Month: September 2015

It’s Going To Be A While Before Getting On The Bike Again.

hartford-connecticut-region-current-radar

This is predicted to hang around for a week.  Tomorrows ride on Martha’s Vineyard with visiting friends from Austin looks like it’s off the schedule.  I did find some leftover photos of my last coffee run on “the Vineyard”.  Just to fill in this post.   There is also a major fundraising ride this weekend that I am sagging.  That’s could be in jeopardy also.

Done riding. Heading Home
Had to use wife’s Mini Coachman for this trip. Such a cool car and sweet ride.

Edgartown Pizza
If you ever find yourself in Edgartown on Martha’s Vineyard, be sure to have lunch here.

Mocha Motts on the Vineyard
Great Little Coffee Shop on Main St. in Vineyard Haven, Martha’s Vineyard.

On the freight ferry to Martha's Vineyard
I was late to the terminal so had to settle for the freight ferry.

Coffee On The Vineyard.

Coffee in Vineyard Haven on the island of Martha's Vineyard.
Coffee in Vineyard Haven on the island of Martha’s Vineyard.

If your were sitting across from me you would have heard, caah-fee on da vinyid in my best New England Yankee dialect.

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I got a late start and was so upset that I was probably going to miss the 9:30 boat, I considered saying “eff it” and returning home.  I did come to my senses and accepted that I missed the ferry and would simply enjoy a nice breakfast in Wood’s Hole.  I rode up to the dock and saw the freight ferry still loading.  I asked the attendant how much time I had to buy my ticket before the boat left. “About two minutes” he said.  I rushed into the ticket office and there was no one in line and three clerks available. I got my ticket lickety split and boarded the boat with a minute to spare.

I met a couple who was spending the night on the island and when they asked where I was riding, I didn’t have an answer.  They talked me into Minemsha and that sounded good.  That plan took me to the main street of Vineyard Haven where I saw sponsors of my favorite radio station WMVY. It’s a non profit adult rock station on the Vineyard that has given me quite an eclectic music library.  Musicians like, Amos Lee, Chris Rea and Ray LaMontaigne. You can sample the station online HERE.  I have a strong feeling you will fall in love with this station and it’s DJ’s.   And no good coffee ride is complete without a cappuccino prepared by a very good Barista I stumbled upon called Mocha Motts.

Soft as a Grape. One of WMVY's sponsors. Located on Main St. in Vineyard Haven, Martha's Vineyard.
Soft as a Grape. One of WMVY’s sponsors. Located on Main St. in Vineyard Haven, Martha’s Vineyard.
A peek at Main St. In Vineyard Haven
A peek at Main St. In Vineyard Haven

As I was riding toward Minempsha, I began to think about the 40 mile bike ride with some steep climbs and narrow roads and reset my bike gps app to West Tisbury.  I did get a booklet with a map before beginning the ride and when I finally looked at it I saw that Chappaquiddick was only an hour away by bike. In the other direction of course.  Reset gps to Chappaquiddick.

Trust your gps is my motto.  That was severely tested when it had me turn onto Great Plains Rd.  This is a really nice bike riding road. A quiet, no traffic back road that was a pleasure to ride.

Nice quiet Great Plains Rd. Wonderful
Nice quiet Great Plains Rd. Wonderful

Great Plains turned into this. Soft treacherous sandy, rocky quagmire.

Great Plains Rd. Really?
Great Plains Rd. Really?

Trust your gps. I was considering turning back when Cortina, (my gps girlfriend) said, “Turn left on Dr. Fisher Rd in 600 feet.”  My mental abacus began flipping beads and I figured that’s the length of two football pitches.  I can walk that.  Sure enough, Dr. Fisher Road reared it’s beautiful face.  Even better, it is a bike only road. Some times abandon rail roads become bike paths.  Sometimes abandoned roads become bike paths.

Dr. Fisher Road. Bikes only
Dr. Fisher Road. Bikes only.

I eventually made it to a fork in the road and a fork on this ride.  Go right to Chappaquiddick or go left to Oak Bluffs and the ferry back to Wood’s Hole.  Here is where I also met an older couple on bikes looking at a map.  “Are you lost”  I inquired and only got a smile from both of them.  They tried in their best German accented really bad English to talk back. “sprechen Sie Deutsch”, I said.  Then the words flowed from them like a freed log jam.  Problem is, I don’t spechen Sie Deutch.  Using our own made up hand gestures , pointing at the map and at the road language, we worked our their directions.  As we parted I returned to my limited German saying ‘cheus” (sp? meaning, see you later, slangly) and that’s when they said they were from Holland. “Gezzellig.”

I am returning to the island mid week with friends from Austin which convinced me to head back to one of the ferry terminal and back to the mainland. “Cortina… Give me directions to Oak Bluffs.”

I wanted to stop for lunch on the island, but I also had 30 minutes to hightail it to Oak Bluffs and catch the 1:15 ferry back to Wood’s Hole.  On Donna, on Blitzen,  That’s thunder and lightning in German by the way. I don’t know how to say it in Dutch though.   I pulled into the terminal just as the loudspeaker was announcing final boarding.  Another one of the just made it timing things I fall into a lot.

There are a few more photo on my flickr page HERE. 

Living on the South Coast of Massachusetts is a bike riders nirvana.  Bike friendly drivers and lots of quiet country roads for daily rides.  Places like Newport, RI and Martha’s Vineyard are close enough that one can decide over morning coffee to go there and ride.  And It’s cheap.  Today for example.

  • $25 for you and your bike for a round trip ferry ride.
  • $6 for breakfast at a really good coffee shop with a really good Barista.
  • Ducking seagull shit on the return ferry ride.  Free.
Seagull prowling for who knows what.
Heads up.

Wood’s Hole Coffeneuring

North Carolina couple visiting Cape Cod
North Carolina couple visiting Cape Cod

As always, click any photo for big. Click again for bigger. Click your back button to return to the post

CLICK HERE for all the photos of today’s ride.

The coffeneuring challenge begins next week and today’s pre challenge training ride couldn’t have been better.   The Shining Sea Bike Way is a ten mile paved Rail to Trail conversion from Falmouth to Woods Hole, Massachusetts.   Because these converted trails are usually isolated, it’s a good idea to get off the path and ride some of the local roads when possible.  The Shining Sea, being a coastal trail has some really spectacular scenery for the more astute riders who take a chance and leave the trail.

One block from the trail we came across sights like this.
One block from the trail we came across sights like this.
Off the Path
Off the Path

At the end of the trail is the town of Wood’s Hole.  The ferry terminal to Martha’s Vineyard is always bustling and the town has the typical quaint New England look and feel.  Woods Hole also host the National Marine Fisheries part of NOAA, and Wood’s Hole Oceanographic Institute.  Both are the mecca for marine biology and a visitor will hear a plethora of languages being spoken around those sites.  It’s also the home port of Robert Ballard who found the Titanic in 1985.

There is not a lot to see in Wood’s Hole, but that doesn’t preclude the place from being pretty spectacular.  On the trail I stuck up a conversation with a couple from North Carolina.  We began riding together, hit things off pretty good which allowed me to be their local guide to the Secret Places.  That being those places that a traveler would never experience without the aid and knowledge of a local.  A few years ago I had a local show me those secret places and today I got to share them with new friends. I did go off script in Wood’s Hole when I recommend they lunch at the very popular Pie in the Sky cafe.  We became separated on the trail just outside of Wood’s Hole before I could ask them to join me at the secret spot for lunch.  They dined at Pie in the Sky and I at the place that will remain one of the Secret Places.  We did meet up again after lunch for a tour of the town it’s scenic waterfront and harbor.

Harbor at Woods Hole
Harbor at Woods Hole
Oceanographic ship at Wood's Hole
Oceanographic ship at Wood’s Hole

And for my coffeeneuring challenge practice ride.

Coffee at the still secret place in Wood's Hole
Coffee at the still secret place in Wood’s Hole

All the photos of today’s rider are HERE

Upcoming Ride. Lunch on Martha’s Vineyard

Sunday September 27th. Martha’s Vineyard

I am going to take the ferry from Wood’s Hole to the Vineyard Sunday morning.  It’s a ride I did in June and have been talking it up with bike friends.   The weather window is closing for this ride and I’m thinking Sunday would be a great day to get er done.

We will take the 9:30 AM ferry to the island, ride around for a couple of hours, have lunch on the Vineyard and take an early afternoon boat back to Wood’s Hole. The ferry is still running often which gives us lots of time choices to leave the island.  The round trip cost of the ferry is $25 per person including the bike.  We can park for free by using the last parking lot on the Shining Sea Bikeway. (Either # 7 or 6 on the map)  Get to Woods Hole early enough and enjoy a wonderful breakfast at Pie In The Sky Bakery.

As always, click any photo for big. Click Again for bigger. Click your back button to return to the post

Pie in the Sky Bakers at Wood's Hole
Pie in the Sky Bakers at Wood’s Hole

The ride will take us into the “doll house” section of Oak Bluffs.  From there we ride along the beach to Edgartown.  We can spend a little time in Edgartown if you wish.  There are many lunch options if anyone wants to eat on the island. Some may want to skip lunch there and eat off island.  The numerous ferry departure times allows for everyone to personalize this ride.

Doll Houses in Oak Bluffs
Doll Houses in Oak Bluffs
The Black Dog
The Black Dog

CLICK HERE for the ferry schedule.

Coffeeneuring the Cape Cod Canal. Both Sides End to End and Crossing Both Bridges

Coffeneuring
Coffeneuring

First a word about Coffeeneuring. CLICK HERE to learn all about it.  Then give some though to participating.

Today’s coffee stop was at Dunkin Doughnuts in the town of Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts.  This was after a 25 mile ride of the Cape Cod Canal with a few friends.  Since DD is not a place for really good coffee, I had to settle for a regular old coffee from a pot.  Not my favorite but this was only a practice run.  At least I didn’t get it from a clown.


As always, click any photo for big. Click again for bigger Click your back button to return to the story

Four of us took advantage of a really nice day to ride the Cape Cod Canal, doing both sides and crossing both bridges. (The Bourne and Sagamore bridges). The access points for walking and biking across the bridges are pretty well hidden and there is no signage to get you there.  Someone, like me, for instance has to show you how to get to the sidewalk access.  Once there it is highly recommended that you walk your bike over the bridge.  At 135 feet above the canal, walking takes most of the stress out of crossing this span on your bike.  It’s also much easier to take photos like this one.

The cape side of the canal from the top of the Sagamore bridge.
The cape side of the canal from the top of the Sagamore bridge.

We did end to end on the canal side but decided not to ride to Scussett Beach on the mainland side knocking a couple of miles off the ride.  Once back on the mainland side we were like cows smelling the barn and our pace noticeable picked up as we raced back to the starting point.  My three companions left me in the town of Buzzards Bay where I decide to do a practice run of the upcoming “Coffeeneuring” challenge.

Andrew Walking over the Bourne Bridge
Andrew Walking over the Bourne Bridge
Old Austin taxi.
Old Austin taxi.
under the RR bridge in Buzzards Bay
under the RR bridge in Buzzards Bay
Crazy bike
Crazy bike
Lobstah.
Lobstah.
Mass Maritime Academy docks.
Mass Maritime Academy docks.
Post office circa 1820
Post office circa 1820
RR along the canal on the Cape side
RR along the canal on the Cape side
The head of the canal on the cape side across from Mass Maritime Academy
The head of the canal on the cape side across from Mass Maritime Academy
The head of the canal in Sandwich on the cape side
The head of the canal in Sandwich on the cape side
Sunday traffic leaving the cape.
Sunday traffic leaving the cape.
Crossing the Sagamore
Crossing the Sagamore
Sue and Geoff after crossing the Sagamore Bridge
Sue and Geoff after crossing the Sagamore Bridge

South Coast Bikeway Award Ceremony

Cape Cod Canal Both Side, Both Bridges tomorrow, Sunday, Sept, 20 at 8:30 AM. Meet at the lot next to the RR bridge in Buzzard Bay.  Set you GPS to 61 Main St. 


This morning I led a ride through the back roads and side streets from Fairhaven to the event in Dartmouth.  None of the riders in my group are native to this area and I decided to give them a tour to point out some of the area’s gems.  Whaling Captain’s and Textile moguls small mansions, fantastic restaurants in out of the way locations, scenic waterfront streets and roads that only the locals know exist were on this short 9 mile route.   Coincidentally, this route was also a shortcut of sorts to the event that knocked off a couple of miles of heavy traffic on streets that drivers often confuse for racetrack straightaways.

Three of us didn’t participate in the Bike Challenge this year, so we left once the awards began for the ride back to Fairhaven. I hung back to get some errands done and, as we on bikes often do, stumbled upon a really good, authentic Spanish food hut.  I say Spanish, not Mexican because I think the owner and workers are Central Americans from El Salvador or Guatemala by their dialect.  I usually ask, but not this time because I was the only Gringo in the place.  The food was very good and the staff I think, got a kick out of my Boston accented Spanish.
As always, click any photo for big. Click again for bigger. Click your back button to return to the story

Freddy with his new bike
Freddy with his new bike
The gang ridng the side streets of New Bedford
The gang ridng the side streets of New Bedford
Fall River bike group
Fall River bike group
Bike Parking at the Dartmouth Y.
Bike Parking at the Dartmouth Y.
Waiting for the Mattapoisett group at the Gulf Hill Ice Cream place.
Waiting for the Mattapoisett group at the Gulf Hill Ice Cream place.
The Mattapoisett Riders
The Mattapoisett Riders
Lunch in the Spanish district of New Bedford
Lunch in the Spanish district of New Bedford
The gang from Mattapoisett
The gang from Mattapoisett

South Coast Bikeway Meeeting and The Cape Cod Canal. Both Sides, Both Bridges

Saturday September 19

Ride to the Award Ceremony in Dartmouth on Saturday. Meet at 99 in Fairhaven at 9 AM for the short ride across the river to the Dartmouth YMCA. (A little over 8 miles). It should be a nice day. Wear your colors and helmet if you want but neither is necessary for this short ride to the event.


Sunday September 20

Looking north from Sagamore Bridge.
Looking north from Sagamore Bridge.

Meet Sunday Sept. 20 at 8:15 for an 8:30 start at the Buzzard Bay Parking lot adjacent to the RR Bridge. 
Don’t miss this one.  It’s a favorite of mine and a very cool ride. Be sure to bring your camera. Bring your helmet if you want, but it’s not necessary for this easy paced, traffic free ride.

Directions:

Set your GPS to 61 Main St. Buzzards Bay.

We will cross both bridges and ride both sides of the canal, visiting Mashnee Island, the Sandwich Power Plant.  Scussett Beach and the railroad bridge like you have never seen it.  There are “secret” access points to both the Bourne and Sagamore bridges giving access to pedestrian and bicycle traffic.  It’s safe and fun to cross these bridges.

Meet Saturday Sept. 12 at 8:15 for an 8:30 start.  This is a very easy 25 mile flat ride with a couple of stops for photos.

Click Here for everything you need to know about this ride.  Directions, photos, etc.

Something Different Today

Sometimes we don’t feel like writing. Today is one of those days.  There was no one to play with so I took off on my bike alone.  It was going to be just a short ride, but the morning was too nice and I kept going.  Again over the bridge into New Bedford to ride along the waterfront.  Crossing the bridge I saw a couple of cigarette boats mooring at the marina.

On the return ride, I rode into the marina and was told that I had just a few short minutes to get to the barrier gate in the middle of the harbor to see the dozens of cigarette boats begin their poker run.  Like the motorcycle runs, these boats were big, loud and gaudy.  I thought it would be cool, but as they passed the best I could muster was “ehhh”.  Lots of the spectators were thrilled but personally I couldn’t see the point of having one of these.  I like the photos that these boats are not the subject better.

Sit back, relax and enjoy the slideshow.

Bike Ride into New Bedford and Fairhaven, MA from John Sullivan on Vimeo.