Cape Cod Biking
There’s good reason why Cape Cod is a paradise for people on bikes. Miles, upon miles of asphalt roll parallel to the world’s widest canal.
An abundance of trails for riders of all abilities can be accessed through the pitch pine woods of Nickerson Park.
The spectacular sand dunes of the Province Lands roller coast you to the Atlantic Ocean.
Cape Cod Canal Area
Buzzards Bay to Cape Cod Bay
Owned and operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, this 8-mile-long paved surface rolls gently along both sides the Cape Cod Canal area in Bourne and Sandwich. The path is used every day in every season by bikers—from newcomers to experienced bicyclists—and by in-line skaters, walkers, and dog owners. The views are appealing—cormorants dive for fish while towering tankers and elegant sailboats pass by within a few yards. As sunsets are usually spectacular along the Cape Cod Canal, you might want to plan your ride along the canal at sundown.
The path, considered the longest uninterrupted trail in Massachusetts, can be accessed at many points along its length. Those access points along the north side of the Canal are northeast of Bourne Bridge, Herring Brook Fishway in Bournedale, Scusset State Park, and at the east side of the Sagamore Bridge. South side accesses are along Pleasant Street in Sagamore, the southeast side of the Bourne Bridge, and the Boat Basin off Freezer Road in Sandwich. The access roads are marked so you should be able to find your way.
Shining Sea Bikepath
Woods Hole to Falmouth
A favorite with bikers, walkers, and in-line skaters is the Shining Sea Bike Path, named in honor of Katherine Lee Bates, who wrote the lyrics of “America the Beautiful and was born in Falmouth in 1859 in a house that still stands today at 16 Main Street. The bikeway is a level, 3-mile paved path and was built over the old Penn Central Railroad tracks. That’s why it is so level. It overlooks Vineyard Sound as it passes alongside marshland and then gently winds by Nobska Point Lighthouse, on its way from Falmouth to Woods Hole.
As the route follows the shore, it provides a great opportunity to take a swim, so bring your bathing suits.
We suggest that you use the parking lot on Locust Street (at Mill Pond) in Falmouth and ride towards Woods Hole. As you start your pedal, to your right is the Salt Pond Bird Sanctuary. If you look carefully, chances are you will catch a glimpse of an osprey nesting in the area.
Further down the path, still to your right, is Oyster Pond; Vineyard Sound is on your left.
Benches have been placed along the path, so do make the effort to take a breather and absorb the beauty this path offers. As you past Nobska Point, further along, the island of Martha’s Vineyard is just 5 miles off the coast. It’s about as close as you can get to the island without being on it or sailing towards it. Cross a few vintage wooden bridges, travel past the Coast Guard Station-Woods Hole, and you’re gliding into the quaint seaside town of Woods Hole. The trail also connects with paths that take you to other beautiful areas, such as Quisset Harbor.
29 Main St., Buzzards Bay
This bike rental outfit is right on the Cape Cod Canal bike trail. It rents bicycles by the hour, day, week, or month and has the largest selection of used bicycles to choose from on the Cape.
465 Grand Ave., Falmouth Heights
If you’re vacationing in Falmouth you’ll want to spend some time on the Shining Sea Bikepath. Stop by Holiday Cycles for bike rentals and any equipment you might need.
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Barbara’s Bike and Sport Equipment
430 Mass. Hwy. 134, South Dennis
Barbara’s is right at the parking lot at the beginning of the Cape Cod Rail Trail. It rents bicycles by the hour, day, or week for all members of the family, from toddlers to teenagers to grandparents.
240 Lower County Rd., Dennisport
Rick’s specializes in sales and rentals of all kinds of things with wheels attached. With each rental, they provide protective gear for free.
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Bike Trails - Bike Rentals
Cape Cod Rail Trail
Dennis to Wellfleet
Here is a great ride for bike enthusiasts who want to sample all the fun biking can offer. This 25-mile paved trail offers you a glimpse of the heartland of Cape Cod as it runs from Dennis to Wellfleet, following an old railroad bed. The trail is fairly straight (the bike trail does switch to roadway in Orleans and is narrow in sections, especially at Rock Harbor); otherwise the trail sweeps by sweet-smelling cedar and pine forests and includes long straight stretches between roadway intersections. Be sure to stop at these intersections; they are well marked with a post situated in the middle of the path separating bike and car traffic.
The trail enters Nickerson State Park in Brewster where you will find just the right mix of pathway and off-road biking if you are looking for more of a bicycling challenge. There are not many restrooms along the route, but there are facilities at Nickerson State Park in Brewster, and a composting toilet in Eastham.
One word of warning: As we mentioned, the bike trail switches to roadway in Orleans, so be especially careful riding this portion. The biking/walking-only path resumes at the end of Rock Harbor Road, just past the Court House.
Parking areas for trail access are in Dennis on Mass. 134; in Harwich on Headwaters Road near Route 124; at the Pleasant Lake General Store on Route 124; in Brewster on Route 137 ; at Nickerson State Park off Mass. 6A; in Orleans at the Court House on Rock Harbor Road; in Eastham at the Cape Cod National Seashore Visitor Center; and in South Wellfleet at the South Wellfleet General Store, just off U.S. 6.
Nickerson State Park
Mass. 6A, Brewster
If you are in search of new terrain for off-roading, you’ll find that Nickerson Park is practically the only place on the Lower Cape to ride a mountain bike. Service roads wind along the perimeter of the park offering some fun dirt paths to play on; weave in and out of the pine forests and suddenly you’ve left the paved world behind. And once you do that at Nickerson, the possibilities are endless.
The park has 8 miles of paved biking trails which connect to numerous freshwater ponds and picnic areas. If you want the park to yourself, come here in late fall, winter, or early summer before the campers arrive. A map of the park is available at the entrance.
Cape Cod National Seashore
U.S. Hwy. 6, Eastham
The Cape Cod National Seashore maintains three bicycle trails ranging from 1½ miles to just over 7 miles long. The trails are relatively flat with only a few hills in the dune areas where you might need to be walk. Bike maps of the National Seashore are available at the visitor center in Eastham.
At the visitor center right near the Cape Cod Rail Trail (exit the trail at Locust Road and cross U.S. 6 at the traffic light, if you are on bike) is the Nauset Trail, a lovely 2-mile trail that goes out to Coast Guard Beach on the Atlantic Ocean. The highlight of the ride comes when the trail opens to a wide vista of Nauset Marsh with the Atlantic Ocean in the distance. Although it’s only a 15-minute ride to the beach from the visitor center, you parallel Nauset Marsh the entire way, through groves of cedar and locust trees. We recommend that you stop at the scenic view benches along the way. You’ll love crossing the wooden bridge over the salt marsh just before you reach Coast Guard Beach.
The Head of the Meadow Trail is 2 miles long and wanders straight through the marshlands and dunes of the North Truro highlands. You can access the trail at High Head Road or at the Head of the Meadow Beach parking area. During July and August, there is a nominal fee to park in the Head of the Meadow lot. We recommend you start at High Head Road and bike south towards Head of the Meadow. If you wish to venture further than just the 2-mile trail, it’s easy. From Head of the Meadow, head by bike to U.S. 6 and head south a short distance to Highland Road and up the paved road through the dunes to a vista that takes in both the Atlantic Ocean and Cape Cod Bay. To head back, retrace your path or stay on U.S. 6 to High Head Road. This is another one of those trails that should be explored at sunrise or sunset in order to catch a glimpse of a Monet moment.
In Provincetown, the Seashore has miles of trails—you could ride around all day! In fact, biking around Provincetown is one of the best ways to spend a day on Cape Cod. Our favorite, the Province Lands Trail is a 7-mile loop that winds up and down dune hills, past lily ponds and bogs, through woods and sand dunes to the beaches at Race Point and Herring Cove. The trail starts at either Beech Forest, at one end or Herring Cove at the other. Again, there is a parking fee in season. The trail may also be picked up at the Province Land’s Visitor Center, where there is no parking fee.
Cape Cod Rail Trail Bike & Blade
302 Underpass Rd., Brewster
With direct access to the Rail Trail and only minutes from Nickerson State Park, Cape Cod Rail Trail Bike and Blade may be one of the most convenient locations to enter the Rail Trail. There is plenty of all-day parking available at Bike & Blade, so you can hop on one of their rental bikes and spend the whole day exploring Nickerson Park and the Lower Cape.
Little Capistrano Bike Shop
Salt Pond Rd., Eastham
This friendly shop is just across U.S. 6 from the Cape Cod National Seashore Visitor Center, right near the Cape Cod Rail Trail and the Seashore bike trails. It offers rentals, sales, accessories, and repairs. It’s open April through December, and by appointment only January through March.
Idle Times Bike Shop
Town Center Plaza, U.S. Hwy. 6, North Eastham
With three other shops—one at the entrance to the Cape Cod Rail Trail on Mass. 134 in Dennis, one in Brewster, and one in Wellfleet—Idle Times boasts the largest fleet of rental bikes on the Cape. They also sell bikes and accessories. The North Eastham and Dennis shops are open year-round, and the other two are seasonal.
43 Race Point Rd., Provincetown (508) 487-8849
Whether you are looking for some exercise or a carefree outing for the family, the bike trails to the Province Lands starts just 100 yards from Nelson’s. They offer a large selection of mountain bikes in a wide range of sizes. They also offer families tag-along trailers, trailer bikes, and a large selection of youth bikes. Parking is free for all their customers. Nelson’s is open seasonally.
329 Commercial St., Provincetown
Located in the center of Provincetown, Arnold’s is known as the place “where you rent any kind of bike.” From children’s 20-inch Coaster brake bikes to Fuji and Speed Royce bikes, you can rent by the hour, half-day, day, or week. They also specialize in bike repairs, tires, tubes, and accessories. Arnold’s is open seasonally.
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