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Day 33: Cambridge, MA to East Boston, MA

Okay, now I really have gone from sea to shining sea. The choice of a route for my “epilogue” ride wasn’t obvious though.

My first thought was to just bike into downtown Boston and finish the ride at the harbor there. But that’s mobbed with tourists and didn’t seem like it would be a fun place to end. It’s not like I started by going down to the water in downtown Seattle either.

My second thought was to bike out to Revere Beach, which is the oldest public beach in the country and faces the outer harbor rather than the inner harbor. But that seemed a bit too out of the way.

I finally settled on a ride to East Boston. While East Boston was annexed to Boston long ago, it’s separated from the rest of the city by the harbor. That means there’s a park on one of the old piers with a great view across the harbor to downtown.

There’s just one catch: Bikes aren’t allowed to ride through the tunnels that connect East Boston to downtown, so the only way to ride from Cambridge to Eastie (short of putting my bike on the subway or a water taxi) is to take the long way around through Boston’s northern neighbors. Therefore, an 8-mile ride from Cambridge to East Boston took me through the six (count them, six!) incorporated cities of Cambridge, Somerville, Medford, Everett, Chelsea, and Boston. Fun fact: If these 6 cities merged, you’d have a city that would tie San Jose for 10th-largest in the country and yet would still have less land area than any other city in the top 30 except for San Francisco and Washington, DC. On the plus side, going through all these separate cities in a row did give me the opportunity to hit a final couple of breweries along the way.

First of all, Everett, despite having fewer than 50,000 people, has managed to attract four breweries to the city. Three of these I know and love and have been to many times, but the fourth one, BearMoose, only opened while I was away and I’d therefore never been there.

At the moment, they only seem to have half a dozen beers on tap, which isn’t too surprising for a brewery that’s only a month or so old. Getting a flight allowed me to try most of them though. And here’s an example of where personal taste comes into play: I thought the amber was way too bitter. The bartender said she personally agreed with me, but that a lot of their customers like it that way and it sells well. To underscore her point, a guy sitting near me at the bar piped up that he really likes it that bitter. Go figure.

The beers I did like at BearMoose were the Hazy Bandit New England IPA and the Sorta Porta summer porter. Neither of them was especially noteworthy in flavor, but they were both really easy drinking.

Only a mile past BearMoose brought me to Chelsea and Mystic Brewery. Mystic’s an old favorite of mine and seemed like a good place to have as the final brewery of my trip. I first encountered them at a beer festival back in September 2012, and my first visit to their tap room was in May 2014. Back then they didn’t even have their own brewing system; they contract brewed elsewhere and then drove the wort to Chelsea and fermented it in their own building. They’ve had an in-house brewing system for a few years at this point though.

As for the beers, my favorite styles of theirs are the dark beers (they do really cool stuff like a still beer called Entropy or a Belgian-style quad called Day of Doom) and the milkshake IPAs (the blueberry one they released right before Labor Day last year was outstanding). Unfortunately, they had none of the above on tap this time around. Instead I got their flagship Saison Renaud (and you have to admire a brewery that has a saison as one of its flagship beers) and the Specular Reflections, a “citrate” pale ale made with both citric acid and Citra hops. Have I mentioned I like Citra?

From Mystic it was 2 more miles to Boston Harbor at Piers Park (see the photo at the top), and then my cross-country ride was well and truly over.

Thanks for following my journey! It’s been a hell of a ride, both literally and figuratively. Even skipping a few stretches, I still racked up over 2600 miles in the span of six weeks, which is not something I could have ever imagined doing. That’s normally how much I bike in a year!

As I said in my last post, this blog isn’t quite finished yet. I have quite a few concluding thoughts and acknowledgements to make. In the meantime, here are some fun stats though for the ride, followed by my standard stats for the short ride to the harbor:

2600+ miles pedaled
42 days on the road
9 states + 1 province crossed
86 counties biked through
89 breweries visited
5 wineries visited
3 cideries visited
1 meadery visited
20 nights of free lodging
— 9 nights of free lodging with family and friends
— 11 nights of free lodging with very generous strangers
19 nights of paid, taxable lodging
2 nights of paid, tax-deductible lodging
— 3 nights in AirBnBs
— 3 nights in true B&Bs
— 1 night in a hotel masquerading as an AirBnB
— 14 nights in true hotels/motels
32 days of pedaling
10 rest days (including 2 transit days)
12 lbs lost during training
10 additional lbs lost during the ride

Total distance: 8.3 miles
Average speed: 12.7 mph

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