I didn’t know if I would remember how to ride a bike, let alone ride a bike end to end in OC.
“It’s like riding a bicycle” they say… in reference to things you’ll never forget, but my sense of balance was shaky at best that warm and sunny late March day when I started peddling down the alley. My goal was to go on an eight mile bike ride to sightsee through Ocean City. My tour of Ocean City involved favorite houses, historic landmarks, and a few places to stop for a bite to eat along the way.
After a too-big bike catastrophe and a last minute rescue by my neighbors (thanks Lisa, Mark, and Dan!), I started at 46th and Central and headed south to get to the end of the island. Once I got to the entrance to Corson’s Inlet and flipped around, the wind was at my back giving me a little nudge in the right direction.
Pedaling north, I started to see familiar houses from my walks that looked different without their flowers planted.
I passed the bubble gum house at 51st Street – once owned by Edward Fenimore who spent many years working in the gum industry. It’s pink and white exterior and pink garage doors are a vibrant sight in the southend.
After a few blocks, I knew exactly where I was but I could see things from a whole other angle. I saw people going into open houses, dogs sitting on porches, and construction being finished up for the new season.
After 34th Street, there were more cars on the road. I found they passed me at a comfortable distance.
I turned onto Wesley Avenue at the blinking light at 29th Street. This marked the first time I was in an actual bike lane. The houses for the most part seemed older than some homes I passed on Central. Pedaling closer to the beach made my ride a peaceful experience.
When I passed the corner of 26th and Wesley, I saw a bright slice of Ocean City history. The yellow Spanish-style house looks the same as it did when Grace Kelly’s family owned it.
I turned at 23rd Street for the Boardwalk and found it less crowded than I thought it would be. The southend of the Boardwalk is home to elegant, beautiful beach front houses and I found myself dreaming of lounging beside their pools or reading in their gazebos. After passing the seating area at 23rd and the pavilion at 20th Street, I came upon a historical landmark – the Sindia Pavilion.
The Sindia Pavilion sits at 17th Street, near where the Sindia sank in 1901. There are Sindia signs adorning the pavilion along with a sign near the dunes detailing the Sindia’s journey. Passing the Port-O-Call Hotel and reaching the 14th Street Fishing Pier felt like a gift with the wider Boardwalk and the labeled lanes.
It wasn’t the carefully constructed chaos of a summertime bike ride.
It’s the perfect combo – if you’re cold, get a warm drink. If you’re hot, snag some mango water ice.
Passing a variety of mini golf courses and shirt stops, I saw a line snaking onto the Boardwalk where you could grab your next summer treat – Manco and Manco pizza.
After going another block, I stopped for a break at the Music Pier. I was instantly hit with the coolness and the shade underneath its historic arches. It was time for a bathroom and water break before hitting the northend.
I stopped one more time at the end of the multi-lane Boardwalk at 5th Street. Plenty of benches at 5th and 6th streets made it the perfect place to rest, and a good place to take in some beach volleyball in the middle of summer.
Struggling to figure out what to do with my feet while going downhill, I bumped down into St. James Place at the end of the Boardwalk – a thankfully very quiet street. Turning right onto Corinthian, I headed towards North Street.
North Street may be the only street I know in the Gardens because of its Christmas tree and shell art over the winter. I turned left on Beach Road and felt like I would go down the street and would then find the Longport Bridge.
Or so I hoped.
Pedaling through the Gardens, that was my one big question- Where the heck is the Longport Bridge? I knew if I stayed near the roaring ocean waves, I had to run into it at some point, right?
As I went from East Atlantic Boulevard to Seaspray Road to Waverly Boulevard to Wesley and the New Castle Road, the beautiful houses kept me company, as well as a few cute dogs. Staring longingly at a hammock and listening to the waves crashing, I wondered if I would ever find the bridge. The roads were peaceful. I didn’t see a car or really any people as I zigged and zagged. I thought I was now probably truly lost when I saw the toll peeking up at the end of the street. Turning into the parking lot, I ended my ride the way I started it – in front of a beach.
Coming back – in four wheels instead of two – I grabbed two chicken tacos with sour cream from Blue Cactus.
They didn’t make it home.
Read this story and many others in our May magazine.