Andrew became a serious cyclist when he was 16 and would ride 20 miles from one parent’s house to the other. After attending college at Wesleyan University, Andrew took on about a million and one jobs. He’s been a dishwasher, a bartender, an international recruiter, a manager of an Italian import furniture company, and an accountant for an online clothing company. He helped launch a number of different marketing and brand ambassador campaigns for Cointreau, Coke Zero, Napster and Anheuser-Busch.
In his 20s, Andrew would commute into Downtown Boston for work and then explore the city on weekends. He was doing some less-than-honest accounting for a company right around the same time as the Enron scandal, and staying in that environment felt terribly wrong. He wanted to do something that was meaningful, something that he believed in.
After two years of thinking about changing gears into the world of cycling, perhaps designing clothing for cycling, Andrew got out of his corporate accounting job.
Sitting around a table with some friends and some drinks, they came up with Urban AdvenTours. Getting started on a $200 tax return and credit cards weren’t easy, but Andrew had friends to help him along the way. At the time Boston was annually ranked as one of the worst cycling cities in America by many of the experts and trade publications, yet he still saw an opportunity.
The first few tours left his house, but soon a corner of Boston Bicycle (now Superb) became home to Urban AdvenTours. He started at Boston Bicycle with 8 Jamis mountain bikes in a very crowded space. It was around this time, in 2006 that the infamous BioBus came into play, delivering bikes to hotel guests and special events, fueled by recycled veggie-oil.
Shortly thereafter, UA made the move over to Landry’s on Commonwealth Avenue by Boston University. Landry’s was a step up from Boston Bicycle, but Andrew and his now fledgling staff were under a vent, which could literally be a bit of a headache, as they’d often bump their heads on it. Nevertheless, having a bigger crew to work with and a team environment was certainly an improvement.
By the 2009 off-season, it was time. Andrew and crew packed up from their attic in Landry’s and moved down to space at 103 Atlantic Ave, neighboring the Aquarium, Quincy Market, and the North End. They were awarded a special loan from the Boston Local Development Corporation and Green Business Awards, and Bike-Friendly business rankings weren’t far behind.
In April of 2010, The Bike Shop at Urban AdvenTours opened its doors, just down the block at 109 Atlantic Ave. Expanding from tours, rentals, and service to include more sales and accessories has allowed Urban AdvenTours to help their customers all the way through the cycling experience. Located right on the edge of Downtown, The Bike Shop is outfitted to keep commuters geared up and on the road. The loaner bike program even lends riders a bike while theirs is under the wrench for repairs.
Urban AdvenTours also works closely with the Mayor’s office and Boston Bikes to help provide cycling access to Boston school kids. We’ve done work with countless area youth groups, including the Citizen’s Schools. Through after-school programs, Urban AdvenTours has spent countless hours teaching cycling education to kids who don’t even have access to a bicycle, let alone have someone teaching them how to ride.
In the last year or so, in part due to Andrew’s and Urban AdvenTours’ impact, Boston has been ranked by those same early critics as one of the top cycling cities in the country. And as long as Urban AdvenTours continues to grow and embed themselves in the community, there’s no doubt Boston will get to the top of the cycling world.