Sunday, May 13, 2012
Cape Cod Rail Trail
I finally took a spin on the Cape Cod Rail Trail, which runs from Dennis to Wellfleet. I really wanted to check it out for a nice ride but I didn't want to go without Shana and she couldn't go this weekend. Turns out she was glad I was ready and willing to check it out. Since the weather was perfect I suited up without further ado. Actually it was with further ado because I was not at all sure where my bike clothes were and I had two mountain bikes already in the car. I dug around in the basement and found my bike gear, brought one mountain bike into the basement and took my road bike out. I fixed myself a couple of bottles and found out that the battery in my bike computer was dead. So. On the way I went to CVS for some blue Powerade (the Drink of my People), a Clif bar, and batteries for my computer. Once in Dennis the trailhead was super easy to find and provided with loads of parking but my water bottles were not so easy to find. My water bottles were on the kitchen counter, one of my classic moves. Lucky for me the travel coffee mug that had mysteriously disappeared last month was lurking under my seat, so it became my Powerade bottle. This was not an attractive addition to my kit but it did serve the purpose. Around a mile down the trail I ran across Barbara's Bike Shop where I bought a bottle of water and one of the guys adjusted the front brake which was slightly off center. He admired my beautiful bike tactfully not mentioning the coffee mug in my bottle cage and sent me on my way ready to roll. Everyone there was more than cordial, the shop was spotless, and I would recommend them to anyone. They rent all kinds of bikes and are right on the trail.
Once back on the road I really enjoyed my ride. The trail is flat and well maintained, with the many road crossings well marked. The scenery is lovely. What I most worried about before I came out was that traffic on the trail would be intense. It was not nearly as bad as I had feared, and the trail was wide enough for me to pass slower riders and family groups easily. There were long stretches where I did not run into any other riders or walkers at all. I rode an easy 40 miles and averaged 21.6 mph even though I had to slow down many times for road crossings. I have to admit I was blessed with perfect weather and almost no wind at all. I was also anxious about getting back on the road bike. I did not ride it at all last year, so I thought I might be in for another humiliating adjustment period featuring falling over while still attached to the bike by my shoes. I need not have worried. Once I rode the first 300 yards I was totally comfortable again.
There are lots of places where you can get off the trail for ice cream or a more substantial snack, and rest rooms are available at the Nickerson Park information office. There are also quite a few parking lots along the way for people who want to pick up the trail at various places. The trail is a great resource, and set up for use by a wide variety of people. I'll probably be going back next Sunday with Shana and some friends. Using a combination of highway and back roads to avoid the Sunday afternoon bridge traffic I drove back in just under 30 minutes.