By Robin Tierney | July 13, 2011
Now there’s a tavern for cyclists to power up and cool down with bike-specific drinks, treats, gear — plus pedal patter.
If your cup of tea is a fast-paced distance ride, a leisurely pedal along a scenic path, or simply a good cup of tea, Ride Studio Cafe (RSC) offers a great way to start your day.
Located in historic and picturesque Lexington Center, the combination cafe and full-service bike shop recently celebrated its first year. The bikes and gear are high-end, the brews and power snacks tasty, and the advice and weekly rides free.
The rides run the gamut from leisure to competitive, one-hour to morning-long.
“The Wednesday evening mountain bike ride takes on different local trails each week,” says Rob Vandermark, whose RSC job title is “Advisor.” Even “local riders are surprised to find that there are a number of fun off-road trails within minutes of downtown Lexington.”
The two Sunday morning rides include what Vandermark calls a “no drop” in which “the group stays together whether there is a mechanical problem, someone doesn’t feel well, or there’s a new rider.” This ride loops through historic areas of Lexington, Concord, and Carlisle. The Wednesday early-riser morning training ride rockets westward on roughly a forty-mile loop through some of the more lightly traveled roads in Eastern Massachusetts.
Participation is free; bring your bike, helmet, I.D., appropriate clothing, tool kit, and spare tube. If your bike needs service first, or you want to try a demo bike during the ride, contact RSC in advance.
Before, after, or instead of riding, you can quench your thirst with premium power drinks such as housemade chai, Stumptown’s “Hairbender” espresso, Cold Brew iced coffee. You can also fuel up on goodies from pastries to post-ride recovery meals to a Fine and Raw Chocolates confection called Himalayan Sea Salt.
When I visited, the cafe was packed with area cyclists, many of whom park their bikes inside. Several patrons told me it’s a good meeting spot, given that Lexington Center is located at the convergence of the bike path, Massachusetts Avenue, and Waltham Street. Driving? RSC is close to Route 95, exit 31A.
Across the street is a key Minuteman Bikeway trailhead and the handsome former train station now known as Lexington Center Depot. This region is the birthplace of the American Revolution, where in April 1775 the Minutemen challenged the British Redcoats.
Nearby landmarks include the Lexington Minuteman Statue and Buckman Tavern. Built in 1710 and now open for tours, the tavern doubled as grog-spot and headquarters for Lexington militia meetings. (For details about area heritage landmarks, visit http://www.lexingtonhistory.org/).
The Minuteman Bikeway (http://www.minutemanbikeway.org/) runs eleven miles between the Alewife T (subway) station in Cambridge and Depot Park/South Street in Bedford. Open 5AM to 9PM year-round, the best time to bike, jog, skate, or walk it is during daylight hours.
The twelve-foot-wide level asphalt path is jointly maintained by the four communities it traverses: Cambridge, Arlington, Lexington, and Bedford. In 2008, the Minuteman Bikeway was inducted into the national Rail-Trail Hall of Fame.
On the trail, Peggy Enders, a Friends of Lexington Bikeways volunteer who also chairs the Lexington Bicycle Advisory Committee, gave me a quick history of the bikeway and plans for its future extension.
The choice of “Ride” over “Bike” for RSC’s name was deliberate and strategic. As Vandermark enthusiastically describes routes tailored to my timeframe, I realize that at this cycling-centric studio, it’s all about the ride.
Ride Studio Cafe
1720 Massachusetts Avenue, Lexington, MA 02420
Opening Hours for the Cafe:
Opening Hours for Bike Service:
Robin Tierney is an award-winning East Coast writer who explores invigorating, offbeat places primarily by bicycle. All photos are by, and copyright, the author except where otherwise noted.