Urban AdvenTours: Cycle Boston to Learn its Hidden History

In the early 2000s Boston was considered one of the worst cities for bike riders. Now it has quickly grown to one of the most bike friendly cities in the United States. The riders of Urban AdvenTours like to think they played a small part in making that happen and you can too! Book a team building event with Urban AdvenTours to take a ride through the streets of Boston.

Why a bike tour? How much do you really know about Boston? Sure you may have learned a lot in your social studies class decades ago. But with a ride led by their knowledgeable guides, they will reveal the hidden history of this historic city.

Urban AdvenTours Highlights

Team building with your coworkers by riding bikes through the city is a fun way to get some sunshine, exercise, and spend time with one another. Urban AdvenTours provides a number of ways for you to make the experience unique to your team while also making it an educational experience for everyone.

  • Not all tours are the same and there are plenty of exciting routes to choose from!
  • Don’t be worried about seeing the same old tourist sites in Boston. Tours can be anything from the famous Paul Revere ride to a customized tour relating to your business.
  • Your employees may just be interested in riding bikes around the city for an afternoon. Urban AdvenTours can accommodate you as well! Instead of signing up for a tour, rent bikes to explore the city.
  • What is a bike ride without food and drinks waiting for you at the destination? While Urban AdvenTours does not personally provide food or drinks they can incorporate these add ons for your event.
  • Depending upon the types of bikes the store has available, accommodations can be made for up to 150 people. In tour settings they suggest groups no larger than 30 people. You don’t want to be taking up too much of the street.
  • Tours typically last 2.5 to 3 hours long.

Urban AdvenTours Available Tours

Urban AdvenTours City tours are not just for travelers. They have plenty to offer for history buffs, beer enthusiasts, and the more advanced riders. One size does not fit all with their events, so check out some of the exciting options available.

  • City View Tour – This flagship and introduction to Boston tour will take you through some of the most popular sites in Boston. Visit Boston’s Italian and oldest residential neighborhood, Fenway Park, The Charles River Esplanade and Copley Square.
  • Paul Revere Ride – THE BRITISH ARE COMING! With this ride bikes will replace horses as you follow Paul Revere’s midnight ride from April 18th,1775.
  • Bike and Brew – Does your team love to exercise but also loves to enjoy a pint now and again? The Bike and Brew tour may be for you. End your tour near the Harpoon brewery for a tour of the facility and some straight from the source brew.
  • The Emerald Necklace Tour – A tour for the more advanced riders, bike through some of Boston’s most beautiful parks. For some extra visual appeal, book a tour between October and November to see the leaves change color.
  • Customized Tours – Don’t see any tours that speak to you? Create your own! Urban AdvenTours has done green architecture tours and water reservoir tours for special private groups. Contact a member of their staff on how to set up your own customized tour.
  • And more!

Urban AdvenTours Safety

Urban AdvenTours experienced staff will make sure you are safe during your entire ride. They recognize communication is important when navigating the streets of Boston and they will make sure you feel confident riding along.

  • With each bike rented riders are also provided a helmet.
  • All riders are asked to sign a waiver before they begin their journey. Waivers can be sent ahead of time or signed upon arrival.
  • On tours or optional rentals you will be led by experienced guides that know the city. While continuing down the route you will be instructed by the safest way to cross and navigate the streets of Boston.
  • If you are unsure about the experience level of the tours available most are for basic level riders. The only exception is the Emerald Necklace your which can be slightly more challenging.
  • If a rider does not feel completely confident riding a bike on their own there is the option of riding tandem. The rider can hop on the back of a tandem with an experienced rider to feel better about their ability to navigate the route.

Urban AdvenTours Photos

Check out some of the beautiful Boston scenery you can see via bike ride with Urban AdvenTours. Visit parks, the city center, and national landmarks.

Interview with Alex, Tour and Rental Manager of Urban AdvenTours

Listen to my interview with Alex, the tour and rental manager of Urban AdvenTours. We talk about the fun unique tours available and different ways to customize your team building event.

Interview Transcript

Kristen: Hi, you are listening to Team Building Hero. I am Kristen and I have Alex here from Urban AdvenTours. He is the tour and rental manager. Thank you so much for joining me Alex.Alex: Thanks for having me Kristen.

Kristen: So just to begin can you tell us how Urban AdvenTours got started?

Alex: Sure. So our founder, Andres Prescott, he graduated from Wesleyan college. He is from Connecticut but he moved to Boston not long after graduating. He was an accountant, he was playing the corporate game. He saw some things that were less than honest and it didn’t rub him the right way. So he quit all that, left it behind. He had been a cyclist for most of his life so he decided to get into the bike business.

Now in the early 2000s Boston was not regarded as a bike friendly city at all. In fact it was rated as one of the worse in the country. But none the less he started selling bike tours out of his garage. In 2004 quickly moved to Boston Bicycle, which if you are familiar with Boston area it was recently superb bicycle and was recently shut down in the last couple months. He had a total of about 8 mountain bike tours all over the city. A couple years later he moved over to Landry’s on cal ave. Had a few bikes just underneath the stairs at that bike shop — continued growing and in 2009 moved to Atlantic avenue where we are now located today. In 2010 we opened up Urban Cycles, which is our bike shop right next door located in the same building. So really now-a-days we have really become to be a resource for all things cycling. We started off as Andrew just leading tours out of his garage and today we are really pushing for being cycling advocates in Boston. Doing what we can to promote cycling and get people out on the roads riding safely. We like to take a little bit of credit for the fact that Boston was really not bike friendly in the early 2000s and since we have been a part of the cycling culture here in Boston it has really become one of the best cycling cities in America. I like to think that we had a hand in making that happen.

Kristen: Wow, that is so interesting. So when you first started bikes were not a big part of the city. But now do you see a lot of other people biking and using that to get to work?

Alex: O absolutely. There is a bike lane right outside the window right here, that wasn’t here before we were in this neighborhood. There are a whole bunch of different advocacy groups that have grown up in Boston. It seems like they are putting in a new bike lane…a new bike path somewhere, every couple months. So we are pretty happy to see where the city has come. It looks like it is going to keep moving forward and to keep becoming better and better.

Kristen: That is fantastic. So I am sure that is good news for your business.

Alex: It is absolutely good for our business but you know it is just really good for the city in general.

Kristen: O yea definitely. So can you walk my through a corporate team building event?

Alex: Yeah absolutely. So really our product is our bike tour around Boston. As a corporate event we very simply will just host a private tour for a group. So these tours are generally 2.5 to 3 hours long. About 10 to 12 miles. Our flagship tour, which I have personally led a corporate group on one of these tours before. It is our flagship tour, the city view tour. It is goes through 6 different neighborhoods of Boston, about 8 to 10 stops. We will stop to tell people about the history of Boston, culture of Boston, stop at different historic and cool points of interest and explain what we are looking at. That is our standard tour that we lead daily for whoever wants to come on a tour with us.

It really lends itself to being a corporate event in that, if you are riding a bike as a group it is really a great team building exercise. You really have to be aware of those riding with you. Whether you are riding through the streets of Boston, you have to be aware of perhaps a car coming behind you, getting through an intersection as a group. You really have to be aware of who is around you and communicate. I am turning right, I am turning left, slowing, stopping…a lot of communication that goes along with riders. Also just riding a bike, especially when we are down on the bike path. It is stimulating enough that I feel it really fosters conversation. You can ride up along someone and have a chat with them. Just being out in the fresh air, I think it is really a great chance to talk to whoever you are riding with and kind of get this group dynamic going that you might not get sitting around in a conference room. Otherwise riding bikes together on one of our tours is a great shared experience and I know that at the end of a tour I have led before people are really excited about what they just did and they are chatting about it. “O did you see this when we rode by that building when we stopped.” All our guides are taking pictures, remember these pictures, and we will send them to people after the tour. It is a great shared experience for a group.

Kristen: Yea, definitely. Well it is really an exercise in multiple ways. You know, practicing communication, working with everyone to get from one side of the road to the other, and just enjoying outside.

Alex: Absolutely.

Kristen: So can you tell me more about the unique tours you offer to people that maybe already live in Boston.

Alex: Sure, so most of our tours are geared towards tourists, like people visiting Boston. So we do a bit of seeing the highlights of Boston which may or may not appeal to locals. But our guides are pretty well versed in the history of Boston and I really believe that if locals come on our tour….I know the first time I went on a tour…you really do learn something about the city that you thought you already knew. So honestly I would recommend our flagship tour, the city tour to locals as well as tourists coming into the city.

But otherwise, our tour of Cambridge if people aren’t as familiar with Boston’s district city just north of the Charles. That is a great option to explore over there. Otherwise we can tailor any sort of tour to a people’s personal interests. We have done green architecture tours, so going around and seeing new developments and rooftop gardens and different solar panels. See the different new up and coming green architecture. We also do a bike and brew tour where we will take you to a couple different breweries. Usually that ends at the Harpoon brewery. So take a tour of Harpoon after that. But we can really tailor a group ride to anyone’s particular interests. One really great tour package we have is the Paul Revere ride. It is a pretty cool idea, it follows the midnight ride of Paul Revere. He started right down here in the north end, and that is where our shop is located. We will ride bikes, of course he rode his horse, to Lexington and Concord. So it is kind of a history tour of the American Revolution. That is a great group ride if people are into riding a little longer, a little bit farther.

Kristen: Interesting, so it is like a modern take on Paul Revere on a bike.

Alex: Yea, exactly.

Kristen: Kind of how you were talking about how you can customize tours…I, like the founder, use to work in accounting. When you want to learn about your clients you go and you study…if they are an architecture firm you study what they build. So maybe for people who have clients they are trying to get, this is a really great option for them to look at architecture of the city.

Alex: Mhmm

Kristen: So can you tell me about different ways you can customize the tour? Are there like drink stops that you can do? You talked a little bit about doing desired locations but what sort of add ons are available?

Alex: It really comes down to whatever a group decides they want to do. We are extremely flexible. We start and end most of our tours at our location in the north end. But we have the means to deliver bikes pretty much anywhere within Boston. So if groups want to start and end in different locations that is certainly a possibility.

I mentioned the bike and brew tour, it is probably our most common kind of add on’s is to finish towards the Harpoon brewery. We don’t coordinate the tour itself of the brewery but I know they are open most days to accommodate bigger groups. That is really common, other groups will finish either at a convention or function that is going on. So we will start the tour here and definitely end at wherever their next event is going to be. This is a little bit different but we hosted something called a Cambridge Watershed Tour, just to give you an example of some of the other things we do. The City of Cambridge had us take some of the residents of Cambridge, take them around to all the different places of the Cambridge Watershed. It was a tour that kind of explored through the Cambridge water department. Where their water is actually coming from and it was really insightful to see the infrastructure in terms of the pumping stations and the reservoirs. Honestly to get a feel of where all their water is coming from if there are groups that are interested in getting views of any larger infrastructure or longer tours like that, we are certainly flexible. We can tailor things to people’s interest.

Kristen: That is so interesting. Are there tours that are more or less advanced? And groups that are more, “Hey I just learned how to ride a bike” sort of level. Do you have those listed on your website? Or how can people get that information?

Alex: Yea, absolutely. On our website our family friendly tour which is really for all ages and all skill levels is called our Tour to Boston, Which is really just a loop of the Charles River Esplanade. It is entirely along the bike path. You don’t have to worry about traffic or anything like that. That is good for first time rider or those who aren’t looking to get around the city and deal with traffic and things like that.

Most of our tours are really meant for all skill levels as long as you can ride a bike comfortably. Our guides are trained to keep people safe. We have been keeping people safe for 12 years riding to the city. So we definitely can cater to all skill levels.

If people are looking for a harder or longer ride our Emerald Necklace Tour is a great option. It explores the 7 parks that were designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. It goes all the way down to the Arnold Arboretum. That is about a 15 mile…16 mile course.. a little longer and it is better for advanced riders.

Another option for corporate events is not to do a bike tour per-say, but do a bike rental. We rent out road bikes of all different makes and all different sizes. So an event that we had last summer we went out to Concord. We delivered maybe 30/40 road bikes for a group. That gave them the option of, if some of the riders really want to go pretty far and go pretty fast they can just go off on their own and do that. We would send a tour guide with them if they want, but then the rest of the group if they want to go slower then everyone can kind of go at their own pace doing a sort of rental event.

Kristen: That is great, there are so many options. So how many people can you host for a tour? Or how many people can rent the road bikes at a time? Like min and max.

Alex: For a tour, our minimum would be 8 people. We are happy to take out fewer than that but our pricing structure does begin as if it were priced for 8 people. As for maximums, for tours there is really no maximum. If groups get larger then 20 / 25, I have the means to take them out, we could still take them out we would probably just split them into separate groups. Taking 30 people down the streets of Boston…we’ve done it before but you kind of take over the whole street and it is a better experience when you are in 2 smaller groups. But there really is no maximum. I would say, depending on what types of bikes people are renting we can accommodate up to 150 rentals and we can staff guys for that number as well if necessary.

Kristen: Fantastic, so if you are doing a tour maybe break it up. If you are doing a rental the highest is 150. That is great.

Alex: Yea, give or take depending on what type of bikes we have.

Kristen: So I have a few safety questions. When people come to the event do they have to sign a waiver?

Alex: Yup, we require every rider to sign a waiver. That is available on our website and of course we can e-mail that to group planners ahead of time if they want. But it is required for everyone to sign.

Kristen: Ok, and are there any sort of health restrictions? I know you kind of said if people can ride a bike they can pretty much do it. Is there like a weight limit or people that you would suggest maybe don’t do certain rides during hot times of the year?

Alex: There really isn’t any restrictions on that. It comes down to the individual’s choice. If they feel comfortable riding a bicycle we are happy to take them out. Even people who aren’t as comfortable riding a bike, we are happy to ride along and help you out and do our best to help get you out there safely. We also rent out tandem bikes, so sometimes if someone is less comfortable on a bike they can just hop on the back of a tandem with someone else and that is a good option if someone is not as comfortable.

Kristen: Awesome, so how long are most of your tours? I know you mentioned the Emerald necklace is a little bit longer and then there is rentals. But typical corporate tour, how long are those?

Alex: Typical tour I would say 2.5 – 3 hours. We do offer a shorter version of about 1.5 hours. Typically I would say if you really want to get a good ride in and you really want to see Boston most of our tours are 2.5 – 3 hours give or take 10 and 15 miles or so.

Kristen: Ok, fantastic. What is the price range for a corporate event? I know you said after 8 people is kind of your minimum. But after 8 people does it go up per person or how does that work?

Alex: Yea I will explain the pricing structure as best I can. The standard tour that is the 2.5 – 3 hours that is $55 per person. The 1.5 hour tour is $40 per person. But we do start our pricing at the equivalent of pricing for 8 so a minimum of 8. That means the minimum price is $600 all inclusive if you are going to take 8 or fewer. But it would go up accordingly per person from there.

As for rentals, the road bike rentals are $75 per person. If people want performance bikes or carbon framed bikes we go up from there, certainly an option. Our hybrid bikes, which are our city bikes, those are $40 per rental. Now for corporate groups depending on their size we can offer discounts between 10% – 25%. That depends on the size of the group and it is a case by case basis, but we are happy to work with groups to give them a discount.

Kristen: Ok great. What is included in that price? Are helmets part of that deal?

Alex: Yup absolutely. For the tours we of course include the bike and a tour guide to take you around. As many tour guides as we need. We generally do roughly one tour guide per 8 riders. It includes a tour guide, a bike of course, water, and a helmet.

Kristen: Ok

Alex: For the bike rentals that includes a helmet and a bike, as well as a lock and cable if necessary, as well as a flat kit. You know… in case you get a flat tire out there. Also, we have maps and different online routes that people can follow if people are going out on their own.

Kristen: Fantastic, well I think I actually got all my questions answered. Do you have anything else that you would like to add?

Alex: I don’t think so. You know, riding a bike is a great way to meet new people or get to know people even better. I just think there’s something about being out in the sunshine in a group and getting that exercise can really bring people together.

Kristen: Definitely. Well this is Team Building Hero. I am Kristen and that was Alex the tour and rental manager from Urban AdvenTours. Thank you so much Alex.

Alex: Right, thanks for speaking with me.

Urban AdvenTours Reviews

Urban AdvenTours has fantastic reviews on every platform! Their tours are great for companies, locals and those visiting Boston for business trips. Check out their Trip Advisor, Yelp, and Facebook reviews.

“My company booked a private group tour with Urban Bike Tours. As the coordinator for the group, I was thrilled to be part of the actual tour. We saw parts of Boston that I’ve never seen even as a native. Our guide was knowledgeable, fun, and made us all safe! What a great way to showcase this beautiful city. Perfect activity for a group. I will spread the word!” – camh23, Trip Advisor

“I went on a group tour around the Seaport District with Urban AdvenTours. The guides were very knowledgeable and made the trips fun. I learned a lot of new facts about Boston even though I have lived here for over 7 years. The guides were also really great about safety and would block off traffic at times to help the group move across busy streets more easily. All-in-all a really unique way to see Boston.” – Elsie F., Yelp

“I was in Boston for a work trip and wanted to see a bit of it by bike. I talked to the guys at Urban AdvenTours in Boston about what would suit me, they went out of their way to find the perfect rental bike for my needs, and the conditions at the time. The bike I got was a seriously nice machine, no cheap rental clunkers here. Everything went very smoothly, including my ride. Great service, great shop, great staff. I’ll be back.” – Hal Bonella, Facebook