ActiveTravels | get up & go!  
 subscribe to ActiveTravels
 Subscribe by RSS By RSS Feed or Email
 
Follow ActiveTravels on Twitter Like ActiveTravels on Facebook View the ActiveTravels YouTube channel
 
ActiveTravels - Travel Agents You Can Trust
   
     
 

Biking

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Bike the East Bay Bicycle Path, Rhode Island

All it takes is several miles on a paved path to leave a highly industrialized section of Providence and reach the sheltered coastline of Narragansett Bay. No wonder, locals would rather bike to the beach than deal with car traffic. The 14.5-mile long East Bay Bicycle Path, originally part of the Providence/Worcester line, heads southeast from Providence along the scenic shores of the Bay to the town of Bristol. Less than two miles into the ride, fishing trawlers and sailboats start to appear on the right and small inlets and wetlands can be seen on the left. In the warmer months, you’re likely to see locals clamming for littlenecks in the shallow waters along the route. That’s quite a contrast from the view of the Providence skyline that lurks behind you. 

Soon the trail becomes more scenic as cliffs line the bayside, home to pelicans, egrets, and the occasional swan. South of Riverside, East Bay feels more secluded as you head through forest. Prior to mile 6, you reach Haines Park, your first choice of beaches along the route. The trail then swerves inland through the town of Barrington and crosses two wooden bridges before reaching Warren. Just past the 10-mile mark, Warren is the best place to stock up on food and drink. South of Warren, the trail hugs the shoreline of Narragansett once again as the bay widens before reaching the ocean waters. Soon you’ll reach Colt State Park and Bristol Town Beach, the finest spot for sunbathing along the route. The trail ends in Bristol at Independence Park, near a handful of seafood restaurant choices that sell those freshly caught littleneck clams.
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 06/23/11 at 01:00 PM
Biking • (2) CommentsPermalink Bookmark and Share


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Bike the Greenbrier River Trail, West Virginia

Easily one of the finest rural runs in America, this 78-mile delight borders the Greenbrier River as it weaves its way through thick forests, open fields, and two tunnels. Deep in the heart of West Virginia, the hard-packed gravel route introduces you to such relics of railroad history as restored depots and vintage mile markers from the old C & O Railroad that used the line to haul timber. It’s not unusual in these parts to spot ospreys, bobcats, even black bears in the woods.

Start at the northern trailhead in Cass for a good downhill cruise and plan on bringing lots of water and food, since there are few places to stop on the trail. Near Marlington, you’ll ride through Sharp’s Tunnel, a 500-foot-long passage hollowed out from stone in 1900, and emerge onto a wood-slatted bridge that hovers some 30 feet above the rushing river.  Stop in town to see the historic railroad depot (built in 1901) and the bright red caboose before pushing on to Watoga State Park, the trail’s halfway point. You can camp here overnight, go swimming, or fish on the river for trout and small mouth bass. South of the park, you coast through Droop Mountain Tunnel, riding along a remote river and its dramatic red shale cliffs. The final 34 miles from Rennick to Caldwall is a peaceful jaunt through deep woods and open fields, stopping to swim or picnic whenever you feel the need. 
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 06/22/11 at 01:00 PM
Biking • (0) CommentsPermalink Bookmark and Share


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Bike the Burke-Gilman Trail, Seattle

Known as the BG, this 14-mile (one-way) trail is the top destination for cyclists in a city that’s pegged by biking magazines as the best metropolitan area to ride in the nation. Skirting the blue waters of Lake Washington, the BG slices through residential neighborhoods just outside of downtown. At its northern end, you can hook up with the Sammamish River Trail that leads to the wide-open horse pastures of Redmond. But many bikers never make it that far, happy to stop for lunch at the Redhook Brewery in Woodinville.

 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 06/21/11 at 01:00 PM
Biking • (0) CommentsPermalink Bookmark and Share


Monday, June 20, 2011

Bike the Cape Cod Rail Trail

The small strip of pavement forms a straight line into the horizon like an express route to freedom. Astride my bike, I zip over bridges and through tunnels, past large ponds, salt marshes and cranberry bogs, all while breathing in the sweet smell of spring wildflowers and the far more potent brine of the sea. The hum of traffic is gone, replaced by the call of the red-winged blackbird and the yellow warbler. The only obstacles before me are runners, clumsy rollerbladers and other leisurely bikers. In the Cape Cod town of Orleans, I hop off my bike for a few minutes and take that quintessential New England snapshot of fishing boats bobbing in the harbor. Soon after, I’m in the shade of Nickerson State Park, pedaling straight through Brewster to a series of swimming holes that reward bikers with a refreshing dip.

Such is a ride on the 25-mile long Cape Cod Rail Trail on a corridor that, until 1937, was used to ship cranberries the Cape to Boston aboard the Old Colony Railroad. Today, the relatively level rail trail is a placid retreat that has quickly become one of the most popular destinations in the Northeast for biking, hiking, strolling, jogging and in-line skating.

Like so many of these paths proliferating across the US—from the 225-mile Katy Trail that stretches across most of Missouri to the 61-mile Illinois Prairie Path that snakes through the heart of Chicago’s suburbs—the Cape Cod Rail Trail was for many decades an abandoned railroad line. Far away from maddening congestion on city streets and the noise of rural highways, rail trails are beloved by outdoor enthusiasts and a focal point of renewal across the country. From 1965 to 1985, only 1,000 miles of trail were opened. Today, there are currently more than 15,000 miles of rail trails open across the country.

The Cape Cod Rail Trail takes you through the interior of the Cape from South Dennis to Wellfleet, or vice-versa. The salty air is a pleasant reminder that the Cape Cod National Seashore and its 40-mile stretch of pounding Atlantic surf is never far away. At the visitors’ center in Eastham, you can veer off the CCRT for two miles on a separate trail to lounge on the dunes of Coast Guard Beach. Continue on to Brewster to cool off in a series of kettle ponds (swimming holes). Nearby, a favorite picnic spot, the Pleasant Lake General Store in Harwich, was once a popular stop on the Old Colony Railroad Line.
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 06/20/11 at 01:00 PM
Biking • (2) CommentsPermalink Bookmark and Share


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Bike New England and New York with Great Freedom Adventures

I love an outfitter who sticks to one region of the world and does it well, especially when the owner lives in that region and knows it better than most. Before founding Great Freedom Adventures, Jeanne Rummel ran the Mountains to Sea bike tour across Massachusetts, a successful fundraiser for the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America. Now the Mass native brings riders to her favorite haunts in Northeast, including the North Shore of Massachusetts, Block Island, Vermont, and the often overlooked Hudson Valley of New York. Rummel not only understands the salubrious benefits of a good day’s bike ride, both physically and mentally, but goes out of her way to show visitors a local cheese maker, a historic lighthouse, or the same incredible panorama painted by Thomas Cole and the Hudson River School painters in the mid-19th century. The daily itinerary includes a good dose of biking along with a chance to sea kayak, go on sunset sails, have lobster bakes, and take a necessary break at a local microbrewery. Not a bad way to push the eject button and de-stress!
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 04/26/11 at 12:59 PM
Biking • (0) CommentsPermalink Bookmark and Share


Monday, April 25, 2011

Boston to Launch Bike-Share Program

Good news out of Boston last week when Mayor Menino announced that the city will follow in the footsteps of Montreal and Denver and initiate a bike-sharing program this summer. Set to open in July, the Hubway will feature 600 bikes in 61 stations throughout the city. Pay a yearly or daily membership fee and the cost of rental for the ride (trips shorter than 30 minutes will be free) and off you go. Alta Bicycle Share, the company that designed the bike-sharing program in Washington, DC, and Melbourne, Australia, has been hired to oversee the Boston network. There are already plans to expand to neighboring Cambridge, Brookline, and Somerville in 2012.
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 04/25/11 at 01:00 PM
Biking • (2) CommentsPermalink Bookmark and Share


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Biking in Calgary

With a mind-boggling 286 miles of bike trails, Calgary lays claim to the most extensive biking network on the continent. If you want to see the city sites, stick to the Bow River Corridor. This popular 12-mile (one-way) route passes the Calgary Zoo, Fort Calgary, built to stop Americans from trading whisky with Blackfoot, Chinatown, and Prince’s Island Park. The island is a popular venue for outdoor concerts and Shakespeare in the Park in the summer months. It’s also home to the top-tier River Café, featuring regional food for lunch and dinner like rainbow trout or an Alberta sirloin steak. Work off your meal on the Douglas Fir Hiking Trail in nearby Lawry Park. The shaded fir forest hides many vibrant wildlflowers in the summer months, like violet and dogwood.  Before you turn around at Edworthy Park, think about going on an exhilarating guided raft ride down the river. Bikers and joggers who want to get away from it all can visit Fish Creek Provincial Park in the southern part of Calgary, the only national park found in a metro area in Canada. 
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 04/20/11 at 01:00 PM
Biking • (0) CommentsPermalink Bookmark and Share


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Bike the Texas Hill Country with Sojourn

Many of the people I meet who founded their active travel company have a genuine passion for the sport. Tom Hale spent over 5,000 miles on a bike the summer of 1979 prior to opening Backroads. When Susan Rand was in college, she would load her panniers witch camping gear and clothes and hit the road. Then she became athletic director at Champlain College in Burlington, Vermont, and worked for four years at Vermont Bicycle Tours prior to starting her own company, Sojourn, in 1995. Her fall foliage trips along the shores of Lake Champlain in her native Vermont are still the most popular weeklong jaunts. Yet, it’s the itineraries I don’t normally see in a catalog that I find most intriguing. In the summer, Sojourn heads to the Columbia River Gorge to bike between glorious Mount Hood and Mount Adams. In late fall and mid-winter, Rand takes riders to the Sonoran Desert outside Tucson to bike, hike in Saguaro National Park, and horseback ride in John Wayne country at the Rancho De La Osa Guest Ranch. New this spring is a trip to Texas Hill Country, an overlooked biking region outside of San Antonio that I’ve written about for National Geographic Adventure. Rand personally tries all of the trips she designs and this has quickly become one of her favorites. You’ll be biking under tall cypress trees on lonely backcountry roads past large cattle ranches and fields of bluebonnets that are in bloom in early spring. You’ll also visit the Alamo and LBJ Ranch. So saddle up and get out there on your next sojourn.
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 03/16/11 at 01:00 PM
Biking • (0) CommentsPermalink Bookmark and Share


Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Top 5 Travels of 2010, Biking Shark Valley, The Everglades, Florida

Another great day ride, this one an hour outside of Miami. Drive west on the Tamiami Trail (Highway 41) and you’ll reach the Shark Valley Visitor Center at the northern tip of Everglades National Park. Rent bikes from the rangers and get ready for one of the most exhilarating 15-mile loops of your life. More than likely, it will take you an hour to bike that first mile. That’s because you’ll want to stop every 20 yards or so to get another photograph of an alligator sleeping in the tall grass, large turtles sunbathing on rocks, and the extraordinary amount of birdlife that call the canal next to the bike trail home. Anhingas dry their wings on the branches of the gumbo limbo tree, wood storks, white whooping cranes, and the long-legged great blue heron stand tall in the shallow water, while pink roseate spoonbills fly over the royal palms. This ride is ideal for any budding wildlife photographer.

(Photo credit: Lisa Leavitt)
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 01/04/11 at 02:00 PM
Biking • (0) CommentsPermalink Bookmark and Share


Monday, January 03, 2011

Top 5 Travels of 2010, Biking to Giverny, France

I can think of no better way to start 2011 than to look back at my year of travels in 2010 and see which experiences surpassed all expectations. Last July, I took the family to Paris. We climbed up the Eiffel Tower, viewed the monumental works of art at the Louvre, Musée d'Orsay, and Pompidou museums, shopped in the Marais, celebrated my brother’s birthday with a lavish spread at a friend's home in the 16th arrondissement, and toured an overlooked museum devoted to French innovation, Musee des Arts et Metiers. The highlight for me, however, was our one day away from Paris on a bike tour to Giverny, the home of Claude Monet. Run by Fat Tire Bike Tours, we took a short train ride to the village of Vernon. As soon as we arrived, we were handed our bikes and visited an outdoor market to stock up on creamy Reblochon cheese, tasty Rosette de Lyon sausage, and hot-out-of-the-oven baguettes from the nearby boulangerie. We had our picnic lunch in a park overlooking swans swimming in the Seine, and then headed out on a bike trail that connects Vernon with Giverny. We entered the picturesque hamlet and were soon walking over that Japanese bridge seen in many of Monet’s works. The whole trip took about 8 hours and cost 65 Euros per biker, a perfect day trip for our family of four.
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 01/03/11 at 02:00 PM
Biking • (0) CommentsPermalink Bookmark and Share


Page 10 of 12 pages « First  <  8 9 10 11 12 >

 

 
 
 

about us
photo of Steve Jermanok
Longtime Boston Globe travel writer, Steve Jermanok, dishes out his favorite travel locales and provides topical travel information that comes across his desk.

ActiveTravels.com is an Austin-Lehman Adventure's Top 125 Best Travel Blog Semi-Finalist

Adventure Travel Trade Association

 

tags