Bike Riding Through Downtown Boston: Where to Go
After this year’s long, hard winter, Bostonians couldn’t be more excited for the return of Spring! And Spring means that your commuting options just got more plentiful; as of April 17th, the Hubway has officially reopened for its fifth season of operations. For those unfamiliar with the Hubway, this community bike sharing program allows riders to borrow a bicycle from one of many convenient locations (a full station map is available on the Hubway’s website), then return it to any Hubway station in their own time. Subscriptions to the Hubway service can be a long-term commitment (annual or monthly memberships are great for those who prefer a greener commute), or an afternoon jaunt (24 and 72 hour passes are available as well). Through use of the Hubway website or the Spotcycle app, users can even confirm bike availability at nearby stations before committing to a membership; it’s as simple as clicking a button.
Where to Look
Boston is a lovely, scenic city, and there are many bike-friendly trajectories that will take you on safari all over her historic routes. A great resource for this sort of thing is the Boston Bike Map; a free publication produced yearly by the city of Boston and available through the city’s website. If digital mapping isn’t your speed, you can even request a free paper copy. This map plots routes from Milton to Somerville and everywhere between. Routes are color-coded by difficulty (green for easy, blue for intermediate, and red for advanced) so you won’t have to guess if you’ll be comfortable taking one on or not. The map also conveniently lists the locations and phone numbers of Boston and Greater Boston bike shops just in case you run into a spot of trouble along your way.
Another excellent resource is MassBike.Org. This website maintains a detailed listing of all existing and proposed bike paths and trails in Massachusetts (broken down by region). It’s great for planning a healthful weekend outing; or maybe just a fun and different Friday night.
At a Glance: Where to Go
A great downtown loop is the Paul Dudley White Charles River Bikepaths. 14 miles will loop you down both sides of the Charles River from the Museum of Science all the way through Watertown. This path has entry and exit points all along its length on the Cambridge/Watertown side, and at any point on the Boston side except the Longfellow and B.U. Bridges.
The Arnold Arboretum is a lovely place for a stroll and ride. This park is 125 years old and houses Peters Hill, the summit of which will stun you with the best view of Boston to be had from the ground. The Arboretum is beautiful as its own destination, but it also conveniently connects to several other bikeways, including the Stony Brook Reservation trails. These bike trails are quite rugged and provide a nice change from the smoother “city rides” you might expect from a park located so close to Boston proper.
Several roads in Franklin Park are closed to motorized traffic, making them ideal for biking. While you’re at it, stop by the zoo for a fun and interesting break from the road.
This Spring, cold weather is out and healthy-minded green commuting is in. Whether it’s for pure utility or pleasure purposes, a bike ride in Downtown Boston can be an exciting adventure. One thing’s for sure: it’s a great way to get your daily dose of Vitamin D!