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Boston by Bicycle – Exploring on Two Wheels

One of the best ways to see Boston is from the saddle of a bicycle. The city is relatively small and flat, making it easy to ride around and see many of the sights.

You might have to contend with a few potholes and poorly marked bike lakes, but as long as you have some urban riding experience you will be fine. If you want to get off the roads, there are nearly 50 miles of car-free pathways along the waterfront from Dorchester and Quincy to Charlestown and the Waterfront.

Join a Bike Tour, or Go Your Own Way?

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Photo by Lisa Frackiewicz via Trover

Do you want to ride around the city at your own pace, or would you prefer joining a tour to be shown the best sights? There are plenty of guided bike tours available in Boston, and they will take you around some of the most popular attractions, including Fenway Park, Esplanade, the Italian North End, Copley Square, Beacon Hill and more. One of the advantages of a tour is that you will be with a guide who can offer you interesting anecdotes about the city.

But what if you are an independent traveller and you want to ride through the city spontaneously without a guide? If you aren’t bringing a bike with you to Boston, it’s possible to rent one during your stay.

Boston has the Hubway system, a convenient short-term bike rental option around the city. You will see the Hubway bikes lined up along the streets; just make your payment before releasing a bike from the stand. If you only need a bike for an hour or so, this is the cheapest way to rent it.

However, if you’ll be spending the day riding, you will save money by renting your bike from a rental shop. There are a few great ones in town, such as Back Bay Bicycles and Urban AdvenTours, which offer rentals by the hour or the day. There are more than 25 bicycle shops in Boston, so you will have plenty of choices!

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Photo by Wikimedia Commons

Things to Know

Here are some tips for cycling in Boston:

  • You will need to give a valid credit card number when you rent a bike – if the bike is damaged or stolen, your card will be charged.
  • Sometimes, Boston drivers use bike lanes for turning, passing and parking, so be aware of your surroundings!
  • Check out the website MassBike, which offers extensive maps showing all the bike-friendly trails and bike lanes in the city.
  • If you are staying in a centrally located hotel you will be able to bike to most of the main attractions in the city.
  • If you are using Hubway, download the free Spotcycle app, which shows the location of the nearest docking point, as well as telling you how many bikes and empty spaces are available at each point.

Have fun exploring Boston by bike! You’ll be able to cover a lot of ground while seeing the city close up – and you will get some great exercise too.

Cover Photo via Mar via Trover

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