You may have read through Tufts’ website or other sources that our Medford/Somerville has an MBTA Green Line stop inside it (which forms a direct link to the Fenway campus as well!), and a Red Line stop a short walk away at Davis Square. What may not be as apparent, though, is that the Boston area is among the most cyclist-friendly metropolitan regions in the country. Major thoroughfares are clearly marked with bike lanes, and pedestrians and drivers generally yield to cyclists when it is appropriate. In addition, the City of Boston and surrounding city governments have a service called BlueBikes - for around $3 for half an hour, you can rent a bike from the City and ride it wherever you like. There is a BlueBikes stop at Tufts near Lewis Hall, and this is where I usually embark on my journey. In this article, I want to talk a little bit about my favorite route through the city: from Tufts to Anoush’ella Mediterranean Restaurant in the South End.
Starting with my BlueBike at Tufts, the predominant scenery is suburban. This doesn’t change for a while: as I ride it down Packard Avenue across Lou Ann David park, I enter Massachusetts Avenue, one of the most important arteries in the area: it links the town of Lexington, where the American revolution started, with the industrial neighborhood of Newmarket in Southern Boston, passing countless shops, restaurants and famous colleges along the way. The surrounding scenery becomes more urban as I enter Porter Square: Porter Square Books is a great place to buy new books on an electric range of topics. Down south from Porter Square, you’ll encounter Harvard University, which I am sure everybody has heard of: the ride from Tufts to Harvard takes less than 10 minutes, so I often opt for a BlueBike instead of the Red Line when going to see my friends.
The scenery changes pretty rapidly once you continue biking down Massachusetts Avenue: Harvard University’s Federal brick buildings give way to more modern houses and buildings, including high-rise apartments. Central Square contains some of my favorite eateries in the area: whenever I miss the tastes of China in Boston, I go to Five Spices Houses which is on the way, and around a 20 minute bike-ride from Tufts in total. Once you pass Central Square, you will see the entrance to MIT, and its famous domed building, and finally, you’ll encounter the Harvard Bridge, which is where the City of Cambridge and City of Boston have their border. Crossing it is an amazing experience: you get panoramic views of the Boston skyline on both sides, and the wind sweeps your face. One time, I did a Hindu prayer on it and blessed it for the good experiences!
Immediately across the bridge is Beacon Street, where SMFA First-Years have their dorms, and further down Mass Ave are Boylston and Newbury streets, which are home to the chic Prudential shopping center and several other high-end shops. The Christian Science Center, with its magnificent dome, comes next: the sect founded by Mary Baker Eddy has a large presence in the city physically, even if it doesn’t have so many adherents. Note the density of the city of Boston: all so far has been in the neighborhood of Back Bay, but once you cross Huntington Avenue, you will be in the Fenway-Kenmore area: go right and you’ll end up at the Museum of Fine Arts! Continue down Mass Ave, and the station of the same name marks the border between Back Bay (which is interrupted for a block by Fenway-Kenmore), and the South End, a vibrant neighborhood home to Victorian-style rowhouses and diverse cuisines: from Mexican, to Chinese, to trendy tapas and so on: and the best part about it is that it is home to narrow, gridlike streets perfectly suited for biking.
We finally turn right from Massachusetts Avenue onto Columbus Avenue. Columbus Avenue (along with Tremont and Washington Streets) is one of the main arteries through the South End. My girlfriend lives in a side street a couple of blocks down! To get to Anoush’ella, however, we must skip her house and instead turn right into West Newton Street and pass the centuries-old brownstones, next to the tree-lined roads and little parks where you can hide away from the busier neighborhoods of the city. Finally, when West Newton Street meets Washington Street, you can grab your delicious Mediterranean bite! I love this bike route because the whole way takes less than 40 minutes, and you see the entire cityscape of the metropolitan area on the way, to end at a great bite! For a more adventurous route, follow the number 8 bus after Anoush’ella to end in Harbor Point next to the sea!