The evidence was clear. That white circle and arrow painted on the road. The Narragansett Bay Wheelmen had recently arrowed a ride. A check of their website showed a new route from New Bedford to Plymouth MA. Four choices, 25, 38, 53 or 81 miles. The latter being to Plymouth and the choice was tentative but also enticing. Plymouth in the summer can be a great time.
A 10AM start with nothing but bikes on the road. It was like going back in time when traffic was sparse. Actually these rural roads are usually traffic free and are pretty much used only by the locals to get to the local highway which will take them to a bigger highway to Providence R.I. or Boston.
A new ride designed by Gil Peel, who says: A nice flat ride in our southeast quadrant that will keep you guessing where you are. Many of these roads that have been used on other NBW rides are, this time, ridden in opposite directions. Many other roads will be travelled for the first time. Did I mention a few cranberry bogs and a 4 second view of the Cape Cod Canal? Areas visited are New Bedford, Lakeville, Rochester, Middleboro, Carver, Plymouth, Bourne, Wareham, Marion and Acushnet.
Nothing but bikes on these rural roads
It's like going back in time
It was hot and and taking one of the bail out, lesser mile options was very tempting. Eighty one miles, eighty one miles, was repeated by that little devil on the shoulder. "Turn off while you can". His name was Jose and the answer was "no way". The traffic got heavier, the population more dense and soon enough the signs were clear.
It was still quite a trek, around five miles to the center of Plymouth. The bike entrance to the waterfront was pretty unique and a nice touch keeping biker and walkers away from the traffic. Boy scouts were everywhere and one of the scout masters explained that there were hundreds from Arizona. They flew into Boston and were touring their way to Virginia for the Grand Council or whatever it's called. They will be visiting historic sites and big cities during their three week journey.
Then there is Plymouth Rock. It's not that big you know. Actually it can easily fit in the bed of a regular sized dump truck, which is very likely how it got to it's home on the waterfront. I can't imagine anyone saying anything other than "I thought I would be bigger. You know, like an island or something". The Mayflower is fake also. A tourist trap, me thinks.
There are lots of these little kiosk type buildings all along the main drag on the waterfront, which is two blocks down the hill from the real main drag of Plymouth. Hot dogs and smoothies. It's honky tonk, but not in the usual sense. Is there such a thing as upscale honky tonk? Yes there is. Plymouth, or as the Pilgrims spelled it Plimouth. Unlike "team", there is an "i" in Plymouth. Sometimes. Depends on what street your on.
Rt 3a is a narrow road of rolling hills. At 100 F it can be tough. With a 40 mile return leg looking you in the eye, it's nasty. Then the wind picked up. If you know the Atlantic ocean in the northeast part of the country, you know that the ocean breezes begin around two pm. It's so common, people in these parts plan thing around it. Like making the turn on the 9th hole before two will allow you to use a 9 iron on that little par 3. After two PM it could be as much as a 5 wood. Really.
A couple of other Wheelmen caught up during a water break at an old cemetery. There was a discussion of taking a short cut through Myles Standish State Forrest. It's all scrub pine and there is no shade from the hot sun. Scratch that. But the map shows that by taking Half Way Pond Rd. a few miles could be lopped off the ride. The Wheelmen wanted to stay the course and follow the white circles with the arrow and declined the shortcut. Like shopping at WalMart, the pain of poor quality, lingers far longer than the joy of low prices. The shortcut road was one huge down hill and it makes a tired bike rider smile. Till it turns to soft dirt and rocks. So much so that riding up hill was difficult enough to force a biker to walk. Two miles of that slow slipping and sliding also required a near death grip on the handlebars to hold the wheels from sliding out from under the bike. Black top did return and so did the heat and humidity.
The paved road was near Long Pond. The water looked cool and refreshing, but every access path was also marked with "private, no access to beach" signs. Cold water was at a premium on this ride. Any that was stored in the bottles for later consumption quickly heated. Even warm however, somehow it still was refreshing. The three bottles were refilled four times during this ride. Twelve 24 oz bottles of water was sweat out almost as soon at it was drunk.
Enter the tourist section of Plymouth under the main roads
Look at their feet. Plymouth Rock is stamped 1620. Yup that's it.
You don't see much this in Nebraska
A step above the typical honky tonk town
Things get quiet again outside of town
Gets really quiet
The fire trucks look different when they have thousands of acres of forest to cover
Not the best short cut
Private swimming hole
A familiar sight. Home is close
Done. Fini, The End
Total time. 7hrs 30 minutes
Riding time 6hrs 8 minutes
Average Speed 12.8 mph
Top Speed 32.4 mph