Biking and Me!

As you may know, I’m a biking fanatic. Like most kids I grew up riding bikes and when I got to U-Mass I bought a 21-speed and rode it everywhere.

In the 70’s I was a serious ski racer and I’d ride 30 miles every Saturday and Sunday to keep my legs in shape during the offseason.

Thanks in large part to all my skiing, my hips and knees went to hell in my fifties. At the time I was walking an hour a day for exercise and about 50 pounds over weight. My orthopedic surgeon told me walking was almost as bad as running on my failing joints.

I bought a new bike in 2009 and never looked back. Unfortunately, my knees continued to deteriorate and by 2018, even a ten mile ride was painful.

I bought my first eBike in 2019 and my biking life has been totally reinvigorated. I only add enough power to offset my weakened right knee and I now ride for two-three hours almost every day.

Biking and Boating

The most common question Mrs. Horne and I get asked by readers of My Buzzards Bay is…

“Why don’t you both weigh 300 pounds with all the great restaurants you eat at?”

The answer is twofold. First of all, we seldom eat an entire meal – we almost always split an entree or sandwich.

The second reason is because we typically ride our bikes twenty miles before lunch.

Not only does biking burn calories, but it’s also a great way to get away from the boat and see the rest of the island or port your visiting.

Today we have folding eBikes, but in several ports we’ve found shops that rent eBikes and perhaps the best is Wheels of Delight on Nantucket. They offer very nice Raleigh’s, charge them with solar power, and they are a short walk from the Nantucket Boat Basin.

Raleigh eBike from Wheels of Delight

Not only do they offer great eBike rentals, but also customer service. Saturday, we took off with Ben and Becky – who have folding eBikes on their boat, and Tom and Terry, who rented their eBikes from Wheels of Delight.

After 15 minutes into our ride, Terry picked up a nail in her tire…

They told us to go on without them…

But I said “Just call Wheels of Delight and they’ll be right here.” The owner came out by bike, and had them up and running in ten minutes.

The Best Biking on Nantucket

The town has a website dedicated to biking and it has a very useful map…

There are plenty of short routes listed, but if you’re looking for a scenic workout, there are two major routes to consider.

On Thursday and Sunday, we took the southwestern route out to Madeket Beach and Tuckernuck Island…

Madeket Beach

This is clearly the most scenic run on Nantucket. It’s also probably the safest since you get to it by riding northwest out of town on a less traveled one way street (Easy Street to South Beach to Broad to Easton, to Cliff Road).

The dedicated bike path appears shortly after you get on Cliff Road and you remain on paths until you turn down the coast on the Madaket Road Path.

You can extend this ride by continuing on down the Surfside Path on the way back to town and then connecting with Washington Street to avoid the cobblestones on Main Street.

Sankaty Lighthouse

The other major run goes northeast out of town and out to Sankaty. This is a longer route and while slightly less scenic, it provides a big loop with far less doubling back.

Getting to the Sankaty trail is a little tougher in that you need to navigate around the cobblestone (which is impossible to ride a bike on), and one-way streets coming into town from the east.

The shortest route is to walk your bike east on the sidewalk on Candle Street until Washington Street – where it becomes a two-way street. Then follow the bike route signs until you get on Orange Street and ultimately the rotary that connects to Milestone Road.

If you hate walking your bike on the sidewalk as much as I do, leave town via Easy Street as if you were heading to Madaket and keep taking lefts down the one-ways until you get to Washington St.

Once you get to Milestone Road, you head northeast. You can stay on that trail until you get to Siasconset where the formal bike path ends.

Siasconset is a very quaint little village and no one drives fast, so riding with cars on the street isn’t a big deal.

After about a mile along the coast, you connect to the Polpis Road Path near the Sankaty Lighthouse and Golf Course…

Once you pass the golf course, the path brings you back to town amongst ponds and distant ocean views.

After 30 minutes or so the path takes a left through the woods and connects back to Milestone Road.

This run is pretty close to twenty miles.

I love riding on bike trails and while the trails in Provincetown and Martha’s Vineyard are great, Nantucket is the best (at least so far.)