Cycling Baltimore, Inner Harbor Middle Branch Park ride
Monday, July 26 2010 @ 08:45 AM EDT
Contributed by: B' Spokes
Cycling Baltimore, Maryland is not complete without a ride on the Gwynns Falls Trail. This 15-mile greenway trail connects the Inner Harbor with 2,000 scenic acres of parkland in the west and southwest of Baltimore.
Light Street Cycles is the cycle rental shop nearest downtown and the Inner Harbor and their daily rental fees are $25 ($15 add. day) for hybrids and $50 ($35 add. day) for road bikes. Their friendly and knowledgeable staff are eager to help fellow bicycle travelers.
The ride starts at the Visitor Center, at Inner Harbor (see Google Map below), where an informative printed map of the Gynns Fall Trail is available (The same map is also available at Light Street Cycles.). Plus, a must have for bicycle travelers to Baltimore is their New Baltimore Bicycle Map, produced by the city’s BikeBaltimore program. A printed copy may be obtained by calling 410-396-6856.
After picking up your map and starting your trek along Light Street, the ride winds its way through the Otterbein & Federal Hill districts. Arriving at Solo Gibbs Park, the trail’s first off-road sections begin. As I395 towers above the ride passes M&T Bank Stadium and Parcs Animal Shelter and then off-road again for the Ridgely’s Cove section. This section is a quiet, winding greenway, where a homeless community has set up residency. Even though the area is spotted with several homeless camps, the area is void of trash and liter. The ride returns to an on-road route as it passes the huge smoke stack and travels along Kloman Street, past the Westport rail station. Once arriving at Middle Branch Park the ride again returns to an off-road path. Wildlife such as Great Blue Herons and various migrating ducks & geese can be experienced throughout the park and at several wildlife observation boardwalks. Past fishing piers and the Harbor Hospital the route reaches its turn-around point at Cherry Hill Park.
This southwest side of the Gynns Falls Trail is definitely a plus for Baltimore and especially for the areas it passes through. Further benefit is a future planned route along the western shore of Middle Branch. As always read the bike safety article, practice safety first, don that helmet be observant and get cycling!