A Great Day for a Ride

Wheel full 70px Yesterday was one of the nicest ride days of the trip.  I did a little over 60 miles/100 kilometers.

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Wheel full 70px It wasn’t any particular thing that made it so nice- actually it was mostly cloudy and breezy for much of the day.  But there were interesting bridges

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long stretches of rail trail

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and some nifty urban riding in Providence.

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Wheel full 70px Then there was a great run down the coast opposite Newport to Point Judith, where I stayed last night at an excellent state campground.  The Atlantic Ocean beaches were magnificent.

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Wheel full 70px And I’ll admit it- I was bad.   I rewarded my effort with a nice pizza.

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Wheel full 70px We’ll see how that affects the next weigh-in.

Wheel full 70px Today I’ll continue along the coast into Connecticut, where I hope to have a late lunch with a friend in Groton.  I’ll then catch a ferry in New London to Orient Point on Long Island.  A busy day, but it’s sunny and the wind is with me this morning.

Doing a 60

Wheel full 70px I’ve mentioned that, south of New York City, my trip plan calls for me to put in 60 mile/100 kilometer days.  Every day.  For a month.

Wheel full 70px Now, this is basically possible because, between there and Key West, the terrain can pretty much be summed up in two words: parking lot.  During the trip to date hills have slowed me down, sometimes a lot.  On stretches like rail-trails where there is no appreciable elevation change or, at worst, almost imperceptible grades I am currently riding at around 14-15 miles/~25 kilometers an hour, and I can apparently sustain that speed for a long time.

Wheel full 70px So I was pleased today on a somewhat hilly route to find that I had made it 58.5 miles/about 95 kilometers.

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Wheel full 70px I can do this!

Wheel full 70px I did run into my first major routing glitch.

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Wheel full 70px A three year bridge replacement project according to a nice guy who stopped and asked if I was lost when he spotted me staring forlornly at the construction barriers.  The bridge still shows up as open on both Google and Apple maps.  Oopsie.

Wheel full 70px Oh, and

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Wheel full 70px Weigh-in day tomorrow.  The suspense is killing me.

On to Newport

Wheel full 70px I’m in Buzzards Bay, another place name from my youth.  I plan to ride to Newport, Rhode Island today.  Good bye, Massachusetts.

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Wheel full 70px It has pretty much stopped raining and the extended forecast looks much better.

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Wheel full 70px Still looks foggy and damp this morning, though.  Nothing like yesterday- I white-knuckled my way over the Bourne Bridge off Cape Cod in the fog at dusk.  This is the first of several really big bridges on the trip.

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Wheel full 70px I had breakfast with two great friends in Buzzards Bay.  Thanks, Art and Bev, for meeting me and treating me to a nice meal and some excellent conversation.

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Water, water everywhere

Wheel full 70px I had hoped to do major miles today over a particularly flat area, including stopping at a bike shop and meeting up with a friend.

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Wheel full 70px But, as that ominous TV music goes… dah, dah, dah, DAAAH!

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Wheel full 70px It is an understatement to say that there is rain in the forecast today.

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Wheel full 70px This is on top of it pretty much pouring from 2:00 pm on yesterday.  The bike and I were soaked when I finally stopped for the night.  Everything except my shoes pretty much dried overnight, but it looks like I’ll be doing that all over again today.

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Wheel full 70px But nothing inside my panniers or handlebar bag is even damp, thanks to Ortlieb’s “Waterproof Classic” series.  The panniers, front and rear, are essentially heavy-duty dry bags on a frame that allows easy attachment to the correct kind of bicycle rack.  They do a lot towards helping me keep my spirits up on wet days.  I recommend them unconditionally for the kind of trip I’m making.

Halftime

Wheel full 70px Last night was the halftime point in  my ride from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Key West, Florida.   I have been on the road for 42 days and given my plan to arrive in Key West on November the 10th,  I have 42 more days left to ride.

Wheel full 70px My RidewithGPS app tells me that I have ridden  almost exactly 1,300 miles/2,100 kilometers since starting in Halifax six weeks ago.   It also tells me I have about 2,100 miles/3,350 kilometers to go.  This is what that situation looks like.

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I’m at the map pin, eating breakfast

Wheel full 70px In order to accomplish the remaining distance, I will have to ride on average 50 miles/80 kilometers every day between now and the 10th of November.  That will be tough, but it has always pretty much been the plan, as I planned 60 mile/100 kilometer days every day south of New York City with a rest day about once a week.  So, believe it or not, I am pretty much on track to do this.

Wheel full 70px A big factor in my favor is that three quarters of the elevation gain is now already overcome and behind me.  RidewithGPS tells me that, since I started riding, I have climbed almost 68,000 feet/20,500 meters- a gain of more than 12 miles/20 kilometers.  On the entire remainder of the ride, there’s only another 22,000 feet/6,600 meters to go, and that works out to a little more than 100 feet/30 meters per mile/1.6 kilometers.  That’s less than a two percent grade on average, which is close to imperceptible on a bicycle.

Wheel full 70px Not bad for an old fat guy, eh?  Or at least I was at the start of the ride.  We’ll see if we can do the “fat” part of that in completely by the end.

Wheel full 70px See you along the way to Key West!

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Closing in on 40%

Wheel full 70px It seems like it was just a few days ago that I was leaving Halifax, Nova Scotia and already here’s

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Wheel full 70px I rode through the heart of the downtown, which was very exciting and at the same time sad, because it was in Boston five years ago that my daughter Stephanie, her husband Gary and we in the rest of the family had to come to grips, after several months of unsuccessful proton radiation treatments, that their son Aidan’s very aggressive brain cancer was not treatable.

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Wheel full 70px Aidan passed away a day before his second birthday late in 2011.  He was very much on my mind today.

Wheel full 70px My route out of Boston was planned to be the ferry to Provincetown on the tip of Cape Cod.  Brisk winds caused the Atlantic to be too choppy for the ferry to run, so I wound up on a bus for almost three hours instead, going the long way around.  The wait to depart was cheered by the opportunity to meet two longtime friends made over the Internet.  I was treated to several beers (truth be told, about half the beer I have drunk during my entire life) and great conversation for most of an hour.

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Wheel full 70px It was really nice to put real faces with names, but I was surprised at the degree of connection that online interaction over the course of the past decade had created.  I can only hope that I can be as gracious a host in Alaska when folks drop out of nowhere and visit me there.

Wheel full 70px So, with about 1,300 miles down and 2,100 left to go, my trip is getting close to 40% complete. I’ll go into greater detail in a coming post, but for now I’ll just point out as well that three-quarters of the trip’s projected elevation gain is behind me. This is a big deal, as I will need to pick up the pace in order to keep my promise to my wife to be in Key West by November 10th. My average riding speed has definitely increased several miles an hour over the past few days as the terrain has flattened.

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No Ferry for You!

Wheel full 70px Well, it looks like my ferry ride from Boston Harbor to Provincetown at the tip of Cape Cod is going to turn into a bus ride.  There are 9-10 foot/~3 meter seas later today due to the high winds in the area and that is apparently too rough for the ferry.  The company is substituting a bus, which I am told will accept my bike and panniers.

Wheel full 70px So I’m disappointed.  I had looked forward to seeing Boston from out on the water, but that’s just not going to happen, I guess.  The day will still be a good one- I’m getting together with some friends when I arrive at the ferry terminal, which will be a treat.

Wheel full 70px Concern has been expressed about my riding in downtown Boston.  Here’s my route.

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Wheel full 70px I am riding across the city on the “cover” that they built over the Big Dig- the former I-93 Central Artery.  I rode on it in May on one of the city’s rent-a-bikes, and have no qualms based on that experience.  So, film at 11.

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