Take a day trip to the epicenter of both the American Revolution and one of the first major American literary and philosophical movements. Oh, and did we mention there's swimming and ice cream? The ride is 24 miles round trip (with outbound train ride) or 38 miles round trip (few hills outbound), so plan for a picnic!
Founder's Note - This is one of our favorite rides to do on a Summer or Fall weekend. You'll get nature, art, history, food, first class bike trails and picture perfect scenery.
map & logistics
Hubway - $6 daily
- Cambridge Bicycle - $30 daily for Raleigh Classic Roadster with front basket, u-lock and helmet
- Urban AdvenTours - $35+ daily for hybrid, road, mountain, tandem and kids bikes with Kryptonite lock and helmet
- Pedego Electric Bikes Boston - $60 daily, $15 hourly for a commuter, electric bike
MBTA System Map - The MBTA allows bikes during all non-commuting hours and weekends. We don't recommend any large cargo bikes because some stations don't have platforms at train grade. See the details under each option for station accessibility, but for Lincoln, you'll need to lift your bike down the steep train stairs to the ground.
Schedule - MBTA Commuter Train, Fitchburg Line
- OPTION 1 - BIKE 36 MILE ROUND-TRIP
If you want to bike the entire 36 mile round trip, you can simply bike to Harvard Square where the route starts on the south bank of the Charles River or take the MBTA Red Line to Harvard Square, which has elevators.
- OPTION 2 - TRAIN NORTH STATION - LINCOLN, BIKE 24 MILE RETURN TRIP
This is the most convenient option for people in downtown Boston. North Station has has plenty of ramps and you can roll your bike onto the train.
- OPTION 3 - TRAIN PORTER SQUARE - LINCOLN, BIKE 24 MILE RETURN TRIP
This is the most convenient option for people in Cambridge, and you can either bike or take the Red Line to Porter Square, which has elevators and a ramp platform for at grade roll-ons.
- OPTION 4 - TRAIN BELMONT - LINCOLN, BIKE 24 MILE RETURN TRIP
Biking to Belmont Center is advantageous because of its location next to the Craft Beer Cellar! However, this train station has neither elevators nor at grade platforms. You'll have to lift your bike upstairs to get to the station and then up steep stairs to get on the train.
- OPTION 5 - TRAIN WALTHAM - LINCOLN, BIKE 24 MILE RETURN TRIP
With this option, you can enjoy best of Option 1, which is the Charles River Path and Blue Heron Trail, Watertown Dam and Charles River Museum of Industry & Innovation, but then short cut some more suburban streets on the train to Lincoln. Tracks are at ground level so no elevator is needed and we think there is a ramp for rolling bike onto train.
what to bring?
MBTA fare ($4-8), picnic provisions, swimsuit & towel, sunscreen, camera
A. deCordova Sculpture Garden & Museum 51 Sandy Pond Road, Lincoln | www.decordova.org | (781) 259-8355
The deCordova is home to the largest outdoor sculpture park in New England. It's a wonderful place to stop for a picnic and explore, whether or not you even venture inside the museum! Admission to the park is FREE and they love bikers. Grounds 7 days 10am-5pm / Cafe M-F 11am-3pm, S-S 11am-4pm
B. Gropius House 68 Baker Bridge Road, Lincoln | www.historicnewengland.org | (781) 259-8098
The highly influential private residence of the founder of the Bauhaus architectural movement, displaying many design and material choices that were revolutionary in 1938, but went on to become commonplace today. Unless you have time, simply observing the house from the street is worth it. Tours $15. W-Su 11–5pm
C. Walden Pond
The home of Henry David Thoreau is still as beautiful today, although not quite as much of an escape from civilization. A lovely place to stop for a swim and contemplate nature and society's place in it. 7 days 5am-sunset
D. Reformatory Branch Trailhead Concord
More than 4 miles of flat, straight, compacted sand trails that offer an easy way to bike out of the city through three different wooded natural areas. A few spots may be grassy or soft.
E. Minuteman Bikeway Trailhead Bedford
A wildly successful rail-trail that connects Alewife Station in western Cambridge to Arlington, Lexington, and finally Bedford.
F. Lexington Green 1625 Massachusetts Avenue | lexingtonma.gov | (781) 274-8300
The Minuteman Bikeway passes through the heart of the American Revolution. Soak up some history at the Lexington Battle Green, site of the first blood spilt in the Revolutionary War, take a one-block detour to the Old Burial Ground to see the graves of revolution-era Lexingtonians, and check out the Buckman Tavern, which dates to 1710 and was the gathering place for the Minutemen as they awaited the arrival of the British Soldiers on April 19th, 1775.
G. WATERTOWN DAM
A cool place to stop and watch the wildlife, the Watertown Dam is just west of Watertown Square. In addition to geese and ducks, you're likely to see some stunning waterbirds like Cormorants, Great Blue Herons, and Black Crowned Night Herons. Read more about water birds of the Charles River here.
H. CHARLES RIVER MUSEUM OF INDUSTRY & INNOVATION 154 MOODY STREET, WALTHAM | WWW.CRMI.ORG | (781) 893-5410
Located in the restored Francis Cabot Lowell Mill, one of America's first textile mills, the Charles River Museum of Industry and Innovation has hands-on exhibits showcasing highlights of Boston-area inventions from 1812 to the present day. Be sure to check out the Orient Bicycles from the Waltham Manufacturing Company! M-F 10:30am-3:30pm
1. Craft Beer Cellar 51 Leonard Street, Belmont | www.craftbeercellar.com | (617) 932-1885
Possibly the best purely-beer store anywhere near Boston, CBC was started by beer geeks, for beer geeks. Excellent domestic and foreign selections, knowledgable staff, and wonderfully friendly service. M-Sa 10am-10pm / Su 10am-8pm
2. Cafe on the Common 677 Main Street, Waltham | www.facebook.com | (781) 647-2456
This local cafe is a great place to pick up provisions for the ride. Pastries, sandwiches, ice cream, and creative latte art are just some of the offerings. 7 days 7am-6pm
3. Main Streets Market & Cafe 42 Main Street, Concord | www.mainstreetsmarketandcafe.com | (978) 369-9948
Concord has a charming town center with plenty of options for eating, drinking and window-shopping. Main Streets Market and Cafe is great for sandwiches, or if you're sticking around for dinner sidle up to the bar and make friends with the bartender. For ice cream, head down the alley next to Main Streets Market and Cafe for their ice cream outpost. M-Th 6:30am-10:30 / F-Sa 6:30am-11:30pm / Su 6:30am-8pm