The man who put the town on wheels

George Neilsen yearbook pic

Name one childhood possession of higher importance than your bicycle. It introduced you to your neighborhood. It was your adventure machine.

Odds are pretty high that if you grew up in or around Burlington, it all began at Neilsen’s Cycle Shop, 24 Cambridge St., near the Woburn Line. George Neilsen was the predominant peddler of pedals for 35 years.

“To this day, I still meet people who know and talk about Neilsen’s Cycle,” says Tracy Lord Fagan, one of Neilsen’s daughters. “There’s always someone who bought a bike for themselves or their children there.” She worked at the store at age 13, advising customers, ringing up sales, putting on tires and changing out the hand brakes.

Working alongside her father taught her the long-term approach to building a business. “My dad would always convince people to buy the right bike for them versus the more expensive bike. That’s why they always came back.”

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