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Around the River

How to get from Home to Kendall

Head east on Route 20, Main Street. The bike line starts within a mile. Drop in to Watertown Square, taking a lane as necessary. You must take a lane for the 100’ between the electric bus terminal and the lights—you’re going mostly straight across, headed for the Arsenal/North Beacon Street exit, but traffic in the right lane splits between that and the Charles River Road. Take the right fork for North Beacon. Climb one hill at the Perkins school, then drop to the river. Do not cross the river—instead, turn left onto Greenough, and take the bike path. You’ve done about 3.5 miles on streets; now do 6.5 on trails.

This trail will take you to Arsenal Street. Turn right to stay on the trail, then cross Arsenal and continue on the trail—again, don’t cross the river! Western is a beast.

You’ll round the river until you come to the Eliot Bridge at the boathouse. Follow the trail around to the right between the boathouse and the river: there’s an underpass that lets you stay on the trail at speed, instead of dealing with the traffic squid. If the underpass is flooded, you can instead cross the bridge, take a double cloverleaf under the Boston-side underpass, and (optionally) cross back.1

Now continue biking between Memorial Drive and the Charles River; this is the pretty part. Pedestrian density increases as you approach Harvard, so take your time and don’t kill anyone. Google will tell you to turn left on JFK, then cross around the Yard and take Broadway down. Google doesn’t have to share Broadway with Cambridge commuters. Stay on the bike path. At the BU bridge, stay on the bike path/sidewalk up the overpass over the train tracks, sharing it with a pedestrian if necessary.

The second left after the BU bridge has a light. Push the button, cross Mem Drive, and turn right onto Vassar. Walk your bike across Mass Ave, observing the many lovely ghost bikes pinned up as memorials to those who tried to ride through this intersection. Congratulations, you’ve made it, just under ten miles. Coast into the office.

How to get home from Kendall

Generally, reverse the above: take Vassar to Memorial Drive. Cross the BU bridge overpass over the train tracks. By the time you hit the old Polaroid building—as soon as possible after the BU bridge—get to the south side of the road. The north side has slightly crazier drivers, a few more blind corners, and a pedestrian-only walk way this year while Harvard rebuilds part of its campus. The south side, between the road and the river, is free and clear.

At the Eliot bridge, stay on the path and take the underpass. Cross Arsenal, then stay on the bike path (not the dirt jogging path, the nice paved bike path) around Greenough. At North Beacon Street, get into the road—that sidewalk is not a bike path, and there are some aggressive trees right at head height. A bike lane starts very soon. Take a lane at Watertown Square—the rightmost—then undertake cars for the first half mile up Main Street. Two hills to go, and when you pass Saint Jude’s, you’re almost there.

  1. If you’re headed for the Esplanade, this is the optimal place to cross the river; then continue on the south side. You’ll have one unguarded crossing of a cross street; be careful.↩︎