bike happy tours then & now: 1885 Gloucester travel guide for cyclists & 2017 stylish new bike fleet at Beauport Hotel

Beauport Hotel guests can explore the city of Gloucester, MA, and Cape Ann…by bike. What a great perk for visitors!

Biking culture linked with tourism in Gloucester and Cape Ann hearkens way back…as in 1878. Scroll down to see historic tourist guides from 1881 and 1885 that catered to cyclists and visitors. The sights and recommendations are the ones we continue to celebrate.


Lookout Hill and Stage Fort Park as seen here from the Beauport Hotel deck is just a close walk or bike ride away.



Enjoy excerpts from an 1885 cyclist tourist guide

In and Around Cape Ann: A Handbook of Gloucester, Mass., and Its Immediate Vicinity. For the Wheelman Tourist and the Summer Visitor by John S. Webber, Jr with eleven illustrations. Gloucester, Mass: Printed at the Cape Ann Advertiser Office, 1885. Library of Congress collection

“…After months of labor–hard labor, too, for one unaccustomed to the work–I am permitted to send forth the present little manual on Gloucester and its immediate vicinity. The material here given is designed for the especial use of the touring wheelman and the summer visitor, and I have endeavored to describe–in a way perhaps peculiar–all the most important sights and places of interest to be found upon this rock-bound territory of Cape Ann

The streets about town are generally in condition for bicycle riding, though the surface of most of them is either cut up by thick patches of the coarsest gravel or a layer of loosely lying stones; the rider, however, can pick his way along without any very serious trouble. Main street is paved with square blocks of granite from Porter street to Hancock street, and from Chestnut street to Union Hill. Western avenue, or more frequently spoken of as the “Cut,” is a favorite street for bicycle riding; beyond the bridge take the deserted sidewalk on the left, and enjoy a very pleasant spin upon its easy running surface…

the first suggested itinerary- Bicycle rambles on Eastern Point

“And now let’s take our wheel for a short run along our harbor road to East Gloucester, and note the many points of interest on the way. The start is made at the Gloucester Hotel–the headquarters of all visiting wheelmen in the city–at the corner of Main and Washington streets;

Gloucester Hotel 1885 Washington and Main


photo: cyclist on the bend passing brick building at Main and Washington now features Tonno Restaurant. Notice the chimneys and same stairs as when it was the Gloucester Hotel. “Special Rates Made to Wheelmen”


“from thence the journey takes us over the rather uneven surface of Main street, going directly toward the east. In a few minutes we pass the Post Office on the left, and soon leave the noisy business portion of the street behind us, then, e’re we are aware of it, we reach and quickly climb the slight eminence known as Union Hill. Once over the hill the road has a downward grade, with generally a very muddy surface, but on through this we propel our machine to the curve in the road at its junction with Eastern avenue. To the right we follow the now well trodden thoroughfare and again pedal quickly up the steep incline before us. Now the machine is well taken in hand, and with a sharp look-out ahead a pleasant little coast over the gently sloping road is cautiously indulged in; down, down we spin, following the main road to the right over the well worn surface, an on, on we glide, past the dwellings of the rich and poor, directly though the business section of the settlement, until in a few minutes we reach the “Square,” so called, at the village center. Passing the pump at this place on our left, we continue the ride over the mud-covered highway, enjoying highly the magnificent stretch of harbor scenery before us. A short distance, and the first dismount is now taken at the foot of a rough incline known as “Patch’s Hill.” At this place are a number of prominent Summer cottages, among them being the Delphine House, Craig Cottage and Brazier Cottage, each affording first-class accommodations, with facilities for bathing, fishing, and boating in close proximity. Once again we bestride the slender wheel and continue on for half a dozen rods or more to the gate-way at the entrance to Niles’ Beach, which marks the terminus of the public way… 

Celebrity spotting famous authors

“…Our trip on the bicycle in this direction has finished, and so we sit awhile on the near-at-hand rocky bluff and watch the merry throng of bathers in their sportive antics in the cooling sea, and inwardly wish that we were among them in the refreshing exercise. At our back, as we sit facing the sandy shore, is the little Summer abode of the well known authoress, Elizabeth Stuart Phelps–the cottage in which she has already penned a great number of interesting works, and where she passes the greater portion of the long, warm  Summer days.

phelps 2

photo caption: Elizabeth Stuart Phelps house

“Directly in front of us, at the further end of the beach, is the old mansion house of the Niles family, and still further on, at the extreme end of the rocky shore, is the tall stone column of Eastern Point Light. “The walk across the beach and over the narrow winding tree bordered path is well worth taking, and makes a pleasant 

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Origami bicycle

I have been ramping up my origami activity a bit recently, and wanted to make an origami bicycle for a friend. I tried to find instructions for one, but could only find references to two origami bike designs – and one is really a scooter, not a bike, while the other is a great design, but very complicated and not fully documented. So, I decided to try to come up with my own design. Because of the geometry of a bicycle, I decided to fold it from a long rectangle instead of a square. (While squares are more common, origami can be made out of different shapes of paper.) Here are my sketches and rough draft:

After another rough draft, I came up with this model:

It’s made from an single long rectangle with no cutting or glueing. It could still stand for some improvement, but I think it’s a good start!

Matthew Green



Learn A New Word- “Sharrows” Bicycle Sharrows Arrive in Gloucester

Tell me the truth, have you ever used the word sharrows in a sentence before today?


From the City Of Gloucester Website-

GLOUCESTER, MA. — Stacy Boulevard, home to the Man at the Wheel statue and several other memorials, has a new set of wheels. But instead of facing out towards Gloucester Bay as the helms wheel the man in his sou’wester so firmly grips, these wheels look up to drivers and bicyclists from the pavement as they grip their steering wheels and handlebars.
Painted in bright, white paint by the city’s Public Works department these wheels form part of 27 stencils of bicycles joined by two arrows, indicating that cyclists often use that route.
The so-called ‘sharrows’ alert drivers that they are on a popular biking route and guide riders safely away from opening car doors. Motorists who see sharrows should watch for bicyclists, pass bicycles only when they have sufficient space to do so and look for bicyclists when opening their doors. Bicyclists should travel over the center of the sharrow marking in the direction of vehicle traffic in order to stay away from opening car doors, storm drains and raised curbs.
The new sharrows were painted this week by the Department of Public Works as part of the Get Fit Gloucester! initiative. Stacy Boulevard was specifically targeted for the first set of sharrows based on review of bicycle crash data and input from local bicyclists.
Mayor Carolyn Kirk said the sharrows show the city’s commitment to alternative transportation. “We’ve got the water shuttle and the trolley designed to ease congestion and make Gloucester a more pleasurable destination for visitors and residents alike,” Kirk said. “Bicycling is one more way to move around the city, leaving your car behind.”

Community Development Director Sarah Garcia whose office runs the Get Fit Gloucester! program noted the sharrows are all part of the effort to create a “Fit Friendly Gloucester!” “The sharrows help create a safer and more welcoming atmosphere that will encourage more residents to enjoy the wonderful and scenic bicycle routes in Gloucester,” she said. Acting Health Director Max Schenck pointed out that encouraging bicycling is one way the City can promote healthier lifestyles that reduce obesity and the chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease, which result from inactivity.

Get Fit Gloucester! Project Manager Stephen Winslow worked with the DPW to purchase the bicycle sharrow stencil with $300 in funds provided by the Commonwealth’s Mass-in-Motion program. Sharrows have been studied in other communities and have been shown to encourage motorists to give bicyclists more room when passing and to encourage bicyclists to move away from car doors that may swing open. “The biggest fear many people have when bicycling are cars passing from behind,” Winslow said. “That is actually one of the least likely causes of bicycle accidents. Many more bicyclists are injured when drivers unexpectedly swing open their doors. Sharrows help address this safety issue.”

The first phase of sharrows will run eastbound on Stacy Boulevard toward Washington Street, then follow Rogers Street and Main Street to Bass Avenue. Westbound the sharrows will run on Main Street from Bass Avenue to Washington Street and then on Stacy Boulevard to Stage Fort Park. A second phase of sharrows is planned on a route that will follow Cherry Street and Maplewood Avenue that allows bicyclists to avoid Grant Circle.