clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile
Aerial view of a bike lane along a park that is along a bright blue body of water. Shutterstock

11 beginner bike rides in the Boston area

From Cambridge’s Fresh Pond to Boston’s Franklin Park, these routes help novices avoid busier byways

View as Map

Here are 11 routes that will ease bikers into the Boston area and into urban biking in general.

Plus, it’s never been an easier time to get started, what with hundreds of more Bluebikes and a much-needed effort to improve biker safety.

A final note: Do watch out for pedestrians—they share several of these routes.

Read More

Millennium Park

Copy Link

There are up to 6 miles of trails in this park, which also has fabulous views of downtown Boston, the Blue Hills, and Newton.

You’ll also encounter the Charles River—it’s serious rural rolling without leaving Boston proper.

Fresh Pond Reservation

Copy Link

Cambridge’s water source has a 2.5-mile path around it.

You will hear cars, trucks, and buses, but you won’t encounter them.

A path through woodlands next to a pond. Shutterstock

Stony Brook Reservation

Copy Link

Bike paths in this park run from just under 2 miles to more than 6.

The park itself cuts through the lower reaches of Boston into Dedham, and it provides serious nature-viewing, particularly during the warmer months.

This is an option for those beginning bikers who want to up their urban game a bit as you are liable to encounter bits of traffic.

A two-lane path through Stony Brook Reservation. Shutterstock

Arnold Arboretum

Copy Link

This approximately 5-mile loop around the Harvard-owned site comes with some nifty views of Boston via the 200-foot-high Peters Hill.

It also connects to other bike paths.

A lush shot of foliage in an arboretum. Shutterstock

Mystic River State Reservation

Copy Link

There are several miles of bike paths throughout this state park along the similarly named river.

They wend through Winchester, Arlington, Medford, Somerville, Everett, and Chelsea; and, in general, the paths avoid cars, trucks, etc.—not an easy feat given the reservation’s location.

A photo of a bridge spanning the Mystic River. Shutterstock

Franklin Park

Copy Link

When you’re ready to roll in an urban park, try the primary path in Franklin Park.

The 2.25-mile route runs right by the Franklin Park Zoo, too. Make a day of it!

A lemur in the Franklin Park Zoo in Boston. Shutterstock

Charles River Esplanade

Copy Link

The state-owned park runs for 3 miles along the Boston side of the Charles River. Riders can also duck over the waterway to Cambridge and find a similarly bucolic and lightly traveled route.

Aerial view of a bike lane along a park that is along a bright blue body of water. Shutterstock

Neponset Trail

Copy Link

The 2.5-mile trail runs along the Neponset River, the river estuary, and the Neponset Marsh, with a further 1.8 miles in Milton and Hyde Park and another mile in Mattapan.

If you feel comfortable after the relatively rural stretches, try your hand at some biking near moderately heavy traffic.

A mostly wooden bridge along the Neponset Trail. Shutterstock

Joe Moakley Park

Copy Link

Boston’s largest waterfront park includes trails of its own, but also runs along Carson Beach and allows a connection to the city-circling HarborWalk.

Geese taking flight from Joe Moakley Park. Boston Globe via Getty Images

Northern Strand Community Trail

Copy Link

This 10-mile path connects Everett, Malden, Revere, Saugus, and Lynn.

A reader told us that it is “the preferred off-road greenway for bike commuters to Boston from the entire north shore region.” Beware of fellow bicyclists, then.

Deer Island

Copy Link

Deer Island—which is actually a peninsula—includes 2.6 miles of shoreline and 5 miles of trails.

Bikers are unlikely to encounter much vehicular traffic; and the water views, as well as the views of planes taking off and landing from Logan, are spectacular.

While you’re there, too, why not check out the super-cool sewage treatment plant that turns the region’s wastewater nearly pristine?

A wide shot of the sewage treatment plant on Deer Island. Shutterstock

Millennium Park

There are up to 6 miles of trails in this park, which also has fabulous views of downtown Boston, the Blue Hills, and Newton.

You’ll also encounter the Charles River—it’s serious rural rolling without leaving Boston proper.

Fresh Pond Reservation

A path through woodlands next to a pond. Shutterstock

Cambridge’s water source has a 2.5-mile path around it.

You will hear cars, trucks, and buses, but you won’t encounter them.

A path through woodlands next to a pond. Shutterstock

Stony Brook Reservation

A two-lane path through Stony Brook Reservation. Shutterstock

Bike paths in this park run from just under 2 miles to more than 6.

The park itself cuts through the lower reaches of Boston into Dedham, and it provides serious nature-viewing, particularly during the warmer months.

This is an option for those beginning bikers who want to up their urban game a bit as you are liable to encounter bits of traffic.

A two-lane path through Stony Brook Reservation. Shutterstock

Arnold Arboretum

A lush shot of foliage in an arboretum. Shutterstock

This approximately 5-mile loop around the Harvard-owned site comes with some nifty views of Boston via the 200-foot-high Peters Hill.

It also connects to other bike paths.

A lush shot of foliage in an arboretum. Shutterstock

Mystic River State Reservation

A photo of a bridge spanning the Mystic River. Shutterstock

There are several miles of bike paths throughout this state park along the similarly named river.

They wend through Winchester, Arlington, Medford, Somerville, Everett, and Chelsea; and, in general, the paths avoid cars, trucks, etc.—not an easy feat given the reservation’s location.

A photo of a bridge spanning the Mystic River. Shutterstock

Franklin Park

A lemur in the Franklin Park Zoo in Boston. Shutterstock

When you’re ready to roll in an urban park, try the primary path in Franklin Park.

The 2.25-mile route runs right by the Franklin Park Zoo, too. Make a day of it!

A lemur in the Franklin Park Zoo in Boston. Shutterstock

Charles River Esplanade

Aerial view of a bike lane along a park that is along a bright blue body of water. Shutterstock

The state-owned park runs for 3 miles along the Boston side of the Charles River. Riders can also duck over the waterway to Cambridge and find a similarly bucolic and lightly traveled route.

Aerial view of a bike lane along a park that is along a bright blue body of water. Shutterstock

Neponset Trail

A mostly wooden bridge along the Neponset Trail. Shutterstock

The 2.5-mile trail runs along the Neponset River, the river estuary, and the Neponset Marsh, with a further 1.8 miles in Milton and Hyde Park and another mile in Mattapan.

If you feel comfortable after the relatively rural stretches, try your hand at some biking near moderately heavy traffic.

A mostly wooden bridge along the Neponset Trail. Shutterstock

Joe Moakley Park

Geese taking flight from Joe Moakley Park. Boston Globe via Getty Images

Boston’s largest waterfront park includes trails of its own, but also runs along Carson Beach and allows a connection to the city-circling HarborWalk.

Geese taking flight from Joe Moakley Park. Boston Globe via Getty Images

Northern Strand Community Trail

This 10-mile path connects Everett, Malden, Revere, Saugus, and Lynn.

A reader told us that it is “the preferred off-road greenway for bike commuters to Boston from the entire north shore region.” Beware of fellow bicyclists, then.

Deer Island

A wide shot of the sewage treatment plant on Deer Island. Shutterstock

Deer Island—which is actually a peninsula—includes 2.6 miles of shoreline and 5 miles of trails.

Bikers are unlikely to encounter much vehicular traffic; and the water views, as well as the views of planes taking off and landing from Logan, are spectacular.

While you’re there, too, why not check out the super-cool sewage treatment plant that turns the region’s wastewater nearly pristine?

A wide shot of the sewage treatment plant on Deer Island. Shutterstock