It took me a while to get really comfortable riding a bike in the city after I moved to Somerville. I had little (OK, no) city biking experience and was really intimidated by the other cyclists, pedestrians and cars. After lots of local rides, I got confident enough to venture farther and farther from home. That was until I got in a bike/pedestrian accident nearly two years ago.
With my confidence shaken, I sort of gave up biking for a while. But last summer I got back on the
wagon bike and I’m so glad I did! Being a cyclist in the city can be scary at times, but it’s also really liberating (you can always find a parking spot), it’s good exercise, it’s environmentally friendly and it’s fun. So if you’re looking to start biking or get back on your bike after a hiatus, here are some resources in Somerville to get you started.
Ace Wheelworks (145 Elm St.): With two locations in the area (the other is in Belmont), Wheelworks has lots of bikes, gear, a repair shop and friendly service to get you going. This is a great place to get started if you’re new to biking or get your bike tuned up if it’s been stashed for a while.
Bicycle Belle (368 Beacon St.): Opened in 2013, Bicycle Belle sells bikes specifically for use in the city with accessories like kickstands and racks for carrying cargo. And the shop has a big focus on biking with kids.
Bike Boom (389 Highland Ave.): Located in Davis Square, Bike Boom specializes in restoring used, high-quality commuter and recreational bikes. The shop also offers repairs and tune-ups.
Paramount Bicycle (104 Bristol Road): Blink and you’ll miss this small shop in Ball Square, but make sure you don’t because owner Tyler has lots of great biking knowledge to share. He helped my husband build some custom wheels a few years ago and provided some helpful advice to go along with them.
Somervelo (361 Somerville Ave.): The new kid on the block in the Somerville cycling scene, this Union Square shop does repairs and tune-ups, builds wheels and sells bikes. And you can book your next appointment online.
Artisan’s Asylum Bicycle Building and Maintenance Classes: Somerville’s makerspace Artisan’s Asylum (10 Tyler St.) offers a plethora of classes in a variety of subjects including bike building and maintenance. Learn the basics of taking good care of your bike, build your own wheel, get a handle on winter biking and more.
Hubway: With the introduction of the Hubway bike-sharing system in Boston it’s easy to get around on two wheels even if you don’t actually own a bike. Hubway has pick-up and drop-off locations all over the city and a variety of membership options, which makes getting around by bike extra easy.
Minuteman Bikeway: This 10-mile long path starts at the Alewife MBTA Station in Cambridge and winds through Arlington and Lexington before ending in Bedford. Somerville residents can pick up the path in Davis behind the College Avenue MBTA stop. The paved, gently rolling bikeway makes a great place to ride with plenty of places to stop along the way for a picnic or break.
SHIFT Community Bike Collective: New to the scene, SHIFT is a Cambridge/Somerville-based mobile, education-focused bicycle collective. The group provides instruction, opportunities for DIY maintenance and safety tips. Check out SHIFT’s Facebook page to find out where it’ll be popping up next.
Somerville Bicycle Committee: This group works to improve biking conditions in Somerville, help implement policy and programs and promote cycling as a means of transportation in the city, among other things. The Somerville Bicycle Committee puts on all kinds of events, like group rides that happen several times a year, and has meetings on the third Tuesday of the month at 6:30 p.m. in the basement conference room at City Hall (93 Highland Ave.) that are free and open to the public.
Are you an avid city cyclist? What are your favorite shops and resources?