Under New Ownership On Underpass Road; There’s No ‘End Of The Trail’ For Brewster Bike

By: Bronwen Walsh

om left: Matt van Gelder, Paula Duguay and Larry Gabriel outside Brewster Bike. BRONWEN WALSH PHOTO

BREWSTER – Paula Duguay was inhaling a sandwich between answering phone calls while Larry Gabriel used the electric lift to fine-tune the gears on a new Trek bike Monday.

After 33 years and two months of operating Brewster Bike, plus another decade of simultaneously running a second store in Chatham, “we’re so tired right now,” Duguay said.

She and Gabriel have sold Brewster Bike and all its inventory to Matt van Gelder, whose family owns Dennis Cycle Center, and today it is Gelder who’s onsite at 442 Underpass Rd., near the eight-mile mark on the Cape Cod Rail Trail.

“We’re thrilled that Matt is taking over,” Duguay said. Juggling sales and rentals, repairs, pickup and delivery and rider education, “it’s a lot like running four or five businesses in one.”

Gelder, 33, grew up in Harwich, where his grandparents owned The Country Inn.

“That’s where you learn everything – at the dinner table,” Gabriel said.

A Bryant grad who majored in financial services, Gelder was a senior in college when his family opened Dennis Cycle Center, which Boston Magazine recently named as “Best Bike Rentals on Cape Cod.”

Duguay and Gabriel started out renting bikes on their front lawn.

“We started with 12 bikes,” Gabriel said. “We had 37 by the end of August. People wanted three-speeds back then.”

Demand shifted to mountain bikes in the early ‘90s.

“Now, everybody wants a gravel bike, and they expect you to have eBikes,” said Gelder, who plans to add more eBikes, trikes, and additional kids’ bikes and equipment to his sales and rental inventory.

“There’s a resurgence in pedal-assist eBikes, especially this year,” Gabriel said. “We’ve scaled back, and they’re scaling up.”

Gelder now lives in Yarmouth Port with his wife Kate and 5-year-old daughter Marley. He has already signed up the Brewster store to participate in the Pan-Mass Challenge Aug. 6 and 7. He and his crew will be operating the water stop at Nickerson Park and fielding emergency flat tire calls.

“This is a ‘people’ business,” he said. “It doesn’t get boring. I’m still having fun every day.”

“I’ll be happy not to have handlebars in my ribs,” said Duguay, who plans to cut hair two days a week at La Sirena Hair Lounge in Orleans while Gabriel tends to their goats.

“We have nine goats and a hobby farm,” she said. Right now, she and Gabriel are harvesting garlic, onions and potatoes, which they sell at Orleans Wholesale and Pleasant Lake Farm.