Saturday, October 4, 2008

History is a Highlight of Minuteman Bikeway

The Minuteman Statue on Lexington Battle Green
We biked a portion of the Minuteman Bikeway yesterday, starting in Bedford, and passing through Lexington and Arlington. Yes -- it's in Massachusetts, not New Hampshire, but it's only about a 35-minute drive from us. This bikeway is in the Bike Trail Hall of Fame.

The entire 11-mile trail spans from Depot Park in Bedford to Alewife Station in Cambridge and is heavily used by bicyclists, joggers, inline skaters, and walkers. It's 12-feet wide, paved, and mostly flat, making for easy biking.

It was cool and overcast as we started out. The highlight of the ride for me was a stop at the historic Lexington Battle Green. If you start in Bedford, this comes up around mile four and requires a slight detour from the path. (The Bikeway has mile markers.)

We've visited the Lexington Battle Green before, but it's always interesting to see. This is the actual spot where the American Revolution began in 1775. There's an impressive Minuteman statue, a Revolutionary Monument (where the colonists who lost their lives are buried); a historic tavern; and nearby, the Old Burying Ground with gravestones dating from 1690. Well worth a detour from the bikeway!

The rest of the bike path was mostly tree-lined, passing fairly close behind homes, shops, and factories. Given the bikeway's close proximity to the towns of Bedford, Lexington, and Arlington, you have several options for lunch or a break. There's even access to a StarBucks from the trail. Compared with other rail trails we've been on, this one crossed many more roads, including above busy Interstate 95. As we approached mile seven, it started to rain, so we turned around and headed back, riding the last two miles in a chilly rain.

I'd recommend the Minuteman Bikeway if you want an easy ride and you enjoy American history or at the very least -- a pleasant stop in a beautiful New England town green.

Things to Know Before You Go: The best source of information can be found on the official website, http://www.minutemanbikeway.org/. To find directions quickly, select "Bikeway Basics," and then "maps."

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