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Biking

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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Friday, January 19, 2018

DuVine Cycling + Adventure Co. Offering New Trips to South Africa and Greece

Clients of ours just returned from a DuVine trip to Portugal and raved about the high level of biking, service, food, and lodging. That’s not surprising. DuVine is the crème de la crème of bike tours. The company is best known for their small-group trips to the wine regions of the world, like Burgundy and Napa, often bringing well-known sommeliers and chefs along for the ride. Another classic itinerary which clients love is the Tour de France trip where you ride part of the challenging Tour de France route while catching some of the race. Now DuVine has their sights set on Greece and South Africa. We sat down with DuVine’s Kyla Briggs this week and she told us the Greece trip is already selling out in 2018. Not a surprise when you look at the route, aboard a 10-passenger yacht to off-the-beaten-track Dodecanese islands of Kos, Nisyros, and Kalymnos, stopping to bike through the small villages and wineries on these islands. On the dreamy South Africa itinerary, you not only get to bike the famous Chapman’s Peak route south of Cape Town, but you’ll get a taste of off-road biking in the Stellenbosch wine country. 

If you’re interested in any of the DuVine trips in 2018, please let ActiveTravels know and we’ll look into pricing, availability, ages of riders already signed up, and pre- and post-lodging choices. 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 01/19/18 at 07:45 AM
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Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Top Dream Days of 2017, E-Biking Emmental Valley, Switzerland

We spent a glorious week in Switzerland in July before the start of our Backroads hiking and biking trip in the Swiss Alps. We loved our stay in Bern to see the inner workings of the famous Medieval Clock Tower, visiting the apartment Albert Einstein lived when he proved his Theory of Relativity, and stopping at the wave-like building Renzo Piano built to house the works of local talent Paul Klee. But my favorite day was getting on electric bikes to roam the narrow and mountainous country roads of neighboring Emmental Valley. Our guide, who looked like Roger Federer, led us through the farmland and small villages to a restaurant known for creating fondue from the local emmental cheese. We returned to Bern on the train with more than enough time to swim in the Aare River. An easy walk down the hillside from our wonderful hotel, the Bellevue Palace, led to a park where hundreds of people lined the river catching rays. We strolled down a path with a long line of folks who dragged their tubes, rafts, and dry bags. Then jump in the cool water anywhere and off you go with the strong current. The hardest part was finding a place on the shores to stop and pull yourself out. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 01/02/18 at 06:00 AM
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Friday, October 13, 2017

Chicago’s New 606

Like most rail trails, Chicago’s new 606 took years to develop. The last train to roll down the Bloomington Line was in the mid-1990s. That’s when the inkling of an idea to convert the trail to an urban park took root, connecting Logan Square with Bucktown and Wicker Park on 2.7 miles of elevated railway. We walked a good mile of the 606 on Sunday above the wide boulevards of this residential neighborhood. Already we saw the gentrification taking place, with new condos and apartments being built along the route, much like the High Line in New York. It also introduces people to neighborhoods they normally wouldn’t check out like Logan Square. After our stroll, we stopped at one of the picnic tables at the restaurant and bar Wyler Road and grabbed an Indiana Yum Yum beer on tap with a snack of cheese curds. A fun outing! 
 
Next week I’ll be reporting live from Las Cruces, New Mexico. I’m excited to return to southern New Mexico, my first trip back since the film my brother Jim and I wrote, Passionada, played at the White Sands Film Festival. I plan to hike in the White Sands National Monument and the Organ Mountains, check out the Las Cruces Farmers & Crafts Market on Saturday morning, visit the historic town of Mesilla where Billy the Kids once stood trial for murder, and sample the wares on the Mesilla Valley Wine Trail, among many other activities. Please follow along on this blog, Twitter @ActiveTravels, Instagram, and Facebook. Enjoy the weekend and keep active!
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 10/13/17 at 06:00 AM
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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Favorite Fall Foliage Travels—Biking the Confederation Trail, Prince Edward Island

In September 2004, I was fortunate to receive an assignment from Canadian Geographic to head to Prince Edward Island and write about their relatively new Confederation Trail. The Canadian Pacific railroad that once connected Prince Edward Island’s small villages last roared through the interior in 1989, leaving in its wake hundreds of kilometers of track. By 2000, the tracks were pulled and the line replaced with a surface of finely crushed gravel, creating a biking and walking thoroughfare called the Confederation Trail. Crossing the entire island, the trail starts in Tignish in the west and rolls 279 kilometers to the eastern terminus in Elmira. One of the most scenic stretches starts in Mt. Stewart in King’s County along the sinuous Hillsborough River. You’ll soon reach St. Peter’s Bay, a large inlet dotted with mussel farms and lobster traps. After crossing a bridge that rewards you with glimpses of the island’s fabled red cliffs, you’ll arrive at the rolling Greenwich Dunes. If you were wise, you grabbed a room at the nearby Inn at St. Peter’s to spend the night. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 09/19/17 at 06:00 AM
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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Biking Along the Charles in Boston

At least one Sunday every summer, we park our car at the large parking lot near the Artesani Playground Wading Pool (1255 Soldiers Field Road, Brighton) and bike along the Charles River into Cambridge. Near Mount Auburn Hospital, Memorial Drive is closed to cars for a good mile or so on Sundays, before you hit the sidewalk and pedal along the water. The river is full of activity, with scullers and crew teams sharing the water with sailboats and motor boats making their way out to Boston Harbor. On the Cambridge side, we pass Harvard and MIT while peering across the Charles at the Prudential Center, Citgo sign, and the distinctive gold dome of the Old State House. At the Museum of Science, we head across the street to North Point Park, a new gem of a park that looks up at the Zakim Bridge. A bike trail zips up past a skateboard park just under the bridge and over to Charlestown. Look down and you can see the boats waiting for the waters of the locks to rise. A mandatory stop to see the USS Constitution before crossing the Charlestown Bridge into Boston and heading to the Boston Public Market for tasty chicken shawarma in a pita at Inna’s. Then we head along the Charles on the Boston side through the Esplanade all the way back to our car. Give yourself a good 4 hours if you want to stop for lunch and take photos. 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 08/15/17 at 06:00 AM
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Monday, August 14, 2017

Top 25 Bike Sharing Programs

I’ve been a big fan of Hubway, Boston’s bike-sharing program since it started in 2011. I also love the opportunity to jump on a bike in other cities, especially after taking a bike tour with a local. So I was pleased to see Biking Expert’s list of top 25 bike sharing programs, where Boston ranks 4th, the top city in America. Surprised to see Moscow so high at number three. Not surprised to see Montreal on the list since they implemented one of the first bike sharing programs in a city. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 08/14/17 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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