This Fourth of July, I decided to honor our nation by tackling a hefty physical challenge: riding my bike from Boston to Cape Cod. Two friends and I packed up our bikes with clothes, camping gear, fuel (aka trail mix), and various other necessities. Last Friday morning, we set off on the Claire Saltonstall Bike Trail. The CSBT runs from Boston to Provincetown, over 140 miles. Sometimes you’re on quiet back roads, sometimes you’re neck and neck with zooming traffic. There are killer hills and awesome straightaways. Basically, it’s whatever the ol’ trail decides to throw at you.
We spent the first day biking from my house in Brookline to a friend’s father’s beach in Sagamore/Sandwich (the part before the Sagamore Bridge). We went through Dorchester, Mattapan, Quincy, Hanover, Duxbury, Tinkertown, Kingston, Plymouth… an endless assortment of Massachusetts towns that all blend into one another after spending that much time on a bike. That was a good 68-70 in one day, mind you. Plus, we ended the day clustered in a tent on the beach. Not exactly luxurious, but there is no other sound I’d rather fall asleep to than the rolling ocean waves.
Day Two took us across the Bridge and up to Brewster, where my aunt and uncle graciously took in the two remaining travelers (we lost one along the way… he’d had enough adventure after Day One), fed us, let us use the hot tub, and gave us deliriously comfortable beds to sleep in. The last day was a 40-mile race to the tip of the Cape, right up to Herring Beach in Provincetown. A victory lap around the rotary and we were done!
Why put myself through this, you might ask? Especially when we launched into this with absolutely no training and/or concrete plan? Because it was an adventure. The very same philosophy I use with food applies to my entire life in general: you have to try it once. I think it goes back to my mother’s “no thank you” helpings. At dinner, if we were ever served something new or something we didn’t think we’d like, we’d have to take a small, “no thank you” portion, just to try it. And so, this bike trip was my “no thank you” helping of long-haul adventures. And, come to find out (much like with eggplant and brussel sprouts), I loved it. Sure, I was s.o.r.e. SORE. But in the end, swollen knees and gridlocked quads can’t outweigh seeing stretches of ocean and forest from the seat of your bicycle. It took a lot of motivation, but we made it (well, two out of the original three).
I think a lot of our “making it” had to do with food motivation: bagels in Hanover, lobster rolls in Yarmouth, ice cream in Orleans, fresh fish in Provincetown. One thing that kept me going, however, was good ol’ fashioned Trail Mix.
The (Un)Official CSBT Trail Mix:
1 cup almonds
1 cup cashews
1/2 cup peanuts
1 cup walnuts
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup peanut butter chips
1/2 cup chocolate-covered pretzel bits
1/2 dark chocolate covered coffee beans
Mix it all together, and hit those trails!