Watertown to Swampscott, Sept 15th, 20 miles there and 20 miles back

My much delayed final day is done. I did the 60 or so miles from East Brookfield over a week ago and a mixture of laziness and rain put this last short day on hold. But yesterday the weather was lovely and I headed out to dot the i’s and cross  the t’s on my cross country trip. I decided to ride North an dip my wheel at Swampscott as it has easy beach access.

About 5 mins from home I ran into another cross county cyclist. Scott is from Oregon and was heading down to Florida to follow the warmer weather.

  

   

 

I ride up to Boston’s Noth Shore a fair bit so the route is familiar. I headed out through Somerville and braved the rotary at Sullivan square and passed by the big power plant.

I picked up the bike path through Malden and cruised through Saugus and Lynn to the promanade at Swampscott. The tide was in so I didn’t have to carry my bike far across the sand to dip the wheels in the Atlantic. Job done. It took me 56 days of riding, but the Utica injury delayed the day of my finish substantially. Still it was a beautiful day to finish and sit watching the waves roll in before riding home.

   

 

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East Brookfield, MA to Watertown, MA. 68 miles, Sept 4th.

Four weeks to the day since I rented a car in East Brookfield, and drove to Watertown, I did  the reverse trip today. I rented a car from the local Enterprise place yeaterday, put my bike in the trunk and was at the Emterprise/Ford dealership in East Brookfield by 9:00 am.

   

 

The weather was perfect for riding; mid 70s F and slightly overcast. I took a generally NW route that avoided Worcester and headed for Paxton, Boylston, Berlin and was in Hudson for lunch. There were some steep hills at first, but  with healthy ribs they were fine.

  

 

After lunch I made for Concord so that I could come into Boston on the Minuteman Bike path rather than dealing with the traffic in Waltham

  

I rode over Rt 128 as the afternoon rush hour was just starting….man I’m glad that I don’t have to commute anymore. 

   

 

A short time later I was back home and ready for the final day’s ride to the Atlantic. 

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August 25th, back in the saddle

My hiatus from riding lasted almost three weeks. But this morning my ribs felt pretty normal and I had to contort myself a lot to feel any pain. So I decided to ride into Harvard Square; baby steps.

My shopping bike felt ridiculously twitchy and fast so I rode carefully. At the first stop light I felt a twinge from the ribs as I pulled up, but nothing too bad. Maybe I’m at 90%. Still on a nice sunny day riding a bike is hard to beat..

I got some lunch, did some people watching and resolved to get myself out to East Brookfield early next week to knock out the short two days from there to the Atlantic.

  

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Day 56, 0 bike miles, Watertown to Boylston St. Boston

Last night’s party was good and it was great to see a bunch of friends. It was particularly good to see some friends who have been out of circulation for a while. There was lots if tasty food and lots to drink although I only had one beer and ate mostly crackers. Still when some pulled pork appeared I had to try some of that. The fireworks were loud and bright (just as they should be) and after they were done I drove a couple of mates back to Boston.

This morning I got back to an early start and was in Harvard Square at 7:30 to catch the #1 bus down Mass Ave to watch the Arsenal vs West Ham at the Lir pub with my mate James.

The pub doors opens at 8:00 for the 8:30 kick off. The game was pretty bad with Arsenal losing 0:2.

I took the bus home and plan to spend the afternoon looking at clothes driers as the one I have broke down when I was away…..exciting times!

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Day 55, 0 miles, Watertown and Rockport, MA

After a good night’s sleep I felt a bit better, but still had painful ribs, it’s awful when you just must sneeze, but you know it will really hurt when you do!

I went through my mail that my friend Paul had kindly sorted for me and then went for a bagel. I didn’t get any cream cheese because that still made me queazy. I watched some football and rested up before driving up to Rockport to go to a fireworks party and my good friends Ashley and Paul. Tomorrow I’ll go into Boston to watch the Arsenal v West Ham game with my friend James and after that think about getting back to East Brookfield to finish what I started on June 15th.

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Day 54, 33 miles, Northampton to East Brookfield, MA

I really enjoyed hanging out in Northampton yeaterday, but when I got up this morning I felt terrible. When I rolled over in bed I had a sharp pain in my ribs where I’d fallen in Utica 3 days ago. On top of that my stomach was upset. I managed some Raisin Bran at breakfast, but the rest of the breakfast stuff just turned my stomach. I decided to see how I felt on the bike and got onto the Amherst bike path. It was flat and I didn’t feel too bad, but at the first stop I winced at the pain in my ribs and I felt weak on the first climb and could not get out if the saddle without getting the rib pain again. I was also shivering and put on my rain jacket to try to keep warm. At a cafe I had to stop for “tummy troubles”. I ordered a coffee and a bagel and could only eat two bites.  I just could not eat on a hill in Ware with 15 miles done after almost 3 hours I realized I was not going to make it back to Watertown on the bike today. I had two options; either get a motel or take other transportation back home and rest up there and then come back to finish my ride. As I didn’t know how many days it would take me to feel ok again and I wanted the chance to go to a party in Rockport on Saturday I decided to get back to Boston ASAP. The train at Worcester was still a long way away, but I found a car rental place in East Brookfield 18 miles away. The next 3 hours were torture and even small hills became mountains to climb. I made it to the Enterprise rental place at 1:30. The rental guys were very helpful and interested in my trip and helped put my bike in the car. I drove back to Watertown and when I got out of the car I doubled over. I walked back home with my bike and slept.

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Day 53, 79 miles, East Greenbush, NY to Northampton, MA.

Today had the first significant climbs since the “Going to the Sun” road in western Montana. That’s probably 2000 miles ago. I left the motel and immediately heard a police car behind me. It wasn’t interested in me but in a car up the road. I stopped at the first diner I came to about 2 miles up the road just as the car that I’d seem pulled over pulled into the parking lot. A lady in a waitress uniform got out sobbing into a handkerchief. I walked in with here with a couple of waiting regulars and got the full “sob” story I assume she also told the police officer about her being late for work and having to open up……doesn’t really excuse speeding though.

The first climb started at New Lebanon and went up to Hancock MA. Close to the top I stopped to take a couple of pictures.

   

 

After passing Hancock Shaker Village there’s a nice downhill into Pittsfield where I stopped for Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. Then the serious work started as I climbed up to Windsor, but that’s relative when I think back to the climbs in the Cascades. After Windsor there was 10 miles of speed and coasting until this Swift Ruver and the final climb up to Goshen. Then the best bit of the day came with the downhill through Williamsburg, Leeds and Florence…..riding past Smith College and onto Northampton’s main street. It’s one of my favorite places as it had lots of great shops and things to do and even the pedestrian crossings are in rainbow colors.

   

 

I went to my old haunt of the Northampton Brewery and ate and had a couple of beers to celebrate making it to the Pioneer Valley. I had considered staying with a Warmshowers host tonight as there are lots in NoHo, but I want to do my own thing here and start very early in the morning to do the 100 miles back to Watertown. Anyway tomorrow I’ll be my own Warmshowers host.

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