Top 10 great Boston bicycle rides, minus the cars

Long considered among the worst metro areas to navigate by bike, Greater Boston has improved dramatically. One ranking last year named Boston the fifth friendliest city for cyclists in the country. Whether it’s by Hubway or your own steed, for an hour’s break from the office or a daylong meander, there are plenty of pedaling options. Here are 10 of the best.

JAMAICA POND

Length: 2.9 miles

There are few places as serene as the Jamaica Pond boathouse. This ride takes you along the pond’s edge, where each October thousands of people line lights around the water during the Jamaica Pond Lantern Parade. The pond also hosts free concerts throughout the summer. Follow clear signage to stay on the cyclist path — rather than the pedestrian way — into Olmsted Park, named for Frederick Law Olmsted, the renowned landscape designer responsible for much of the green space in Boston. After the ride, grab a sandwich at City Feed and Supply or an ice cream at the J.P. Licks mother ship, both on Centre Street.

Where: Take the Orange Line to Jackson Square Station and follow Centre Street to Perkins Street, which takes you directly to the park. Bikes are allowed on Red and Orange MBTA lines, except from 7 to 10 a.m. and 4 to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday; there are no restrictions on weekends. There is some parking along side streets around the park.

FRANKLIN PARK  

Length: 3.4 miles

Sprawling Franklin Park is etched with bike paths, both paved and unpaved, hilly and flat. For a simple loop, start at White Stadium, which once hosted performances by Sly and the Family Stone and comedian Richard Pryor, then follow Circuit Drive to the right along the park’s edge. You’ll pass the marshy Scarboro Pond, the golf course — one of the first public courses in the country — and the Franklin Park Zoo. Bring a picnic to enjoy at one of the many groves, and check the performance schedule for the Playhouse summer series. Each May, the Franklin Park Coalition also hosts a kite and bike festival with food trucks, crafts, and bike tours.

Where: Take the Orange Line to Green Street Station. Exiting the station, turn right onto Green Street and continue straight past Washington Street onto Glen Road. Turn left onto Sigourney Street, which becomes Walnut Avenue. Turn right at Pier Point Road to enter the park. If you’re driving, there are parking lots at White Stadium (usually weekdays only) and the zoo, and a handful of spots at most entrances around the park.

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