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As we have mentioned, the established way of getting around on the island is by bicycle. There are cars here. The locals own most of them, and a few are brought in for the summer by long term seasonal residents, people who stay from Memorial to Labor Day. But the short termers, staying anywhere from one day to two weeks, pedal from one end of the island to the other.

After a century of this, a whole culture has grown up around bicycles. Every store, restaurant, dock, bed and breakfast and beach have bike racks. The bikes tend to be townie cruisers, rather than mountain or long distance machines. There are five bicycling trails taking you to the various beaches, attractions, and villages on the South, East and West shores. As shown left above, these trails parallel the roads but are separate, paved, level or gently inclined, and feature occasional benches and drinking fountains. The paved trail usually stops on the bluff with a sand throughway leading down to the beach, as shown above right. You lock your bike into the rack, lift off your beach equipment, and head on down to the water.

Nantucket has a whole series of color coded signs just for bicyclists. In towns or villages, you cannot ride on sidewalks and must obey one way traffic signs.

You have four choices, but everybody's favorite bike rental outlet is Young's, just as you get off the ferry. They rent by the hour, day or week; offer every type of bike, basket, and rack; and have trailers for kids, dogs or luggage. They adjust the bike to fit, and completely service each one between rentals. Their bikes come equipped with bells for use in town and bike rack locks. If you'd like, you can rent a high wheeler, tandem, or other specialty machine. Young's is quite a tradition on Nantucket. The family has been in business since 1929, moving from their garage to the wharf in 1931. This is the third generation to run the enterprise. They don't do anything else. Bicycles are their specialty. For advance reservations, call 508-228-1151. Their web site is www.youngsbicycleshop.com.

One of the reasons bicycling has become such an integral part of the tradition here is that Nantucket is uniquely suited to pedal power. Its distances lend themselves to half day rides. Surfside Beach is 3.3 miles, Madaket Village is 6.2 miles, and Sconset is 10 miles by one route or 8.2 miles the other. Every beach on the island can be reached by bike. The Polpis route passes Upper Harbor and Cranberry Bogs. Cliffs, overlooks and heathers like the one on the right are all accessible by bike. So you can have breakfast, load up the bike, pedal out an hour or two, spend the day at the beach, then pedal back in time to shower and go out to eat. Long time vacationers say a major reason they keep coming back to Nantucket is that they average a 10 pound weight loss and noticeable muscle toning every year from all the biking. Just carry raingear with you. This is, after all, an island two hours by ferry out in the ocean. Weather can sweep in quickly. If you're an hour or two from the bed and breakfast, and get caught in a "squall," you will get drenched by very cold rain and probably whipped by icy winds. Under a rain parka, you'll be fine, but without one, you'll arrrive back at the inn with your teeth chattering.

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