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  1. #1
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    Cape Cod - Woods Hole riding

    I think I'm going to be up there over Memorial day - the house we're staying at is pretty close to the ferry station, maybe a mile or two away. Are the roads good to ride on? I assume they are very flat. Do they have decent shoulders or are there roads that will not be too crowded? It seems like riding up to Barnstable or Hyannis would be nice.

  2. #2
    Senior Member mprelaw's Avatar
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    Woods Hole village itself is congested. There are parking meters all along the main drag, and many motorists are looking for parking spaces, and not looking out for bikes and pedestrians. And the pedestrians are known to jaywalk without much regard for either cars or bikes. Once you're out of the village itself, it's a lot better. There are a lot of rolling hills between Woods Hole and Falmouth, too. It's not pancake flat.

    There's a very nice route you can take to get to Falmouth that avoids the heavily traveled main road. As you leave Woods Hole, past the ferry landing, you ride gradually uphill, and when you're just about up it, take a right onto Church Street. This takes you past the beach (watch out for cars parked alongside the road pulling out, and for sand on the road). Then you go up a short hill, at the top of which Nobska Light sits, and there's a scenic overlook on the right that gives you one of the best vistas on all of Cape Cod. Then, keep on that road (rolling hills much of the way), and you'll come to Surf Drive, where the Shining Sea bike path crosses the road, and you'll have a nice 2 mile stretch that's perfectly flat, and if you're lucky, a tail wind. You're actually following the route of the world famous Falmouth Road Race. Falmouth is a bike friendly community, and there are "bike route" signs that will take you into Falmouth Heights, and beyond. Cape roads will be crowded over Memorial Day weekend. Best to avoid the main Falmouth to Hyannis main road, state route 28. There are secondary roads that will get you to Hyannis, or Barnstable, but they're way too complicated to explain here. A better idea might be to go up the western side of the Cape, to Bourne, along the back roads leading from Woods Hole, like Sippewisset road, and Rte 28-A, and then pick up County Road, which will get you almost to the Cape Cod Canal bike path access almost right under the Bourne Bridge. It's rolling hills much of the way. And very popular with local riders. Chances are you'll run into someone along the way to help you along some of the really secondary roads which are almost traffic-free.

    The road quality in Falmouth is generally good. Just be careful for sand along the beach fronts.

  3. #3
    Senior Member mprelaw's Avatar
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    Also, on Sunday morning, riders from the Cape Cod Cycling Club usually do an informal group ride, starting from Mashpee High School, where they ride from there to Woods Hole and back. It's a good way to learn some of the less crowded secondary roads.I think they start around 8 AM.

  4. #4
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    Thanks so much for the info!

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    Senior Member Papa Tom's Avatar
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    If you're interested in hopping over to Martha's Vineyard while you are there, I would recommend taking the ferry from Hyannis to Oak Bluffs. From there, you ride a short distance through the downtown area and a cool Victorian-looking village to reach a six-mile, totally flat bike path that will take you all the way into Edgartown via several public beaches along the coastline.

    There are some tricky turns to look out for when you get to Edgartown; particularly one spot where EVERYBODY seems to turn right instead of going straight. If you get lost, ask somebody where the
    Edgartown lighthouse is.

    While you're here, there are some good outdoor seafood places (vegetarian-friendly, too) to grab a meal. Also, a very short (but pricey) ferry will take you from Edgartown to Chappaquiddick.


    Be sure to leave time to visit downtown Oak Bluffs and the waterside restaurants and bars before you return to the ferry!

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  6. #6
    Senior Member mprelaw's Avatar
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    The Hy-Line ferry to the Vineyard from Hyannis costs at least three times as much as the ferry from Woods Hole. Maybe more. In season, they run boats to both Vineyard Haven and Oak Bluffs from Woods Hole. Hyannis is a longer trip, and probably is a little more scenic, but you pay a lot more.

    There is also a ferry from Falmouth to Oak Bluffs, the Island Queen. Costs about the same as the Woods Hole ferry.

    The other thing is, unless he rides to Hyannis, he'd have to pay to park there, and that's about $20 a day. If he's staying a mile or so from the dock in Woods Hole, he can ride there in less than 5 minutes.

  7. #7
    Senior Member mprelaw's Avatar
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    Just a little follow up, but if you do decide to head over to the Vineyard (and if time permits, it's a great place to ride), be prepared for hills. As Tom said, from Oak Bluffs to Edgartown, it's pool table flat. However, the northern and western parts have a lot of rolling hills, and while they aren't really a challenge for a fit rider, a lot of people get off the ferry, decide to rent a bike, and then find out that the island isn't as flat as they were expecting it to be. The other thing you have to be prepared for, both there and on the Cape, is wind. It's windy here. It's a fact of life for those of us who live there. We don't have a lot of huge climbs, but we have wind. Since the prevailing winds are from the west, wherever you go from Woods Hole, chances are that you'll have a headwind coming back.

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    Great info. I have spent a bunch of weekends in the vineyard since I have a friend who has a second home in vineyard haven and have ridden around there, but only on the house mountain bikes. Taking the ferry over to there is tempting, I love the roads around the vineyard. Light traffic and very pretty.

  9. #9
    Senior Member mr,grumpy's Avatar
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    I think what prelaw said was all great information. I will add this though. We were down there in the summer a couple of hers ago and the whole of down-town Woods Hole was COVERED in bikes. The drivers could do nothing but wait behind the slew of bikes. When the rods DID open up I don't notice the cars "gunning it". They seemed rather courteous.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member mprelaw's Avatar
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    Woods Hole is at the end of an 11 mile bike path, and there are two shops along it that rent bikes. Many people get off the path at Woods Hole and take a spin through town.

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