Okay, neighbors, it’s time to turn our attention away from the cold and drab winter weather and set our sights on enjoying the beauty of the warmer seasons in our beautiful shoreline area, and one of the best ways to enjoy it is to get out on a bicycle. Whether you cycle slow or fast doesn’t matter. It’s fun to just get out, peddle and explore.
Perhaps you haven’t been on a bike for years. If that is the case, challenge yourself to rediscover the joys of the past. Maybe you’d like to take a spin alone and do some thinking and relaxing or you might want to bike in a more social capacity with a friend, family members, or with guests you are expecting this summer.
Would you agree that it is easier and more pleasurable to enjoy our area when not whizzing by things at 40 miles per hour in a car? Biking is good exercise and can provide many opportunities to interact with nature, de-stress, and stop every now and then for a break to munch on a snack or snap some photos.
Maybe you don’t own a bike or have a bike that needs repair. Maybe you need some new tires, new equipment, cool biking clothes, or maybe something like a fancy-dancy new bell or odometer to add to your biking experience. Perhaps you are a visitor who couldn’t bring your bike with you but would still like to cycle around. Maybe you are having visitors but don’t have enough bikes to for everyone. If any of these scenarios apply to you, then the information provided in this article will be of help.
Below is a list of excellent businesses between Charlestown and Mystic that you can borrow, buy, repair, or rent a bike. There are even two places on the list that will deliver bikes directly to hotels or homes, which is incredibly helpful if you don’t have access to a bike rack for your car to pick them up.
Brumble Bikes is owned by Westerly native Amos Brumble. His motto is “Saving the world one bike at a time”. He has a passion for cycling and is accomplished in the area of bike racing. His shop is a place to go for information, bike and equipment purchases, and making connections with other cyclists.
Mystic Bike Rentals is owned by June and Richard Froh. They do not have a storefront but conduct bike tours and deliver rental bikes to hotels, inns, year-round or summer rental homes, from Niantic to New London, Groton, Mystic, Stonington CT, and Westerly, Watch Hill, Misquamicut, Weekapaug, and Charlestown RI. All rentals include delivery, pick-up, helmets and locks. Weekly rates available. They offer “enlightened bike tours bringing together a small group of explorers with a lot in common.” They have engaging instructors and tour guides. The website offers a list of places to visit for those renting a bike and going out on their own.
Mystic Community Bikes is a not for profit “bicycle sharing program for residents and visitors touring Mystic during the summers” and has been running for about 15 years. The bikes have been donated and reconditioned and are available for borrowing at conveniently located distribution centers around Mystic. Its mission is to “to facilitate bicycling in the Mystic community by providing and maintaining bicycles for public use.”
The adult sized bikes include a helmet, lock and bike basket and are available from May to November. There are eight local pick-up sites in Mystic: Bank Square Books, Coogan Farm Nature and Heritage Center, Harbour House, Howard Johnson Inn, Mystic-Noank Library, Quality Inn, Seaport Marine, Taber Inn, and the Whaler’s Inn. To borrow a bike, you just need an ID and a $ 10.00 refundable deposit. Bikes are borrowed on a one day use only.
Mystic Cycle Center Owners Rob Kapell and Rick Ely have been in business for 28 years. Besides being a large bicycle shop that has great bikes and merchandise for sale, they offer organized bike rides. Bike rentals are also available for multiple days.
Mystic Supply Company is an all American made store on 47 Holmes St, Mystic, CT. The store opened in July of 2017 and is owned by Alma Pozzi. In addition, the store offers bike and scooter rentals. They have a fleet of 50cc scooter and Townie bike cruiser rentals for the enjoyment of seeing the villages of Mystic, Stonington, Noank, and Groton Long Point.
Napatree Bikes has been in business for sixteen years and is owned by Gary Palmer. The company is a bicycle delivery and pick-up service for the Charlestown and Westerly RI areas. Daily and weekly rentals are available, and bikes are delivered directly to you. Available bikes include adult and children’s bikes, a baby jogger bike, and child carrier seats. You can also schedule bike tours. “Hills are few, giggles are plenty. Each tour is customized, and all equipment provided.” As a bicycle delivery service, they have no storefront.
Ray Willis Toys and Bikes has been a staple of the community since 1949 and sells bikes and bike accessories, whether it is a child’s first bike, or a bike for a seasoned rider. They also provide bicycle repairs.
Bike riding is a good way to get in touch with a simpler, slower paced way of life. It involves our entire being, especially if we refrain from connecting ourselves to any technological devices during our ride. Keep the technology in your backpack or bike basket. Instead, listen to the sounds of the birds, the rivers, ocean, and breeze.
Allow yourself to pay attention to the sun beaming down on your face and let yourself be in touch with how great it is to operate something that doesn’t require a key to start or gas to move. While you are cycling enjoy the beautiful homes and landscapes in our scenic area, gaze at the boats on the water, flowers, and perhaps a critter or two along the way.
As the saying goes, “Be the difference you want to see in the world” so don’t forget to wave to people and give them a big smile and hello as you ride by. Happy cycling!