I called for an 8:30 meeting for anyone who wanted to ride the Shining Sea Bike Trail a 10.5 mile rail to trail conversion from Falmouth to Wood’s Hole on Cape Cod, MA. When any of us in our group put the word out for a ride we have no idea how many would show. It could be a solo ride or a critical mass. Today was closer to the latter.
Steve had never done this ride, which as most rail to trail MUPs, are pretty secluded. I took him off the path a couple of times to ride along the waterfront. The scenery is so much better, to say the least.
When we arrived at Wood’s Hole, I explained to many in the group about the coffeeneuring challenge. We’ll see how many new faces show from Quincy and other Massachusetts bike clubs. Many or should I say all but two riders, piled into the Pie In The Sky cafe. Steve and I went to Coffee Obsession on Water St. Both have very good coffee with good Baristas.
The intent was to ride a few miles to a local animal shelter and do come comp work on the phone system. The ride began with the sun shining, only a wisp of wind and warm temperatures. It wouldn’t take long to install the phones so breakfast was postponed till after the job was done. A quick stop into a local super market for an apple to tide me over would be perfect. Things changed very quickly and exiting the market I saw this. As always, click any photo for big. Click again for bigger. Hit the back button to return to the story
I needed 10 minutes to get into the city and that seemed like it would be cutting it close. I stopped at the local McDonald’s to use their internet to check the weather. It was going to be close but I decided to go for it. Like the game show where you have money in your hand or you can risk it all for a grand prize. The money in my hand was coffee at McDonalds or take a chance on crossing the river to Green Bean Cafe for a wonderful cappuccino and a blueberry scone.
While having coffee, I got a call that the phone system was up and working at the animal shelter and I had the day to myself.
I hadn’t been on the road bike since May. There is a story to that but it’s not interesting. I got old Gurtrude aka Yellow Bike ready for her first road ride since then. We will tack on an additional 30 miles this afternoon just to kick start the mojo for some serious road riding over the next few weeks beginning tomorrow.
Falmouth to Wood’s Hole on the Shining Sea bike trail. Met at the parking lot on RT 151 #16 on this map. Be there for an 8:30 AM start.
A slow fall ride for coffee today. I had planned to ride more but things didn’t work out. I did get in around 10 miles with a stop at Green Bean, in the city of New Bedford, also called the Whaling City, on Buzzards Bay in Massachusetts. The Green Bean is likely to be one of my coffeeneuring challenge stops in the future, but not today.
The Phoenix Bike Path takes me along a spot that is, “my favorite place”. It’s a great place to stop, relax and watch the wildlife, which I often do. Today I was in a bit of a rush to meet people for coffee and had no plan on stopping. Nature flashed me such a spectacular sight I had no choice but to turn back take out my camera and share the following. Things worked out because I missed having coffee at McPtomain’s and ended up at a great hipster joint in the city.
As always, click any photo for big. Click again for bigger Hit the back button to return to the story.
As always, click any photo for big. Click again for bigger. Hit the back button to return to the story.
Secret Places are what a visitor to a city or town gets to experience when they ride a bike with a local. The local takes you not only to the best tourist places, but also to those really great spots that only the they know exist. A bar, a restaurant, a beautiful riding route or a local event are the secret places that make a visit memorable especially if you have people. My people were #3 son Brandon and his riding friends.
Austin was one of those visits and was such great getaway that provided a bundle of highlights beginning with my bike rental. Most visitors rent bikes from Mellow Johnny’s, a shop that boasts Lance Armstrong as one of it’s owners. Because I had people in Austin, I was taken off the beaten path to Austin Bikes where the owner Saul Frost, provided me with a new Scott 40 comfort bike, that was perfect for riding around the city with a camera, at a rate that was more than generous. Renting a bike was a priority that preceded checking into my hotel.
Brandon left me at the Austin Motel to give me time to get settled and take a nap before returning with his bike to give me a tour of the city. A visit to Mellow Johnny’s for coffee and a bit of shopping before meeting his lady at work. She also rides, and the three of us rode to dinner at G’Raj Mahal Cafe on Rainey St. Put this place on your list during your visit to Austin. Brandon works on Rainey St so we also did a bar crawl to meet some of his fellow bartenders and bar owners. We road back to the hotel after midnight and that was very cool on Austin’s bike friendly streets.
A few short feet from the Austin Motel sits Joe’s Coffee. This is a very popular spot that has a perpetual line standing at the outdoor order window. One taste of their cappuccino was enough to make Joe’s my go to first morning coffee, joint.
Brandon showed mid morning for our 3 mile ride to breakfast at the Counter Cafe. The more time I spend in Austin the more I felt like I was in Boulder, Colorado. Both are very hip, athletic comfortable cities. Any city with a vibrant bike culture sits very high on my list of desirable destinations.
After a healthy meal, we mounted our bikes for the six mile ride to the Austin Botanical Gardens, the jewel in the heart of Austin. As a bonus, we had to ride in the area of Austin City Limits festival grounds. The festival is two weekends of great music that is often featured on PBS. Watching ACL on PBS is how I got to know performers such as Robert Earl Keene, Delbert McClinton and a few others that would have not been part of my playlist without ACL.
Mellow Johnny’s, bar crawls on Rainey St., the LBJ Libraray, great restaurants, Austin City Limits, rides through parks along the Colorado River, gardens, and coffee shops by bike make Austin very sweet. I got to do this because I had people. On Thursday night those people provided the highlight that paled all the other wonderful things we did in Austin. The Thursday Night Driveway Series Bike Races.
I got to ride the seven plus miles with a few of the pro racers from Mellow Johnny’s to the venue. Our route was side streets and bike paths at a reasonable pace that allowed me, on my rented comfort bike, to keep up and take pictures.
The Driveway was much better than I had expected. It was minimally controlled chaos because of the limited time caused by the dwindling daylight. There were three races, senior riders, Cat 3,4, and 5 and the last to start were the CAT 2-1 and pro racers. The chaotic part was that as soon as one group passed on the bell lap, the gates would open and the next group would roll onto the track. Some riders were still crossing the finish line across the field, when the next race would begin. Riders who were really far behind, were SAGed off the track before beginning the last lap to insure the next group would not catch them.
Bike racers proved to be a friendly group we found when, on our ride home in the dark, (an Austin bike culture theme), a group of racers called us into a convenience store lot to share, stories and their beer.
There are some really special places to visit. Austin, Texas is surely one of them. But if you have people to show you the secret places, that special place can become so much more.
As always, click any photo for big. Click again for bigger. Click the back button to return to story.
CLICK HERE for all the flickr photos. Use any you want.
Thursday night is the Driveway criterium races in Austin. When I go away alone, I usually rent a bike in stead of a car and sometimes stumble into the local bike culture. In Austin that is very easy to do. Go to a bike/coffee shop or a hipster bar or two on your bike and, wah lah. Your a member.
A few of us met at Mellow Johnny’s (Armstrong’s bike and coffee shop). It was pretty neat riding my comfort bike and wearing my best hat with a few of the racers in their full kits for the six mile ride to the races.
It was very dark when we left the race (we all had lights), which made and equally neat ride to our dinner destination, East Side King, a food truck behind and attached to Liberty Bar.
We did get side tracked however on the easy spin to dinner, when we heard this loud commotion and yelling off to our left side as we were about to cross a busy intersection. A couple of dozen of the racers, who normally ride to and from the event, had stopped at a convenience store and bought a couple of cases of cheap beer, Miller High Life. They insisted we stop and join the party. Who are we to refuse? So we stopped.
We mounted our bikes around 10 this morning and rode to the east side of Austin for breakfast at Counter Cafe on East 6th St. in Austin. That was after an early morning double cappuccino at the famous Joe’s Coffee right next to the Austin Motel.
We decide to take a tour of Austin and also add a little culture to Brandon’s resume. After riding around East and West 6th we took a spin to the Austin City Limits venue before continuing to the Austin Botanical Gardens. On the return ride we stopped for a light lunch at a neighborhood market where I was able to pick the perfect bike money purse. It’s so me according to my Facebook friends that have commented on it.
Brandon wanted to show me his training route, The Beacaves 30 mile loop and we decided to do that in his little roller The Scion something or other. He doesn’t know it, but I dozed through most of his monologue describing every hill turn and strava points, whatever the heck that is. Why do I tell everyone this?