The ride is an annual Boston tradition where over 1,000 people bike the same route as the Boston Marathon the night before Marathon Monday. The roads are not closed off but open to vehicle traffic (and bicycles are vehicles!) – The ride is not a race nor is it a paid event; it is however a pretty unique community experience, a fun way to meet people, and a decent workout.
Due to the organic and non-commercial nature of the ride, there is no official support crew during the actual bike ride; that said, due to the community nature of the ride, it is usually very easy to get help.
If you subscribe to Bicycle Magazine you may have seen the feature story this month. If not CLICK HERE to read the article. (both photos on this page are credited to the Bicycle Magazine article).
The Boston Globe made a compelling argument to continue this event HERE
I’ll have to figure out the logistics of getting to Hopkinton, but if all else fails there is an advertised leisurely ride from downtown Boston. A car at each end would really be nice though. We’ll see.
I still use the bike shop that served me very well during my working days when I commuted to the office. I would drive 30 miles to a lot and ride the last ten. During the winter, I would often park much closer to the office which allowed me to ride year round. Travis Cycle was just about the half way on the long ride. Many Fridays, I would drive to the office, ride my bike the 30 odd miles home, and on Saturday I would ride back to get my car. I had a couple of questions about my road bike and I also need to do more riding in anticipation for two bike tours. A check of my go to weather site, Weather Underground, predicted some really good riding weather. Sixty degrees with a bit of wind was just too inviting for the first long ride of the season and I decided to make the trek to Taunton. I was in the traveler mode mentally which translates into riding at the speed of a turtle. I always get there but am never first. Actually if I want to keep the theme of “always”, I’m always the last to arrive but with the smell of the roses creating an aura around me.
Many of the roads I ride at one time were the major routes between cities and towns of this part of New England. Border crossings and mileage marker posts are usually made of concrete painted white. The signs are usually pressed cast iron with lead frames. The roads have very little traffic and are not to far from the high speed animal death traps.
I was also getting acquainted with my new Garmin Edge Touring GPS which allowed me to get off the usual route and try out more remote roads. It worked out fine and added a few extra miles to the outbound ride. The young wrench was impressed that I was doing such a long ride so early in the season. I tried to act modest about the miles but inside I was gloating. As to the bike question. I was hearing a clicking noise I though could be my bottom bracket. Joe Travis, the owner, asked me which side the clicking was happening.
“The right side I said”.
Joe told me if it was my bottom bracket the clicking would be from both side. He suggested that the clicking is either my pedal or crank arm. A little grease should fix that lickity split. Everything worked out fine and the 30+ miles to the shop was a can-o-corn. However…………….. I now had another 30 miles to get home. That’s when I realized why the wrench was so impressed with the long early season ride. Needless to say, it was tough but that’s where the past touring experience comes into play. I have had many days like this while touring and found that slowing down and paying really close attention to the little things around, like the birds, dogs, scenery and all that stuff, really melts the miles away. I dropped out of that zone a couple of times but was able to get back into it easily and soon enough I only had twenty miles to go. Crap.
I can remember people telling stories about driving 50 miles for a cup of coffee or 250 miles to New York City to get a newspaper. Those were the days when it was really a big deal to own a car. Doing something crazy like that was an initiation into manhood back in the 50’s. To translate that into the 21st century, I rode my bike 17 miles to get a liverwurst sandwich. With tomato, cheese and mustard no less. Actually I doubt there are many places in the world where one can buy a liverwurst sandwich, so I brought my own.
I was thinking about this post while I was riding and the many times I had done this route. Adding the links to reference past rides would have looked something like this.
See the write ups, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here……
Needless to say, the town of Rochester located on the SouthCoast of Massachusetts is a very popular area to ride because of the bike friendly rural roads. By the way, SouthCoast is a local name adopted by the area to pinpoint a more specific area of Southeastern Massachusetts. There is a reason why its spelled SouthCoast, and I remember it making sense, but no one thinks about why any longer. We just accept the moniker.
Take a look at more of this loop through Rochester into Wareham, MA.
Only two other riders showed for this early spring ride. Without being shown there is very little chance of finding the access points to walk or bike across either bridge crossing the Cape Cod Canal. The last words said just before accessing either bridge is “get in the easiest gear on your bike now”. Both have short but very steep driveways to climb to get to the head of the walkway.
Although the weather called for mid fifty temperatures, that milestone would not be reached till around 2PM. We finished around 12:30ish and the last 7 miles were into a stiff 15 knot wind. The wind, even though it’s our friend, was cold and made us put our heads down and dip our shoulder into the resistance.
Today’s ride was a test for the new Garmin Edge Touring GPS. The device was purchased to be used on my two long tours this year. The Edge touring passed the easy test with flying colors today. I downloaded a regular route and let the Garmin take me on a turn by turn bike ride. Tomorrow I’ll try a couple more navigation items just to begin to learn what the device can do. I’ll do this on the Cape Cod Canal both sided crossing both bridges ride. I will be leaving the lot in Buzzards Bay, at the Rail Road bridge at 10AM. If your a local and you want to ride along. Meet me there and I ‘ll show you all the secret places the canal route has hidden away.
The rain has ended but the effects of the heavy rains remain.
As always. Click any photo for big. Click again for bigger.
The New Bedford/Fairhaven bridge is closed. For many many years, this route has been the best for cyclists to get into the city from Fairhaven because the sidewalk doubles as a bikeway. For the next couple of weeks cyclists are forced to ride over the Coggeshall St. Bridge, which isn’t bad, it’s just a long way around that doubles the mileage to the south end of the city from East Fairhaven.
There was not a whole lot going on in the city today and even the sea gulls were acting bored. The fishing boats were docked, the scrap boat dock was quiet and the church was rotting away. Same O, Same O in New Bedford. I decided to ride to the south end, the real south end, from the library to the fort. The ocean temperature is around 38F. When it’s 10 degrees out there is a warming breeze from the ocean making things a little more comfortable. When it’s 50 degrees outside that same 35 degree ocean breeze makes things a little more uncomfortable. It wont be long when that cooling breeze off the 75 degree ocean waters will make us say “ahhhh, nice breeze”. That’s a July and August post. Stay tuned.
As always, click any photo for big. Click again for bigger.
The Shining Sea Bike Path is a ten mile trail stretching from Falmouth to Woods Hole, Massachusetts. The Falmouth end of the trail takes the rider on a quiet journey along the marshlands of Buzzards Bay on a flat rail to trail multi use path. Lots of red winged blackbirds were perching on very delicate marsh grass that look much to dainty to even hold the weight of a small bird. The crow were also out in numbers today along with the usual, swan, geese and ducks. The scenery gradually changes to a more densely populated area where riders are encouraged to dismount and walk across the roads that cross the path. That may be necessary during the tourist season when everyone in a car is in a hurry to get to the next red light. Off season however there is very little, and also, bicycle friendly traffic.
The town of Woods Hole during the summer is a madhouse with heavy traffic both on the roads and on foot. There is a small draw bridge in the center of town that opens on command for mostly pleasure and small commercial fishing boats. Most being lobster boats. When the bridge rises for boats to pass, those on bicycles are encouraged to get to the front of the line. No traffic is allowed on the bridge until all the bikes from both directions have completely crossed the 20 foot wide span. The bridge tender is always a man in his 60’s or 70’s, and most likely a retired Woods Hole Oceanographic employee who no one really should mess with. Woods Hole is the home port of Robert Ballard of Titanic fame. The ship RV Knorr was also in port.
The research vessel Knorr is owned by the U.S. Navy and operated by WHOI for the ocean research community. Knorr is best known as the ship that supported a team of WHOI and French researchers in 1985 as they discovered the wreck of the RMS Titanic.
Also riding the path was a group of senior cyclists on their first ride of the season. Many of them will be traveling to Holland next month for a week long bike and barge tour. Walkers with dogs were many and most had two four legged friends for company. The path was also undergoing spring cleaning by crews removing dangerous dead trees and branches overlooking the MUP.
The ride along the East Bay Bike Path in Providence R.I. began with the excitement of the first nice riding day in a long time. I began with the intention of getting a good workout on this ride. That didn’t last long at all because when I reached the bottom of the hill that brings the bike path to the bay, the sights grabbed me. There were only a couple of us on the path this early in the morning. One woman was photographing swans as a lone jogger passed. I stopped to take a couple of shots of the marshland and also the working waterfront of the East Bay where very big freighters were being offloaded. The far side freighter was carrying coal while near me was an oil ship riding very high, almost empty.
After the brief stop for the photo ops it was time to hammer. I was quickly gaining ground on a guy riding a cruiser bike. I could see he was working hard, but his upright position, fat tires and his spare tire were no match for my carbon fiber bike. Any other day I would have given an “on yer left” and zipped by with nary a glance. Today however I decided to pull along side and see if I could strike up a conversation. He was receptive and we rode together for a couple of miles just talking about biking. He eventually left the path for his nearby home and I again got into the go fast mode. I had to slow a couple of times for couples walking as well as dog walkers. During one of these slowdowns I began to hear the sounds of nature. A variety of birds seemed to be calling to me. The caw of a crow, the Microsoft windows call of the red winged black bird, chickadees, robins and even the call of a lonely goose meandering in a pond. I couldn’t help but wonder if it was calling for a lost mate.
I continued riding at the slower comfort pace honing in on the surroundings and things seemed to be talking to me. As I got near trees, birds began singing as if to greet me. “Welcome traveler” was what I was imagining them saying. The sounds changed as I got into the center of Warren R.I. I heard the familiar sound of a mail truck on the road adjacent to the bike path. I focused on the sound of the red diesel pickup truck in front of the fire stations just as the low hum of tires on tar entered the scene. As I rode on those mechanical noises gave way to the quiet and the birds again began to sing to me. I didn’t want to try to have to remember all these feelings and write them down in a few hours so I pulled over and put everything in the journal I always carry.
As I was writing I heard “hello John” and turned to see the Cafe Tour riders pass by. This group meets every Saturday at the head of the East Bay Path in Providence and ride to the Bristol Bagel Shop for breakfast. This day, one had a slight problem with his bike and they stopped at a shop on the path long enough for me to catch up and ride the remaining few miles to breakfast. The melancholy I had was gone and I was now in the people mode yacking away with different riders of that group till it was time to eat. I have to say that once everyone got their food the conversations ceased and the riders savored and appreciated the great food that was one of the reasons for the bike ride. After all, It would be a shame to ride 16 miles to get a great cup of coffee and a delicious fresh bagel and not remember them because we were too busy talking.
I left them at the the bagel shop and made the return ride to Providence at the pace I had originally intended to do the whole ride. I do have to say however that I don’t remember much about that part but I do remember every minute of the time I was paying attention to nature and talking with the Cafe riders. And that was a much better experience.
The South Coast Bike Summit was a success last night. A few politicians and bike advocates spoke eloquently about the plans in place concerning bike infrastructure. MassBike and East Coast Greenways were represented and gave enlightening presentations on how the bike culture is progressing in Southeastern Massachusetts. It was the usual meeting of the mind kind of summit until the last speaker took the podium. He is a bike traveler and was mingling with the attendees during the reception hour. He is an author, a radio hose and Adventure Cycling Association Columnist. Before the official summit began I purchased his book because it was about bike touring. A few people left thinking this thing was just dragging on and boy did they miss desert.
Willy Wier was introduced just as most of us were pining for coffee or adrenalin or chocolate to keep awake. Within a minute of Willy’s presentation, everyone was ready to jump up and praise the glory of bike riding. Willy, a professional thespian (actor for those tempted to google thespian), tuned from the quiet guy in the green shirt to the guy on a corner handing out twenty dollar bills. When he finished there was a dash to the back of the building to buy his book. There was not enough to fulfill the demand but anyone can order one online. He signed my book with with this quote.
Dream- pedal -travel- repeat
After the summit we all gathered at Cork’s Wine and Tapas bar. A handful of us stayed much too late and to add insult to this, I had a cold, windy 5 mile bike ride home. I awoke around 7AM so evidently I made it. But….during that cocktail 4 hours, I had ample time to speak with Willy about bike travel. Before this I was feeling apprehensive about my 1200 mile tour. Now I’m looking forward to doing this ride from Jacksonville, Fla. to Austin, Tx and I’m determined to do it in October instead of next March. The mail was delivered as I was leaving the house this morning and low and behold my Adventure Cycling Southern Tier Maps arrived. Do you believe in divine intervention? Ha! Me neither.
There will be a bike ride to the event leaving Corks Wine and Tapas Bar at 4:15. This route will take the bikers along West Beach in New Bedford into the West gate of Fort Rodman. This side is the area most protected by the artillery bunkers one of which housed two 12 inch cannons and one a disappearing 8 inch gun. We will also pass Fort Taber that was designed by a young engineer Robert E Lee. During the Civil War years Captain Henry Martyn Robert was placed in charge of the construction of the fort. It was around this time, after attending a chaotic church meeting, that he began writing the Robert`s Rules of Parliamentary Procedure. First published in 1876, it remains the standard guide to parliamentary procedure to this day.
The riders will return via the East Beach route which offers spectacular views of Buzzard’s Bay, the Butler Flats Lighthouse and the majestic Fairhaven wind turbines.
I will also lead a second ride from Cork’s at 5:30 if there is an interest. I do require a text message well in advance and I will ride back from Fort Rodman to lead that second group. The second ride will be on the more direct West Beach route.
text or call 508-965-1216
Remember that it will be after sunset when we depart the summit. Light up your bike and bring a helmet if you wish, but the route is very well lit and bike friendly, so you decide.