For cyclists who hate hills and want to get off the beaten bike path and out on the open road, Maryland's Eastern Shore has the perfect 30-mile triangular trip:

On paved road-shoulder bike paths between Easton, Oxford and St. Michaels -- with a ferry boat ride thrown in for $1.50, and crab feasts on docks over Chesapeake Bay for a little bit more.

It's a perfect family ride, at least for families with relatively hardy children. It's even better as a leisurely two-day tour, with a stop at one of the inns in Easton, Oxford or Royal Oak, the last where the 250- year-old Pasadena Inn caters to cyclists with dinner and breakfast thrown in at rates from $28 to $42 a night.

There are antique shops all along the route, marinas for work and pleasure boats, the Chesapeake Bay Museum in St. Michaels and the nation's oldest privately owned ferry,the Oxford-Bellevue Ferry, founded in 1683.

But don't just look at the Bay, look up at the ferry's pilot house. Regularly at the helm is Valerie Bittner, one of the nation's few Coast Guard- licensed female ferry captains. She and her husband and her father take turns at the wheel of this family ferry.

Potomac Pedalers and American Youth Hostels both schedule popular overnight Eastern Shore group rides here in April, with hostelers tenting at night and Pedalers staying at an inn.

This is one of the flattest bike rides possible. The biggest change in elevation may be when you lift your bike onto the porch of a general store to get an ice-cream cone. But there can be strong head winds -- which make you feel as though you're pedaling uphill -- and the route can be hot in summer.