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Biking

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Backroads Launches New 20s & Beyond Trips for Families with Older Kids in 20s and 30s

Having taken a memorable Older Teens & 20s (17-23) trip with Backroads to Switzerland, I know firsthand what a pleasure it is to have your children travel with kids in their specific age group. Not to mention, it was also a joy to meet other active families who love being outdoors as much as we do. That’s why I’m delighted to see that Backroads has now expanded these trips to families with children in their 20s and 30s. God willing, I plan to be hiking and biking well into my 80s and there’s no better way to get my weary body up that mountain than with my children. Backroads options span the globe, but the ones that look most tantalizing to me are New Zealand Multi-Adventure, Greece Multi-Adventure, and Spain’s Mallorca and Menorca Bike Tour. Please have a look and, if interested, contact ActiveTravels to check if ages match up on a specific trip, and to help with flights and pre- and post-lodging. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 08/13/19 at 06:00 AM
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Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Use the Bike Shuttle When Biking Acadia’s Carriage Path Trails

We brought our good friends from California to Acadia National Park for three activity-filled days last week. I didn’t want to bring the bikes, so we decided to rent bikes in town at Acadia Bike Rentals and ride a good chunk of the Carriage Path Trails, that glorious 45-mile network John D. Rockefeller created in the first half of the 20th century. We were happy to hear about a free bike shuttle in operation from late June through Columbus Day that runs from the village green to the parking lot at Eagle Lake. We waited less than 10 minutes before being brought over to the lake and biking the circumference, up and down the hard-packed roads always with water and mountains in sight. We biked under one of the many stone bridges to see an often-overlooked gem, Bubble Pond, nestled peacefully between the gently sloping mountains. Then we headed north to bike around Witch Hole Pond and to stop and see the stone steps that form gently flowing Duck Brook. We crossed the bridge here, took a left on the bike trail, and soon caught up with West Street, which led right back to the bike store on Cottage Street. A perfect way to spend the morning. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 07/16/19 at 06:00 AM
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Thursday, June 27, 2019

Bike Puglia with DuVine Cycling this Fall

All it takes is one ride along the Adriatic Sea to appreciate the splendor of Puglia, the region of southern Italy close to the heel of the boot. Last October, we biked up and down sweeping hills with the blue expanse of water always by our side. The sweet smell of honeysuckle the best form of aromatherapy as we cruised past seaside villages, peering down in awe at the greenish/blue waters hundreds of feet below. We stopped in Santa Maria di Leuca to gaze at the lighthouse, church, and large plaza before making our way back to the port of Tricase where a fresh seafood feast was waiting for us. According to my trusty Strava app, we had biked 43 miles with an elevation gain of over 3,000 feet, so I was definitely ready for a break and the chance to dig into fresh calamari, mussels, grilled aubergines, tomatoes, and the creamy burrata cheese the region is known for. We were on Day Two of a 6-day bike ride through Puglia with DuVine Cycling. The trip would continue northeast to the town of Locorotondo, where we would begin blissful days of riding through the heart of the countryside. I savored the riding here, rolling hillsides dotted with centuries-old gnarly olive trees, vineyards, and the distinctive mushroom-shaped houses called trullis. All on country roads with little or no traffic. 
 
DuVine still has availability on their September/October trips. Let ActiveTravels know your dates and we’ll check pricing. 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 06/27/19 at 06:00 AM
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Thursday, April 25, 2019

Bikers and Farmers Unite at Farm to Fork Fondos

When former professional cyclist Tyler Wren wanted to create an event that combines his love of biking with farming and exquisite scenery, he was inspired by the Italian “fondos,” celebratory rides where locals and farmers bike first, feast afterwards. He pulled it off first the summer of 2016 in Vermont to great success. Every year since, the popularity of these rides has grown. This summer, Wren is offering a full slate of Farm to Fork Fondos, including stops in the Hudson River Valley, Vermont’s Champlain Islands, Finger Lakes, the Berkshires, Pennsylvania Dutch Country, Louisville, and Asheville. These one-day rambles are geared to the public, not professional bikers. Wren creates loops of 8-10, 25-35, 45-50, and 75-100 miles based on your abilities, with police presence to cut off road traffic. Simply choose your ride and get ready to stop at local farms along the way for a feast of fresh food. Most of the proceeds go to local charities. You can even sign up for dinners the night before where farmers talk about the satisfaction and challenges of their livelihood. But sign up soon because I expect these rides to sell out quickly. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 04/25/19 at 06:00 AM
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Monday, April 15, 2019

Biking Seville

All it takes is a 5-minute stroll from our spectacular hotel, Corral del Rey, on the winding, narrow cobblestone streets to reach the largest Gothic cathedral in Europe and its massive bell tower. When that clock tower lights up at night, Seville is truly magical. Built along the river, protected from the pirates that attacked the southern coast, Seville flourished in the 1500s and the 1600s, when gold and other wealth from South America arrived on its shores. It’s a wonderful city to bike, as we did on a 3-hour ride with SeebyBike’s Ivan, a recent graduate of art history from the city’s large university. Ivan provided a great overview of Seville as we crossed the river into the neighborhood of Triana, visiting two historic churches that will be the starting point of parades this week as the city celebrates Easter with Holy Week festivities. We biked along the river and downtown on bike paths, visiting Parque de María Luisa to see the roses, lilies, and peonies in bloom. At nearby Plaza de Espana, flamenco dancers and singers were performing while rowboats fought for space on the manmade canal. Afterwards, we grabbed lunch at one of Ivan’s favorite spots in the city for tapas, Baratillo, known for their delicious pork cheeks, grilled artichokes, and roasted chick peas. 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 04/15/19 at 06:00 AM
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Monday, January 07, 2019

Top 5 Dream Days of 2018, Biking Italy’s Adriatic Coast with DuVine Cycling

All it takes is one ride along the Adriatic Sea to appreciate the splendor of Puglia, the region of southern Italy close to the heel of the boot. We biked up and down sweeping hills with the blue expanse of water always by our side. The sweet smell of honeysuckle the best form of aromatherapy as we cruised past seaside villages, old stone walls, peering down in awe at the greenish/blue waters hundreds of feet below. We stopped in Santa Maria di Leuca to gaze at the lighthouse, church, and large plaza before making our way back to the port of Tricase where a fresh seafood feast was waiting for us. According to my trusty Strava app, we had biked 43 miles with an elevation gain of over 3,000 feet, so I was definitely ready for a break and the chance to dig into fresh calamari, mussels, grilled aubergines, tomatoes, and the creamy burrata cheese the region is known for. 
We were on Day Two of a 6-day bike ride through Puglia with DuVine Cycling. The trip would continue northeast to the town of Locorotondo, where we would begin blissful days of riding through the heart of the countryside. I savored the riding here, rolling hillsides dotted with centuries-old gnarly olive trees, vineyards, and the distinctive mushroom-shaped houses called trullis. All on country roads with little or no traffic. But if I had to choose one dream day on that memorable trip with good friends in October, I would choose the first day's ride along the Adriatic. 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 01/07/19 at 06:00 AM
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Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Biking the Emerald Necklace to View the Fog Sculptures

I've always visited one Emerald Necklace park at a time, say a stroll around Jamaica Pond or through the century-old maples and gardens at Arnold Arboretum. And that's pretty much how the great landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted, intended-to treat each one of his verdant urban oases as a jewel. But when the Emerald Necklace Conservatory decided to display five works of Japanese fog artist Fujiko Nakaya across all their green spaces, I decided it was time to connect the dots and bike most of the seven-mile long stretch from Olmsted Park to Franklin Park. On display until October 31st in Boston, "Fog x FLO" is a unique treat, where fog is spewed out of nozzles at specific times to create a hazy display through the woods or on the water. 

 
We parked at Willow Pond at Olmsted Park and biked along a trail to Leverett Pond, just in time to see the fog rolling out on the water, reflecting the clouds above. That whet our appetite for the rest. We retraced our steps past Willow Pond and up to Jamaica Pond to eye the next fog display on the beach. Stick to the sidewalks and bike lanes to reach Arnold Arboretum, the only real tricky part of the bike ride. It's worth the effort to view "Fog on the Hill," an 8-minute spray of immense fog that goes off on the hour. We watched as the fog rolled down the hillside, splintered with sunshine. Then we were off to our final stop, Franklin Park, on newly paved bike trails and a bike lane the entire way. Here the fog spews out into the ruins of a building Olmsted originally designed the structure as a field house to use as a changing room or view the sports on the adjacent fields. A mile later, I was downing a Santa Fe Salad at The Dogwood, across from the massive Forest Hills T Station. My reward for all the biking. A wonderful outing, especially on a Sunday! 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 09/18/18 at 06:00 AM
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Friday, August 03, 2018

My Favorite Bike Ride on Cape Cod

Cape Cod is so close to Boston that I often drive there on a day trip, which is exactly what we did yesterday to meet my cousin, Peter, and his family in town from Dallas. I took them on a ride we do each summer. We start on Main Street in Orleans in the lot next to Orleans Cycle and head out on the Cape Cod Rail Trail toward Eastham. Soon we pass the velvety marsh, where red-winged blackbirds sit atop the swaying cattails and cormorants dry their wings on floating docks. At Locust Road, we veer right off the CCRT and cross over Route 6 to reach the Cape Cod National Seashore Visitor Center. This is the start of a 2-mile bike trails that sweeps up and down through the forest and marsh, leaving you off at Coast Guard Beach, recently named one of the top 10 beaches in America. However, I think the beach up the road, Nauset Light, is even more scenic, backed by towering dunes. We lock up our bikes and walk down to the sweeping beach. Yesterday, there was at least 20 seals popping their heads out of the surf. 

 
Once back on the bikes, we take Cable Road past Three Sisters Lighthouses, three absurdly small lighthouses built in the mid-19th century. A left turn at the end of the road and a right turn on Brackett Road leads us back to the CCRT. Turn left towards Orleans and you'll soon smell the fried clams of Arnold's, a lobster-in-the-rough restaurant (cash only) beloved by my family. Stand in the long line (most likely out the door), order from their vast selection of seafood, including lobster, fried clams, scallops, shrimp, and mounds of tender onion rings and grab a seat at one of the outdoor picnic tables. Afterwards, play a round of miniature golf or grab a brownie sundae. Continue on the CCRT through a tunnel and you'll arrive back at the Orleans Cycle parking lot in less than 30 minutes. A perfect summer outing. 
 
Nauset Lighthouse, Cape Cod 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 08/03/18 at 06:00 AM
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Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Revolutionary War Battlefield Biking

In May, I wrote a road trip story for Chevrolet's New Roads Magazine on Revolutionary War sites. I visited Minute Man National Historic Park in Concord, Massachusetts, Saratoga, and Valley Forge. What I realized was that all of these Revolutionary War battlefields offer exceptional biking opportunities. In Saratoga, a friend told me that the 10-mile park loop is part of a popular Sunday ride for bikers in the region. In Valley Forge, the rolling terrain is so ideal for bikers that they offer rentals. The bloody Battle Road from Lexington to Concord, which marked the start of the Revolutionary War on April 19, 1775, is now a great ride through the farmland to historic North Bridge, where local militia first confronted the large British regimen. I was so impressed with the riding at Minute Man National Historic Park that I returned with the family yesterday. We first went inside the Visitors Center where a 30-minute film gives a good overview of the remarkable events that occurred on April 19, 1775, the official start of the Revolutionary War. Battle Road is now an 8-mile ride through the rural countryside past the site where Paul Revere was captured by the British (they took his horse but surprisingly let him go). Extend your ride to swim at nearby Walden Pond like we did. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 07/10/18 at 06:00 AM
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Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Backroads Rolls Out Custom-Designed Titanium Bikes This Summer

Backroads, the world's number one active travel company, has just announced that all trips this year will feature their custom-designed titanium bikes. The bikes are lighter than last year's bikes and offer electronic shifting. The company also offers e-bikes on all trips. New Bike Tours in 2018 include Chile's Lakes District, Croatia & Slovenia, Cuba, and Portugal. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 05/22/18 at 06:00 AM
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Longtime Boston Globe travel writer, Steve Jermanok, dishes out his favorite travel locales and provides topical travel information that comes across his desk.

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