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Bicyclists invited to annual Tour de Somerville this Saturday

Posted by boston.com  October 17, 2013 03:13 PM

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Attention bike and architecture enthusiasts: Get ready for the 21st annual Tour de Somerville, which will take place on Saturday, October 19 at 10 a.m. The 13-mile bike ride will take participants on an bicycle exploration of the city’s many tunnels, bridges, overpasses, and construction sites.

The free event, themed “Over, Under, Around, and Through,” will start at the Seven Hills Park, take a mid-way break at the Blessing of the Bay boathouse on Shore Drive—where refreshments will be provided by Redbones—and will end in the parking lot behind Rite Aid.

Ron Newman, this year’s ride organizer, said the “Over, Under, Around, and Through” themed event is a little whimsical, but that people really enjoy seeing different aspects of the city in a fun way. He said the ride has grown from about 20 participants in the beginning years to closer to 100 riders in past tours. He said he is excited that the Somerville Bicycle Committee can provide this fun event to the community.

“Somerville has a pretty strong bicycling culture these days,” Newman said. “We try to make the tour cover many parts of the city. If people live in Davis, they might only hang out there and not know what it looks like in East Somerville or other areas. What this does is it shows people all different parts of Somerville.”

While the tour will travel to many of the city’s bridges, overpasses, and other structures, Newman said the tour will also give bikers the opportunity to see some biking attractions that are in the works. Participants will ride along the Somerville Community Path extension being constructed between Cedar and Lowell Streets, as well as the Wellington Undercarriage, a new boardwalk under Route 28, linking the Mystic River paths at Assembly Square to Shore Drive. Newman said that not many people are aware of the Wellington Undercarriage project, so this weekend will provide riders one of the first opportunities to experience it.

“This is going to be a good opportunity to explore the progress the city is making in improving facilities for riding bikes,” Newman said.

Alex Feldman, a Somerville resident who has participated in multiple Somerville Bicycle Committee rides, said the rides are a great way for bikers to take back the streets. He said that it is a great way to experience the city and to get to know other bikers in the area.

“Everyone is riding abreast, talking to folks, and we don’t ride fast so you can go a comfortable clip and carry on conversation,” Feldman said. “Everyone wants to talk because you all have this quirky, Tour de Somerville interest in common.”

Feldman said that he encourages people who enjoy biking or the city to give it a try. He said it has really opened his eyes to interesting aspects of the city, and that it has helped him appreciate the city he has grown to love.

“I’m drawn because I love the city. I love discovering new spots, but then I can show them to other people. A group of bikes is a fun thing to be part of,” Feldman said. “In a funny sort of way, when you bike with a whole big group, you’re kind of a badass gang. You’re taking over the streets.”

The 21st annual Tour de Somerville will take place on Saturday, October 19 at 10 a.m. The event will begin at Seven Hills Park (behind the Holland Street Davis train stop) and end in the parking lot behind Rite Aid around 1 p.m. The event is free to the public. For more information, visit the Somerville Bicycle Committee event page.

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