Cape Cod’s Shining Sea Bikeway

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Cape Cod Bike Path Rich and I just got back from having our bikes tuned-up for the season. We take them over to where we first purchased them at Art’s Bike Shop in North Falmouth. Run by a former elementary school teacher, Art’s is a full-service bike shop offering rental, repair, and retail, including all manner of accessories. It’s hard to walk out of Art’s without some new trinket for the bikes. Rich has his eye on a new rack and bag system that is sure to set us back a few bucks. Cha ching, cha ching.

At any rate, I picked up the new Shining Sea Bikeway brochure, a 4-color glossy piece with beaucoup info on the natural history and cultural heritage of Falmouth and its surrounds, plus a great trail map detailing the points of interest along the route. The new Shining Sea Bikeway is a 10.7 mile paved pathway that extends from North Falmouth to Woods Hole along Vineyard Sound via the coast of Buzzards Bay. Built along the right-of-way for the Old Colony rail line, the new bike path passes through cranberry bogs and the Sippewissett Marsh, offering views of Chapaquoit Beach. Named for Katharine Lee Bates, the Falmouth woman who wrote the poem that became the song “America the Beautiful”, the path is a multi-use all-season trail for cycling, walking, jogging, in-line skating, and cross country skiing.

When Rich suggested we buy bikes some years ago so that we could enjoy the many bike trails throughout the region, I was picturing my favorite scene in the movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Do you recall the montage of Paul Newman riding a bike through the pasture trying to charm Katherine Ross, with Burt Bacharach’s “Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head” playing in the background? Call me crazy, but I would have fallen for the impish Newman character over Robert Redford’s rakish Sundance any day. At any rate when Rich mentioned bike riding, I was envisioning lazy afternoons meandering through the countryside, picnic basket in hand, all choreographed to show tunes.

Needless to say, things didn’t exactly turn out as I had envisioned. But, I’m happy to report, we have found much joy in our bike riding adventures and especially along the Shining Sea Bikeway. We usually park at the lot on Old Dock Road near scenic West Falmouth Harbor. From that point it’s an easy 7-mile ride into Woods Hole. We stash the bikes at the parking lot adjacent to the Martha’s Vineyard ferry dock and stroll into town for lunch at our favorite watering hole overlooking the draw bridge entrance to Eel Pond, the Fishmonger. Properly sated with something fried for Rich and a salad for moi, we strap on the helmets and peddle back. All told, it’s a 4-5 hour journey round trip to and from the Inn, but a vacation in itself for leisure-strapped innkeepers on Cape Cod in the summer.

Ending a bike ride at the Fishmonger Cafe in Falmouth, MA