Saturday, April 23, 2011

Riding Bikes with the Family on Vacation

Once a year we get away from Burlington for a 4-5 day family vacation. This year's adventure included two days in Boston and two days on Cape Cod. Traveling in a car for hours at a time with our two boys is a trial in patience, at times, and a study in family dynamics. In the end the trip is all worth it for a glimpse at other cities, bike trails, museums and the ocean.
Lunch break in Boston
A rare warm afternoon in Boston found us scrambling to get the bikes off the back of our van. I wanted to add air to my Trek's front tire, but our pump wasn't able to connect well with the Presta valve, quickly draining too much air. I was a bit beside myself, anxious to get on the road when my husband suggested stopping a cyclist. Fortunately I was able to flag down two cyclists on folding bikes. One was towing oars on a trailer. It turns out these guys cycle to their boat. Interestingly, he slipped his seat and post from the bike frame and brought it over to my bike. He flipped the seat upside down and extracted a tube, valve clamp, and handle lever from the post end. A stabilizer sprang from beneath the seat. In a typical stand-up pump fashion he stepped on the foot tab and breathed life into my tires. I'd  never seen that style of pump!

We followed the wharves and brick-lined sidewalks, even a bridge crossing, the three miles to the U.S.S. Constitution. Our children sometimes balk at having to ride bikes, but this day I think our kids even had fun.

Cape Cod Rail Trail
A ferocious wind  blew us northwards on the Cape Cod Rail Trail as we took advantage of another beautiful day. This trail is a blessing for families as there are numerous signs, side dirt tracks, grocery stores with picnic benches, even a bike rotary which our children looped three times. It was still early spring on the Cape, but the cranberry bogs colored many, many fields just off the trail. I was pleased that most of the cross traffic stops for cyclists.

Our boys went happily back through the tunnel so I could capture their photos. At about 8 miles the boys were wondering how much further they needed  to pedal. It was then that I agreed to turn around and bike against the headwind back to retrieve the car while my husband and the boys could continue their journey one way.

My oldest son said this was an interesting mystery. The BigBelly ate your trash, but he wondered why there was a solar panel also attached to back of the box. Hmmm.

The following day we cycled part of the Bourne Canal Bikeway. We were all thrilled with the sighting of a barge and two tugboats.
This 7.5 mile pathway on each side of the canal is connected by two bridges, the Bourne and Sagamore.
Wanting to pedal the loop we had to cross the bridges. We all walked because of the proximity to the heavy traffic screaming by at 55 m.p.h. creating a buffeting wind. Had it been just my husband and me we would've pedaled, but our youngest boy is rather a reckless cyclist, though very determined and strong. Just the day before he had a collision with another boy on the CCRT. It was still a harrowing 20 minute bridge crossing on foot, but at the high point a tugboat blasted its horn as it passed by underneath. We grabbed the railings to brace ourselves against the bridge shaking and wind blasts, for the unique view below. I wouldn't recommend the loop to families. It's best to stick with one side or the other and just return the same way to your car.


  1. I can totally relate to your experience with cycling and traveling with two youngs boys. Yes, I've walked in your shoes. Sounds like you had a lovely time riding. I've always wanted to try the Cape Cod trail. I live so close and still have not tried it. If you're ever passing through Nashua - And would like to go riding let me know.

  2. That Cape Cod trail looks pretty sweet. But boo to sucky bridge crossings. At least it ain't the Astoria-Megler bridge, with its 4 mile length, no sidewalk, and narrow shoulder.


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