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Massachusetts North Shore

5 Oct


We’ve spent late September in Massachusetts the past two years. Last year Cape Cod, this year the North Shore/Cape Ann area. Both are beautiful, both are great places to cycle.

If you are interested in cycling in the North Shore area or even the greater New England  area, I recommend checking out: It’s quite the website with suggested routes, maps and cue sheets for all the areas. The tour was through Road Scholar and is offered twice each year.

This was a lower mileage tour than those we’ve done in the past and I found I enjoyed the lower miles too. With fewer miles there was more time and tendency to see the sights in the towns we stayed – Ipswich and Newburyport, MA. Quaint towns with tons of history, restaurants with great seafood and plenty to see and do off the bike.

Like our other bike tours, we rode with a wonderful group of people, participants and guides alike. There was a mix of ages and cycling experience but we meshed together well; truly a delightful group of people. The group of 14 usually broke into smaller groups, with at least one guide riding with each. All 4 of the guides were terrific and took good care of us – thanks to Gordon, Paula, Barbara and Jimmy. Unlike all the other tours, no one drove a support van and it worked out great. It wasn’t needed, we did out and backs from both locations and if someone had needed a lift back I’m sure one would have been provided.

In addition to riding in the North Shore/Cape Ann area we spent several days in Boston beforehand and had a chance to ride there. First off we did the Boston City View Tour with Urban AdvenTours – highly recommend them. The guides took great care as they navigated us through the streets of Boston, providing a very informative tour of Boston’s historical sites and neighborhoods. A wonderful way to see Boston, in addition we did several walking tours, but the bike tour was our favorite.

Boston's Urban Adventours City View Tour

Boston’s Urban AdvenTours City View Tour

Last but not least we used Boston’s bike share – Hubway. We bought a 72 hour pass so we could have the flexibility to ride each day and meet my “ride every day” goal. The most fun was when we decided to hop on and ride back to our hotel after eating a huge meal including a bottle of wine at Al Dente in the North End. We ended up in the middle of Chinatown on Saturday night – traffic jam deluxe! What a memorable ride that was – if only I’d had a GoPro to catch the whole thing on video!

Speaking of GoPro, or the lack of, I did take photos of our North Shore tour, most on the fly. Not nearly as many as the California or Quebec tours you might be happy to know. Here they are:


It was a fantastic experience and just a beautiful place to ride!





30 Days of Biking: Days 25-30

1 May

We returned home from California yesterday. My body is here, but my heart and head are still there. Pacific Grove on the Monterey Peninsula to be exact, where we spent the last few days after our bike tour ended. We rented bikes for the days we were in Pacific Grove, just basic hybrid type bikes to get those daily rides in for 30daysofbiking and to tool around the area and see the sights. Words can’t describe the breathtaking beauty, maybe some of my shots can.

I’ll write a brief summary of my rides of April 25-30th and then I’ll do a separate blog for our Central Coast California Tour. Just one post instead of my typical blogs of each day. Thanks for following along! – Susan

Day 25 – 30 Days of Biking:

The reason I quit blogging about the tour from Day 25 on, was dinner the evening of “Day 24”. We had dinner at a nice restaurant in Santa Ynez that served Mexican food – and I got food poisoning! Of course with food poisoning you don’t know there’s a problem until many hours later.

Day 25 started out great. Our ride was a loop around Santa Ynez through Happy Canyon and an optional climb of “The Fig”. The Fig is Mount Figueroa, a legendary climb in Santa Barbara county. I hadn’t decided whether I was going to do the climb or not, I would decide at the base, depending on how I felt. Although I wasn’t sick yet, I didn’t feel great and made the very wise decision to not attempt it. I did ride 1 1/2 miles of the road that takes you to the base of the climb and even it was steep. Beautiful too.


The Garmin pic shows how steep it was. I haven’t downloaded all the Garmin information but I recall in that 1.6 miles I climbed around 475 feet.

The plan on Day 25 was to ride back through Happy Canyon (love that name) and Santa Ynez and Los Olivos past Neverland Ranch (yep) and to wait for the two riders and support van to come down the descent of The Fig. I made it to that point, but was so dizzy and nauseous that I did something I’ve never done – I got into the support van and quit. I’ve never quit a ride, but I couldn’t go on. Once I got back to the Santa Ynez Inn it went downhill from there. If you’re had food poisoning, you know. If you haven’t you don’t want to know. I was able to get Phenergan from my local Doc which helped a lot. We missed our final dinner with our “tour-horts” which we were both disappointed about.

35 miles for the day.

CA Central Coast Day 5 – Santa Ynez Loop – Details

Day 26 – 30 Days of Biking:

Against my husband’s better judgment I rode the next morning. SmileIt was an out and back ride from the Santa Ynez Inn to Topanga State Park. It was a fairly easy 21 miles but it took all I had to do it. We said goodbye to our tour-horts, picked up a rental car and headed to Pacific Grove driving on Highway 1 through Big Sur. In many people’s minds, the prettiest drive in California – and what I saw of it was breathtaking – but mostly I slept. It took a full day and 12 hours more of sleep before I felt decent.


21 miles for the day.

CA Central Coast Day 6 – Santa Ynez to Topanga SP – Details

Day 27 – 30 Days of Biking:

We picked up our rental bikes, a 7 speed Breezer from Adventures by the Sea in the morning and rode north along the beach on paved bike trail. We rode through Monterey all the way to Marina on the Monterey Coastal Trail. The trail is wonderful, wide and well-maintained – and surrounded by endless beauty. Can you imagine being able to bike there regularly?

It was cold and cloudy so we stopped at a Starbucks for coffee before heading back. The sights were beautiful, so many interesting and beautiful plants and wildlife all within sight of the Pacific. Gorgeous – and I’ll tell you these pictures don’t begin to do it justice.









26.2 miles for the day.

California – Pacific Grove to Marina – Details

Day 28 – 30 Days of Biking:

On today’s ride we rode the trail along the coastline, but this time heading south. We also rode the infamous 17 mile drive to Pebble Beach, henceforth known as the 17 mile ride to Pebble Beach.

When I think of our 11 day trip, the first place I go is here. We saw and biked mile after beautiful mile in California. All so pretty that it probably isn’t fair to pick one place over another, but for me this was the best. It’s gorgeous anyway as you ride along the coast on the Monterey Peninsula, watching and hearing the waves, birds, sea otters, but add to that the fact that it was spring and there were miles of gorgeous pink, purple, yellow, peach flowers – it’s enough to take your breath away and forever make you long to see it all again and ride it.




28 miles for the day.

CA – Pacific Grove to Pebble Beach – Details

Day 29 – 30 Days of Biking:

After the beauty we saw on the ride the day before, we headed right back to the same area. Because of time constraints we couldn’t ride the Pebble Beach *ride* but we did ride to the entrance. This was the first sunny morning we had and the water was a brilliant blue. We rode 12 miles in total and tried to take in and savor all that was around us.


Day 30 – 30 Days of Biking

I managed to ride every single day in April. Some days were tricky – like the day I was in San Jose with no bike so test rode a Virtue mixtee to get a ride in. Several of the days were rainy and cold, but I learned I can ride in the rain and even enjoy it. Obviously the days in California were the best but I believe I enjoyed something about every ride. I learned too that it’s easy or at least possible to ride most every day.

Today’s ride was a 5 mile ride through our neighborhood.


Miles for the month of April:

Bluebonnets and Bikes

27 Feb


Above is a photo of Mark and me last March when we rode with Classic Adventures in the Texas Hill Country. The photo is in the Classic Adventures 2013 catalog. The picture was shot the day we rode through the beautiful Willow City Loop. You can’t believe all the wildflowers we saw – bluebonnets and beyond. Just incredible.

The riding was pretty incredible too.

If you care to read about the Texas Hill Country and our tour you can do so here.

A couple of studs we are.

eye roll

Riding the Goose

12 Jun

The Garmin data and map from our ride on Canada’s Galloping Goose Trail:

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