Celebrate Somerville’s Bicycle Culture at SPOKES

With the installation of Hubway bikes around Somerville and additional bike lanes popping up all over the city (not to mention several bike-powered Somerville businesses), it seems bicycles are having their day in the sun. And this Saturday, bicycles will take over Union Square for SPOKES, a festival celebrating all things bikes and Somerville.

“The idea was tossed around by the Somerville Arts Council for a while. We were talking about a bike festival in Somerville and amazed that it hasn’t been done here. The bike culture in Cambridge and Somerville is burgeoning. I’m on the Arts Council Board and they tossed the idea out to me so I just jumped on it,” said Jacy Edelman, who is organizing the festival.

SPOKES will take place from 5 p.m.-9 p.m. in Union Square on Saturday, September 8 and will feature a variety of things related to biking and Somerville. The main events are several bicycle repair workshops hosted by bike shops from the community.

Ace Wheelworks kicks things off at 5 p.m. with information on general bike maintenance. At 5:30 p.m., Ace goes more in-depth with a session on brake and gear adjustments. Bike Boom teaches festival attendees how to fix a flat at 6 p.m. and Broadway Bicycles offers a workshop on how hubs work at 6:30 p.m. And from 5 p.m.-7 p.m. Paramount will be performing an ongoing wheel-building demonstration.

“It’s a bike festival for the masses,” Edelman said. “I’m advertising this for everyone, including people who have never ridden bikes before.”

In addition to the bike maintenance workshops, the festival is going to offer various art tables where you can do things like bling your bike, take a bike portrait and make some fun, free prints on paper or fabric using recycled bike parts.

“I love the idea of somehow combining bikes and art,” said Edelman, who has a background in arts education.

SPOKES will also feature booths staffed by community organizations and businesses, like Metro Pedal Power, Green Streets Somerville, Friends of the Community Path, Groundwork Somerville, among many others.

After the workshops are over, there’s going to be a “bike-in” movie showing of PeeWee’s Big Adventure. Attendees are encouraged to bring picnic blankets.

Several Somerville-based food businesses that use bikes, like Taza Chocolate, Sweet Idea cookies and Culinary Cruisers Ocean Ave Pops, will be serving hungry festival-goers.

“Bikes and food: together they’re beautiful,” Edelman said. In addition to the Somerville businesses, Lefty’s Silver Cart will also be at SPOKES.

If you’re looking for more tasty eats, consider joining the Tasting Tour that benefits the Welcome Project, which focuses on education and advocacy among Somerville’s immigrant community. The Tasting Tour begins and ends in Union and will take a leisurely route through the city, stopping at various restaurants along the way. Tickets are $30, of which 25% goes to cover food costs with the remaining funds going to the Welcome Project.

The Tasting Tour, which runs from 2:30 p.m.-5 p.m. starts at Cantina La Mexicana in Union then heads to Maya Sol in East Somerville before stopping at Wang’s Fast Food in Magoun Square. Then the ride heads to SoundBites in Ball Square, Amelia’s Kitchen in Teele Square and Redbones in Davis Square. The ride, which is being led by the Somerville Bicycle Committee, ends with dessert in Union. ShapeUp Somerville is also helping to identify healthy menu items available at each of the restaurants.

“I wanted community rides to be a part of the festival. There’s so much good food in Somerville, I just wanted to do a tasting ride,” Edelman said.

And if all that isn’t enough, at 9 p.m., SCUL invites civilian riders to join in a night ride through the city.

Ultimately, SPOKES is a celebration of Somerville’s growing bicycle culture.

“For me, it kind of correlates with the slow food movement and with farm-to-table and this D.I.Y. movement. It’s being more thoughtful about how you get around the city.” Edelman said. “You see other people and you think, I can do that too.”


Saturday, September 8 (rain date Sunday, September 9)
Tasting Tour: 2:30 p.m.-5 p.m. ($30; RSVP to jacy.edelman1@gmail.com); Festival: 5 p.m.-9 p.m. (free; workshops 5 p.m.-7 p.m.; movie 7:30 p.m.; S.C.U.L. ride 9 p.m.)


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