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Travel | AAA World
Biking at the Beach

BLAZE A TRAIL ON YOUR NEXT BEACH VACATION, KEEPING CYCLING SAFETY TOP OF MIND

The appeal of bicycling has soared ever since the pandemic—and for good reason. It’s excellent exercise, relatively affordable, environmentally friendly and ideal for the whole family. Biking gets even better at the beach with pancake-flat trails that lead past some of the prettiest coastal scenery in the US. If you want in on this increasingly popular pastime, we provide a safety primer and point you in the direction of a few of our favorite beach-fringed paths.

A SAFE START
Before pedaling off on your bike, gear up for safety with these common-sense tips.

  • Remember that you’re never too old or too cool to wear a helmet, and make certain that your helmet is properly fitted.
  • Ensure that the size of your bike fits you and that it operates properly, including the tires, brakes, chain, steering linkage, and front and rear lights.
  • Always wear bright clothing (during the day) or reflective gear (at night) so that you’re visible to others.
  • Don’t wear earbuds when you ride. Always stay aware of your surroundings.
  • Just as you’d never drink alcohol and drive a car, never ever drink and ride a bike.

PATHS LESS TRAVELED
Biking on your beach vacation is different from biking around your neighborhood. Not only are you likely new to navigating the area, but motorists and other cyclists may be unfamiliar with the surroundings, too. Combine that unfamiliarity with the potential to be distracted by the scenery, and traffic conditions could become hazardous. So, carefully plan your bike route, including choosing a path with little or no car traffic, and bike at safer—and brighter—times of day; historically, bicyclist deaths occur most often between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m., according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

If you’re at a destination with a boardwalk or promenade, check if there are dedicated hours for bicyclists. In Ocean City, New Jersey, for example, biking on the two-and-a-half-mile-long boardwalk is permitted from 5 a.m. to noon on most days in the summer season.

Car-free trails are ideal, of course. In Massachusetts, the Cape Cod Rail Trail offers a 22-mile car-free paved path that passes through six Cape Cod towns: Dennis, Harwich, Brewster, Orleans, Eastham and Wellfleet. Along Florida’s Emerald Coast, the Timpoochee Trail is a 19-mile path that runs separate from but parallel to Scenic Highway 30A, connecting more than a half-dozen beach towns.

And, for those who like lakeside beaches, the Iowa Great Lakes Recreation Trail serves up some 25 miles of easy biking (as well as walking and running) through the Iowa Great Lakes region, with a 14-mile, 10-foot-wide paved trail—considered the “spine” of the trail system—for two-way recreational travel.

Happy trails!