Bike Routes Near Cambridge, MA, USA

Does anyone have safe cycling routes in or near Cambridge, MA, USA good for outdoor workouts?

I have a week-long business trip there and will bring my bike, but not my indoor trainer. The path along the Charles River can be quite full of pedestrians, making it difficult for threshold and VO2 efforts. I have some gravel wheels / tires for my road bike so I could do some light gravel. TIA!

Tough to find clear roads within the city. If you have access to a car and rack check out western suburbs like concord, lexington, waltham. Woburn might have good options as well.

Check out Paige Redman on Strava if you’re looking for route inspiration on the west side of the metro.

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Here’s my buddy’s daily commute route. Goes right through that area.

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This might be another option. Not Cambridge per se, but nearby.

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Look at Charles River Wheelers ( for some ideas. They have several weekly rides throughout the week usually in the Waltham area or Lexington/Concord/Carlisle area. Be patient on their website. I think it could be more user friendly.

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best bet is to go up Mass Ave (aka route 3) into Arlington. there’s the minuteman bike trail that goes from cambridge up to bedford (it’s 10 miles) which is essentially the same thing, but mass ave has bike lane all the way, once you get into arlington you can start to ride and pick up on a route like this which we do a lot


this is quite false lol


The Mystic is your best bet for a near-town workout loop. Anything else and you’re riding 30-45 minutes to get into the burbs.


I live here, pretty much my back yard, I used to commute through Cambridge and into Boston daily. There’s nothing safe, the roads are typical Boston and filled with Massholes, but Cambridge does have a lot of bike lanes and as mentioned above if you can get to the minuteman bike trail in Arlington and take that out to Bedford that gives you some much better options. Agree on the Mystic Loop for workouts - that’s probably 5-10 minutes from where I live.

Gravel wheels and tires aren’t a bad idea for some of the metro roads - I used a gravel bike for my commuter.

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Meh I kind of disagree, I find the rotaries in Medford too dicey to do at speed and there are the traffic lights in Arlington and Winchester that are no turn on red and usually too busy to risk running them. I wish it were better because I’d work out outside more often, the only really good place to do longer stuff is the Charlie Baker time trial loop, so if I do go out it’ll usually be for a long ride to Harvard or whatever

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I don’t live up in mass anymore but blue hills has a nice loop for intervals. At least the last time I was there.
It’s a little south of Boston, it’s definitely in the suburbs. Figured I’d throw share the segment either way.

Thanks for all of the suggestions? What about loops around Jamaica Pond and Cheatnut Hill Reservoir? I hope to do a recon ride the weekend when I get there ahead of workouts Tues-Thu.

I think it’s all relative. The entire damn area is dicey. I’ve been run off the road at speed in Arlington on the bike, and I’ve been hit in rotaries in the car, my girlfriend was knocked to the ground running through one, and I generally feel like I’m going to get sideswiped every time I drive through one - there’s a doozy right by my house that I swear I almost get taken out every time I go through it. On the bike, it’s defensive / aware urban riding. Close in to the city, The Mystic is probably the best I know of anyways, even if you’re not doing full loops, but that depends on the type of workout / intervals.

I personally spend a lot of time on the trainer, on MTB in the Fells or try to get out and away from the city

@rkoswald - I don’t spend a ton of time by either Jamaica Pond or Chestnut Hill, and it’s been a long time since I’ve been at the latter but they’re both BUSY. My opinion is JP is a hard no, Chestnut Hill my guess is you’re probably similar to JP better on the Mystic or heading out the bike bath on an easy ride to bedford, and the doing some loops out there.

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Another option: Spot Pond Medford / Stoneham west side on RT 28 depending on the length of the interval. It’s uphill heading north from Elm Street for just short of 2 miles and the road is wide enough I wouldn’t worry about harder efforts there. Only works if the intervals are short, the east side of the pond is a little sketchy.

Some great short hills in that area too that are REAL ball busters - but short efforts. No more than a minute or two. Some gravel to explore in this area as well - it’s where I do the bulk of my mountain bike rides.

Having lived near J pond for a while, it’s not worth the effort, I’d say. Too busy with walkers. Generally agree with others that heading out of the city might give you some of the best riding options.

All those towns beyond 128 offer comparatively good riding. And it just gets better the further out you go. Carlisle is about the prettiest, most classic looking spot in the area. You’re not going to find many roads that I’m aware of with huge shoulder, but there’s enough bike traffic that cars are aware.

JP is gonna be jammed with pedestrians and I don’t believe the chestnut hill reservoir allows bikes, plus will be jammed with pedestrians.

You mentioned needing to do VO2 and threshold workouts right? Threshold workouts are going to be really difficult to do anywhere within the 95 loop, but once you get past that there are some loops you can do in the Lincoln/ Concord/ Carlisle area. Depending on where in Cambridge you’re staying you can get to 95 in 30-45 mins, especially early in the morning. I’m not a fan of the Mystic Lake loop for workouts, just never really works out well and gets really busy.

If you’re willing to do hill repeats VO2 sessions can be done more easily out in Arlington/ Belmont.
And this one in reverse, although if you go too late Clifton can get a little busy.
This is an easy ride from Cambridge, especially if you’re in one of the hotels out by Alewife, and most mornings there are folks there doing hill repeats. Plus Robbins Farm has an awesome view of the city.

We live a stones throw from Cambridge and I ride/ run those hills all the time so if you want more advice feel free to message me, glad to help!


Go out to the towns west of Cambridge. Concord, Carlisle, Lincoln, Sudbury, Weston are all idyllic New England suburbs and great riding. Heading out to Walden Pond is a nice loop.

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Check out the MIT cycling club website. They have several routes posted there

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This. While the minuteman bike trail is good, it is generally too crowded. Mass ave, which parallels it is generally good to ride. I used to live in somerville and the south end, and that was my go to route. Would echo the comments about the Charlie Baker TT loop for intervals. If you have access to a car, driving to the parking lot at Old North Bridge is a good idea too, easy to park and it’s right at the start of the TT and a ton of really good riding. Some history there too, it’s where the Battle of Concord was.

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Thanks again for all of the suggestions. I plan to do my VO2 repeats on Eastern and Park Aves using this route from the MIT Cycling Club site, and threshold repeats around the Charlie Baker TT Loop. Thanks!