So far, this summer has been fantastic.
It’s been filled with beaches, ice cream, parks, and picnics. However, I had one summer goal still remaining.
This past Tuesday I finally decided to make the 100-mile trip across Long Island to Montauk, the very Eastern tip of the island, by bike.
I had originally planned to go last summer, but too many other things got in the way. Determined to not let the opportunity slip away again, I set a firm date and booked a room through Airbnb to make sure I followed through.
I woke up at 6 a.m. and biked from our home in the West Village over to Penn Station, where I took the Long Island Railroad out of the city to Babylon, where my journey began.
There couldn’t have been a better day weather-wise for the trip—a refreshing 70 degrees and overcast, with a light drizzle at the very beginning of my ride. For once, procrastination paid off, as I successfully avoided the 100 degree temperatures that had plagued us just a few weeks ago.
I rode along the Montauk Highway the entire length of the ride, making only quick stops here and there to either snap a photo or eat one of the few protein bars I had packed with me.
I sailed along the first 15 miles of highway before stopping at the Long Island Maritime Museum in West Sayville, home to classic sea vessels, oyster harvesting artifacts and other nautical treasures. The museum also has its own dock with historic ships to tour.
After refilling my water bottle, I got back on the Montauk Highway and set out towards Moriches, the gateway to the Hamptons.
As I passed into the Hamptons, the overcast morning suddenly opened up to a beautiful and clear sunny afternoon which provided gorgeous lighting for the backdrop of lush countryside, vineyards, and bodies of water.
I stopped briefly in Southampton’s downtown district to stretch my legs and admire the shops and houses.
Continuing on through Bridgehampton and East Hampton, about 70 miles into the ride, my knees started to feel the strain. I had just eaten the last of my protein bars and emptied my water bottle.
I was nearly at the location of my Airbnb reservation, so I thought about how badly I had wanted to do the ride—how I had waited over a year to finally go for it—and pushed onward.
After getting a bit lost in the winding roads of East Hampton, I pulled into the driveway of Sue and her husband Tim, my gracious hosts for the night. They immediately offered me water and a snack, which I devoured. After catching my breath and washing up a bit, I set out to finish my journey.
As I followed the highway out to The End, I was absolutely exhausted. The relatively flat route through the island was a bit deceitful, because once you get closer to Montauk, the hills begin. Each successively steeper hill made me want to get off the bike and walk up but, in order to say I had pushed myself as far as I could go, I shut off the pain and peddled onward.
The reward for pressing to the top of the last hill was the thrill of getting to coast all the way down into the village of Montauk, knowing I had finally accomplished my goal.
First and foremost, I parked my bike along the beach and dove into the ocean. I was excruciatingly tired, yet perfectly content.
I walked around the town for a bit and grabbed a much-needed iced coffee from Coffee Tauk, then rode the last 5 miles out to the old lighthouse.
After finally reaching the end of the island, I sat atop a hill overlooking nothing but the ocean and reflected on everything that has happened to me since I first thought of making the trip. It has been full of ups and downs—like life often is—but the ride was most definitely worth it.
P.S. A special thanks go out to Sue and Tim, who provided a great home and really took fantastic care of me, much more than a hotel would have (at a fraction of the price, too). Also, special thanks to Laura, who was stuck in a midtown Manhattan office while I was getting a nasty sunburn at the ocean.