The Monsters’ focus on fun, adventure, and inclusiveness contributes to its popularity. Contributed Photo

Are the Monsters in the Basement? No, silly – they’re on the road 

By Chris Randall Correspondent
November 5, 2023

Concord is the birthplace of many notable ventures: the American Revolution, the Transcendental Movement, and, of course, Monsters in the Basement — one of Metro West’s largest, most successful cycling clubs.  

This year, Monsters turned 20. The club’s welcoming, inclusive spirit contributes to its popularity. As founding member Dan Holin puts it, “You can be there for fitness, socializing, pace-line riding, sightseeing, or just trying out group riding or cycling as a new interest.” 

Through the years, the club has grown to over 350 members, though only 60 or so show up each Saturday to ride local routes. “You’ll find retired professional riders alongside novices, plus everything in between,” reflected ace rider Philip vanderWilden. In addition to the weekly Saturday rides, Monster events include a Mt. Wachusett climb, gravel rides and a brewery tour.  

In the early days, Holin recalls, “Each Saturday, a few friends would gather in Junction Park. It was all wonderfully informal. Some of us didn’t even own Lycra! Very old school. Folks started bringing friends, and the group began to grow organically, word-of-mouth style.” 

Early member Candace Nelson remembers, “In 2003, we weren’t the Monsters yet, just friends riding together. In 2004, the numbers started to climb. In 2005, club member and graphic designer Dan Beard designed the logo, and — presto — with official jerseys, we began to look like a real bike club. Then in 2006, Dan built the Monsters website, which made the club feel very official.” 

As for the name, founding member Mark Prior explained, “Over the winter of 2002–03, a small group of us would ride in my basement on rollers and bike stands. One fateful day, Dan Holin looked around at everyone grinding away and said, ‘You guys are monsters in the basement.’”  

Holin explained that when he was looking for a name for the club, “I liked the home-grown, unpretentious image of people pounding away in a basement. ‘Monsters in the Basement’ was a little unconventional and not flashy or self-important.” 

“What I love about the Monsters,” said long-time member David Kindler, “is the culture of inclusivity and community. It’s fun riding with others who go at your pace and are out there for the same reason, whether it be touring, exercise or gentle competition.”  

Helping feed the club’s sense of community, explained ride leader Dave Mathews, “is that we have a lot of fun both on and off the road. Whether it’s travelling the area’s backroads together, witty exchanges over Slack, or Monster-related poetry and songs at club events, there’s an awesome vibe.” 

Despite the numbers and mix of styles, Monsters in the Basement is committed to maintaining its community focus and supportive spirit. “After 20 years,” Holin observed, “we’re still all about fun, camaraderie, adventure, and fellowship.” 

Interested in joining? Sign up at or show up at Rideout Park Saturdays at 7:30 a.m. between May and October and find your speed group.