We often take daytrips to the Cape in the summer, but avoid Provincetown, because it is both too far and much too crowded. However, last week we stopped by. For those unfamiliar with the area, Provincetown is a lively and quirky town at the very tip of Cape Cod, long associated with the arts and with freedom of sexual expression. The main street is lined with galleries, coffee houses, excellent restaurants, eccentric shops, theaters, piano lounges and dance clubs. Rainbow flags are aflutter. Tourists pose to have their pictures taken with drag queens. Ocean waves rise picturesquely in the background. Everything is relaxed and easy; everyone gets along.
We arrived with our vintage 3-speeds and found the town center absolutely packed. The photos don't capture this, but many parts of the long and narrow Commercial Street were filled shoulder to shoulder with pedestrians and bumper to bumper with cars. It did not look like we could walk through the center, let alone cycle. And yet, the place was full of cyclists. They were riding in both directions through the narrow street, blithely passing the slow cars and the meandering pedestrians with dogs and strollers. We got on our bicycles, and what an educational experience it was.
Imagine: Cars pay attention to bicycles and wait for them without getting angry about it. Drivers and passengers look before opening the doors of parked cars. Cyclists are non-belligerent. Phrases such as "Please, go right ahead!" and "Oh, sorry about that!" and "Thanks!" and "Hey, nice bike!" can be heard all around instead of what is normally shouted in Boston. Can this be Vehicular Cycling Heaven? Cycling in Provincetown - both through the center and through the wider roads with higher speed limits - has made me feel considerably more comfortable about sharing the road with cars.
We did not take many bike photos, but here are a few bicycles spotted in town. A colourful Electra Amsterdam with nice wicker panniers and a sunflower on the handlebars. I believe it belongs to a local painter.
And here is a Rivendell Rambouillet by the marina, complete with fenders, Brooks saddle, rack, lights, and handlebar bag. The owner was pleased and amused that I recognised his bike.
And finally, a solution to the "control issue" in tandem cycling: The Buddy Bike! Now both riders can feel like captains - though I assume this can only be done if the riders are roughly of the same weight.
For more about cycling in P-Town, read about Vee's bike date at Suburban Bike Mama.