Monday, April 29, 2013

Poking around the shoreline

On a cloudy afternoon in East Lyme, Connecticut, a village in the home town of the eponymous disease carried by tiny ticks, my older brother and I set off after a few hours of yard work for our parental units to take a leisurely ride around the shore of Black Point.

The route overlooks the wide outlet of the Pattagansett River before turning to show some views across Long Island Sound. Then, by twists and turns it travels up the side of Niantic Bay. That section of shoreline saw fairly heavy damage right along the water from Hurricane Sandy. Most of the houses have been repaired, so they look very spruced up: fresh siding, new paint, new windows. There are still a lot of construction sites and contractor trucks as well. And a few buildings have had little or no repair. It certainly doesn't look as bad as the news tells us about some of the places along the Jersey Shore and in Queens. But I'm not about to quantify anyone's predicament when I did not have to deal with any storm damage of my own.

This was my brother's first ride on the Raleigh since I installed the triple crank. He had no opportunity to try the granny ring because none of the climbs around here require it, but the other gearing seemed to work well.

We rode into McCook Park. From the parking lot behind the beach a narrow roadway climbs to the top of the bluff. The McCook summer home is gone, but the restroom building was wide open, with the doors propped back, inviting one to ride in. I didn't have to worry about someone walking off with my bike while I was paying attention to something else.

On the heights I remembered I had a camera. A cormorant drying its wings caught my eye, out in the bay on a large rock.

It had stopped and folded its wings by the time I got the camera out of my jacket pocket. It's the speck on the left side of the rock. The two specks on top of the rock are other birds. Perhaps a couple of gulls taking terns.

Don goes to check if it's a cliff or just a bluff.
"You told me you fell off a cliff!"
"That was just a bluff!"
Looking back toward the areas of reconstruction.

We did a lot of riding on grass and gravel. A chip-stone path goes down to where a nice boardwalk had followed the shore of Niantic Bay beside the railroad in front of the village.
For some reason, these buoys denoting a swim area right up against the railroad fence made me laugh.
Where the gravel gave way to soft sand we walked, carrying our bikes the few yards to where the path went under the railroad tracks. This big orange sign informed us the boardwalk was closed.
Gee. Do ya think?
Pounding storm waves from Sandy had basically obliterated what had been a nice, fairly recently-completed walkway along the water.
While we were admiring our bikes, a train came through.
After the train passed, we rode on into the village, where traffic had a certain rush-hour intensity, if not density. It was after 5 p.m., and drivers  moved with purposeful urgency. No one was a jerk, but why put them under strain? We found more quiet streets to stretch the ride a few more minutes before piecing together the route home through residential neighborhoods.

1 comment:

greatpumpkin said...

It was great fun to have the old bike back, and even greater fun to ride around Niantic with you. A rare pleasure. Thanks for sorting the bike out for me. With most of my recent riding being on odd (and heavy) things like recumbent trikes and folding touring bikes, I had forgotten how much fun it is to ride a classic, steel-framed bicycle, especially one light enough to pick up with one hand.