By Lisa Swearingen & Vickie Dubberstein
Exploring the east coast on a bike sounded like a great idea and lots of fun, so my sister and I signed up for a bike tour. This was before we had started riding bikes, so needless to say, we had a lot to learn. Our journey quickly took us from riding our recreational hybrid bikes around Lake Hefner, to the purchase of road bikes and riding weekly rides with OBS. The bike tour leader told us to train to a point where we could comfortably ride 30 miles, two days in a row. We thought we were ready. What we quickly learned, was that touring cyclists under estimate everything they say. “Gently rolling terrain” means big hills, and lots of them, “moderate pace” means riding faster than we ever had, and “touring the nooks and crannies” means you better keep up or you are going to get lost!
Because we had just purchased our road bikes, we decided not to ship them and instead decided to use rentals. This could have been a really bad idea, but fortunately we were provided with very nice Fuji touring bikes. We had sent measurements prior to our trip and when we arrived, the tour leader made some minor adjustments and we were set.
Our tour began with a 45 mile ride from Hyannis, Ma to Woods Hole by way of the Cape Cod Canal. Unfortunately, it rained on us most of the day so we didn’t make many stops, and because we were new to cue sheet reading (and this one was two pages), we were not comfortable navigating on our own, so we stayed with the group. This took some effort because we rode at a pretty fast pace. By the time we reached the ferry at Woods Hole, we weren’t sure what we had gotten ourselves into. But after a rest on the ferry, we arrived on Martha’s Vineyard ready to explore.
The next morning we woke to a glorious day of sunshine! We went to the last working fishing harbor on Martha’s Vineyard at Menemsha, toured the cliffs at Aquinnah, went to Chicama Vineyards and a farmers market. Some people rode their bikes up to the cliffs, be we opted to take a tour bus with several other people from the group so we could see more, plus cliffs equal big hills! After our tour, we did get our bikes and we enjoyed a beautiful ride along the shore to Edgartown, Katama beach and other points of interest. On the way back, we did get lost, but it only added to the adventure.
After spending two days on Martha’s Vineyard, we took the ferry back to Hyannis. We enjoyed a wonderful lobster dinner that night and made plans to ferry to Nantucket the next morning.
With another day of beautiful weather, we took a high speed ferry to Nantucket. Some people decided to leave their bikes, and instead rented mopeds or went on harbor boat tours, or did a walking tour of Nantucket. All of which sounded fan. We, being gluttons for punishment, took our bikes and spent the day touring all over the island. We logged several miles, but saw the most beautiful beaches, cottages, and lighthouses. This was a quick trip, and we would have loved to have had more time on the island, but we had to ferry back and ended the day with a ride to our next destination of Orleans, on Cape Cod.
The next three days were spent touring different places on Cape Cod. The rides were longer that we had planned on and moved at a pretty fast pace. However, we did take time to see beautiful beaches, old historic stores, cranberry bogs and of course we couldn’t pass a lighthouse without stopping! The dunes along the National Seashore were amazing and the Cape Cod Rail Trail was great for cycling.
The trip was incredible. We would have liked a slower pace, but then we wouldn’t have seen as much. Our daily rides averaged 45 miles, although, my sister rode a couple of 60+ mile days. The other people on the tour were so friendly and willing to help us in any way. Cyclist really are a nice group of people, and it certainly was a highlight of our trip visiting with people from all over and hearing their touring stories.
We have definitely come to love cycling and will absolutely be bike touring again. We will train a little harder, pack a little lighter and study cue sheets before we begin. For more information, the tour company was:
Bike and the Like – Suzie and Roger Knable