Awards and Recognition
On top of providing quality products and exceptional service to every customer and cycle enthusiast, Salem Cycle is a proud supporter of several local charities. We believe that a bright future begins with education, strong values, determination, and the support of a unified community. We applaud those organizations which provide aid to these causes.
By Dinah Cardin/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday, November 18, 2005
For many, the crisp fall season is the perfect time to drag that rusty bicycle out of the garage and take a Saturday morning ride. But for Rondi Anderson, there is no end to biking season and there are no Saturday morning pleasure rides.
Instead, the 47-year-old Salem resident is a year-round bike commuter. From Derby Street to Salem Hospital and the several clinics where she works as a midwife, Anderson pedals through traffic, rain and snow.
"As long as they don't have to go more than five miles, anyone should be able to ride their bike wherever they want to go," she says. "I probably have a personality toward soap-boxing anyway, but I tell people that I save money by not paying to go to a gym, I stay in shape, I'm not polluting or contributing to global warming or the war in Iraq. It's good for the bones and preventing osteoporosis."
Those are just a few of the reasons bike commuters give for leaving their cars at home, or in Anderson's case, not owning a car at all. Soaring gas prices are certainly not the least of the reasons people are turning to pedal power.
"I definitely save money, there's no doubt about that," says Stu Beaulieu, who rides to his auto body restoration shop on Bridge Street from his home near Derby Street, while his girlfriend rides to her job at Collins Middle School.
The main benefit for Beaulieu is that he feels more motivated when he gets to work.
"It gives you a few minutes to think about nothing, a few minutes by yourself. It's not to cheat gas prices, I just like it."
Although the U.S. has long been lapped by Europe in terms of using bicycles as a form of transportation, the trend is slowly catching on in Salem. In a city where everything is packed into only a few square miles, bike enthusiasts say everyone can get exactly where they want to go in a matter of minutes ... if only everyone was on a bike.
Stop by Salem's commuter rail station weekday mornings and there are bikes of every size, shape and color - including the urban taken-a-beating kind - chained up and left by those jumping on the train. Avoiding the battle for an early-morning parking space can be reason enough.
And with the nation's dependence on foreign oil, high car insurance premiums and gas prices recently spiking at $3 a gallon, ask Anderson if she feels a tad bit smug and she'll tell you: "I feel totally smug all the time."
Bike shop owners certainly have an interest in seeing Salem become more of a bike city. Jimmi Mahalares, of Pure Bicycle Center on Broadway, says that with safer driving conditions in town, more bike paths and better public education for bikers and drivers, Salem could stand a chance of becoming more of a bike commuting community like Cambridge or Somerville.
"When gas went up, more people started using bikes for commuting, without a doubt," he says. "It's been mostly people dusting off old bikes and getting them repaired. A few hardcore people have been out there despite rain in October."
At the 8-year-old shop, Mahalares has been trying to educate commuters about layering their clothing.
"A lot of technology now has come into cycling to keep the wind off," he says.
He would like to see city officials take an interest in a more secure way of locking bikes away from vandals and thieves.
In his effort to promote cycling, Dan Shuman, of Salem Cycle on Washington Street, says he has offered bike racks to downtown businesses "at cost" with little success. He sells all kinds of bikes, commuting equipment, maps for area bike trails and a guide called Bicycling Street Smarts.
Shuman began working on bikes when he was 13 and bought the 20-year-old store six years ago. So hardcore is the biking atmosphere around this place, one of Shuman's employees bikes to the Washington Street store on a circuitous route from Medford.
More evidence that the trend is catching on is that Salem Cycle recently sold out of folding bikes for commuting, and in the shop window an "Extra Cycle" is currently featured, which comes with a small wooden platform attached on the back that can be used as a passenger seat (with a designated spot for the passenger's feet) or for toting just about anything, within reason. With a grin, Shuman swears the manufacturer even makes a battery-powered blender attachment.
Tirelessly, he works to promote the idea of incorporating biking into the daily lives of those around him. One common request is that the city find the money to promote safer biking in Salem.
"There's money available for any town with a plan to use it," says Shuman, "and we don't have a plan."
But, perhaps, that is about to change.
Salem's narrow, congested streets might not be conducive to sharing the road, but new bike-friendly state legislation means drivers are going to have to play nice.
The state's Registry of Motor Vehicles will soon provide more awareness of biker's rights and encourage drivers to be on the lookout for bikers, including checking side mirrors before opening car doors, one of the most common hazards for a biker.
The RMV has started a Share the Road Study Committee, which held its first meeting this past July. One of the committee's objectives is to explore ways in which motorist-bicyclist interaction can be improved.
Another recent victory for bikers was the endorsement, on Nov. 3, of a Bicyclists' Bill of Rights and Responsibilities, which would promote smart city biking and safer sharing of the road, by the Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security.
Officials gearing up
State Rep. John Keenan participates in the popular Pan-Mass Challenge to benefit the Jimmy Fund every summer and trains for months leading up to it. On Beacon Hill, bike paths and bicycle-friendly communities are getting a lot of attention these days, he says.
In the ongoing effort Salem officials are making to bolster the creative economy and encourage people to both live and work in this community, bicyclists can play a real role, says Keenan.
"Anything we can do to take more vehicles off the road is beneficial to traffic and congestion issues and the environment," he says. "In a situation like this, where so many live and work in the same city, it's something that should be encouraged. It's certainly part of a livable community."
The state Legislature has also examined funding a "Safe Routes to School" program that encourages safer walking and bicycling to school, and includes funding for the construction and improvement of bike lanes, paths and sidewalks.
Mass Highway has adopted engineering guidelines, in keeping with a law passed in the mid-'90s, that encourage bicycle lanes early in the design process of road construction and maintenance.
City Councilor-at-Large Mike Bencal is a strong advocate of bicycling. The retired air traffic controller does all his errands by bike, including carrying groceries in his side bags. Bencal guesses he'll rack up about 2,000 miles this year. He is part of the North Shore Cyclopaths, who ride together every Saturday morning, and of which former Salem Mayor Sam Zoll is a founding member.
The city needs to make things easier for bikers, like having more bike racks near the pedestrian mall, says Bencal. At one time, Salem purchased new bike lockers for the train station, which would have offered more theft protection for train commuters, but the lockers sat in a storage facility that were eventually vandalized, he says.
This city used to host a bike race called the Mayor's Cup. Bikers, including a few professional racers, and an Olympian one year, recalls Bencal, would line up all around the Common. The race, which was last held in 1986, brought huge crowds.
For recreational biking and commuters, many bike paths have long been in the works, led by advocacy groups, connecting Boston with the North Shore along abandoned MBTA rail beds. Frustration for many bikers though, is the fact that the existing path that connects Salem to Marblehead crosses busy Loring Avenue and takes riders to Canal Street.
Bencal introduced an order to the Council that would have set up a citizen's committee to handle bike paths in the city, but the support wasn't there, he recalls, adding he would like to see the new mayor take an interest in making Salem more bike-friendly.
"We need some direction form the corner office that would allow Salem to take that step forward," he says. "There are too many cars on the streets now and one way to alleviate it is all get on bikes."
Bike advocates say the revolution is cyclical: More people on bikes will mean safer roads for bikers and promote even more people getting on bikes.
"It's catchy," says the 50-year-old Bencal. "It's an exercise we can do well into our 70s, because it's so non-abrasive to our bodies.”It may take $6 a gallon for gas before people really get behind it here," he says. "There has to be a push from the governmental side."
Mayor-elect Kim Driscoll says she is all for resurrecting the plan for a citywide bike path that would be both on and off city streets.
"It adds to the quality of life," she says. "I look at it as more of a recreational benefit, and if we can get folks to work that way, that's just icing on the cake. I don't know if can get everyone out of their cars and on their bike. If we make it safer, we stand a chance of some people using their bikes as a mode of transportation."
When Driscoll's family lived in South Salem, they used the existing path that goes from Loring Avenue to Lafayette Street and to Marblehead.
The numerous bike paths out on the West Coast are so popular, says Driscoll that homes built on them in Oregon are highly sought after. State money is probably still available, she says, which could be tapped into for converting more abandoned railroad beds in the area to bike paths.
As city officials debate opening the pedestrian mall to vehicular traffic, and with a new mayor setting the tone dealing with ongoing traffic issues, Salem cyclists hope their voice will be one that is heard above the din of engines and horn blasts.
Reprinted with permission from Community Newspaper Company Dinah Cardin Salem Gazette November 18, 2005
A city bewitched into kitsch
Salem is best known for the witch trials of 1692, however -- a fascinating case of mass hysteria as teen-age girls, one by one, fell into convulsions while their parents feared demonic possession. The girls accused their neighbors of witchcraft, and 19 women were hanged while one man was pressed to death by stones.
Although the tragedy was a drop in the bucket compared to the wholesale witch burnings and hangings in Europe at the time, the Salem story has never died. The tragedy has been the subject of numerous books and plays -- most notably ''The Crucible" by Arthur Miller.
With the sailing trade gone, tourism has come to the rescue, and, inevitably, witch kitsch has taken its hold. Even the police wear witches on their uniforms, and who wouldn't be charmed by taking a wrong turn on a street name Witch Way?
Tourists can choose among the Witch House, the Witch Dungeon, the Witch History Museum, the Salem Witch Museum, a Spellbound Museum, a Haunted Footsteps Ghost Tour, and a Ghost Encounters walking tour. My favorite, however, is the bike shop, Salem Cycle, with a sign showing a witch riding a broom with two wheels.
Given all of this, I was surprised at last month's controversy over a statue on the corner of Essex and Washington of actress Elizabeth Montgomery riding a broomstick with her heels on the moon. Montgomery played Samantha, a modern housewife witch who could perform magic by twitching her nose on a 1960s TV show called ''Bewitched," soon to be a major motion picture, as they say in Hollywood.
Some people thought the statue was making light of a three-century-old tragedy. ''We don't make fun of the Holocaust. We shouldn't be making fun of the witches," Bill Burns told National Public Radio. Others thought it was a shame to memorialize a TV show while there was so much real history in Salem. Mayor Stanley Usovicz, however, said that with all due respect, ''we have to recognize that there is a popular culture and that we are part of that popular culture."
No doubt, the Samantha statue does trivialize history, but the real message here is the tremendous and pervasive power of movies and television, undoubtedly America's most influential export, rivaled only by pop music. For many years after the breezy comedy series ''Cheers" had ended, the bar on Boston's Beacon Street that served as a model for the fictional bar was the most sought-after tourist site by overseas visitors -- much more so than the historic places associated with the birth of this nation. The Cheers bar still remains near the top, according to Boston's Convention and Visitors Bureau.
In Scotland I once went to visit the Scottish Nationalist Party, and members told me how recruitment had jumped after the movie ''Braveheart" exploited the deeds of William Wallace fighting the English in the 13th century. The party thought of building a statue of Wallace, but since no one knew what Wallace looked like, the obvious thing to do was make it look like the movie's star, Mel Gibson.
And although the Austrian city of Salzburg tries to play up its local hero, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, with kitsch only slightly more sophisticated than Salem's, there are legions of tourists who come to see the city of the ''Sound of Music," rather than the birthplace of Mozart.
America may have world-class symphony orchestras, some of the world's best museums, as well as poets, painters, playwrights, and writers, but love it or hate it, American culture has long been defined by its movies. My father, visiting Paris in the '30s, was accosted by a small boy pointing a stick and saying: ''Je suis le gangster avec un tommigun."
The power of Hollywood has crossed all frontiers since then, and I have no doubt that in many a town between Amoy and Zanzibar there are reruns of ''Bewitched" to be seen somewhere. Old sitcoms never die. They don't even fade away.
H.D.S. Greenway's column appears regularly in the Globe.
Help for Abused Women and their Children
April 28, 2003
Mr. Dan Shuman
On behalf of HAWC' s Board, staff and volunteers, I am writing to acknowledge and thank you for your wonderful donation of a Baby Jogger Stroller valued by you at $209 and received on 4/25/2003. This item was raffled at our Walk for HAWC event on Sunday, April 27, 2003. We made sure to publicize your donation with two large signs on the jogger as well as several mentions from the podium. Your support is greatly appreciated by all of us involved with HAWC especially during this year of economic uncertainty.
As you know, HAWC is the only agency providing services to battered women and their children here on the North Shore. The continuation of our critically important programs and services very much depends on the interest, commitment and strong support of the community around us.
Please note that no goods and services were provided in exchange for this contribution, it is fully tax deductible.
Again, thank you so much for supporting us in such a special way.
27 Congress Street, Salem, MA 01970
The Foundation for Salem Public Education
5 June 2003
This year's auction raised just over $30,000 for the Foundation, money that goes to our schools to fund projects that further students' educational experiences in science, mathematics, the arts and humanities.
Your donation is especially important in these financially challenging times. Thank you for your generosity and commitment to our public schools.
John Keenan and Gwen Rosemond
The Foundation for Salem Public Education, Inc.
The School for Field Studies
After a week of planning meetings in Salem, SFS Center Directors were thrilled to be greeted by so many enthusiastic alumni and to enjoy an evening of networking and reminiscing. This strong showing helped to reaffirm the importance and lasting impact that the SFS educational experience has upon a student. Those guests who had not been on an SFS program also had a wonderful opportunity to meet SFS staff and alumni, and to learn more about the mission and the many exciting projects that have been undertaken to promote the sustainable management of the world's precious natural resources.
We have long believed that the SFS educational experience shouldn't end at the close of the program. We hope that through future events, such as this one, we can keep the SFS spirit alive and support our alumni as they work to ensure a future in which natural resources are protected and basic human needs are met.
Thank you again for your generous in-kind support.
The Cape Ann Waldorf School
Mr. Dan Shuman
The Cape Ann Waldorf School gratefully acknowledges your donation to our school's annual auction of the items indicated below. Our event was a smashing success; it wouldn't have been, it could't have been, without you.
Please allow me to extend on behalf of the school's students, families, faculty and administration, our heartfelt appreciation.
With all warmest wishes,
668 Hale Street