The Great Delmarva Cycling Trail
Distributed by Delmarva DLite, the Delmarva Low-Impact Tourism Experiences, this is a guide/map for cyclers that covers the entire Delmarva Peninsula. The trails are anywhere from 8- 1000 miles (that’s if you pedal every trail on Delmarva from trail head to end-of-the-line). It takes you through cypress swamps, upland, tidal marshes, and coastal forests, through small towns, 70 wildlife havens, 15 state parks, and 25 wildlife management areas. A very fine guide to pack in your panniers. It’s $5. To order, call 443-944-8097, or go on-line to www.delmarvalite.org and click on ‘activities.’ You may also find it in some bike shops.
The Crossroads of Delmarva is a city, with all of the non-biking situations that implies. On the other hand, Wicomico County, of which Salisbury is the county seat, has a bike trail map that lays out 30 rides on the Lower Eastern Shore, including Somerset County (south of Salisbury) and parts of Worcester County (to the east). Some of them require traversing Rt. 50 or Rt. 13, both of which are major highways. You can get the map through Wicomico County Tourism 410-548-4914, 800-332-TOUR, or www.wicomicotourism.org. The download of the map is not suitable for actual use.
- Adrenaline High. This is a custom touring company, offering multi-day trips built around the group’s interests and abilities. 410-749-2886. www.adrenalinehigh.com
- Bike Sport, 1013 S. Salisbury Blvd. (Rt. 13). Comprehensive inventory of top-of-the-line bikes and gear. The only BG fit technician on Delmarva. 410-543-2453. www.bikesportmd.com
- Salsibury Cycle and Fitness, 1404 S. Salisbury Blvd. (Rt. 13). Crammed with bikes, bike gear, bike clothing, and biking information. Knowledgeable about women’s biking needs and equipment. Excellent repair and maintenance shop. 410-546-4747. www.salisburycycle.com
With beaches, country lanes, small towns, and a big resort – and blessed with flat, flat, flat terrain – this coastal county is just about perfect for bikers.
They know it, too. The Viewtrail 100 bike trail offers cyclists a scenic tour of more than 100 miles of Worcester County's unspoiled countryside. The trail takes a circular route, traveling along small country roads, through farmlands and forest, alongside the Pocomoke River, tributary creeks and beautiful cypress swamps. You’ll pass through Snow Hill, Berlin, and Pocomoke City, and scoot along the shoreline of Chincoteague Bay. The brochure includes a map, directions, and information on lodging and restaurants. The map is on Worcester County’s website, but the quality is not all that good. It’s there for an example. You need to call 800-852-0335 to order one or find out where they are available. www.visitworcester.org
There are trails in Pocomoke River State Forest and Park in Snow Hill, many of which are listed on the Viewtrail Map. The Park office has copies of the multi-use trails for sale at the park office.
The Ocean City Boardwalk is the big attraction for casual bikers. Early mornings see bikers pedaling leisurely along the Boardwalk, going just fast enough and long enough to justify a big breakfast, followed by a recovery period lounging on the sand. Isn’t that what vacations are all about?
Continental Cycles, Ocean City. Hourly, part-day, daily, weekly rental of beach cruisers and mountain bikes. Child seats & helmets available for small fee. Open year-round. 410-524-6942. www.continentalcycles.com
There are more bike rental shops along Ocean City’s Boardwalk than there are seagulls trolling for leftover French fries. Here’s a list of the places. Most are open only seasonally. The rates and quality of bikes is all pretty much the same. Most are more into beach cruisers than anything else, but call to find out exactly what they offer.
- Continental Cycles, Two locations, in Ocean City and Ocean Pines. No rentals, sales, support, and repairs. Ocean City, 7203 Coastal Highway 410-524-1313. Ocean Pines 410-208-1313. www.continentalcycles.com
- Bike World, Boardwalk at Caroline. 410-289-2587
- Dandy Don’s Olde Town Bike Rentals, 408 S. Baltimore & 216 Baltimore. 410-289-0221, 410-289-2289
- Darlene’s on the Board, 12th St. & Boardwalk. 410-289-6035
- Eden Roc Motel Bike Rentals, 20th & Boardwalk. 410-289-3310
- Jo’s Bikes, 2nd & Boardwalk. 410-289-5298
- 10th St. Bike Rental, 10th Near Boardwalk. 410-289-7721
- Northside Cycle & Sport, 126th & Coastal Hwy. 410-250-0863 Also does repairs
With miles of quiet roads in Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge and more miles down to Hoopers Island and throughout the necks and along the inlets of the Chesapeake and all of its tributaries, Dorchester County is a biker’s paradise. The county has a new, excellently designed bike brochure that lays out 5 excellent rides from 5 to 70 miles long. Those are in addition to the roads through Blackwater. Do be warned, though, the winds can howl across the marshes. It’s not uncommon to hear about bikers who actually slowed down when they tried to coast down a bridge in the face of strong winds in Blackwater. On the other hand, I clocked in at 22 mph with the wind behind me on one of those rides.
The Dorchester County Cycling Guide is excellent. It details 9 trails from 5 to 80 miles. Most of them are around 30 miles. The map is clearly marked with good text directions and information about each ride. Download the bike brochure: http://www.tourdorchester.org/downloads/brochures/cycling_guide.pdf
You can also pick one up at the Visitor’s Center in Sailwinds Park (just off Rt. 50 by the Choptank River Bridge), call 410-228-1000, or e-mail
- Blackwater Paddle and Pedal Adventures offers bike rentals if you want to explore on your own. Their guided half or full day rides are a good introduction to the area’s history and wildlife if you are not familiar with it. 410-901-9255. www.blackwaterpaddleandpedal.com
- On the Rivet Cycle Sports Shop No rentals, but a full line of bikes for all uses, plus a comprehensive repair shop that can find parts for vintage bikes. 410-221-9981. www.ontherivet.com
Quite possibly the best easy biking on Delmarva. Located on the Bay side, Talbot County actively courts bikers. The main roads all have extra-wide shoulders or dedicated bike lanes. A map of 6 themed rides was released in May. It’s excellent, with really big, easy to follow maps, very detailed text instructions, and descriptions, plus information on outfitters. It's printed on strong paper that’s a big water-proof and durable. www.tourtalbot.org to order your copy. It's also at the Visitor’s Center in Easton and at outfitters.
There is a Rails-to-Trails” route that runs 2.2 miles through Easton.
The Pickering Creek Audubon Center (410-822-4903, www.pickeringcreek.org) allows biking on the marked, gravel trails every day except Sunday.
The DuPont Shehan Audubon Sanctuary (410-745-9283) in Bozman (9 miles from St. Michaels) has 8 miles of shoreline and 10 miles of trails that are open on occasion. Call for their calendar
- Bike Doctors of Easton, 210 Marlborough Ave., Easton. 410-820-9107. www.bikedoctoreast.com
- Eastern Shore Bicycle Rental, 301-758-7016. www.easternshorebokes.com
- Easton Cycle & Sport, 723 Goldsborough St., Easton. Rentals, maps, suggestions. 410-822-7433 www.eastoncycleandsport.com
- Easton Point Marina, Rentals, maps, suggestions. 410-822-1201
- St. Michaels Marina, St. Michaels Rentals by the hour or by the day. Might be the fastest way to get around St. Michaels during high season! 800-678-8980
- Tilghman Island Marina, Tilghman Island Rentals and good suggestions of where to go, how to get there. Good advice on just how far Tilghman is from the rest of the world so you can enjoy the ride. 410-886-2500. www.tilghmanmarina.com
Queen Annes County
Probably because it’s bisected by Rt. 50 and considered by many travelers to be just the place where the roads to and from the beach converge, people often miss out on Queen Anne’s County. For cyclists, it’s a place with some really lovely opportunities that many people don’t know about.
The Wye Island Natural Resource Management Area has about 10 miles of trails suitable for mountain bikes. They are largely unpaved or gravel, can be messy in wet weather. A couple of them go down necks to the water’s edge, which gives you some wonderful views of the Bay. The trails are shared by trailriders on horseback. Do be aware that many horses are freaked out by bicycles and that riders often discover this the first time their horse encounters a bicycle. If you can, stop and let the riders pass. It will be appreciated by all concerned.
Near Ridgely, the Adkins Arboretum and Tuckahoe State Park are great cycling areas. The park has about 15 miles of trails suitable for mountain biking, although the paved road through the park is popular with casual riders. A map and trail guide is for sale at the park office. If you are overnighting, the park’s campground is very nice. 410-820-1668. http://www.dnr.state.md.us/publiclands/eastern/tuckahoe.html For campground reservations: 8880432-2267 or make them through the park’s website.
Kent County actually has some rolling terrain, a surprise and something of a challenge to those of us how think of sand dunes as hills. A few years ago, the Baltimore Bicycling Club laid out 9 biking trails through the county. They stretch from an 11-mile warm-up to an 82-mile ‘challenge’ ride. Portions of some routes show up on ADC and other road maps of the area, but the best bet is to go to www.kentcounty.com/cycling and download the ones you are interested in.
Terrapin Park in Stevensville is the start of the Cross-Island Trail, which runs for 5 miles to Kent Narrows. It’s paved and offers some nice views of the waterways. 410-758-0835.
- Rock Hall Landing Marina, Rock Hall Bikes available at the office for a nominal fee. 410-639-2224. www.rockhalllanding.com
- Bike Work Bicycle Shop, Chestertown Rentals plus repairs, maps, guided tours, lots of information. 208 S. Cross St., Chestertown. 410-778-6940
Delaware is a very bike-friendly location. The state parks, forests, and wildlife areas all have trails, either dedicated to biking or available for multi-use. Some of the trails require mountain bikes (an odd thought for flat, sandy Delaware) or more sturdy cruising bikes. You need to check with the location if you have any doubts.
- Cape Henlopen State Park, Lewes. www.destateparks.com The biking trail loops through the park on existing roads and dedicated trails. http://www.oceancycles.com/bikemap.html
- The Junction & Breakwater Trail stretches 6 miles from just outside Rehoboth to just outside Lewes, roughly paralleling Rt. 1. Download the map and other information at http://www.destateparks.com/downloads/trails/j-and-b-trail.pdf
- Nanticoke Wildlife Area, Seaford. The multi-use trail meanders through 4400 acres of woodlands and fields. This is primarily managed as a hunting preserve. Check on what’s in season and what weapons are being used before taking to the trail. You can download a map of the trail at http://www.fw.delaware.gov/Hunting/Pages/HuntingMaps.aspx
- Redden State Forest, Georgetown. 44 miles of trails, multi-use and unpaved, should make even the most obsessed distance-covering biker happy. http://dda.delaware.gov/forestry/forest.shtml for more information about the forest.
- Trap Pond State Park, Laurel. There are several trails through the park, ranging from .2-3.3 miles. Download the map at http://www.destateparks.com/downloads/maps/trap-pond/trap-pond.pdf
- Greenway, These are trails and pathways through some of the more scenic areas of Delaware. Many of them are paths dedicated to non-motorized traffic, while others are public roadways with and without bike lanes.
- Broadkill River Greenway, Millville to Fenwick Island. Contact the Delaware Council on Greenways 302-739-5285 for the map of the Greenways and more information.
- Lewes Cycle Sports (Ocean Cycles), Lewes & Bethany. Also known as Ocean Cycles. Rentals by the daily or week. Free delivery and pick-up when you rent for a minimum of three days. They also have a very cool Youth Achievement Program, which rewards kids who are involved in academics, extra-curricular activities, or community projects. 302-645-4544, 302-537-1522, 888-800-BIKE (2453). www.oceancycles.com
- All Wheels, Rehoboth. Been around for over 30 years. Rental by the hour, day, or week. Free ideas of tours and maps and directions. 302-227-6807 www.rehobothbeach.com
- Fenwick Islanders Bike Shop. Fenwick Island. One of the few rental places that’s open year-round. Hourly, daily, weekly rental. 302-537-2021. www.fenwickbikes.com
- Bike to Go, Rehoboth & Bethany. New bikes every year. They also provide seven self-guided tours rated by distance, time of the ride, level of difficulty, and what you can expect to see along the way. 302-227-7600, 800-245-8432. www.biketogo.com
- Atlantic Cycles, Rehoboth. Huge selection of types of bikes: tandems, several kid sizes, adult trykes, stroller-bikes. Hourly, daily, weekly rates. Free maps of the area and suggestions of where to ride. 302-226-2543. www.atlanticcycles.net
The flat landscape and generally quiet roads are ideal for casual and serious bikers. You’ll get views of the wide, barren marshes; see plenty of birds and other wildlife; and have time to visit historic sites, a winery, and have lunch at a local coffee shop or diner.
Aside from the trails in Kiptopeke State Park ( www.dcr.virginia.gov/state_parks/kip.shtlm ) and throughout Chincoteague (including Assateague Park), there are few marked bike routes on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. However, aside from Lankford Hwy.\Rt. 13, the roads are good for biking. Towns and support are not always close-at-hand, and cell phone reception is spotty, so keep that in mind when planning a ride.
Rt. 600\Seaside Rd. runs from the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel to Accomac in Northhampton County. It’s about 50 miles of easy pedaling on the Oceanside of the peninsula. Biking the bayside is a bit problematic. To get any water views, you need to meander down roads that dead-end at the water, usually without a town, then backtrack.
The Cape Charles Historic District is a throwback to another era. Big Victorian houses, a wide beach on the Chesapeake, quaint old neighborhoods. There are no rentals in town, though, so you have to bring your own wheels.
While the roads in town are often congested in the summer months, this is a pretty bike-friendly town. There are several existing trails and more seem to be laid out every year. Pick up a map at the visitors center. It shows the routes and ways to avoid the riskier areas, like parts of Maddox Blvd.
The bike trails throughout the wildlife refuge are well-marked and well-maintained. The Wildlife Loop is probably the best for bird watchers. Slather yourself with bug repellant, though. The flying and crawling critters who live in the marshes don’t bite; they gnaw.
- Bike Depot, 7058 Maddox Blvd., at the Refuge Inn. Closest rental outlet to the beach. Over 200 bikes. Hourly, daily, and long-term rental. Group rates, 757-336-5511. www.refugebikes.com
- Jus’ Bikes, 6527 Maddox Blvd. 757-336-6700
This fishing village on the Bay is *the* up-and-coming spot on the Shore. A lively arts scene, surprising number of restaurants in such a small town, interesting shops, and picturesque setting combine to make it a great stop. There are no formal trails, but the area is hard to get lost in. The roads generally do not have much in the way of shoulders, but they don’t have much in the way of traffic, either.