Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Shining Sea Bikeway-Build it and they will come
Nancy and I spent a few days on the Cape last weekend visiting her family. We were lucky to have some really nice weather which led to some great time at the beach.
Just about a 1/4 mile from the house is the Shining Sea Bikepath, which runs from Woods Hole up to North Falmouth for a total of about 10.7 miles. The path was built phases. The first section ran from Woods Hole to Falmouth village and was built in 1975 for a total length of about 4 or so miles. This section runs on old railbed through some stunning coastal scenery with glacial ponds on one side and Vineyard Sound on the other.
Short sections have been added periodically and sometime in the last year the path was extended by another 5 or so miles, again on old railbed and this section is largely in coastal forest with a few beautiful views out to Buzzards Bay. As bike paths often do, it finishes of with a dull thud in North Falmouth.
I've never been all gaga about bike paths for a variety of reasons, but I have to say that I was truly impressed by just how many people were out there the afternoon Nancy and I rode the path with her parents. It strikes me that people want to ride bikes, that they enjoy riding bikes, and that they will ride bikes if and when the conditions are present that the feel safe, able, and comfortable. Sometimes I'm amazed at how much people are even willing to be a little heroic in order to ride a bike; I see folks with their seats painfully low, or riding with knobby-tread tires on smooth pavement -- things that work against feeling good on a bike, and yet they persist out of some desire to simply be on a bike. There was almost a highway quality to the numbers of people out on the path and I was impressed and left with a hopeful feeling about human nature.