Here’s how to get to the Minuteman trail in Boston using only public transport. During the summer months, the trail is green, cool and beautiful.
1. Take the red line subway outbound to Davis, the second to last stop. Exit at subway at the westernmost exit.
2. Turn left upon exiting the subway. You should pretty much immediately see the hubway station there, which has a bunch of gray bikes docked together.
3. Use a credit card to take out a bike for the day. Make sure to check tire pressure before you unlock your bike. After paying for your daily membership of $6, the bike is free for the first 30 minutes, $14 for the first two hours, and cost me $20 for the entire two and a half hours it took me to do the full minuteman trail roundtrip. On another day, I biked all the way to Walden Pond, well beyond the end of the Minuteman trail, and it cost me about $30. If you’re particularly cost sensitive, you could rent a bike elsewhere in the city for about $6 an hour, but then you’d still have to bike to the trail, and then back from the trail when you’re done, so your cost would come out about the same, maybe $5 less.
I like to use hubway because if I decide later in the day that I want to bike through the city, I can keep taking half hour rides, then just pop my bike onto the rack again at the next station. Plus, it’s a system I’ve used in Paris, London, and New York, and I like to try the different automated bike rental systems around the world and give them my support.
4. From the hubway station, you can see the Au Bon Pain. To the left of that is the sidewalk where the bike path starts, in the opposite direction from the subway station.
5. Start biking on the bike path. Yield to pedestrians. You have to cross the street fairly often at first, but you will find that if you wait momentarily at any crossing, the cars will stop and let you go first. This is a great trail for new bikers who may be less comfortable with biking on a road.
6. That’s really it, just keep biking on the trail. At one point you will have to walk your bike as you cross from the left to the right side of the street, just before the entrance to the official Minuteman trail. Everything is very well marked, and once on Minuteman you very rarely have to cross any streets. Minuteman is mostly a lane alongside lush open fields or beneath a beautiful green canopy of trees whose branches meet above you.
If you want to keep going, you can bike all the way to Walden pond, but there will be a fair amount of road biking required. My recommendation is to bring a smartphone with you. Even without an american sim card, my iphone showed me exactly where I was on google maps using GPS, which allowed me to navigate a somewhat tortuous route to Walden Pond. In fact, what I would have done, had I thought of it, is use the iphone app MotionX to track my route.
Keep in mind that at Walden Pond, you will not be allowed to bike within the park, so you should either bring a lock or be prepared to walk your bike along the paths.
Though the route I took to Walden Pond and back were probably not the easiest, I had bike paths or untrafficked sidewalks for about 70% of the trip.
Have a great time, and let me know if you go yourself.