For a bunch of reasons, none logical, I decided to bike to Block Island from New York. Below is a brief recap, unfortunately, I do not have a nice picture to accompany this tale, as you will read below why not.
I started my journey in New Haven, straight off the Metro-North Railroad, which saved me 60 miles of biking Route 1 treachery between New York and New Haven. This ride started at 2:30AM in Stamford, boarding the last train headed to New Haven. I had with me my bike and, well, that’s all I had.
The scene unfolds as I emerge from the underground tunnel of the New Haven train station into the main station, which is beautiful, reminds me of Grand Central on a smaller scale. I am clad in my “biking” gear, walking out of the station, where a man approaches me for some change….yup, just like Grand Central at 4 a.m. alright. I politely defer (read: ignore, keep walking) and walk outside. I get myself organized, get my bike computer ready with my route guidance, stuff my face with 2 pop-tarts (a staple in my life) and am about to start pedaling when a man approaches me, and asks me for change. I remind him that I have not come across change since he asked me less than 3 minutes ago.
Am I that forgettable in my biking outfit at 4 a.m. in New Haven, on a bright green bike, that he simply forgot he already asked me? Wow, maybe I need to step up my flare.
About 10 miles into the ride, I sadly came across a fatal car accident (RIP young soul). It was in the beginning of the ride, right after I got “the hell” out of New Haven in the pitch black, a teen was hit by an SUV that was towing a boat. I continued on, giving quite a bit of thought to what I had just seen, then I got lost trying to get to the New London Bridge bike path, and asking a “local” for directions. He was unable to come up with the word “left” at the stop sign, so more frustration until I find my way over the bridge.
As I entered into Mystic (Pizza!), I thought I would get my picture taken with scenic Mystic in the background (to also provide proof “I was there”) but the only living being at the time was a homeless man, so I decided to ask him to take my picture. That was a fail, as he sadly could not hold the camera steadily enough to hit the button, I’ve been there, so I gave him some money for food. I hope at least that is how he spent it.
Then the adventure continued. I actually made it into Narragansett, Rhode Island, only to be stopped while pedaling by car full of youthful non-locals. They told me they were from Providence, and figuring that I must be from the area because I was on a bike. They asked if I knew where the closest liquor store was! At 10 a.m. really?!? I mean, of all the people to ask, but, of course I did so I told them and had to laugh. I bike all the way to Narragansett, only to be asked where the hell a liquor store is, figures.
Then, 2 miles away from the ferry, after roughly 90 miles I breath easy because I know I’m going to catch the 10:30 ferry which had been my goal all along. It was 10:10am, I had been pedaling for more than 5 hours….and BAM, flat tire.
But I do not panic, I had a spare inner tube with me, I’ve done this dozens of times….I flip the bike over, pull the back wheel off, switch out inner tubes, inflate the new tire with my C02 canister, and I am back on my way in less than 5 minutes... but 2 minutes later, flat again. Now I’m out of inner tubes and CO2′s, and the ferry leaves in 10 minutes.
My chances of catching the ferry, of reaching my goal, the whole purpose of this ride, are as deflated as my tire.
I phone a friend, but he is not close enough to drive me to catch the ferry. I get a ride, bike and all, from a concerned fellow cyclist who drove by and saw me stranded, clearly looking forlorn, and she brought me to the ferry. She and her son were trying to catch the 10:30 boat too, but we missed the boat by minutes.
Things happen for a reason I believe, and no sooner does the ferry pull away from the dock with me watching from land, but my wife pulls up in the car we are bringing over to the island—I planned to catch the earlier ferry, she had a later reservation. So we sail happily together on the same boat, she happy that I made it alive and me happy that, well, that I made it alive too.
I don't use Facebook, but here is a profile of the ride using the closest thing I use to facebook, its called Strava, and its the cyclists social network..