Sunday, July 26, 2009

Minuteman Bikeway

The Co-Habitant and I finally took Marianne and Miles to the Minuteman Bikeway. The Minuteman Bikeway is an 11 mile paved bike trail that runs from the edge of Cambridge, Mass., through Arlington and Lexington, ending in Bedford.

The trail was built along the old Boston-Maine railroad line, which you can see a glimpse of in Bedford. This train car has been converted into a cafe serving hot dogs and ice cream to hungry cyclists.

What I loved most about the Minuteman Bikeway is the abundance of shade! I am one of those persons who burns horribly and gets instant heatstroke at the mere whisper of direct sunlight in temperatures over 75F. A bike trail that runs almost entirely under overarching trees is a rare blessing. I can come here at any time of day and do a 22-mile loop without falling into a heat-induced delirium!

What I did not love so much, is that the trail interrupts for road intersections. The cars were courteous, but still I dream of an endless bike trail without interruptions -- Is there an American version of the Danube Cycling Path?

I was warned that going on the Minuteman on weekends was not a good idea, as it gets congested with slow-moving families and joggers. But we went mid-day on a Saturday, and didn't find it too bad. Certainly less crowded than the Charles River Trail.

Conveniently, there are several cafes and grocery shops, and two bike shops along the trail. Pictured above is the Bike Stop, selling lots of nice used bikes in addition to new ones, as well as cold drinks and snacks.

And at the end of the trail is the Bikeway Source, selling new bicycles, athletic bike clothing and many accessories, including some neat grocery panniers made of bamboo. We were told by the employees that after the Bikeway ends in Bedford, there is an unpaved dirt trail that continues all the way to Concord. It is accessible by mountain bike, but only during dry weather conditions, turning swamplike when it rains.

The Minuteman Bikeway is a scenic 22-mile round trip trail that is useful for pros and accessible to beginners. Riding Marianne was great fun and the longish ride made me a lot more comfortable with handling her. The most difficult part was cycling to the start of the trail from our house, in busy traffic through Somerville. Those who live around Boston know that this area is not ideal if you are not 100% steady on your bike! As I've mentioned earlier, I am not comfortable riding a road bike in traffic yet, so this was a challenge. The Co-Habitant gallantly made it easier by riding and signaling in a way that made us both visible. I probably could not do it alone at this point. One step at a time!

7 comments:

  1. It's not the Danube Cycling Path, but the Katy Trail runs from just east of Kansas City to west of St. Louis for about 225 miles, often along the Missouri River.

    Here are two links:

    http://www.bikekatytrail.com/

    and

    http://www.mostateparks.com/katytrail/index.html

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  2. Thank you for those links, the trail looks beautiful. Within the US, I have never been west of NY State -- but if we ever travel that way, this will be a must!

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  3. Nice!!

    I love the minuteman trail. I'm sad that it's kind of a bit away from me. but I need to look at a map- I was driving the kids to camp and saw a sign pointing toward Lex so maybe I could cross country over and pick it up in lex... maybe.

    I was confused about marianne b/c I thought it was the roadster but now I see ya'll have three bikes each. sweet.

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  4. Very cool. I will tell my sis-in-law about this; she and her mister live in Albany and go out to Cape Cod now and then; they might be interested in tooling around Boston sometime.

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  5. Wow, looks quite lovely for a short weekend trip. I guess it gets a little boring if you ride there more often, but other than that it seems really nice. Certainly good for testing out and getting used to new bikes and spending some quality time :-).

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  6. Good for you for not shying away from the trail just because of the ride to the starting point.
    I'm curious about the bamboo baskets at Bikeway Source. Do you happen to know the manufacturer? I can't find such interesting items here.

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  7. Sox -- I just did some research and found the panniers. They are called "Toocan Grassy" by deTours.

    Anna -- I will probably go there to practice my roadbike skills. It is such a safe and pleasant environment for that.

    Doohickie -- Cape Cod has a really nice 20 mile (each way) trail that she may like better since they are already heading that way, as well as the shorter 6.5 mile canal trail. Beautiful.

    MamaVee -- Marianne is the Motobecane mixte road bike, Lucy is the Raleigh 3-speed, and the Pashley is Eustacia Vye : )

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