Years before Dan and Maria founded DBC City Bike design, the duo resolved to reduce their dependence on gasoline. This resolution led the couple to Europe, where they hopped aboard Dutch bicycles that redefined how they thought about comfort on two-wheeled mounts. When Dan and Maria returned stateside, they began importing and selling these revolutionary rides through their new store, The Dutch Bicycle Company (The DBC). However, the hills, long-distance commutes, and stairs that define many American cities revealed many inconveniences in the unmodified Dutch model, so DBC added City Bike design to its name and they began building their custom Swifts, calibrated to handle the rigors of urban, bike-riding lifestyles. Today, the founding couple and their design staff build these bikes to order, modify existing rides, and provide tune-ups that, like prison-gang relay races, keep chains moving smoothly and swiftly.
It all started with a deflated basketball. Though longtime friends Mike Kennedy and Eric Martin scoured downtown Boston for an inflating needle to fill it, no shops in the area carried one. They were frustrated—and they realized that other Bostonians looking for athletic gear were likely frustrated too. So in 1983, they opened City Sports, a shop stocked with all the footwear, athletic apparel, and sports equipment that the metropolis had been missing.
Nearly three decades later, Mike and Eric's neighborhood business has expanded to 20 shops across the East Coast. In addition to stocking popular brands such as Vibram, The North Face, and Patagonia, the store engineers its own CS by City Sports line. Shoppers include yogis, cyclists, and tennis players—anyone seeking to outfit active lifestyles, whether they're playing a team sport or braving the hike up the world's largest gumdrop. In addition to footwear and apparel, the staff stocks fitness equipment such as kettlebells, lifting gloves, and dumbbells.
By combining thorough education services with modern technology, Babbel's interactive learning tools help students speak a second language by connecting with potential friends and business contacts across the globe. Babbel offers programs for 11 languages, including French, Brazilian Portuguese, Swedish, German, and Spanish, with integrated speech-recognition tools and review managers that adjust exercises according to each learner's progress. The online lessons can be accessed from home computers. Babbel's Web-based software also connects users to an online community of learners and native speakers who offer assistance by chatting with users, commenting on writing exercises, and posting obituaries for dead languages.
Black belt Raphael Carneiro is the coach of Fenix Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in Lowell, where he offers jiu jitsu and muay thai classes. Raphael puts his experience as a previous and current competitor to use as he leads classes for a variety of skill levels. The class schedule offers opportunities for adults and children alike, and topics range from fundamentals and self-defense to advanced and competitive.
Since 1965, the family-run Ski Haus has kept customers coming back by adhering to the family motto: “Make sure we keep a fun environment and give everybody a fair deal. They get a ton of stuff for their money and we stay in business for a long time." Patrons can still expect the same low prices and see the same friendly staffers’ faces year after year while shopping for winter gear.
Racks stocked with apparel by brands such as The North Face and Marmot, skis and snowboards by brands such as Atomic and K2, and a team of skilled technicians have earned Ski Haus accolades from Ski magazine, SnowSports Industries America, and New England Winter Sports Representatives, Inc. During tune-ups, technicians polish skis, stone-grind ski edges, apply hot wax, and repair bases damaged by treacherous slopes and sharp snowman noses.
Since 1967, BSSC has been bringing people together to hit, kick, dunk, and catch balls of all shapes and sizes. More than 45,000 players join its leagues every year to compete in 12 different sports that range from field hockey and basketball to soccer and kickball. Men’s, women’s, and coed options help every player find a team more enjoyable to play with than one exclusively made up of imaginary friends. The club helps members stay active and socialize with a variety of outdoor adventures and social events, including pub crawls.
The club also organizes longer jaunts, such as day and weekend ski trips that take groups to snowy slopes or more involved weekend and week-long trips that venture beyond state and even national boundaries. The club’s seasoned travel experts plan each detail, freeing travelers from the hassle of booking accommodations or figuring out if a country only accepts secrets as currency.