Pedal for the Path rides through Dartmouth

Aug 18, 2019

The routes prepared for the Pedal for the Path bike ride meandered across busy city streets in New Bedford and windy coastal roads in Dartmouth. 

The more than 70 cyclists who took part in the August 18 ride, however, were united for a major goal: Bringing a dedicated bikeway to the region. 

It’s a mission the South Coast Bikeway Alliance, which organized the event, have been working to see to fruition for years. 

The organization is working with cities and towns from Swansea to Wareham, and the Southeastern Regional Planning and Economic Development District, to link Rhode Island to Cape Cod through a system of paths — including in North Dartmouth. 

“A key component of community livability is recreational opportunities and walkability,” said Greg Barnes, who was volunteering at the ride. “This path will, I think, go a long way to address regional needs in that regard.” 

Sandra Medeiros, the Dartmouth representative for the South Coast Bikeway Alliance, said the funds raised will help fund a feasibility study. It will determine the best route to connect Fall River to New Bedford via Dartmouth. 

So far, Dartmouth, Westport, and New Bedford have allotted $10,000 each in community preservation funding for the study. 

“It’s needed for a number of reasons — economic development, recreation and tourism, equitable transportation… you should be able to get from your home to work with multiple transportation options.” 

The South Coast Rail project is poised to bring commuter rail stations to downtown and north New Bedford — opening up a new bike-ride model for cyclists to get to Boston as residents will soon be able to cycle to the train station, and take the train into Boston. 

Medeiros also organized the ride, which is now in its second year. Medeiros brought a big change to the second run: New route options. Cyclists had the choice of taking on a 57-mile, 20-mile, and 12-mile route. 

Marilyn Halter and Ann Parson both took the 20-mile route, as it was Halter’s second organized ride. 

“What I like the most about it is it’s such a great portrait of where I live,” she said.

Parson is no stranger to long rides, however. She will be riding with Team Rethink Plastics in this year’s Buzzards Bay Ride — and is still looking for interested teammates. 

In addition to the ride, cyclists were also offered ice cream and ice cream and donuts at several sponsored stops, and live music and food at the Dartmouth YMCA at the end of the day.