Bike Issue

Surfing Pavement: A conversation with NBX owner Matt Bodziony about why we bike

It’s Just a Hill winter bike league ride. (Photo: NBX)

It rained the night before, the roads are slick with water. The smell of fresh earth lingers in the morning air and the grass is bright green with spring’s first touches. With the absence of traffic, the sound of the ocean rushing against the rocky coast is deafening. A group of early morning bikers meet at Narragansett Sea Wall, exchanging bleary greetings while they wait for their coffee to kick in. As the sun begins to turn the grey sky pink, they each throw a spandex-clad leg over their bike seats and take off. The world suddenly softens and the only sound is their breath and the rubber wheels spinning water off pavement. Matt Bodziony is in the middle of the pack of cyclists. He smiles to himself, relishing the chill of the ocean air against his face as he zooms under the Narragansett towers. He looks around at his riding group, the smiles on their faces, and thinks, “Ride for the fun of it.”

Bodziony has always repaired and rode bikes, dreaming of one day owning his own bike store. When his friend, the owner of Narragansett Bikes (NBX), decided to sell in 2007, he jumped at the chance. The original store was a modest 900 square feet, and Bodziony reflects that the business soon outgrew the store, saying, “The space exploded. Within two years we were spending most of the time in the parking lot, selling bikes under tents.”

NBX strives to create a lifelong love between the cyclist and their bicycle. Bodziony is adamant that their success in doing so is owed to, “Being in such a great community. I think at NBX we are good listeners, and that is an important part of understanding why people want to bicycle.” There is a therapeutic element to cycling that takes you away from yourself, your ego, your obligations, and grounds you in the present. Bodziony refers to this as, “Bringing us back to when we were kids. Biking is this sense of freedom, self-motivation, independence. It is a great way to get away from life.”

Photo via @nbx_bikes on IG.

Bodziony believes that biking is a way to neutralize differences and connect on a shared level. “So many things are polarizing in our society, from politics to economics to geography, but when you’re biking in a group ride it is this opportunity to be around a whole bunch of people who participate,” he explains.

NBX doesn’t only sell bikes, it also offers group ride sessions and yoga classes. Having this type of variety prevents people from overdoing it. Bodziony comments that, “You can saturate yourself into a sport that then becomes one-dimensional. If you find a couple of things you enjoy, it makes you want to do the thing you really love a whole lot more.” If it’s not a great day to ride the bike, you can take a yoga class, so that your muscles and brain have time to relax.

People love riding bikes; it’s fun and functional — whether as a leisure activity, exercise, or means of transportation. This was especially apparent during COVID, when everyone was desperate for socially distanced outdoor activities. Bodziony observes that, “The bicycle has always done well when things aren’t good in life.” But now that the need for the bicycle isn’t as demanding, Bodziony still hopes that people will continue visiting his store and indulging in the art of cycling, especially if they have already bought a bicycle. Come in for a repair, and continue a lifelong love of cycling that will stand the test of time and wear.

For more information on NBX, visit