Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Riders tour the city during the Bow Tie Ride in 2022. (Photo: City of Cambridge)

Have you looked at a map of Cambridge and noticed that the outline resembles a bowtie? The Cambridge Bicycle Committee has, and in 2006 held the first Bow Tie Ride to celebrate cycling in Cambridge. In what has become an annual event, more than 150 cyclists of all ages are expected to take part in the Sunday ride on Oct. 1. History Cambridge has collaborated on a previous bike tour, “Pedaling the People’s Republic,” but this year the CBC has also invited History Cambridge to share a bit of the city’s rich history midway through the Bow Tie Ride.

History Cambridge will speak at Danehy Park about the history of biking in the city, from the wildly popular bicycling clubs that sprang up after the Civil War to the more recent developments in urban planning and infrastructure that have enabled the expansion of cycling across the city and beyond.

We will also highlight the history of the park, which serves as a model for the ways Cambridge has reclaimed and transformed spaces, bringing them from sites of waste disposal to vital centers of growth and community in the city. Once a place for household and industrial refuse, Danehy Park was filled in during the 1970s and, by 1990, had been transformed into a playground and park. In 2021, a miyawaki forest was added – a small area of forest grown using a method of planting and cultivating indigenous species to take hold quickly and thrive in most any conditions. The development, from landfill to the heart of its neighborhood, represents a piece of the larger Cambridge story of growth and transformation over the past century.

Cambridge was ranked this year by the nonprofit group People for Bikes among the top 10 percent of bike-friendly cities worldwide. As more and more Cantabrigians use bicycles for transportation and leisure, the city has aimed to celebrate the opportunities for cycling citywide through a series of bike rides year-round. 

History Cambridge is excited to partner with the Bow Tie Ride to add historical context to this celebration of the city’s biking culture. Information about the ride can be found at the Cambridge Bicycle Committee’s website. Sign up for our e-newsletter to learn about this and all of History Cambridge’s upcoming events and programs.

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About History Cambridge

History Cambridge started in 1905 as the Cambridge Historical Society. Today we have a new name and a new mission. We engage with our city to explore how the past influences the present to shape a better future. We recognize that every person in our city knows something about Cambridge’s history, and their knowledge matters. We listen to our community and we live by the ideal that history belongs to everyone. Throughout 2023, we are focusing on the history of Cambridgeport. Make history with us at historycambridge.org.

History Cambridge is a nonprofit organization. Our activities rely on your financial support. If you value articles like this one, give today.


Beth Folsom is programs manager for History Cambridge.