The other week we decided to take a brief autumn vacation. We all know vacations are even better without lots of driving. So I looked for a getaway that didn’t involve being stuck in a car.


I thought a smaller town would have an easier, more relaxing vibe. What could go wrong?


Yep, I forgot about stroads. It was a very long wait for a very small break in traffic.


But once we were on the rail trail I relaxed. Maybe my plan was brilliant after all.


We wandered, explored towns, shops, farms, ate lots and filled our panniers with new books. After dinner we made our way back in the dark well-equipped with super bright lights. Still we discovered another limitation.


Yep, it was so close to being a brilliant vacation. Small towns need safe streets and infrastructure that takes bikes seriously too. It’s good for recreation, transportation, and my vacations tourism. Even if driving is sometimes necessary, it’s always nice to drive less.

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28 Comments on "Bike-cation!"

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A bike path that has posted use hours? That’s the craziest damn thing I’ve ever heard. What kind of idiot thought of that? That’s not your everyday, ordinary, run-of-the-mill idiocy. That’s exceptional idiocy. Imagine telling motorists that the roads closed at a certain hour and they couldn’t use them. Yeah, that would go over really well.

Andy M-S

Many bike paths have posted hours. The one near my house is considered a park, so it’s “park hours.” Not that this stops most of us from using the paths…. :->


Actually, that idiocy is pretty common. As an example, the Washington & Old Dominion trail (W&OD), running from Arlington VA to Purcellville, has similar limits, though stretched to 9:30pm. Which never stopped me from using it for a commuter route, or in present time, a late-night spin. Worry not, my bike is very well set up for night work. Though we have *bike ninjas* about (those who run with no lights at all).

Happily, no one’s gone “Barney Fife” on me for doing that…

You’ll never hear this from an elected official, but they worry about *liability*.

I’d swear that sometime within the last 8 years the Minuteman Bikeway had posted hours, and it darn sure has no lights at night. The reason, I heard, was that this was a compromise with fearful abutters before the path was built — this way, if the police want to kick someone dubious off the path after dark, they have a reason they can use. I’m not a huge fan of selective enforcement, but I gather this rule is almost completely ignored, I ride at night and have never seen either police or anything I’d call the police on, and… Read more »
Brian Ogilvie
Oh my – when I saw the map in the first panel I had a feeling this wasn’t going to be quite as idyllic as it seemed. To be fair, I’ve ridden the Norwottuck trail after dark and there are no teeth in the closing. Still, Route 9 in Hadley isn’t the greatest road for a bike. Fortunately the trail passes under it and there are ways to cross if you have local knowledge. If you feel like coming back to Hadley for a visit, let me know and I can suggest more congenial places to stay and ride. Once… Read more »
Scott Wagner
I am forwarding this to the transportation planners in my community. True, we don’t have Route 9, but we have similar concrete wastelands (Routes 15, 15A, 31, 96, 252, 390, 490, 590) isolating segments of our community from each other and from our bike trail systems. The “Next crosswalk 14 miles” sign is particularly appropriate. To someone accustomed to thinking from a car traveling at 60 MPH, two miles to an intersection or crossing point is just a minor irritation. On a bike, it’s at least 15 minutes’ extra travel time for the round trip. In a large city like… Read more »

The folks at Path Less Pedaled show be invited to give one of their presentations to western Mass.


Bekka, if you get a chance to visit Key West THAT is one place you can fly in to and not need a car the entire time! My husband and I visited this past October and being able to ride bikes everwhere we wanted to eat, drink, explore and relax made our vacation even more fun and stress-free!

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