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Cycling on Martha’s Vineyard: Do’s, don’ts, and must-sees

By Kelsey Perrett

From seaside vistas to pastoral farm fields to dense oak forests, some would say the scenery of Martha’s Vineyard is best enjoyed while rolling by on two tires. We love exercise, we love the environment, and we love the Vineyard, so we have to agree that biking is a great way to get around the Island. Keep in mind that cycling tourism on Martha’s Vineyard has grown much faster than transportation infrastructure. Not all roads are bike-friendly, especially during peak traffic season. However, where biking is good on the Island, it’s nothing short of phenomenal. Use our guide to cycling M.V. for a safe and happy ride.

Bike Paths: The safest biking options on Martha’s Vineyard are our designated multi-use paths, which are paved and separated from vehicular traffic. Cyclists can find commuter paths in the Manuel F. Correllus State Forest and along the following roads:

  • Edgartown-West Tisbury Road
  • Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road 
  • Beach Road 
  • Barnes Road

Bikeable Trails: For those with a little more tread on their tires and adventure in their spirits, there are plenty of bikeable trails around the Island. The island of Chappaquiddick is a great cycling destination, but sandy roads and trails here are better suited to bikes with heftier tires and shocks. Other favorite mountain biking areas include:

  • Southern Woodlands/Featherstone Farm Landbank Property 
  • Pennywise Preserve Landbank Property
  • The Fire Roads of the Manuel F. Correllus State Forest

Riders of fat tire bikes may also enjoy cruising along Vineyard beaches. The best sand conditions can be found along the North Shore at low tide.

BMX: Feeling extreme? Take your BMX to the recently renovated Martha’s Vineyard Skate Park in Oak Bluffs, in front of the YMCA. 

Roads to Avoid/Where to Use Caution: 

In general, down-Island roads are better suited for cycling. The winding roads of West Tisbury, Chilmark, and Aquinnah — although scenic — are narrow and can be dangerous for cyclists. It’s tempting, but we recommend that cyclists avoid Middle Road. Another dicey section is from State Road to the ferry terminal in Vineyard Haven. Cyclists coming to and from the ferry should use the bike detour along Lagoon Pond Road/Skiff Ave.

General Safety: 

Massachusetts law requires all cyclists under 16 wear a helmet, but let’s be honest — EVERYBODY should wear a properly fitted helmet. Cyclists must stop and look both ways at all crossings, use hand signals to indicate a turn, and be equipped with proper lights and reflectors if riding in low-light conditions. Remember to bring plenty of water, a repair kit, and bus fare just in case!

Transportation: Getting your bike to and from Martha’s Vineyard is easy and affordable with the Steamship Authority. For $8 round-trip, cyclists can wheel their bikes onto the deck of any passenger ferry. Once on the Island, riders can easily transport bikes on any MVTA bus. Simply fold down the front rack, load your bike, place the holder securely over the front tire, and pay the regular passenger fare. Another great transportation resource is the Menemsha Bike Ferry, which shuttles riders across the Menemsha Basin from Chilmark to Aquinnah. The ferry operates from 9 am to 5 pm, seven-days a week, usually from late-June to early-September. 

Suggested Routes: 

  • Beach Road Bike Path: Ocean Park, Oak Bluffs to Cannonball Park, Edgartown (5.4 miles one way, easy) plotaroute.com/route/907015
  • The Katama “Triangle:” Herring Creek Road, Atlantic Drive, and Katama Road (5.5 mile loop, easy) plotaroute.com/route/907020
  • State Forest Loop: Old County Road, Edgartown-West Tisbury Road, Barnes Road, and Dr. Fisher Road bike paths (10 mile loop, moderate) plotaroute.com/route/907032
  • West Tisbury Center to the Aquinnah Cliffs: State Road from the center of West Tisbury to State Road, Chilmark and Moshup’s Trail, Aquinnah (12 miles one-way, challenging) *This route includes hills and some narrow shoulders. Please ride with caution, especially during peak traffic. plotaroute.com/route/907037 

 

Bike Rentals and Shops: 

Anderson’s Bike Rental
Circuit Avenue Extension, Oak Bluffs
508-693-9346; andersonbikerentals.com

Cycle Works
351 State Road, Vineyard Haven
508-693-6966

Edgartown Bicycles
212 Main St., Edgartown
508-627-9008; edgartownbicycles.com

King’s Bike & Moped Rental
1 Circuit Ave., Oak Bluffs
508-693-1887; kingsrentalsmv.com

Martha’s Bike Rentals
4 Lagoon Pond Rd., Vineyard Haven
833-362-7842; marthasbikerentals.com

Martha’s Vineyard Bike Rentals – RW Cutler
1 Main St., Edgartown
800-627-2763

Wheel Happy Bicycle Shop
8 S. Water St., Edgartown
508-627-5928; wheelhappybicycles.com