Take a Neighborhood Holiday Lights Tour By Bike

Some of the displays will 'knock your socks off.'

Some look “kitschy” and others are more “professional” in terms of their general arrangement, but all in all, the light displays outside people’s homes in Somerville are great to gawk at—especially when doing it by bike.

On December 13, for the fifth year in a row, cyclist Brian Postlewaite and his wife will be leading riders through the streets of Somerville to take in the eclectic collection of holiday light displays that line the city’s streets.

“You can’t imagine how much stuff some people pack into their yards,” he said. “Some are just amazingly—I don’t want to say professional, but well kept—and formal-looking almost. The variety is a lot of fun.”

The idea to take a two-wheeled tour of the holiday lights in people’s front yards began in 2008, when Postlewaite and his wife were on a trolley tour of the displays hosted by the Somerville Arts Council.

A year-round cyclist, Postlewaite thought it would be fun to bike a similar route while observing the displays, and cap off the night with hot chocolate and free food with others interested in winter riding.

“There weren’t many winter bike rides at the time, so we wanted to start a ride for the cyclists who bicycled all winter long and were used to the conditions,” he said. “Of course, we also wanted to go out and see the lights.”

With the help of the Somerville Arts Council, an organization that hosts trolley tours annually and creates a map so residents and visitors can take impromptu strolls to decorated homes, Postlewaite organized the ride. In the first year alone, it attracted more than 50 riders, he said.

“We were amazed at how many people came out. For that reason alone, I have just kept it going,” he said. “People come out and just have a great time. Everybody likes it, and it’s just the same thing year after year, it’s very simple. And the lights are always a favorite.”

The group encourages cyclists to show up with costumes , holiday lights, and “good cheer.”

Rachel Strutt, cultural director of the Somerville Arts Council, said it’s usually a “hardy crew” that shows up and goes for the ride, pedaling along a route that mostly sticks to parts of East Somerville. “There are some real blockbuster houses that will really knock your socks off,” she said.

Information about this year’s ride, which is free to the public, can be found below:

Departure time: Meet at 5:50 p.m., leave at 6 p.m.
Departure location: Somerville High School main entrance.
Route: To Willow Ave. and back.
Duration: 45 minutes, or less.
Required: Warm clothes and bike lights.
Recommended: Holiday lights, costumes, and good cheer.
Suggested Donation: Donate $5 to the Somerville Arts Council, and post-tour, enjoy hot drinks and treats at City Hall.