Are you ready for summer? Is your bike?

Opening day for Big Mike’s Bikes
pop-up bike shop
Friday, May 31 at 11:00 a.m.!

 

Come find the Magic Van at the Stage Fort Park Visitor Center for repairs, service and accessories.

Hours: Fridays and Saturdays, 11–6*

Plus most Thursdays while the Cape Ann Farmer’s Market is operating. Please check the blog for updates.

*Weather permitting. On rainy days, please call/text 334-BIKES-34 to check availability.

Scheduled pickup/dropoff or on-site service is available Sundays and Wednesdays. Bike rentals coming soon!

Cassie: 16″ women’s hybrid good for 5’3″–5’7″

Next up in the BMB Rental Fleet is Cassie, a strong and supple women’s hybrid named for the legendary sea serpent who some say dwells in Casco Bay, off Portland, Maine. Check out the startling anecdotal evidence for this mysterious creature here . . . and then reserve her namesake for a day of Cape Ann riding!

Rentals are available, with pickup and dropoff service, by calling or texting 334-BIKES-34 (334-245-3724).

Moving into a new phase for the shop! I’ve been getting a lot of requests for bike rentals, something that’s been missing in Gloucester for a while. My hope is that this will help more people — both visitors and locals — get outside and enjoy our beautiful area. So starting soon, bikes will be available for rent at the Stage Fort Park pop-up spot and via scheduled pickup and dropoff.

I’ve been spending this too-long winter assembling a rental fleet of refurbished bikes for adults and kids. Each one has its own particular history and character and, naturally, a name that reflects its seaside home.

Flipper: 19.5in frame good for 5’10+, single speed w/coaster brake

So this week I’d like you to meet Flipper! She’s a lightweight, agile single-speed with a coaster brake. Combining minimalist chic with the dolphin’s joie de vivre, Flipper would love to take you out for a spin. How about Eastern Point?

This is Sylvia, a customer’s Merlin Camena. She loves to get around Cape Ann, and we’re gonna let you guess all the spots she’s visited.

To enter your guess, just comment below, message me on Facebook or Instagram, or email via the contact form.

Whoever gets the most right over the spring/summer wins a free bike tune-up next fall/winter!

So do you know where Sylvia is posing this week? Starting you off with an easy one!

 

The classic Rubble-Puddle of Doom

A few weeks ago I wrote about the excitement we felt as kids when spring was approaching. I still feel that excitement every year, and I’ve just started getting my “spring bike” tuned up a bit. If it’s warm enough on the weekend (over 40 degrees) I’ll make sure I get out for a ride.

As enjoyable as those first rides are in the early spring, there are a few hidden issues that both cyclists and motorists should be aware of. So how to ride safely? I call it Situational Awareness. As a cyclist, I’m always looking forward and plotting out potential areas of danger, as well as being conscious of any motorist traffic that may be coming up from behind.

The Toxic Waste Dump

First, it’s pothole season, and most towns have not gotten out to start repairing the roads. Potholes are not your friends [no small matter?], trust me. This time of year they’re frequently filled with water or, worse, ice. And they’re usually surrounded by the dirt and gravel that get splashed out. I try to pick out a route that has minimal potholes, but that’s not always possible.

The Stealth Destroyer

You have two choices with a pothole: ride around it or go through it. Please don’t go through it! Bicycle rims can be fragile, and a deep enough hole can cause the handlebars to turn, resulting in a quick and painful crash for you. Even worse, you could land in the path of an oncoming car. The best move is to slow down, look over your left shoulder quickly to check for cars and, if the coast is clear, go around the hole. If I have a safe distance from a motorist behind me, I’ll use my left hand to point down at the road to signal them that I’ll be avoiding the hole.

So you have to be constantly aware of what’s in front of you and what’s behind. And the motorist has responsibility, too. If you’re not a cyclist and are reading this from the point of view of a driver, be aware that a bike up ahead might suddenly move out into the lane to avoid an obstacle. Slow down, and pass only when you can maintain a safe distance. They’ll return to the edge of the roadway as soon as it’s safe.

Now, what’s the safe distance between a motorist and a cyclist? Thirty-two states in the U.S. have enacted what’s called the Three-Foot Law: a motorist passing a bicycle must leave at least three feet between car and bike. If they can’t pass safely, they must slow down until they can. Massachusetts does not have a Three Foot Law, but does specify that the cyclist must be passed at a “safe distance.” We’ll have more on this in the future when we discuss “door zones.”

If you’re out riding in the next few weeks, keep your eyes open for potholes and signal to motorists if you’re approaching one. They will really appreciate it!

As always, ride safe!

 

Scott Ryder is a photographer, a cyclist and a long-time resident of the North Shore. You can see his work on Instagram or contact him at scottryderphoto@gmail.com.

Opening Day at Stage Fort Park Postponed

Hey friends, looks like the city needs a little more time to get the Stage Fort Park vendor space ready, so the opening of the Big Mike’s Bikes pop-up shop planned for Thursday the 21st will have to wait a bit.

Ahh, island life! But don’t worry: I’m here for you. I’ll be available for mobile service this week, Wednesday to Sunday, and can even provide on-call service if needed Thursday to Saturday.

Let’s hang in there — like the coming of spring, opening day for Big Mike’s Bikes might be delayed but will always inevitably arrive!

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