Soon I’ll be on the ferry with my too stuffed pack, looking for a place to stand out of the wind, my bike below deck with an array of hybrids and hoopties leaned against it. At the ferry terminal, the rich stink of fish remains permeates the air. Seagulls wheel and squawk. The ferry’s enormous engine rumbles and churns the blue-gray water. I watch in amazement as we kiss the rubber-wrapped guide pilings, the boat swaying and shuddering and loosing itself into open water.
This very well may be the highpoint of the trip, this moment of escape where we leave shore, stress and responsibility behind. The slow ferry covers the stretch of ocean between Point Judith and Block Island in about an hour depending on the wind. On the far side, the boat disgorges cars and passengers, and yes, bikes. If I’m lucky I’ve met up with my friends and stowed my bag in a car, which will make the ride to the house that much easier.
This is a trip I look forward to. Block Island does a good job of distilling all of New England’s natural beauty, and as we go deeper and deeper into each off-season, we find the place not crowded with people lining up to rent mopeds. We spend the weekend surfing, if there are waves, fishing, if there are fish, and riding regardless. We drink coffee and read books and argue about inconsequential things, and then we get on the ferry and return, regrettably, to real life.
The riding, I should say, is limited. It’s an island, and not a big one. The one main paved loop is pretty, but requires repetition to gain any real distance. There are some cool dirt paths along the sea cliffs on two sides of the island, but they are not terribly challenging or terribly long either.
The kind of riding we do tends toward the aimless, the slow and the purely for the sake of being outside, which has become my favorite. I think of this as an annual cycling trip, but the cycling is maybe unremarkable. I don’t usually leave fitter than I arrived. It is still, from my perspective, a trip I can’t miss.
This week’s Group Ride asks, do you do any annual cycling trips? Where to? Who do you ride with? Why do you go where go?