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Beat the Ferry

30 June 2018

Day Trip Report: 30 June 2018

A twist on Cape in a Day with a new route, trails, coastal views, bakeries, & a challenge: bicycle 234km in 12 hours or overall average of 19.5km/h.

We beat the ferry with few spare minutes to celebrate

I was on a short trip back from Hong Kong with at least three adventures in mind:

  1. Beat the Ferry: this trip.
  2. Beat the Train: Boston–Portland. Take the first train out of Boston to Newburyport, bicycle to Portland along East Coast Greenway, return to Boston from Portland on the last Amtrak train.
  3. Hut Traverse: hike all eight AMC high huts in the White Mountains.

All in one week.

Disclaimer: some pictures in this report were captured on prior trips along this route—I often have a date stamp on each. On one hand, there was no need to capture them again. On another, this trip was not to take pictures, admire scenery, & smell flowers. It was about one goal only: arrive Provincetown before ferry departed at 20:30.


The Charles River Wheelers club had been running Cape in a Day ride for 30 years starting in Boston to Provincetown. It is a fun challenge through some of the best sections to bicycle on Cape Cod. Only to get there, I did not like busy roads south of Boston, through commercial areas, on too many hills.

Until next summer for bicycle & ocean plunges
Location 42.048072°N, 70.220612°W

East Coast Greenway map gave me another idea: start on East Bay trail in Providence, cross into Massachusetts to New Bedford on rural roads, & stays mostly flat roads until Cape Cod Canal trail. Navigate through Sandwich, Barnstable, & Yarmouth to pick up Cape Cod trail in Brewster.

Cape Cod bicycle tour
Location 41.916062°N, 69.987723°W

Stay on the trail to northern terminus for bakery stop. Ride through the hills of Wellfleet & Truro before a sprint to the finish just in time for quick bite & ferry.

PB Boulangerie bakery & chocolate almond croissant
Location 41.916820°N, 69.989288°W

T Time

We met in Boston South station to board MBTA train at 6:45 to Providence arriving at 7:50. We ate breakfast on the train, got bicycles ready, stopped briefly in Providence for restroom break, & left soon after we arrived.

We kept a comfortable pace. This was going to be a long day. It was about endurance. We compensated for speed by taking very short fast breaks. There was no need to sprint, push hard, or keep sustained high effort. Except all the way at the end, on the final 5km flat sprint to Provincetown, when it was fun to burn all that we had left.

Beach Blonde from Cape Cod Beer to quench hot day on bicycle
Location 42.051661°N, 70.185867°W

We took the Boston Harbor Cruises ferry at 20:30 to arrive Boston at 22:00. Booking ferry ticket was mandatory in advance of starting on the ride. They do sell out occasionally.

Bail out points included:

  • Cape Flyer train from Hyannis back to Boston.
  • Bus to Provincetown from Orleans at 18:25 & Wellfleet at 18:55.
  • Taxi, Uber, & Lyft.
  • Hotels & motels to spend the night in Provincetown.


There were many options on route for bakeries & convenience stores along the way. They were very quick stops for: orange juice, protein shake, V8, chocolate milk, & energy bars.

Hallet’s old fashioned soda: rich intense flavor
Location 41.7036°N, 70.2511°W

It was a hot day. We relied mostly on drinks to replenish both liquid & calories. I swallowed 12 electrolyte capsules.

Stops were:

  • Cumberland Farms just before New Bedford at 70km: the “new concept” stores are excellent bicycle quick stops, with plenty of options for drinks, soda fountain, energy bars, nuts, pickles, & sandwiches.
  • Cumberland Farms in Wareham at 110km. Very quick stop, mostly for drinks & bathroom.
  • Hallet’s Store in Yarmouth at 165km: old fashioned soda & meat balls. Our original destination was Optimist Café across the street. But it had closed at 15:00, a few minutes before we arrived.
  • PB Boulangerie in Wellfleet at 200km: cranberry walnut bread loaf.
  • Post Office Café in Provincetown at end of ride 235km: beer.

Just before leaving, I stopped at Cabot Candy for salt water taffy to bring with me back to Hong Kong:

Salt water taffy comes in 50 flavors locally made at Cabot's Candy
Location 42.051181°N, 70.186905°W

Route Log

Recorded with Suunto Spartan Ultra & Wahoo ELEMNT with aerial view. Log below is from watch:

  • ➡️ distance 235.00km
  • ⏩ speed 20.1km/h
  • 🔄 duration 11:42’52.1
  • ⬆️ ascent 1,033m
  • ⬇️ descent 1,044m
  • *️⃣ calories 6,040
  • ↗️ grade 4.40m/km
  • ⏬ download KML & GPX copies of route

Packing List

Handlebar bag to carry extra clothes, gear, snacks, USB battery, lights, & hydration tablets.


From → Bicycle

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