On the Bikeway, Bike to the Sea, Northern Strand Community Trail

The following is a recounting by Bay State Commons member John Pustell trying out the ‘Bike to the Sea / Northern Strand community trail, which is only half a mile from the Bay State Commons location. Members look forward to using the bike trail more often. And also having access to local parks, and biking and hiking the trails in the nearby 2,200-acre Middlesex Fells Reservation.

Bike to the Sea

My twin brother is training for a marathon bike ride in NY, so he wanted a light ride and I said sure I’ll go along. I have not been on a bike in a long time, but I used to ride a fair amount. He uses a handcycle, a recumbent with three wheels, so I was sure I could keep up, And I mostly did.  More on that later.

It was a gorgeous day, barely a cloud in the sky and temps in the 70’s. We unloaded our bikes at the southern end by Everett Earthworks Park and were excited to get going.  We added some air to our tires, checked our water bottles, and were on our way. One thing I learned quickly—everybody is friendly and says “hi” when the dude on the handcycle says “hi” first.

Riding by the Bay State Commons Site

The path is in beautiful shape and the crossings are limited so we moved up to Malden center quickly. I will normally join the path in Malden once our Bay State Commons condominium building is completed.  After the center, we passed the community gardens where we saw many folks working them (looks like fun!).  As a matter of fact—all along the way, in Malden, Revere, Saugus, and Lynn good people were out picking up trash and straightening things out to make it better for folks using the trail. (Thanks all you volunteers!!)

We made great time until we hit the gravelly bits—starting 4 miles on in Revere—and then we slowed down a bit.  On the 3-wheel handcycle, Steve had to hunt harder for the smoother areas—and almost always at least one wheel was in the soft stuff.  He was working hard—but so, it turns out, was I.

But the trail is beautiful, shaded and NOT a road (no cars) so we did not mind too much.  We were having fun.  The Saugus River Marsh was lovely and herons and other waterfowl abounded.

The Bike to the Sea trail becomes rougher and narrower

At 7.4 miles (about where we crossed Lincoln Ave)—the route got a lot rougher and narrower. But my brother was “Going to the Sea” and was not to be deterred.  The path gets rougher here and narrower—and the old rails are still there next to the path—and then we came to the old railroad bridges across inlets.  The path bridge is planked—but it is exactly the same width as my brother’s rear track.  He’s a pro though. He went right on the bridge, trike perfectly placed and we went across. (I could not have done it.)

The path narrowed again, not even as wide as his rear wheels are spaced. My brother kept on and in ½ mile (only lightly scratched by brambles) we broke out onto summer street. Deciding a little reluctantly that safety is the better part of valor, we took the roads to start back.  Summer Street to Western Ave—to Ballard to Lincoln. (I wanted to stop at Kane’s Donuts but my brother was the better man and said no).  We got back on the bike path where Lincoln becomes Salem and it was just a few miles back. We passed some of those same volunteers still working! (Thanks Volunteers!) We were soon back after a great ride (though I was more tired than my brother).

Looking forward to more at Bay State Commons

Once my family and I move into our new home at the BSC Condo, I look forward to many more adventures on this easily accessible and fun bike path in the future!  And maybe after I do a few trips—I’ll be better able to keep up with Steve!

Next post—walking my dog in the Middlesex Fells.

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