Boston Biking Perks Up: Inside the Boston Common Coffee Co. Cycling Team

Posted May 8, 2013 by Scott Kearnan in Business
Boston Common Coffee Cycling Team

As you mosey through downtown in the morning, grabbing java from Boston Common Coffee Co. on Washington St. is a must. But among the Boston biking community, it’s not just the caffeine that’s waking people up. Owner Peter Femino is the leader of his own cycling team, and their Wednesday morning ride—an 11-mile loop from Boston Common Coffee Co. down to the Charles River—has become a spring sunrise tradition.

Meanwhile, the team itself has become a unique way to bring customers, the downtown community, and the local biking culture together. After all, nothing says camaraderie like a brisk Boston bike ride (followed by a breakfast sandwich, naturally).

“A lot of the people I ride with are customers,” explains Femino, who attracts participants through the Boston Common Coffee Cycling Team’s Meetup page. He loves seeing familiar faces join the team, and does his best to build a feeling of community among riders.

“When I did the Midnight Ride, I saw people along the way who are customers of mine,” says Femino, referring to a 2012 bike ride that retraced the route of the Boston Marathon. “I told them, ‘come by the coffee shop, because I’m making breakfast for everyone!’ So we went there after, and I made eggs, bacon, quiche, and breakfast sandwiches. Then we napped! It was a lot of fun.”

The Cycling Team

Want to explore Massachusetts’s diverse terrain? The cycling team heads outside the city too. Photo Credit Peter Femino

Femino’s Boston biking team is primarily a social one, and it’s a great way to meet other active people. Its Meetup group boasts about 150 members, and you can sign up for rides ranging from weekend excursions in and around Boston to larger cycling events. While socializing is important, the team isn’t for the faint of heart—or lung, for that matter. In fact, Femino founded it because a previous group to which he belonged wasn’t challenging its more competitive cyclists. So, the Boston Common Coffee Cycling Team allows riders to divide themselves into tiered groups—dubbed the Latte Group, Cappuccino Group, and Espresso Group—based on ability and competitiveness. That way, whether you’re looking for a relaxing ride or a more strenuous cycling experience, you’ll find similar friends alongside you.

Those looking for a real challenge have something truly special to look forward to: The Pain in the Mass Tour is an intense two-day ride slated to start on Saturday, September 21. Femino is starting Pain in the Mass to raise funds for the Tyler Foundation, an organization that provides financial assistance (everything from gas cards to therapeutic equipment) to families of children with epilepsy who are treated at Boston Children’s Hospital and UMass Memorial Children’s Medical Center. And its cyclists will definitely earn every charitable cent. The doozy of a ride starts in Hopedale, Massachusetts, at the Boston Common Coffee Co. roasting facility. Riders travel over 150 miles to the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts, where they finish the challenge by ascending Mount Greylock, the highest point in the state. Talk about a grand finish! Good news: A big barbecue celebration will be waiting back on the ground.

Femino knows that the grueling course means the Pain in the Mass Tour might not bring in as many participants as more moderate rides. Participants first have to finish a 109-mile qualifying ride up Mount Wachusett. Femino stresses that this first year is something of a “beta ride” to test things out for the future. That said, he wanted to create a challenging course that would attract those with the most passion for cycling, as well as general riders who are truly motivated by the fund-raising cause.

“I always feel bad for people who have been affected by an illness—maybe they’ve lost a friend to cancer—but can’t participate in a fund-raising ride because there’s a $5,000 barrier to entry,” explains Femino, who plans to set the fund-raising minimum much lower. “I don’t want people to be priced out if they want to help those affected by infant epilepsy or ride in remembrance of someone.” In fact, Femino is already thinking of ways to use Boston Common Coffee Co. to support the ride—such as creating a specialty drink where a percentage of sales will benefit the fund-raising cyclists.

And he’s looking to find ways to expand his cycling team into a larger community of athletes. Things may soon diversify to incorporate mountain climbing, skiing, and other activity-based outings, too.

Whether biking by the Charles or cycling up a mountain, creating a community of like-minded and motivated friends is always paramount. “We have a lot of laughs,” says Femino of the team. “We get breakfast and lunch together. We’re a social group. But we’re serious riders.”

“It’s like the way I run my business,” says Femino. “Work hard, and laugh hard.”



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