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Summertime rides

Bike paths start just outside BU

 

Getting out of the city for a few hours doesn’t have to mean facing bumper-to-bumper traffic along I-93 or the Mass Pike — in fact, one of the most beautiful paths out of the city starts right in Boston University’s backyard.

The Paul Dudley White Charles River Bike Path runs for 14 miles along both banks of the river, from Watertown Square to the Charles River Dam. A paved trail, the Charles River Bike Path keeps bicyclists (mostly) out of traffic and along the banks of the Charles. Experienced riders recommend being extra cautious where the path abuts Memorial and Storrow Drives, but say the scenery along the Esplanade makes up for that necessity. The path can be entered at any footbridge on the Boston side, except for the BU Bridge. For more information about the path, visit the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation or the cycling advocacy group MassBike.

The Muddy River Bike Path, which runs from Park Drive near South Campus to Brookline Avenue in Brookline, provides another convenient and scenic getaway. This short path runs through the Fenway area and offers cyclists an off-road look at the flora and fauna that thrive in the heart of the city. This path is close to the Jamaicaway Bike Path, which runs to Jamaica Plain and is a part of the Emerald Necklace, a series of connecting parks throughout the city designed in the 19th century by Frederick Law Olmsted.

There are also plenty of other bike paths all over and just outside the city, such as the Mystic River Bike Path in Somerville and the Pierre Lallement Path in the South End, that offer a quick route from buildings and traffic to trees and riverbanks. There’s also the Minuteman Bikeway, a paved path that follows a former railway line from Davis Square in Somerville all the way out to Bedford. Much of the path is lined with greenery, and not far from Davis Square you can stop and splash your feet in Spy Pond.

For a guide to bicycling in Boston — including information about safety and taking a bike on the T — visit the city of Boston’s bicycling Web site.