Monday, May 26, 2008

Province Town Century

If you're not a avid cyclist, a computer programmer, a Free-Software enthusiast, and from around the Boston area, then you've probably never even heard of the Tour De Nat. The Tour De Nat is a one-day, 120 mile bike ride from Boston's South station to Province Town, MA followed by a ride on the day's final ferry back to South Station just in time to go out drinking.

Last summer Owen and I took this ride ourselves with a few adjustments. For starters we didn't plan to take the final ferry back the day we arrived. We planned a camping trip around our ride with several other friends. Secondly, we started from Braintree T station, the end of the Red Line, to cut out the cross-city ride and then took a less-direct, more scenic route across the South Shore.

When we began planning the camping trip, we realized we didn't have many friends who drove, so space in cars was at a premium. We ask the rest of them what was more important to ensure made it to the camp ground safely, the tents or Owen and I. The group unanimously voted on the tents so Owen and I had to find another way to get to the Cape. We spent the next couple of months trying to figure out what to do but with Owen's time warp portal only in pre-Alpha stage and the trebuchet being as weak as it is, we figured the only other option we had was to bike it. At least we wouldn't have to bike with tents.

We spent the summer training. Owen and I went on a 40-mile ride right at the beginning of the summer for a quick warm up. I continued this regiment by spending the summer programming and building things out of PVC while Owen chose to focus more on the riding aspect of the ride for his training. He took several more lengthy, one-day rides over the course of the summer but made to sure to keep me updated so that I wouldn't miss out on that part of the training.

The day of the trip approached and we were ready. We got up at about 5:00am to take the Red Line down to Braintree. We weaved across the South Shore on our circuitous path, hoping to, at some point make it to the Sagamore Bridge. With nothing to guide us but our wits, sense of direction, street signs, highway markers, a map, and a Garmin etrex GPS device, we set off into the great known, bound for adventure or at least a few cramps. We occasionally stopped off along the side of the road to get pictures, take some video.

Let me give you some advice if you're driving a car on route 6A down the Cape. If you see a cyclist riding in front of you, don't assume he's going to turn off any minute now; just pass him. I realize you're old and the road is narrow but seriously, you're holding up a line of ten cars.

Camping in Province Town was a blast. The town has a great strip with lots of nice places to eat and more than its fair share of celebrity look-a-like cross dressers. The beaches were beautiful and if you get to the park services office at 9:00am you can get in line to get a fire permit for the beach of your choice which they will happily give you when they open at 4:00pm.

The ferry ride home was rather expensive but well worth it. For starters, it's a lot quicker than driving or riding a bicycle. Secondly, you can bring your bike on the ferry. One of the things about a century ride is that unless you're lucky, the second half of the ride is pretty much just the first half in reverse. It's nice to be able to take a long ride straight away from your origin and then magically (ferries count as magic) appear back where you started after you're done. The view on the bay was nice and I got a couple nice shots of the Boston skyline as we strolled into the harbor.

That's my report. Owen grabbed our statistics from his GPS device:

Total distance: 108.23
Time moving: 7:44:57
Time elapsed (includes train ride from Davis to Braintree and lunch): 12:30
Average speed: 14.0
Max speed: 31.0

Not bad. We plan to do it again this summer. If you're interested in joining us, let me know.

View Larger Map


Anonymous said...

hm, that map looks wrong. After plymouth our route took us down a road that parallels route 3, and then we crossed the sagamore bridge.

Mike Machenry said...

Ah you're right. I didn't really look very closely at it. I just posted the link that you emailed me just before the ride. Oh well. That's roughly what we did.

Serra said...

Well, at least you got multiple lines of text to display on the video. You win some you lose some!

Mike Machenry said...

Yeah I had to do that by making a normal .png in the Gimp on my Linux machine. I guess it makes sense that iMovie defaults to a decent image creation software package to do this. But I think text is something it should be able to overlay in a more interesting way. Like a paragraph. Because if I wanted that text over a video I could not have done it.

Nicolle said...

Ferries count as magic. **heart**

Andrew said...

I was wondering if crossing the sagamore bridge was a problem. I have driven across it and it appears to be quite small.

Mike Machenry said...

Yeah you don't want to ride on the Sagamore Bridge. We road a small part of the way and decided to get off and walk. The side walk is really skinny so you feel like you're about to fall off. It's also a two-foot drop into traffic with no empty space between. Luckily, it's a very short walk.