Monday, October 12, 2009

Autumn on the Minuteman Bikeway

The leaves are really starting to show some color here in Boston. We're not at peak yet -- it takes a little longer for the most spectacular foliage to make its way down from northern New England. But it's beautiful enough. So this morning, I decided to do something special to celebrate the leaves. I rode the Minuteman Bikeway.

The Minuteman Bikeway is an 11-mile path that goes right by where the first battles of the Revolutionary War were fought. It begins at the Alewife T Station in Cambridge (the T is what we call our subway system here in Boston), winds through Arlington, and then heads into the historic town of Lexington before coming to an end in quiet Bedford ... all along what used to be the old Boston-Maine Railroad tracks. The Bikeway is both scenic and practical. Many bicyclists use it to commute into Boston from the western suburbs, locking up their bikes in specially-built bike cages at Alewife Station and then taking the T into the city.

I'd always heard so much about the Bikeway, but getting there involves taking my bike on a 35 minute subway ride from my home on the South Shore. It's not a difficult trip, but just long enough so that I'd never done it.

Fortunately, here in Boston we have a safe and extensive subway system that also officially allows bicycles. So by 7:45 this morning, I was on the Red Line train with my bike beside me, and at 8:25 I was making my way up the Bikeway ... on a chilly 42-degree morning.

The Bikeway is completely flat, with a yellow line down the middle to help ease traffic flow. While it's mainly a bike path, the Minuteman is also used by many runners, walkers, and in-line skaters:

I quickly discovered that riding on a dedicated bikeway is a really delightful experience! Everything seems neighborly and small-scale. It's kind of like cycling through a model train set. Intersections are quaint and friendly...

... and this being a rail-trail, it even passes under an old train station...

The Minuteman Bikeway cuts through green areas between houses, past village centers, and through some beautiful forests. The farther I rode, the more colorful the leaves seemed to become:

It was such a peaceful ride. Before I knew it, I had reached the end in Bedford:

I loved seeing the old railway car, which commemorates Bedford's extensive railroad history. From Bedford, there are so many other incredibly scenic towns to explore ... like Concord, where Thoreau, Emerson, and Alcott all once lived. I rode a little beyond the end of the trail...

But then I decided there would be other days to venture farther west (always save something for another ride ... that's my motto). So I got back on the trail heading the opposite direction...

...and after about 5 miles I turned off the path into Lexington, to take in some of the historic spots on the town green. As you probably already guessed, this is the same Lexington as in "The Battle of Lexington and Concord". It's here on this Battle Green that the first shot of the Revolutionary War was fired (to this day, no one knows by whom):

Two buses stopped by, part of the many New England Fall Foliage motorcoach tours that make their way through this area.

After spending some time on the green, admiring the beauty of the place and thinking about all that happened there, I returned to the Bikeway and pedaled back to Alewife Station in Cambridge. In all, it was a 22-mile trip riding the entire length of the Minuteman and back, taking me past many of the things that make New England so special ... quaint village greens, well-preserved history, and magical foliage.


  1. Hi JASON. I like many of your Minuteman Bikeway images and am interested in whether you might allow us to use one or more on the front of our new Minuteman Bikeway map. How might I contact you directly? Peggy E

  2. Thank you very much, Peggy. I'm delighted to hear of your interest in my pictures. Feel free to click on my profile, and then you can send me an email at the address listed there.

    Thanks again, and I look forward to hearing from you! All best, Jason