I just got back from a fantastic week sharing a house up in Wellfleet, MA, toward the end of Cape Cod. In order to turn the journey up there into a little bit more of an adventure, I decided I would ride my bike, at least for most of the way. It was a solid challenge, but I made it under my own power, and I was rewarded well with a great week with excellent friends in an ideal setting.
I began my ‘epic’ journey by taking the Long Island Rail Road out to Babylon, about 40 miles from where I live in Brooklyn. Cheating this way allowed me to make my day’s destination of Montauk, the eastern end of Long Island, in around 85 miles riding, or only about 20 miles more than I’d ever done in a day before, instead of the 125 miles it would have been to ride all the way door to door. In the end, counting detours, missed turns and other distractions, I think I covered 90+ miles that day, making the final long climb into Montauk just as the sun was going down and the fog was rolling in.
The second day was primarily rest and recovery. I took the ferry from Montauk to Block Island, and then from Block Island on to Narragensett, Rhode Island. I rode most of the way around the island while I was there, and stopped for lunch at the fancy hotel, but the same fog that had been blanketing Montauk limited my visibility to about a hundred yards in any direction.
After spending the night at a motel just across from the ferry in Narragensett, I set off for what turned out to be the hardest day of the trip, not because the route was especially difficult, but simply because it was when Murphy chose to make himself known. I blew three flats in the first 25 miles, proving that my rear tire was no longer able to handle anything like full pressure. I finally limped in to Dash Cycles in Providence, where they set me up with a beefy new Continental tire, and were even kind enough to let me use a corner of their shop to put the new tire on the wheel myself, which was much appreciated and helped me get back on the road with out losing too much more time. Once I got through Providence and into south eastern Mass, the busier commercial roads gave way to smaller quieter country roads rolling over challenging, but not excruciating, hills. Better yet, the last 20-30 miles were mostly downhill or flat, so I was able to get to West Island to meet my house mates in time for an excellent surf ‘n turf dinner fresh off the grill.
For my last day’s riding, I let my traveling companions carry my heavy bags, so I set off somewhat lighter for the Cape. My legs had been feeling good earlier in the morning, but when I set off to actually ride they complained mightily for the first 10 miles or so. However, once I was fully warmed up and into a rhythm, I was able to hold a relatively strong pace the rest of the way onto the Cape.
Actually getting on to the Cape requires an extremely steep climb from the Buzzards Bay bike path up to the poorly marked bike path across the bridge, and then another 20+ miles of relatively perilous riding in narrow shoulders to get to the famous Cape Cod Rail Trail. Once on the trail the riding is very nice, but the difficulty of getting to the trail by bike was irritating.
I made it to the end of the trail in Wellfleet just a couple hours after my traveling companions had arrived at our house in the woods. After getting cleaned up in our out door shower, we all went down to the harbor to have dinner and enjoy the sunset.