Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Martha's Vineyard

Last week, my wife and I were on vacation in Martha's Vineyard, an island off the coast of Cape Cod in Massachusetts.  The island is about 15 miles across and is a popular vacation destination.

We got in some cycling whilst there, and that's what I will describe in this post.  The island is very crowded during the summer, it is expensive to bring automobiles "on island" via the ferry, and so alternative transportation, especially bicycles, is encouraged.  In the map above, the roads highlighted in yellow have dedicated bike paths next to the roadway.  The bike paths are heavily used.

Our hostess and my wife on one of the bike paths.  This one is right next to the road.  Others are a bit farther away from the road and are sheltered by trees, making them prettier.

We stayed with friends who have a summer house in Katama and borrowed hybrid bikes from them.  (I will discuss our experience with these hybrid bikes in a separate post.)  I participated in a total of four rides; 9 miles, 25 miles, 12 miles, and 13 miles.  We rode on a mixture of bike paths, paved roads, and dirt roads.

One of the more interesting bits of bicycling infrastructure on "the Vineyard" was a bike ferry connecting Menemsha to Aquinnah on the north shore.  Our last ride of the vacation was one of our prettiest, a 13 mile ride around Menemsha to Aquinnah, which returned us home on the ferry.

The bike ferry "terminal"

Our bikes on the bike ferry

Another bit of interesting cycling infrastructure was bike racks on the beach:

My wife in front of the on-beach bike racks

Like many of you, I would really like to see more support for bicycling in our country.  I am a realist, however, and realize that this will only happen if the benefits of cycling are apparent to a broad section of the American public.  Those of us who enjoy riding bikes are an important part of this, of course, but I think those who do not ride themselves also benefit from increased cycling, and if this were generally appreciated, support would increase.  There are many ways in which cycling benefits everyone, by reducing traffic, by improving public health (and thus decreasing healthcare costs), and by decreasing pollution.  In particular, I think vacationing cyclists should be of particular interest to non-cyclists.  As communities see cycling as an important form of tourism, support for cycling will naturally follow.  Thus, I was excited to see an example of just this on Martha's Vineyard, a major destination for tourism.

1 comment:

  1. What a great sport. We went biking all the time when we had the best Martha's vineyard summer rental last year. It's just so great to be out and interact with the town on the bikes. Thanks so much for sharing your photo's. We always enjoyed riding the bike ferry as well!