A couple of weeks ago I took a ride to check out the new section of the bike path, and one thing led to another and next thing I knew I was all the way down at Scarborough Beach. It occurred to me then that If I started from home, rather than Kingston Station, it would be about 40 miles, round trip. Now as far as I can remember, I've never ridden that far in a single ride. It's possible I may have back when I was in grad school, but certainly not in the 18 years since I've been keeping a log. According to that, my longest was a 33 mile ride I took way back in the summer of '93. I still do 30 mile rides now and then, but nothing longer. And usually, that's enough for me. Thing is, I've passed on signing up for rides of about 40 miles or so, most notably the 5 Boroughs ride in NYC, because I didn't know if I could do it.* So I decided to give it a shot.
* I need to point out that some recreational rides laid out by the local bike organizations top out at 100 miles, so I'm not even trying for half of that. I have friends who've done centuries, but, man, that's eight hours of pedaling.
Tuesday turned out to be the perfect day to try it. It was about 65° when I started in the morning, and it got up into the low seventies while I rode. The other good thing about the day was that the wind was from the northeast, so it was behind me for a change as I headed down the wind tunnel that is Rt. 2. So I left from home, headed down 2 and over to Kingston Station, then got on the bike path and took it down to Narragansett Pier. The trees were just starting to turn, so it was all very pretty. From there I followed Ocean Road until I got to Scarborough, and then kept heading south, all the way down to Pt. Judith Light**. From there I rode over to Galilee, with a quick detour past the little cottage in Sand Hill Cove where the dog and I spent the winter of '81-'82.*** It occurred to me as I rode past that the last time I rode a bike down that street it was stolen later that night.
** You used to be able to walk the grounds at the lighthouse in order to take decent photos of it, but since DHS took over the Coast Guard, the place looks like Omaha Beach, what with all the barbed wire. What a waste of resources.
*** This was my first place after separating from the ex— three rooms, no insulation, and electric heat. At least the rent was cheap.
Galilee, along with its sister village of Jerusalem, is Rhode Island's main fishing port. The two villages are about a hundred yards apart, but since there is no bridge over the channel that separates them, they are about 20 miles apart by car or bike. I stopped for a bit and ate lunch, then started heading for home. I'd passed 25 miles at Galilee, and I started thinking about a 50 mile ride, but then I remembered that to do that I'd have to go back by way of Pt. Judith, which didn't seem very sensible. So I made my way up Rt. 108, then cut back over to the bike path when I reached civilization.
I didn't take the path all the way back to Kingston Station. I didn't relish the thought of doing the somewhat strenuous grades of Rt. 2 with tired legs and the wind in my face. So I took South Road up Kingston Hill. The vertical climb up to Kingston is actually greater than that by way of Rt. 2, but apart from a short but very steep grade right at the start, South Road's grade is barely noticeable. And once you're in Kingston, the last six or seven miles on the back roads to Slocum and then home is pretty much downhill all the way. (Remember those tired legs).
The plan worked out great, except for two things. Kingston Hill is home to U.R.I., and I got there just as the first class of the afternoon was letting out, so there were all these students zooming home via those narrow, shoulderless back roads. The other thing was when I hit the wide open fields of Slocum, near my old apartment, the wind was dead in my face. The road had been paved over the summer, but instead of being nice and smooth, they'd used a very pebbly paving material, so it felt like the road was fighting the tires. And by this time I was beat. Fortunately it was only for a mile or so, and I was soon back home, 44.5 miles later.
I actually felt pretty good at the end. I even considered doing another lap through the development to make it an even 45 miles, but reason prevailed. The next day, though, my quads gave me grief every time I had to go up or down the stairs to the basement whilst I was installing the storm door, which was a lot. Still, it's nice to know I can do it.
There are some pictures from the ride here. I rode yesterday in a chilly, 20 kt wind, which wasn't a lot of fun. Today's plan is to head up to Blackstone and admire the foliage, if yesterday's wind didn't knock it all off.