Here’s to You, Vacation Home Owners

When someone asks if I want to drive two hours to go on a 30 mile bike ride, obviously I say YES! (In reality I said something like, “Why would I want to drive for a total of four hours to bike for approximately two?” but I ended up saying “YES!”…only it probably came out more like, “…sure.”)

After a quick pit stop for a pizza power-up, we were on our way.

The ferry was about to pull away as my friend whipped the Honda into the last available parking space, and by available I mean the car fit after I moved a rouge bicycle out of the way. I quickly shed my sneakers for clip-ins, snagged my helmet as I shut the car door (very Indiana Jones if you ask me), and skedaddled over to the ferry. We made it.

Moments later andimg_1180 hellllllooooo Shelter Island. I clipped in my right foot and away I went up the first little hill. I still can’t clip in with both feet on the Blackfin; despite being on the loosest setting, those new clips are just too tight. When I make the mistake of clipping both feet, my mind screams, “BROKEN CLAVICLE!!!!!!!!!!!!” No thank you Blackfin. No thank you. Gosh, that would be such a nightmare. I miss my old clips.

We headed to the easternmost point which was, of course, beautiful. Since it was late fall there weren’t many cars on the island. That plus the fact that people who own vacation homes don’t have pothole filled streets which meeeeeeans NO DOWNHILL BRAKING NECESSARY! This is huge. HUGE. I am a country girl who lives in the city which means no matter where I am, there are Grand Canyon level potholes, cracked concrete wide enough to grab my tire (= me over the handlebars and on the street), and the like. Not having to brake  is such a treat. 35mph here I come!

img_1178After using the map and making a couple of wrong turns, we realized there are no wrong turns. We’re on a tiny island. We stuffed the map into a jersey pocket and away we went. Good afternoon French ice cream shop, how do you do?! Yes, I will sit your deck overlooking the water while I eat salted caramel and dark chocolate scoops. Don’t mind if I do. (Do I secretly bike so I can eat tons of ice cream? Maybe.)

We pedaled onward and upward. We never did find the church that allegedly exists at the highest point but I (for once) am loathe to complain about going uphill because of those sweet downhills. Thank you seasonal islanders for your beautiful, pothole-free roads.

Because of that carefree downhill, that’s why I love riding my bike.


Bike Week 2016

There are many, many things that bring me joy: being outside, snow days, vacation, spending time with my family, any kind of ice cream (duh). I try to incorporate these into my life as much as possible; while I haven’t had much luck conjuring up a good snow storm, I have been known to eat an indecent amount of ice cream while outside on a vacation to visit my family.

And then there are the joyful things I forget about. When my friend and I were deciding where on the east coast to go camping, I had no idea that camping on a beach where wild horses live would be an option. I mean…that’s amazing, right? Right. All other ideas = instantly tossed out.

We packed up the car (forgetting our camp chairs…again), loaded the bikes, and started the three hour drive. Since avoiding tolls would take an addition 2-3 hours, we decided to just pay extra and were pleasantly surprised to discover there was only one toll and it cost less than $5. Win.

As soon as we crossed the bridge onto Assateague Island, there they were, about eight wild horses chilling next to the road eating grass. Magical. Minus the 30+ tourists getting uncomfortably close to the animals to take selfies. These are wild animals. Some of them have rabies. I also noticed that in the large group, there were a lot of bikers. Not the spandex bikers like us but the leather bikers. But it was a nice day so I didn’t think much of them (other than how obnoxiously loud their bikes are).

We pulled into our camp site behind the dunes, unloaded the bikes, and took off on an easy 60 mile bike ride. I had the Blackfin (a nice bike I bought off my sister a few months ago) It’s so lightweight my baby nephew can bench press it. It’s not really practical for riding in the city because all the stop signs, lights, and potholes, but out there, it was fast. I can understand why Lance Armstrong was doping; going fast is FUN! (But I don’t endorse doping, obviously.)

img_1799Ten miles into it, we hit the outskirts of Ocean City.  The bicycling through Ocean City should be serene. Not only is it flat, blocks from the beach, but there is a full-sized lane on the road just for bicycles. Sounds like paradise. But then there were the motorcycles. Bike after bike after bike after bike. An obscene number of motorcycles. Everywhere we looked. And they were SO LOUD. Lo and behold, it was Ocean City Bike Week. Terrrrrrific.

I love the celebration of one’s hobby but please don’t park 100+ motorcycles in the bike lane just because you can. That’d be great. Thanks.

We crushed the bike ride. We were on our road bikes so we felt faster than fast. Then we turned around. HelLO headwind! Slower than slow. It was so tough we had to make a pitstop to refuel with a funnel cake on the boardwalk. Had to.

When we finally made it back to the park, img_1807we hopped off the  bike path to the road to avoid the horse that was blocking the trail. RUDE! (Jk, obviously the horses were amazing.) Camp didn’t take long to set up (although we did move the world’s heaviest picnic table to a new spot to try to block people cutting through our campsite on their way to the bathroom). Then we headed out to the nearest crab shack for a HUGE dinner. If post-ride to Harpers Ferry was fries on fries on fries, this was crab on crab on crab. Leather was definitely the dress code that night. We squeezed in though…nothing to see here.

img_1810Somehow we rolled our full bellies to the beach for some relaxing digestion under the full moon. Not too shabby of a way to spend the evening. Some might even call it romantic…until we stumbled across a fisherman who had caught an unidentifiable animal’s digestive track. That wasn’t so romantic.

A crappy night’s sleep (thanks to the world’s worst camp neighbors who were up talking/yelling until 3AM), a beautiful walk on the beach, and a three hour drive later and we were back home.

Because riding bikes isn’t insanely loud (like certain other bikes we saw that weekend), that’s why I love riding my bike.