If you ask us, there’s only one way to get around Martha’s Vineyard. No, it’s not train, plane or hover board (we’re pretty sure we would fall off one of those anyway) — for us, it’s all about the bike. Whether you fancy yourself ready to conquer the Pyrenees in the Tour de France or get intimidated by biking on the street, Martha’s Vineyard biking has a route that will amp up the fun for every skill level.
Bike to South Beach and Back — 6 miles
Avoid the stresses of parking at the beach by gathering up your beach gear and taking the bike path to South Beach. Good for the directionally challenged, this bike route is pretty much a straight shot along Katama Road from Edgartown. At three miles one-way, this Martha’s Vineyard biking route makes a great day trip for beginning bikers (plus exercise is always better with the promise of a lazy afternoon at the beach). Pack a picnic lunch, spend the day swimming in the ocean, and then enjoy a leisurely ride back into Edgartown.
Take the Edgartown, Oak Bluffs, Vineyard Haven Loop — 16 miles
When you’re looking to up the biking ante, but still value the ability to stop, go shopping, and have a glass of wine mid-bike ride, we recommend you head out on a tour of our neighboring towns to the north. Head out of Edgartown on the Edgartown-Vineyard Haven path (we’re saving the really gorgeous views for when you’re feeling a bit more worn). On this seven-mile road, you’ll get a glimpse at the quiet, lushness of the island’s interior before you arrive to Vineyard Haven. Grab some fuel at Black Dog Tavern, but keep it light — you still have miles to go before you’re through.
Hop back aboard your bike for the three-mile jaunt to Oak Bluffs. We suggest starting out on Beach Road and then continuing onto East Chop Drive. While this road may not be the most direct path to Oak Bluffs, its scenic views and lack of car congestion make the detour worthwhile. Along your journey, be sure to stop at East Chop Light for a quick photo-op and some rehydration. Once you arrive to Oak Bluffs, stay aboard your bike and peddle through the town’s famous gingerbread cottages, known for their whimsical colors and names. If you’re desperate to give your rump a rest, head to Offshore Ale Company for a bite and a brew.
We told you we were saving the best for last! Offering scenic views of State beach and Sengekontacket Pond, it’s no wonder that Beach Road, the six-mile path between Oak Bluffs and Edgartown, is one of Martha’s Vineyard’s most popular bike routes. Be careful crossing the Pond though — we hear there are mighty big fish in these waters…
Take The Full Martha’s Vineyard Biking Tour — 100 Kilometers
Okay, full disclosure: although Martha’s Vineyard might seem like a tiny island from the perspective of Google Earth, we’re actually rocking quite a hefty circumference. Coming in at about 100 kilometers, the full island loop is not for the faint of heart.
If you’re feeling froggy, take the Cycle MV Bicycle Challenge and depart from Edgartown towards Oak Bluffs. While the Down-Island Loopers got to take a shortcut between Oak Bluffs and Vineyard Haven, we know you can handle the MV Challenge’s path down County Road and then back up on the Edgartown-Vineyard Haven path (though we won’t tell if you decide to cheat). Here comes the tough part: take State Road for 17 miles, past Chilmark until you hit Aquinnah. We highly suggest grabbing some grub by at the tasty food stands by the lighthouse. And for goodness sakes, take a little break!
As they say, it’s all downhill from here (so to speak). Your Martha’s Vineyard biking route continues along South Road and then to Edgartown-Tisbury Road for about 19 miles. Keep an eye overhead for planes along this thoroughfare — or better yet, get a snack at the Plane View Diner at the airport. The last leg of your MV Challenge involves a quick ride down to Katama Beach where you can wash the sweat off your body before you head back to Edgartown.
No matter which Martha’s Vineyard biking route you choose to conquer, we’re ready to greet you home at Vineyard Square with a snack (and maybe even a massage at Sea Spa Salon. Don’t see your favorite bike route on our list? Share your go-to Martha’s Vineyard biking spots with us on Facebook or Twitter.
Tips for safe biking on Martha’s Vineyard
As you embark on a bike ride across the island, remember these tips (courtesy of the Martha’s Vineyard commission) to keep your ride safe as well as fun.
Bicyclists shall ride WITH traffic. DO NOT ride against traffic!
Bicyclists 16 and under MUST wear a helmet (adults should do the same).
Bicycles ridden at night (½ hour after sunset to ½ hour before sunrise) must be equipped with a white front light and a red rear light or reflector and have reflectors on both pedals (or cyclist’s ankles). Reflectors or reflective clothing visible from the sides is also required at night.
Narrow, rural roads are part of the Island’s charm, but they often have little or no shoulder for cyclists – especially Up-Island. Make it easier for motorists to share-the-road by staying to the right and, if riding in a group, spacing yourselves to allow passing.
Riding on sidewalks is permissible, except in downtown areas where posted.
However, cyclists ALWAYS have the right to ride in the road, even when there is an adjacent path.
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