Rides We Like: A Rehoboth Beach Week
(2018) Here at creakybottombracket we knocked back and headed out of town to celebrate some down time. To get out of one’s cycling territory – if you will – is a strange feeling. There is new terrain, new roads to navigate, and where are the nearest bike shops and coffee stops? We have been to Rehoboth Beach in the state of Delaware numerous times. Sometimes we have to look for cycling stories in this shore town because the experiences can be limited. But that’s not a bad thing.
After nearly one hundred miles of riding this past week at the Delaware shore point, our climbing equaled 889 feet. No doubt nearly that entire vertical was accounted to infrastructure – bridges to you and me. On the longest ride, 46 miles, there were slight undulations, but when one rides along the Atlantic seaboard, there is no expectation to ‘Everest’ the day. At the climbing rate spent this past week, it would take us over thirty weeks to accumulate the climbing of the tallest mountain above the ocean.
To ride at Rehoboth Beach is a dream-come-true for cyclists. There is a remarkable cycling infrastructure along the coast and inland. It is hardly surprising to us that we were in some form of cycling lane for nearly 100 percent of the week. These aren’t pathetic areas with a bike lane decal splayed on the roadway; these were wide legit shoulders completely free of debris, and more importantly, cars. Even our long ride that took us inland kept us in a bike lane for its entirety. Three roads and nearly fifty miles and still generous acreage.
The front half of the beach bike vacation was stifling. The US and even the rest of the world sweltered in a heat wave. Our rides - though early and delightful - offered little reprieve. The simple task of replacing a tire in the shade of the garage produced absurd amounts of sweat. This knowledge of what to expect should we stop prevented us from doing just that. Bike shops were not explored. Coffee shops were pedaled past. It was simply too hot and too humid to briefly park the bike. One coffee shop in particular looked enticing but imaginings of ordering coffee while dripping buckets of sweat on the floor prevented such a stop.
At the end of the week we did not reach 100 miles because of the odd mass exodus a day early. Instead of taking an early spin, Thursday was explored around dinnertime. The exit to the town was backed up for miles. I came back to have one last attempt at a Strava segment only to be blocked by traffic. It was opted to explore old rentals in areas long forgotten. It was peaceful riding around a town in the process of a population deflation. I passed hundreds of cars while pedaling down the bike lane on my way back home.
A beach week may lack in climbing, but new cycling skills emerge. Suddenly a cyclist becomes an aficionado on wind direction. A ride from Rehoboth Beach to Dewey and points south will have wind. Those who manhandle the headwind do so with the knowledge a cracking tailwind will reward the effort. In strange ways there have been moments of headwind in both directions. Once, we pedaled south only to turn around and see the blackest storm clouds hovering over Rehoboth Beach. We did not make it back before the storm.
It is true the vacation was an effort to relax and listen to waves. I found vacation riding with family and riding on different roads. There were no races. There were no hills. There weren’t road construction vehicles. What were found on the road were enjoyment and the boosting of rides’ average speeds. The multiple rides that galloped the bay bridge gave one last lesson. The bridge is visible as soon as one leaves Dewey. The cycling computer says otherwise to the thought that it’s ‘just down the road.’ The bridge is visible for five or so miles prior to reaching its ramp up and over the inlet. That old voice commanding to chase down the goal on the horizon is rekindled. The old competitive notion never seems to fully vacate the mind when on a bike.