There’s never been a better time for summer cycling; here’s where to roll
As the days get longer, your excuses for not getting exercise are running out. Meanwhile, June is rolling right along, and there’s hardly a better aerobic activity than biking. You know this, but are you doing it yet?
It’s time to experience the great outdoors on some of the best scenic bike paths around Greater Boston, whether by yourself or with family and friends. Even if you are a regular rider, keep handy this compendium so that you don’t get exhausted with the same routine. Pump your legs to fresh trails all summer long, and remember to be extra careful on that new terrain. Not having a bike isn’t an excuse, by the way, since there are bikes that you can rent at nearly every spot.
Mystic River Loop
This trail is more than feasible for riders of all experience levels. The three-mile loop sits in the Mystic River Reservation in Somerville that runs along the Mystic River and features some seriously scenic views of Boston. The path is lined with trees and plants but is paved for the majority of the route, so you shouldn’t worry too much about hitting rocks, hills, or twigs. Wildlife sightings are common, and there is an option to rent out a kayak or canoe via Paddle Boston during the stretch. The Mystic trail is great, though at night it can get pretty bug heavy, so unless you don’t mind going home with 100 mosquito bites, take a leisurely ride during the day.
- Access: Take Route 16 West and turn left into McDonald Park, then turn right at the State Police Headquarters to find the parking lot.
- Nearest Bike Rental: Davis Square Bluebikes
Pierre Lallement Bicycle Path
Stretching for four miles through the Southwest Corridor Park in Boston, this path is the most family-friendly one around. It’s fully paved with basketball, hockey, tennis, and other facilities along the way, not to mention several playgrounds and two spray pools that are ideal for kids (as well as shameless adults) to cool down on a blazing hot day (if you’re feeling childish, just go for it). During the actual ride, you will pass long stretches of gorgeous gardens and weave through some of the most beautiful views of the South End and Back Bay. Oh, and the path is extremely dog-friendly too. Woof!
- Access: Take the Orange Line to Back Bay to find the northernmost trailhead on Dartmouth Street; alternatively, the southernmost trailhead is at the Forest Hill stop.
- Nearest Bike Rental: Bluebikes at Back Bay or Forest Hills
East Boston Greenway
Eastie’s Greenway is a lush grassy pathway that stretches nearly three miles with a clear view of the Hubb skyline. Passing the harbor at Piers Park, this is a premier destination, one that will never disappoint, especially in summer. It’s also a somewhat simple and smooth trail that is nevertheless great for casual cruises or hardcore training for a big race. The Greenway also ends at Constitution Beach, which is great for a cool-down swim, while there are multiple murals to check out and even a delicious affordable Salvadorian restaurant, El Jardin on Sumner Street, to hit for calorie replenishment.
- Access: Take the Blue Line to Maverick, which will lead you to the southern endpoint of the trail.
- Nearest Bike Rental: Maverick Square Bluebikes
Ponkapoag Pond Trail
If you’re looking for an experience beyond city limits and want to see lily pads and tall grass, head for the Ponkapoag Pond trail in the Blue Hills Reservation. On the border of Quincy and Milton, it’s an almost four-mile loop with a slight incline. Still a relaxing ride for any skill level, the trail loops around the panoramic pond with views of oaks, ferns, and flowers. Just a few important notes: Fishing is allowed on certain docks; dogs must be kept on a leash; you are encouraged to stay on the trail in order to protect the wildlife. Got it? Good, now go and escape the hustle and bustle of the city and ride through pure nature.
- Access: Drive or take the Red Line to Ashmont and board the Randolph or Brockton bus.
- Nearest Bike Rental: None available