25-30 mi bike ride in Boston?
June 16, 2008 12:11 PM   Subscribe

I will be at Usenix in Boston next week, and want to do a 25-30 mile bike ride one of those evenings.

I know nothing about the area--can anyone recommend a nice route, starting and ending around the Sheraton on Dalton street?
posted by everichon to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (11 answers total)
Wow, that's pretty much where Critical Mass usually starts.
posted by mkb at 12:19 PM on June 16, 2008

Take the T to Davis Square. Bike Linear Park to the Minuteman trail.
posted by blahblahblah at 12:24 PM on June 16, 2008

Depending on how comfortable you are riding on crowded streets, just take Mass Ave. to the Minuteman Trail. There's a bike lane along most of it, but there's also construction around Harvard Square so be careful there. The Red Line does allow bicycles, but not during peak hours - check the MBTA website for details.

There's also a bike trail on both sides of the Charles River you could ride, but I'm not sure how far west it goes. Again, from your hotel take Mass Ave. to the river and there will be ramps on either side you wish to ride on (I think there's less street riding on the Boston side).

If you want to go South, I believe there's a bike path on the Riverway - I know I've ridden down that road before but I don't remember how dangerous it was. You can get to the Arnold Arboretum from there and stroll through the grounds if you're interested (no biking through there, unfortunately).

Out of those options, I'd probably agree with blahblahblah and take the Minuteman trail. From your hotel to Lexington center and back is about the distance you're looking for, I think.
posted by backseatpilot at 12:36 PM on June 16, 2008

Oh, and you can tell you're in Lexington because there's an old train depot that is built over the trail (the Minuteman Trail is one of those rails-to-trails setups). There's a big parking lot on the right and a grassy common on the left as you approach from the city. If you want to stop for dinner there, Not Your Average Joe's (American-ish) and Khusbhoo (Indian) are both very good, and there's Rancatore's ice cream there too.
posted by backseatpilot at 12:38 PM on June 16, 2008

There's also a bike trail on both sides of the Charles River you could ride, but I'm not sure how far west it goes.

That's the Paul Dudley Bicycle Path which stretches from the Charles River Basin Dam to Arsenal Street in Watertown -- a 17.7-mile loop. To get to the Dudley path from the Sheraton head to Mass Ave. (which is just a block away) ... head toward the Charles River ... cross Comm Ave ... then while above Memorial Drive at the start of the Mass Ave. bridge take the ramp down to the path ... head West ... loop ...come all the way around back to your start.

It's a beautiful ride -- especially on a sunny Summer evening.
posted by ericb at 1:08 PM on June 16, 2008

This route will take you along the river via the Esplanade bike path and put you at the Minuteman Trail. There's some nicer shortcuts to the Mass Ave portion I could suggest, but they come with a higher probability of getting lost and ending up in Belmont. I've done this route a couple times, and it's a pretty nice ride with some room for extra toodling along the river if you so desire.

The only tricky part here is Harvard Square (at the 4 mile marker); as shown, you have to hop off the bike and cross one sidewalk to avoid being forced to turn left at Brattle St, the turns as you come out of the square aren't well marked, and the way back through the square is somewhat different (but easier) than the way out (welcome to Cambridge!). But there are always pedestrians (and, due to construction, cops) around to ask. Also, the bridges over the river aren't terribly well signed, but if you start counting with the BU bridge (the metal one that runs 50 feet above the bike path), it's pretty easy: there's two one-way vehicle bridges after it, a pedestrian bridge, and then the one you want (which is two-way vehicle).
posted by Dr.Enormous at 1:08 PM on June 16, 2008

While on the Boston side of the river you will go by Harvard and through many parks that comprise the Charles River Reservation. After you loop to the other side in Watertown, you'll pass through other parks, hit Cambridge, more of Harvard, then eventually M.I.T., etc.
posted by ericb at 1:11 PM on June 16, 2008

Response by poster: This is awesome info, thanks everyone. I like the idea of the Esplanade trail to the Minuteman Trail, and then out toward Lexington, and possibly some ice cream.
posted by everichon at 1:22 PM on June 16, 2008

Please notice that all of the rides described so far are bicycle strolls. They will be on lots of pedestrian/roller blader filled bike paths. That might be your thing but if it is is not, then consider riding to Walden pond and back. This ride will involve trafic, hills, and few places to buy water. It might be longer that 30m.

Ride or T to Harvard Sq., Mt. Auburn St, Belmont rd, Trepelo rd., Sandy Pond Rd, Baker Bridge, Concord rd to the pond.
posted by bdc34 at 1:39 PM on June 16, 2008

Response by poster: all of the rides described so far are bicycle strolls

Hmm, yeah, I was envisioning a brisk-ish pace, which I know is not doable on most MUPs. Must consider what we want to do.
posted by everichon at 1:43 PM on June 16, 2008

I ride a pretty brisk pace and I've never really had a problem on the Minuteman Trail. There are a few places it intersects roads, but they're few and far between. It's wide enough that you can ride at least three abreast, so don't worry about overtaking people. Just keep an eye out and you should be fine.
posted by backseatpilot at 5:05 PM on June 16, 2008

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