Each year the first signs of fall (a smell in the air, a short day, a cool breeze) get brushed aside as false portents. But, it seems, as soon as that first ruddy leaf is ignored, New England explodes with color and I have already missed it at its peak. This season, though, I was determined to see the changing colors — outside of the city, on a fall foliage bike ride.

This past week I took work on the road. A friend in-the-know, and from the area, planned a route for us that led from New York City to Boston and out to Walden Pond. Putting aside the Thoreau connection, this was the quickest and most convenient leaf-viewing destination for us. Check out my travelogue in the slide show below.

To plot your own ride, here’s how to get there:

From New York City you can take any number of buses or a train to Boston. Choose the cheaper version (Bolt Bus, wifi and power outlets included, $17), or the Amtrak Acela (prices vary, expect to pay $100 – $130).

You can get off the bus at North Station, or the train at South Station, and ride from there out to Walden. We chose to take the commuter rail to Belmont, just outside of Boston, and ride from there. A ticket on that system is less than a single ride Metro card. From Belmont the trip is 15 miles, each way, to the pond. It’s a fairly flat ride. The roads aren’t always ideal for a new cyclist (small shoulders, no bike lanes), but traffic was minimal and the scenery is great.

  • In Lexington, MA, we paused for coffee at Ride Studio Cafe, a combination bike shop and cafe.

  • Our ride to Walden included a stop by the Decordova Sculpture Garden.

  • Several, though not all, trees were in their autumn glory.

  • Grassy fields, low stone walls and scattered color flanked our route. The weather was perfect, warm enough for just a light sweater and pants.

  • The sun reflects off the calm water of Walden Pond.

  • All in all, I got exactly what I was looking for. Long stretches of quiet roads amidst orange maples.

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