But while the terrain offers an assortment of riding possibilities, there are two constants with biking here: the wind, and during high season, traffic. As a peninsula, the Cape is frequently battered by winds, and if you’re pedaling against Mother Nature, you may be in for more of a workout than you bargained for.
“There is always a breeze on the Cape,” says Leach of Falmouth. “It’s great to have a tailwind, but it’s tough to have a headwind.” He tries to make his rides “wind friendly” by determining which direction it’s blowing from and plotting a ride that keeps the draft at his back.
As for traffic, crowded bikeways—the paths along the Cape Cod Canal during July 4th weekend are a good example—make for slow going. And because the Cape lacks bike lanes on its roads, the traffic congestion common during the heart of the summer can make cycling difficult and possibly dangerous.
Longtime cyclist Stace Beaulieu, who served on the Falmouth Bikeways Committee for six years, gets around that problem by riding early in the morning this time of year. She says this is especially important when it comes to bicycling along Route 6A, the historic, narrow, but especially beautiful two-lane road on the Cape’s north side that winds past old sea captain’s homes, expansive flowering trees, and stunning marsh views. “It’s challenging on roadways,” she says. “You should be relatively experienced to ride the roads.” If you’re inexperienced, check the bike route maps for more rider-friendly trails.
One of the West Falmouth resident’s favorite rides is on the Upper Cape through the Bourne villages of Cataumet, Pocasset, Monument Beach, and Mashnee Island. The route hugs Buzzards Bay, and pedaling along the causeway out to Mashnee Island makes “you feel exposed,” she says. “You’re just kind of out there in the wind.”
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