Bike and Beach Heaven: Newport, RI to Westport, MA.
Seventy-five miles of shining coastline, flat roads, pastoral landscapes, pristine beaches, and blissful camping. Plenty of local food and services along the way and great for a romantic getaway!
When: Early August, 2015.
Bicycle Adventurers: Liza and Tyson, bike buds and loves.
Accomodations: Easily found stealth camping amongst the dunes—although the Horseneck Beach State Reservation has a campground right there.
Distance: Seventy-five miles in two days.
Bonus tip for this adventure: Stop at as many roadside farmstands as you can for fresh food!
We left our home in Newport, RI bright and early and headed north. The most difficult/stressful part of the ride is crossing the hell sandwich between Routes 114 and 138. But once you get to Middle Road—the creamy filling—it's all calm roads and farmland bliss from there. The cycling directions from Google Maps do a great job of getting you out of the hairy zone as quickly as possible.
Once over the bridge, the Sakonnet River Bridge, the only one of four bridges connecting Aquidneck Island to the mainland with bicycle infrastructure, we rode lazily down Route 77 through Tiverton and Little Compton, stopping at Provender Fine Foods in Tiverton to pick up coffee and groceries, some wine for later, and of course, we had to get some famous Gray's Ice Cream. We completed thirty-three miles by 1:00 p.m. and rolled into South Shore Beach to soak up some sun and sand.
At about 4:00 p.m., we packed up and rode another fourteen gorgeous miles to our final destination—Horseneck Beach in Westport, just over the Massachusetts border. Having a hunch that we wouldn't have to pay to sleep at the big state campground, our suspicions were confirmed when we were greeted by miles and miles of unguarded dunes—many with bushwhacked trails that seemed like they were there just for campers like us seeking privacy and shelter from the breeze. The icing on the cake was two park rangers rolling up in a pickup truck and suggesting we spend the night because, "It's paradise out here." Not what we're used to on the East Coast!
We woke up to a slight, warm drizzle and packed up camp, needing a hearty breakfast something fierce.
Thirteen miles led us to the village of Adamsville, RI where we had a delicious experience at The Barn Restaurant—beware the Sunday morning crowds though! With full stomachs, we headed back the way we came and were home in Newport before 2:00 p.m.!
Your favorite local bike shop? Pedal Power Bike Shop, 879 West Main Rd, Middletown, RI 02842, http://www.pedalpowerri.com/
Bike overnight tips and tricks? Our camp stove, pour-over coffee strainer, and filters let us have fresh joe in the morning—essential.
HOW ABOUT YOU? Inspire others by submitting your bike overnight adventure!