Saturday, July 15, 2023

Tour De Shepard on WNEG #7

After riding with my brother-in-law last weekend Shepard (pictured above in white) reached out to me saying we should get together for a ride and he would really like ride down along the coast. I planned out out a road ride that would follow the Route #7 of the Western New England Greenway (WNEG #7) starting in Bethel, CT. Little did I know, the route on Open Source Maps doesn't correspond to real life.

I checked with the Lunartics to see if anyone wanted to join us and Scott said he would. We met at the Big Y in Stony Hill a little before 6 AM and got on the road at 6:15 AM, trying to beat the heat.

A few miles into the route the WNEG made a turn that I wasn't expecting so we followed the signs. At the top of the Saugatuck Reservoir the sun was just starting to burn through and the surface of the lake was like glass. We turned onto Newtown Turnpike and entered the Fred Zone!

Riding this part of Rt 53 at 7 AM was wonderful as there were barely any cars and we were able to ride most of the way to Valley Forge two abreast. Following the WNEG signs we rode down Valley Forge to Lyons Plain and then turned onto River Road and kept following the route into Westport and then turned onto Newtown Turnpike.  Crossing over the Merritt Parkway, my route was supposed to turn at Crawford St in Westport but I didn't see any signs so we continued on into Norwalk. Looking at the WNEG CT Section, now, we were supposed to turn on Cranbury Road but I didn't see any signs so we just continued on down towards the Norwalk Green.

Looks like I might get a few Wandrer miles through here.

It was a blue bird day at the beach!

We headed over to the fishing pier to take in the views and fuel up

This Shepard's bike, an original Retrospec modified with CnC couplings.  Total pimp bike. Steel with split seat tubes arching down to the drop outs. 

I have only see one other bike from this manufacturer, owned by a friend of Mike's. He brought the bike on our Dirty Wachussett Ride back in 2021 during the height of the COVID Pandemic.

From Calf Pasture we found the route on Route 136 in Norwalk and followed it until the Westport train station and then took Shepard over the Saugatuck River train bridge. We even saw a train this time! I think I have ridden over this bridge at least 10 times this year and have only seen one train.

We looped through Longshore and then headed over to Compo Beach. I always try to take a good shot of the Minute Man but it's tough on the bike. Today, it looks like his ponytail needs a little combing.

Next on the sightseeing tour was Compo Beach

Now we were really in the Fred Zone, which stretches from Calf Pasture to the Fairfield Beaches.

There were cyclists on fancy bikes but dressed horribly and many electric bikes.

At the intersection of Greens Farm Road and the Sherwood Island Connector I rolled up on a guy and asked whether or not Beach Side Road was repaved. He said, not it wasn't and that it wasn't that bad. I told him thanks but hard pass.  We detoured around and cut in at Sasco Creek and then stopped at Southport Beach for a Naturell and some water.

Here's the guy who provided the road intel

I was using this ride as preparation for next week's CT Challenge Ride

in which RC Ilumenati will be marshalling one of the longer routes and sweeping.

Continuing along the coast we rode over to Little Danbury

Couldn't see Long Island today

and I finally got a picture of a kid on the Little Green Trike!

Leaving Little Danbury we cruised by the Fairfield Beaches and then turned north heading back to Bethel.

It was a little after 10 AM and we could start to feel the heat of the day start to come in.

Riding north on Redding Road we turned onto Black Rock Turnpike and then rode over to the RC Ilumenati Tannen Baum. Continuing north we rode up through the cooler and it was indeed cool through there, by at least 10 degrees.

The last climb on the way back was Pine Tree Hill and we were definitely feeling the heat by then.  After we rode through Joel Barlow, Scotty split off to get water at Redding Ridge and apparently ran into Mat'O and his Saturday Morning Ride and Dine group fixing someone's flat. Shepard and I continued on but stopped at the Dodgingtown Deli for water.  The last 5 miles back to the cars was hot! Afterwards we had pizza!

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