"The grates are parallel to the line of travel, so if you drop your front wheel in the cover, you can go airborne and the landing would not be pretty," Russell said. "I've ridden up and down every street looking for and identifying where the grates are."
David Van Dam, the mayor's chief of staff, said he will work with the Highway Department on reorienting the grates, which he said are otherwise safe. "It's certainly something we want to do to make the streets safer for cyclists," Van Dam said.
Pillsbury said Haverhill has many scenic bike routes, including routes where you can "ride the river." He said the city is also encouraging off-road cycling on recreational paths such as the one that rings Kenoza Lake in the Winnekenni Park area.
"It's definitely in the mix, as the trails are there and are being used," Pillsbury said.
Pillsbury said the mayor is also encouraging greater use by walkers and cyclists of the Bradford Rail Trail on the river bank across from downtown, and hopes to expand the trail into Groveland.
"Now we have to connect the rail trail past the yacht club to the Basiliere Bridge,'' Pillsbury said.
"We try to obtain easements any time we can to access the river with a trail," he said.
To view biking routes that Russell and others have mapped out in Haverhill, visit online at www.mapmyride.com. To learn more about Cycle for Shelter visit www.emmausinc.org.