We are on a mini-vacation, which means that we have very limited time, to do way too many things. On my list of “to dos” is to bicycle hundreds of miles, ride my elliptigo, and run until I drop. But alas, I’m not 20 years old, and more importantly, Paddy has to buy in to this exercise theme. I wanted to bicycle ride to Berlin, hang in the historic town among shops that were likely not open (nothing is open, cuz it’s not “in season” along the Maryland eastern shore) – and then ride into Ocean City proper and visit the strip. But, would Paddy go for all of this?
It is extremely windy. The kind of wind, that can really push you around – on a bicycle. When it’s a headwind, you put all of your energy into pedaling, and you don’t go very far or very fast. When it’s a tailwind, life is effortless, and you are literally pushed along your travels. When it’s a crosswind, hang on and ride into the wind just enough to keep from being blown off the road, and not too much to end up in the traffic. That’s the kind of day we are looking at for our bicycle travels.
After researching the best bike route – we found a country road that would take us to Berlin, MD. What we hadn’t factored in – was the last mile that led to Berlin, was along a major route. A route with no shoulder and a lot of traffic. With Paddy on trike and me on a hybrid bike, safety trumped the need to visit Historic Berlin and visit shops that were not likely open. So, we rode within 1 mile of Berlin, and then turned around, and rode back toward the campground. But wait, Paddy is feeling strong (it’s the tailwind!), and we decide to keep going – onward to Ocean City!
To get to Ocean City, we have to travel 1/4 mile along highway Route 50, and then get onto this very skinny sidewalk to ride 3/4 mile over the waterway, with winds blowing a steady 25 knots, and gusts to 35. Somewhere in the middle of this bridge, the fencing disappeared, and we found ourselves riding on a super slippery drawbridge – where the grated metal allowed you to see the water below and feel more wind move your bike. Let’s just say that riding our bikes on this skinny bridge with the slippery grates in winds blowing up to 35 knots was beyond frightening! The only thing that would make this kind of effort worthwhile – would be finding a good place to eat.
That was the plan. Finding a good place to eat. Officially in “Ocean City”, we make our way to the boardwalk, and start looking for a restaurant. Any restaurant. Any food at all? We asked the locals – a postman — “are there any restaurants open“? And the answer — “not really, the only restaurant open is in Ocean City West“. Ocean City West, is 5 miles from our campground, and where we have been going for lunches the last 2 days. OK, so the food is on the other side of the bridge. Where we were, before we crossed the bridge.
It’s time to think about returning. With the wind blowing 35 knots, the only way back, is to cross this bridge again. On a bicycle. Here we go. I raced ahead of Paddy, and decided that faster speeds would be better than slower speeds. With a combination of headwinds and crosswinds, I had all I could do to stay on my bike. I took the slippery grate section (drawbridge) as fast as I could, and there was no looking back until I had reached land. Paddy had his share of challenges too. He was riding the skinny sidewalk on a wide trike with about 3 inches on either side to spare. He had just enough room to keep the wheels on the sidewalk without crashing into the fence, or barrier wall.
30 minutes after crossing the bridge, we landed at – the Sunset Grille. Our third day of eating lunch at this one and only restaurant open in the vicinity of Ocean City. It’s all good tho – as the food is fantastic, and we can see it is a local’s favorite. After lunch, we hop back on our bicycles for the last 5 miles back to our campsite. Slowly, with a massive headwind, we navigated back to the campground, and sat inside the RV trying to get warm, with the RV rocking back and forth with the wind.
And we were feeling a bit empowered. Empowered, knowing that 35 knot winds had not diminished our bicycle adventures one bit.