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NJ-00078-CGreetings-from-Ocean-City-New-Jersey-PostersSince I just returned from a bike ride in Ocean City, New Jersey, I thought it would be a good time to reprint a post from two years ago about this bike-friendly city, complete with a few updates:

Bicycling is great exercise for baby boomers, who may find running to be too hard on the knees, surfing too fraught with teenagers, golf too pricey and frustrating, and hula-hooping just all-around too embarrassing.

With cycling, though, it’s easy to just hop on a bike and take off. Of course, it’s good to have someplace safe to ride.

Ocean City, New Jersey, on the lower stretches of the Jersey Shore south of Atlantic City, knows how to make cycling safe and appealing, which helps keep people out of cars and improve physical fitness and air quality as well.

Its longtime slogan “America’s Greatest Family Resort” is morphing into “America’s Greenest Family Resort.”

A bike lane (and walking/jogging lane) runs along the south side of the beautiful new bridge that connects Ocean City to Somers Point on the mainland, offering biking with a panoramic view of the inland waterway, passing boats, and prolific bird life.

Other roadways and bridges with bike lanes then connect back to Ocean City, providing a loop trail that runs for several scenic miles.

Bicycles are much in evidence around Ocean City, NJ. Photo by Clark Norton

Bicycles are much in evidence around Ocean City, NJ. Photo by Clark Norton

West Avenue, one of Ocean City’s main streets, which runs almost the entire length of the city, is outfitted with bike lanes for 40 blocks, while Haven Avenue has a 15-mph speed limit for cars for 25 blocks to offer safe cycling along it.

And a new dedicated bike path next to a wildlife sanctuary runs for several more blocks along Haven.

Until noon each morning, cyclists are allowed to ride the 2 ½-mile-long boardwalk that overlooks Ocean City’s sandy beach, offering another popular route.

In the past, my wife and I have cycled down the shore from Ocean City to Cape May, about 40 miles one way, which makes for a challenging but scenic four-hour run.

During our current vacation here, we’ve enjoyed bike rides of 15 miles on two days and 10 miles on another.

There are plenty of bike shops and rental places, and everywhere you look around town are cyclists — including lots of baby boomers.

All this makes Ocean City one of the most bike-friendly resort communities in America — and one of the best places for boomers to come for exercise in the summer sun

If you go: We’ve found two wonderful restaurants in Somers Point, NJ, across the bridge that leaves from 9th Avenue in Ocean City.

The Clam Bar (910 Bay Ave., Somers Point, NJ, 609-927-8783) doesn’t take reservations and almost always has a wait unless you get there early, but it’s worth it for the great seafood in a casual setting. If you sit at the outdoor bar, it’s first-come, first-served. It opens at noon for lunch and there are nightly specials for dinner. Cash only and BYOB.

Back Bay Barbecue (135 Longport-Somers Point Blvd., 609-788-4853) is off the beaten track but worth tracking down; go to their website for directions, then try the pulled pork sandwich. Terrific, casual, outdoor or indoor dining. Open Wed.-Sun. 11 am — 8 pm.

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2 Responses to Ocean City, NJ: Biking, Boomers, Beaches

  • You probably already know this Clark, but Hilton Head Island is also great for biking. Sea Pines has the best shaded biking trails, but Shipyard is good also, and I have never been challenged by the guards at the Shipyard gates. There are four ways to get into Sea Pines: Be a property owner; be staying at a rental property in Sea Pines; pay $6 at the gate and drive your bikes in on your vehicle; or ride in from the beach. That fourth one is not really allowed, but it’s not like anyone is checking ID’s at the beach access paths. Before we owned property in Sea Pines, we always biked in from the beach. Hilton Head has the best beach for biking I have ever seen. The sand is very firm, and even skinny tires will skim along the surface anywhere below the high tide line. I taught my granddaughter to ride on beaches of Hilton Head. Even though the sand is firm, it’s still sand. A falling novice biker will avoid scrapes and abrasions.

    • Thanks, John! Hilton Head has one thing over Ocean City: the beach itself at the latter is not good for biking. The closest you can come is biking along the boardwalk in the mornings. I like the idea of teaching kids to ride on sand — I think I still have cinder residue left in my knee from a fall when I was learning.

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According to government and private surveys:

  • Leading-edge baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1955) and seniors account for four out of every five dollars spent on luxury travel today.
  • Roughly half the consumer spending money in the U.S.--more than $2 trillion--is in the hands of leading-edge baby boomers and seniors.
  • Baby boomers (born 1946-1964) travel more than any other age group.
  • When asked what they would most like to spend their money on, baby boomers answered “travel” more than any other category, including improving their health or finances.

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