Thursday, September 18, 2008
Biking The Cape, Part I
I never quite got around to blogging everything about my summer vacation on Cape Cod. Sure we hunted some lighthouses and bought some books and visited Provincetown and even checked out Mianus, but the best part for me was taking my bicycle along. Normally our vacations are so wide-ranging or far-flung that taking a bicycle isn’t practical. But this trip, since we were renting a house, each of the three families brought along a few bikes.
According to the rental property description and the Google Map, our cottage was right near the Cape Cod Rail Trail. It didn’t say it was a good deal up a hill from the rail trail. That didn’t bug me, but some of the less active bikers in our group (which was everybody except me) found that hill rather challenging.
I was shocked when my son said he’d get up at 7 a.m. to go biking with me. I think he just wanted to get the obligatory father-son ride out of the way.
I had bought a new rack and bag for my bike just so I could take my camera along. That morning the trail was infested with rabbits out for morning silflay. We saw more rabbits than people for the first several miles.
A few miles down the trail we hit the bicycle rotary in Harwich. I had never seen one for bicycles before and it looked like a great place to stop for a short rest.
From the rotary we took a side trail that went towards Chatham. This branch was a little hillier than the main trail and for the last couple of miles it kept detouring onto residential streets for blocks at a time making it difficult to follow. The path abruptly ended at a ball park and my son and I were trying to read a bad map to figure out how to get to the beach when the other two dads happened to drive by. They had been dawn lighthouse hunting and were now in search of coffee. My son abandoned me and tossed his bike onto their rack and left me to do the last five miles to the lighthouse by myself. The dads caught up with me at Chatham Beach.
We had gotten there just a little too late to catch the sunrise yoga class, but they sure looked pretty out there on the sand doing their downward facing dogs.
We also took time to watch the Coast Guard officer raise the flag at the lighthouse. The Code of Married Guys Acting Macho forbids me from repeating anything that might have been said about the attractiveness of this young lady in uniform.
Our rental was also right near Nickerson State Park that boasts eight miles of biking trails. As a group activity, the five guys on the trip all rode down to the park, but the trails were so windy and steep there was a mutiny and we only ended up riding a few miles that day.
Two days later we all mustered again to tackle the north half of the CCRT. As the most experienced cyclist, I said that we could turn around at any point that they felt was right. I rode sweep at the end of the pack to make sure we didn’t lose anybody. A certain machismo kept everybody from calling it quits until we hit the end of the trail in Wellfleet 12 miles later.
My son tended to lead the pack but the other kid on the ride, who was only fourteen, wasn’t used to his big sister’s bike and it was apparent that he wasn’t going to survive the ride back. As luck would have it, right near the trailhead was a breakfast place. They sat the five of us at a table where our biking fragrance wouldn’t offend the other patrons. We called the wives who had just begun their day of antiquing. We told them to come rescue the kid or we were going to send him home with the college sophomore waitress who was about to go off duty.
An hour later we were back on the trail, but the return trip was slightly into the wind, but we made it back with only one stop for ice cream. In total we rode over twenty-five miles that morning. A good weekend ride for me, but a serious stretch for the other dads. They complained about sore seats and stiff muscles the rest of the vacation. They may have complained, but the ride was sheer heaven to me.
Tomorrow: More tales from the trail.