NY to Boston trip, May 27 to May 30

NY to Boston trip, May 27 to May 30.

 

As a veteran of many weekend trips, about 10, and I having co-lead a few; I can give this trip an A.  For those who want the more detailed version, please continue to read.

I diligently trained for this trip, from Ronkonkoma, NY to Boston, MA.  This trip had its challenges, one very rainy day, the distance, elevation gain, physical wear and tear, etc.  I prepared for the trip by going on training rides and by watching and applying the techniques that were provided by the leaders on YouTube.  Further, I met the required approval by the leaders for the physical and mental fortitude required to complete a four-day trip of over 200 miles of hilly terrain, totaling about 8,000 feet of climbing.  A well-tuned bike and a certain fitness level are essential as we were often in very remote and hilly areas; however, emergency Sag support was available.

The training paid off, as I was able to consistently join the faster group.  However, joining the slower group repeatedly crossed my mind, especially after day two when we climbed over 2,000 ft. in a little under 50 miles.  However, something simply takes over me once I mount a bike.  The fatigue, life’s challenges, unprecedented regressive politics and other concerns seem to all disappear.  Biking to me and many other cyclists is therapeutic, calming and releases plenty of endorphins.

Day One: Ronkonkoma, NY

We started on a lovely sunny day as we made our way from Ronkonkoma, NY to Orient Point via the North Fork Wine Trail.  We stopped at the popular Briermere Farms for a delicious strawberry rhubarb pie.  Next time, maybe we will stop at one of the many wineries to pick up a bottle or two to enjoy in the evening when we are off the bike.  Steve, a fellow tripper and me hit a good rhythm to be the first to catch the one-hour ferry to New London, Connecticut.  We then rode to nearby Groton, Ct. for our first overnight.  The hotel had a free 20 minute shuttle to Foxwoods Casino, which a few of us went to and had the all you can eat buffet and tried our luck at the casino, which we found to be a nice way to spend the evening, relaxing and maximizing our evening in Connecticut.

Day Two: Groton, CT  

The hot breakfast was good, which energized us for the hilly terrain as we made our way to South Kingston, Rhode Island, where we had our best accommodations, particularly because the hotel had a whirlpool and a pool, which many of us took advantage of, as it did wonders for our aching muscles.

Day Three: South Kingston, RI

The hot breakfast was good; the weather was unseasonably cool and wet   However, cyclists are not wimps, accepts challenges, like being self-determined and self-defined, irrespective of the conditions.  Thus, we bundled up and started out in a cool and steady rain, which included a few down pours during our 70-mile route.  Here, the hills were more spread out and you were not as focused on the hills as simply being able to stay steady in the rain, monitor your brakes, distances from other cyclists, watch for pot holes, puddles, and to hit and maintain a nice pace to stay as warm as possible.  Despite the conditions, there were still highlights of the rainy ride.  One highlight was our stop at a Dunkin Donuts.  This was the first time I experienced a Dunkin Donuts with a nice fireplace, which warmed our bodies, spirits and hearts, and fortified us to tackle the cool rain and the unfamiliar terrain on our trusted bikes.  Despite being advised to be prepared for the rain and cool weather, few, including myself, were not as prepared as we could have been.  

Live and learn.  I will be more prepared next time.  One leader Ed Sorbin, not only had rain resistant wear, but an extra pair of dry clothes with him.  I was impressed, because he arrived rather unscathed by the elements.  Again, live and learn.

Another highlight of the day’s ride was when we stopped in a very nice Brewery for a warm and good lunch in Providence, RI on our way to Brockton, MA. 

Elyssa made very good use of the Sag van by picking up a rider with a broken spoke and stopping at a local farm stand and picked up some very good pies (mixed berry and apple) which the group enjoyed in the evening.

Despite the rain and cool weather, everyone was in good spirits and encouraging each other to stay the course, as if we had a choice!  Good group dynamics were present and are important, especially when the elements are challenging.  Many trippers bonded over the four-day period, because much is shared and accomplished.

Day Four: Brockton and Boston, MA

Again, the hot breakfast was good, with good tasting pancakes coming out of a contraction that resembled a copier machine.  We welcomed the dry weather, and rode a little under 30 miles, which I believe everyone’s legs enjoyed a shorter day and drier weather as we rode into Boston from Brockton MA, along nice rail trails, quiet roads, busier roads with a decent shoulder and some roads with a bike lane.

When we arrived in Boston, Nathalie had thoughtfully arranged for us to shower, and change out of our biking clothes at a local gym.  After, many of us had a very good lunch at Legal Seafood’s.  We also did a walking tour of historic Boston, which was led by Chris, one of the trippers who went to school there.

I think the litmus test for any trip, on or off a bike, is whether you would do it again.  Here, it would be an unequivocal yes, because the leaders planning, attention to detail, due diligence was impeccable, and to me, unprecedented.  A few examples of going beyond expectation were providing gu, granola bars, and other snacks to take in the morning before each ride, and 2 days of laundry service.  Often, in life the little things can have the larger impact.  Also, her communicating via technology, geozilla, group texting, emails, pre-meetings keep everyone on the same page.  

It was a very good biking trip to get out of the city, to leave the everyday routine of life, regressive politics, (yes again) and to focus on and enjoy bike riding over new, challenging, and beautiful terrain in four different states.

When we arrived in NYC around 9:30ish, our bikes, and luggage were lined up on a railing waiting for us in the same place we dropped them off 4 days ago, across from Penn Station.

 

As a result of all of their hard work, I think I can speak for many of the trippers, in sending special thanks to the trip leaders, Holly, Elyssa, Ed, and Nathalie who demonstrated true leadership qualities, graciousness, humor, compassion, patience, flexibility, bicycling touring, and mechanical knowledge.

Lastly, special kudos to Nathalie, who gave birth to this new trip, pre-planning, organization, and I am probably missing something that she did well, but in short, the trip was well done, and is highly recommended if it will be revisited.  Count me in.  

  

Ken Williams