Sunday, September 6, 2009

Scenic Cycling: National Seashore, Cape Cod

Cycling on Cape Cod is a remarkable experience. Earlier I wrote that we had been looking forward to the Cape Cod Rail Trail. We have now been on it twice, but to tell the truth it is not my favourite place to cycle on the Cape. Don't get me wrong: It is a nice, long trail through attractive wooded areas with relatively few interruptions. It is a great resource. But the special thing about Cape Cod is its abundance of coastland: the open ocean and bay views, the coves, the miles of saltwater marshes and sand dunes. The rail trail bypasses all of that, and so I feel that cycling on it does not capture the essence of the area. For a real "wow" experience, I recommend cycling along the National Seashore - a 40-mile stretch of coastal nature reserve with breathtaking views. You will have to cycle on the road with motor vehicles, but the route is very bike-friendly.

If you are hesitant to share long stretches of the road with cars, you can arrive to the National Seashore via the Rail Trail (pdf map here). Towards the very end of the trail in Wellfleet, turn right on Marconi Beach Road (above two photos) and this will take you right to the dunes. This road is spacious, virtually free of traffic, and breathtakingly scenic. It ends at Marconi Beach and the Marconi Station Observation area.

At the end of Marconi Beach Road is this beautiful landscape of sand dunes, tall grasses and miniature trees - on a hill overlooking the ocean.

Lucy and Rodney, our vintage Raleighs, found the area very romantic. Here they are enjoying the view of the dunes.

And here they are gazing at the ocean.

The Co-Habitant joins them in Thoreau-like meditation.

Here is Lucy Threespeed on her own, posing in front of the Marconi Station exhibit. Guglielmo Marconi is commonly credited with having invented the radio, and the Marconi Station in Wellfleet MA is the site of the first successfully completed transatlantic wireless communication between the U.S. and England in 1903.

There are many beautiful sites to photograph, but we were too busy cycling. These photos should give you an idea of the area's natural beauty.

Exhausted but pleased, Lucy and Rodney look forward to their next visit to this unique and wonderful place.

14 comments:

  1. Sand and Sea ~ There is nothing finer. That looks beautiful and peaceful.

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  2. Wow! Beautiful photos! I visited Marconi Beach and biked the rail trail with my kids this summer. Love your blog.

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  3. Those are great bikes. The two them together, increases their beauty exponentially! Didn't even mention the location...

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  4. Lovely beach photographs! The two Raleighs are so sweet together. This post will be a great resource for anyone researching cycling on Cape Cod.

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  5. Thanks all : ) I like posting reviews of trails and cycling routes in the area, because we are always looking for this sort of information when we go places.

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  6. I must admit to being more taken with the gorgeous bicycles than the scenery (which is also beautiful). Now, I'm scheming to try this ride during my next vacation out east.

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  7. What type of light do you have on Lucy? That's the type I'd like to find for my raleigh.....

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  8. It's a SunLite Low Rider Bullet headlight. It is only $20 and looks very similar to the original light that came with the English 3-speeds.

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  9. Too cool for helmets! Nice. Don't get your hyoid bone broke. Hurts, say, when you breathe.

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  10. John_Halfz - Thanks for your comment, but that is a rather insulting assumption. My choice regarding helmets has nothing to do with issues of "coolness", but with an educated decision. I am okay with your choice, whatever it may be, so please respect mine.

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  11. What kind of tires do you have on your Raleighs? I'm in the process of restoring a vintage '79 Sport, and those tires are absolutely beautiful.

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  12. There are a lot of fun things to do on Cape Cod. It is an exciting place where you can find amazing beaches, great lodging, good food and wonderful people! Thanks for sharing.

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  13. Next time you are on the Cape, trying going to the end of the bike trail and taking Lecount Hollow Road to Ocean Drive. The two mile stretch going north is a lovely stretch of road and you can access the town beaches by bicycle (but no parking for non-residents).

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