people out riding bikes, what can we do to make the roads safer? 

This is a gigantic issue. In order to have bike usage explode like it has in Europe, every city, town and municipality needs to get on the same page when it comes to infrastructure. Roads need bike lanes painted on them—Jersey lines. We need established bike paths.

If you could ride anywhere, where would you ride? 

I would like to get to Northern France, to some old cobbled roads there—the Paris-Roubaix.

Four questions is a weekly interview column featuring interesting people connected with the Greater Boston Jewish community. Find past columns here. Have an idea of someone we should interview? Email Molly!