Paul TwitchellPosted: September 13, 2013
Paul Twitchell is Director of Communications at Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, an international human rights and social justice organization located in Central Square, Cambridge. He is also on the Board of Directors at LivableStreets Alliance. If you are not already familiar, they are one of Boston’s preeminent bike, pedestrian, and transit advocacy organizations and have help secure major victories such as bike lanes on Mass Ave, the BU Bridge, and more. Paul is a busy man- this Sunday he is riding in Bike4Life to benefit LivableStreets, then next Saturday Harbor to the Bay in support of AIDS Action Committee.
You live at the very southeastern tip of Boston in Dorchester Lower Mills- what is your favorite thing about your neighborhood, and what would you tell a visitor not to miss?
There’s a lot to like here. It’s a very friendly, diverse, convenient neighborhood with great shops and restaurants and an easy commute to the city via the T, bike or even car. I love all the history and architecture of the Baker Chocolate Factory buildings. It gives the area a certain unique character. And as a recreational biker, I like the convenience of being able to either take a short ride into the Blue Hills Reservation, ride out to the western burbs, or head down to the waterfront via the Neponset River Greenway.
It’s hard to pick one thing but the short list, if you like sweet treats, should include a visit to the little Ice CreamSmith parlor for homemade ice cream and then work off those calories with on a ride along the scenic Neponset Greenway.
You recently became a member of the LivableStreets Alliance Board of Directors. What has that experience been like so far?
Livable Streets is an amazing organization with a passionate, dedicated group of staff, volunteers and board members who are tirelessly advocating for better and safer biking, walking and public transit in the Boston area. Before I was involved with them I was already aware of some of the work they had done pushing for more bike lanes in the city and advocating for bikers and pedestrians on the some of the recent bridge reconstitution projects. Now that I am working more closely with them, I’ve been so impressed with the breadth of their accomplishments to date and excited about all that is now being planned.
What got you interested in bike and pedestrian advocacy?
As an avid cyclist and one who does many miles of training rides in and around the city, I’ve become much more aware to the degree of bike friendliness (or unfriendliness) of our roadways and followed the status of current and planned bike lanes and trails in the area. And like anyone who rides around Boston, I’ve had my close calls with vehicles and have wished for safer ways to get around. Plus, living where I do, I’ve been particularity interested in the ongoing debates and proposals for the extension of the Neponset Greenway and the Casey Overpass/Arborway project. If I can do my little part to help LivableSteets be more successful to help make the streets safer for us all, I’m happy to do it.
Do you ride for commuting, or mainly for recreation?
I’m mostly a recreational biker and love going on long rides on weekends, usually getting in 100 miles or more a week during my peek training months. I recently purchased a new Colnago CLX 3.0 Ultegra and am loving it! It the best bike I’ve owned to date.
My interest in cycling began in the mid 90’s when I participated in the first Boston to New York AIDS Rides which were my first long distance road rides. A few years later, while I was working at AIDS Action Committee, I got involved with a similar event called the Mass Red Ribbon Ride which was a two day ride from western Mass. to the Boston area. That ride later merged with Harbor to the Bay a one day, 125 mile ride from Boston to Provincetown. Now in its 11th year, the all volunteer ride has raised over $3 million to support HIV/AIDS care, prevention and research. I’m rider #14 if anyone wants to support me!
How can I donate to your Bike4 Life or Harbor to the Bay fundraisers?
Ride on, Paul!