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Get ready to hit the road! The Buzzards Bay region offers spectacular views that are best enjoyed on two wheels. Cruise down country roads on a long, leisurely ride, or explore a local bike path with your kids. And if you really love cycling, you can bike for clean water at the Buzzards Bay Watershed Ride. Wherever you ride, you’ll discover hidden gems across southeastern Massachusetts on a bike.

The truth is that we live in one of the best places for bicycling in the U.S. While the local landscape may not match the drama of the mountainous West, our coastal region offers its own unique mix of sweeping ocean views, bucolic farms, serene woodlands, rolling hills, dirt roads, country lanes and protected bike paths. The bonus is that because our region is not so widely heralded as a cycling mecca means that we have it all to ourselves.

In this section:
— Where to Ride
— Riding Safely
— Bike Equipment
— Local Shops
— Places for Bicycling

Where To Ride

One of the easiest ways to bike around Buzzards Bay is to take advantage of the more than 40 miles (and growing) of bike paths in the region, including the multi-use paths that run along the Cape Cod Canal and the 10-mile Shining Sea Bikeway in Falmouth. These paved paths, mostly built on old railroad beds, offer smooth, level surfaces for easy pedaling without the distraction and danger posed by cars. It’s a particularly good place for younger children to learn the rules of riding safely.

The popularity of bike paths, however, means that you are never cycling alone. Even without cars, there are potential hazards presented by other riders as well as walkers, parents with strollers, joggers, skaters, and pet owners. There are rules for riding on bike paths, most of which can be boiled down to the simple reminder to be respectful of others.

Those looking to get away from the crowds will find plenty of options, too. There are hundreds of miles of trails in local reserves and parks for mountain bikers, riders into gravel cycling and the casual bicyclist just seeking to commune with nature. Freetown-Fall River State Forest and Myles Standish State Park each boast dozens of miles of dirt roads, fire lanes and single-track paths, offering options for riders at every level. You can find plenty of other local trails below.

Serious mountain bikers also may head to the Otis Trail Network in North Falmouth, a complex of single-track that winds through sandy hills between Route 28 and the Frances Crane Wildlife Management Area. It’s not uncommon to find riders from across the country, testing their skills on the network’s more challenging trails.

Photo: John Phelan

Bicyclists also will find plenty of great options right outside their door. Within a few miles of any spot within the Buzzards Bay watershed, you will find your way onto quiet country roads that are rich with scenery and light on vehicle traffic. The Coalition’s annual Buzzards Bay Watershed Ride traverses some of the finest roads for cycling on its 100-mile course from Sakonnet Point to Woods Hole. You can ride some or all of it at any time, though there’s nothing like doing it with a group of like-minded cyclists in early fall. With a little creativity, you will find plenty of options of your own, but we can offer six tried-and-tested routes to get you started.

Finally, if you are a regular bicyclist looking for the fun of a crowd, you might want to connect with a local bicycling organization. The Narragansett Bay Wheelmen is a venerable active club that organizes weekly rides and special events throughout the year. Many local bike shops (listed below) also organize weekly rides. The South Coast Bike Alliance works to advocate for bicyclists and the extension of a bike path connecting all the South Coast communities. Friends of the Bourne Rail Trail are a like-minded group working to create paths that will connect Sandwich, Bourne and Falmouth.

Riding Safely

No matter where you choose to ride or when, it’s important to keep safety in mind. Bicycling can be a wonderful pastime, but there are plenty of hazards that can ruin the ride, from other cyclists and pedestrians to poor road surfaces and aggressive or inattentive motorists.

Safety begins with riding a bike that fits you and that works properly. It’s difficult to control a bike that is too big for you, or too small. And before taking off, be sure to perform a quick pre-ride check to ensure brakes are working, the quick release levers on wheels are closed and tight and tires are properly inflated, etc.

When you are sure that the bike is ready, put on your helmet. You should always wear a helmet that fits you properly. Numerous studies have demonstrated the difference that a properly fitting helmet can make, should you have an accident. It’s also important to know that helmets degrade over time, losing their protective capacity. If yours is from the flip phone era, it needs to be replaced with a new one. A helmet needn’t be expensive, but not wearing one can be.

You can substantially improve your safety by ensuring that you are visible. In part, wearing light, bright clothing helps. Blaze yellow vests and anything with reflective stripes are excellent. Studies also have shown that bicycle lights, even used during the daytime, can aid motorists in spotting cyclists more quickly and exercising caution. There are many options out there, but this is a case, where whatever you have will be a good thing.

Finally, all the equipment and clothing in the world will not make up for careless riding. Ultimately, safe cycling depends upon riders following the rules of the road and staying alert. In Massachusetts, bicyclists are expected to abide by many of the same rules that govern automobiles. Beyond that, there are a number of riding tips that can make an important difference. The League of American Bicyclists offers an extensive array of resources, including videos, that review tips for safe cycling, including navigating common road situations such as traveling through busy intersections and using painted bike lanes in urban and suburban areas.

The Right Bike

The best bike to ride is the one that you have. If you haven’t taken it out in awhile, you would do well to make sure to do a basic check for road-readiness—the tires are pumped up to the proper pressure, the brakes work, the seat is adjusted to fit you comfortably and that both the seat and handlebars are straight and tightened. Of course, you can do more than that, if you know how. In particular, cleaning and lubing the chain (with drivetrain lube, not WD-40 or some other lubricant not intended for bikes) will do a lot to improve your ride and protect your bicycle for the long haul. If you have real questions about the safety of your bike, you should bring it to a local shop (see list below) where a trained technician can perform comprehensive maintenance or refurbishment.

Now, new bikes are great, too. Sometimes, they can be just the thrill you need to get excited about riding. While bikes are sold at big box stores, local bike shops can provide a level of service and expert guidance that will help you make the right choice. And there are a lot of choices when it comes to bikes these days—road and racing bikes, gravel bikes, mountain bikes, hybrids, cruisers and more. Every type has its strengths. The right choice for you depends upon how you think you will use it—where you intend to ride, how fast and far you want to go, and whether you want to use the bike to get somewhere or simply zip along.

Local Shops

The Bike Den in Wareham, MA:

BikeWorks in Swansea, MA:

Buzzards Bay Bikes in Buzzards Bay, MA: 

Corner Cycle Shop in Falmouth, MA:

Serious Cycles in Plymouth, MA:

Spark Bike Run Sports in Lakeville, MA: 

Yesteryear Cyclery in New Bedford, MA:

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pumpkin patch at Bourne Farm in Falmouth
6 North Falmouth Hwy., Falmouth, MA 02556

Peek back into West Falmouth's agricultural history with a walk through Bourne Farm's open fields and hilly woodlands.

Size: 35 acres
Parking: Large unpaved parking lot
Facilities: Water Fountain, Trash
oil barge and tugs on Cape Cod Canal from bikeway
145 Sandwich Rd., Bourne, MA 02532

Bourne Recreation Area is a gateway to fishing, walking, and bicycling along scenic Cape Cod Canal.

Parking: Medium-sized paved parking lot
Facilities: Restrooms (seasonal), Picnic tables, Trash
ducks in the pond at Brooklawn Park
1997 Acushnet Ave., New Bedford, MA 02745

Located in the urban North End of New Bedford, Brooklawn Park is refuge for local residents seeking some fresh air.

Size: 85 acres
Parking: Large paved parking lot; additional on-street parking around the park
Facilities: Restrooms, Trash, Picnic Tables, Playground
Cattails in marsh seen through the trees next to the Bryant Farm trail
Minot Ave., Wareham, MA 02571

Escape from busy Wareham center and stop at Bryant Farm for a peaceful walk.

Size: 102 acres
Parking: Large paved parking lot behind Minot Elementary; small dirt lot next to Golf Shots Driving Range
Facilities: None
dog retrieving a ball in Buttonwood Park
425 Hawthorn St., New Bedford, MA 02740

Known as the “crown jewel” of New Bedford, Buttonwood Park is an oasis of nature and recreation in the city.

Size: 97 acres
Parking: Two large paved parking lots (open 6am-10pm); additional on-street parking around the park
Facilities: Restrooms, Trash, Picnic Tables, Playground
a man fishes from the shore of Cape Cod Canal next to the railroad bridge in Bourne
110 Main St., Bourne, MA 02532

Explore the Cape Cod Canal from Buzzards Bay Recreation Area in Bourne, located at the foot of the iconic railroad bridge.

Parking: Large paved parking area
Facilities: Restrooms (seasonal), Trash, Picnic Tables
people bicycling and fishing along Cape Cod Canal next to the railroad bridge in Bourne
Canal Service Road, Bourne, MA 02532

If you want to take an easygoing, scenic bike ride, look no further than the Cape Cod Canal Bikeway in Bourne.

Size: 7 miles north side/6.5 miles south side
Parking: Medium/Large paved parking areas at all recreation areas along bikeway
Facilities: Restrooms (seasonal), Trash, Picnic Tables
cannons along the water at Fort Phoenix in Fairhaven
Green Street, Fairhaven, MA 02719

With beautiful harbor views, a sandy beach, and a historic coastal fort, Fort Phoenix is a treasure for local residents.

Size: 9.3 acres
Parking: Three medium/large paved parking lots
Facilities: Restrooms (seasonal), Showers (seasonal), Picnic Tables, Playground
Fort Rodman and bike paths at Fort Taber Park in New Bedford
1000 South Rodney French Blvd., New Bedford, MA 02744

With a sandy beach, bike path, and fishing pier, Fort Taber Park offers sweeping Buzzards Bay views steeped in history.

Size: 50 acres
Parking: Large paved parking lot
Facilities: Pier (concrete), Restrooms (seasonal), Picnic Tables, Trash, Playground, Learning/Visitor Center, Food/Concession (seasonal)
Young girl at Frances A Crane Wildlife Management Area
744 Nathan Ellis Hwy., Falmouth, MA 02536

The wildlife-rich forests and fields of East Falmouth's Frances A. Crane welcome hunters, hikers, bikers, and equestrians alike.

Size: 1,800 acres
Parking: Small pull-off on north side of Route 151 (western area); Large unpaved parking area at end of dirt road off Route 151 between Hamilton Tree and Allietta softball field (eastern area); Small unpaved parking area on Hayway Road (southern area)
Facilities: None
Two dinghys on a storage rack at the Gifford Street Boat Ramp
110 Gifford St., New Bedford, MA 0240

The Gifford Street Boat Ramp provides boaters and paddlers with easy access to the protected waters of inner New Bedford Harbor.

Parking: Large paved parking area (parking for vehicles with trailers only)
Facilities: Boat Ramp, Canoe/Kayak Launch, Dinghy Storage
family flying a kite at Hazelwood Park in New Bedford
529 Brock Ave., New Bedford, MA 02741

Set on a hill overlooking Clarks Cove, Hazelwood Park is a destination for outdoor recreation in New Bedford's South End.

Size: 23 acres
Parking: Large paved parking lot
Facilities: Bicycle Rack, Trash, Picnic Table(s), Playground
Sagamore Bridge from Herring Run Recreation Area in Bourne
810 Scenic Highway, Bourne, MA 02532

Herring Run Recreation Area's name tells you why it's special — it's home to a herring run on Cape Cod Canal.

Parking: Large paved parking area
Facilities: Restrooms (seasonal), Trash, Picnic Tables
Mother and child walking along the rocks at Little Bay Conservation Area in Fairhaven
12 Little Bay Rd., Fairhaven, MA 02719

Branch off from the main route of Fairhaven’s Phoenix Bike Trail to explore the scenic shoreline at Little Bay Conservation Area.

Size: 70 acres
Parking: Small unpaved parking area at the end of Little Bay Road
Facilities: Pier (concrete), Trash, Picnic Tables
Long Pond framed by leaves
65 Pumping Station Rd., Falmouth, MA 02540

Take a challenging hike up and down rocky hills within rich protected forest in Falmouth's Long Pond & Falmouth Town Forest.

Size: 585 acres
Parking: Two paved parking areas in Goodwill Park; two dirt pull-off areas along Brick Kiln Road
a woman rollerblading on the Mattapoisett Rail Trail
0 Depot Street, Mattapoisett, MA 02739

The growing Mattapoisett Rail Trail offers a mile-long flat, paved bike path and a short footpath to the Mattapoisett River.

Size: 2 miles (Total length including Fairhaven trails: 6 Miles)
Parking: Limited Parking at Depot St. and Railroad Avenue, unmarked pulloff space next to path at Brandt Island Road (reserved for people with disabilities, infirmities, or parents with small children); free parking along Phoenix Bike Trail in Fairhaven
Facilities: None (Public Toilets at Mattapoisett Town Wharf)
people walking through the woods at Myles Standish State Forest
194 Cranberry Rd., Carver, MA 02366

With over 12,000 acres to hike, bike, fish, camp, and hunt, you'll never run out of ways to have fun at Myles Standish in Carver.

Size: 12,400 acres
Parking: Several paved parking areas throughout forest
Facilities: Restrooms (seasonal), Picnic Tables, Trash, Visitor Center
People walking and jogging on the New Bedford CoveWalk.
1087 Cove Rd., New Bedford, MA 02744

Stroll along a creative connection of nature, community, and art on the CoveWalk, part of The Blue Lane in New Bedford.

Parking: Small paved designated parking area on Cove Road at center entrance; medium-sized paved shared parking area on West Rodney French Boulevard at east entrance; small unpaved parking area on Cove Road at west entrance
Facilities: Trash
view of outer New Bedford Harbor from Harbor Walk
1560 East Rodney French Blvd., New Bedford, MA 02744

Experience bustling New Bedford Harbor from up high on the New Bedford Harbor Walk, a paved walking and bike path.

Parking: Small paved parking area at the end of Gifford Street; limited roadside parking along East Rodney French Boulevard
Facilities: Trash
15 Main St., Fairhaven, MA 02719

The 4.5-mile paved Phoenix Bike Trail is a gateway to Fairhaven's coastal forests and salt marshes.

Size: 4.5 miles
Parking: Medium-sized paved parking areas on Main Street and Arsene Street
Facilities: Bicycle Racks, Trash, Picnic Tables

Upcoming Events

Buzzards Bay Watershed Ride
Sun, October 06
Sakonnnet Point to Woods Hole,
Buzzards Bay Swim – Registration Now Open!
Sat, June 22
6:30AM - 10:30AM
Fort Phoenix State Reservation,
Falmouth Road Race
Sun, August 18
Woods Hole to Falmouth Heights,

Featured Adventures

390 Riders Enjoy New Scenic Route at 17th Annual Watershed Ride

After a summer full of rainy weekends, 390 riders enjoyed a crisp and clear fall day at the Buzzards Bay Watershed Ride on Sunday, October 1. 

Full Story ›
Buzzards Bay Watershed Ride Adds New Coastal Feature to Route

The October 1st cycling fundraiser will now include the newly opened Shining Tides Mile on the Mattapoisett Rail Trail.

Full Story ›
Must-Do Scenic Bike Rides on the South Coast

Be sure to add Sunday, October 1st to your calendar, and cross the Buzzards Bay Watershed Ride off of your biking bucket list!

Full Story ›

Bike for Clean Water

Buzzards Bay Watershed Ride

Bike for clean water at the 14th annual Buzzards Bay Watershed Ride on Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020! Enjoy the scenic landscapes of the South Coast and Cape Cod while raising funds for clean water in Buzzards Bay.

Register Now ›

Things To Do