Beach Biking on Cape Cod

Posted Aug 7th 2013 04:00 PM


Cape Cod girl biking

Cape Cod is known for white sand beaches, but spend too much time there and you'll miss the area's rich diversity of habitats. These ecosystems make the Cape a spectacular place to bird-watch and spot local plants and animals. The network of bike trails (many on old railway lines) that lace the region offers green travel at its finest --- a way to enjoy nature without the fossil fuels or fights for parking.

I've lived on the Cape my whole life, and, as a birder, the Shining Sea Bikeway is my top choice for a nature ride. I remember the excitement surrounding the initial development of the trail, which involved turning unused rail tracks in Falmouth (and elsewhere) into working bike trails. Despite initial controversy and opposition, there are now miles of pathway reserved exclusively for non-motorized traffic. Amateur naturalists can see a variety of riparian and woodland habitats by hopping on a beach cruiser bike and hitting the trail with binoculars, a camera and some trusty field guides. (Sunscreen and bug spray won't hurt either.)

Don't expect to have the trails all to yourself. In the decades since these bikeways were created they've become extremely popular, so you're likely to share the path with bikers, inline skaters, joggers and walkers, both tourist and resident. Early morning and late evening will bring you the most peace and quiet and the best chance for bird-watching. On this ride, I didn't strike out until later in the morning, but I was still able to glimpse a fair amount of wildlife.

My trip started in Falmouth Village: first I pedaled south, past the beaches, to nearby Woods Hole, then turned around and headed north, back through Falmouth and up toward the Sippewissett River and the verdant salt marshes. Follow along in the slideshow below.

Filed Under: Beach