FINDING GOOD ROUTES
Get out and explore
by Galen Mook
"Go explore and find that parallel route on a quiet road that goes past a pond — with a cupcake shop along the way!"
The most direct route isn’t always the fastest or the most enjoyable by bike. Some roads are just simply better than others. Most of us don’t like to tangle with buses, or bike lanes squeezed next to street parking. If you search, you will find roads that avoid the busy streets and terrible intersections. Go explore and find that parallel route on a quiet road that goes past a pond — with a cupcake shop along the way!
And streets are constantly changing. That's why when you're planning your route, consult multiple maps, including Google Maps which is pretty good at locating bike lanes, parks, and pathways. Local bike shops will have all sorts of suggestions too, including specific maps for types of biking. But don't just trust the maps. Get out and explore! Find those connectors and secret ways. If you're wary about changing up your routine, consider testing your route on a slow Sunday afternoon when you aren't stressed about arriving anywhere, and pay attention to things in the environment that may be an issue during busy commuter times; bus stops that will bring buses, freeway ramps that will bring cars, and look for potholes and construction projects to avoid.
You can also go multimodal: Bicycle partway, and drive your car or take the T as part of your commute or trip. Most MBTA subway and commuter-rail stations have bicycle racks (free parking for bikes). In addition, you can park your car in a free parking lot and then bike to your final destination. You'll save money on parking your car, and you'll get a bike ride out the deal too!
We have a long list of rail-trails and pathways in Massachusetts, so with a bit of research you can find a low-stress route that will have you arriving with a smile, instead of being full of adrenaline from early morning close-calls! You can always check out LANDRYS.COM for places to ride, and feel free to find your own path.
Bike-route mapping resources
- Google Maps: Click on bike icon to set your method of transportation and see recommended cycling directions.
- Boston Bike Map: Free map published by Boston Bikes.
- Rubel BikeMaps: Printed bike maps of Boston area and Massachusetts, available for sale in Landry's stores.
- Blue Bikes Station Map: Bike-sharing system in metro-Boston (formerly Hubway).