My biking friends and I had been looking forward to the Bike the Night Ride all summer. Three of us did it a couple years ago and it was hands down the best organized ride we had ever done. It started at 12:01 AM on a Sunday on a full moon September night out on the North Fork of Long Island. You had your option of distances and we went the 75 mile route. There was delicious food at the rest stops like corn on the cob and a pancake breakfast at the end. Even though it was dark, it was an absolutely beautiful ride. The end was at Orient Beach and we got to watch the sunrise and we rode the last couple miles out to the point. It made us want to do the North Fork ride or just get ourselves back out there during the day. We would have done the night ride again last year, but Hurricane Irene screwed everything up and the ride was canceled. This year, for some silly reason, the town of Greenport decided they did not want to give the organizers a permit and they had to move the ride to somewhere else. They ended up moving it to the Hudson valley, which would no doubt be beautiful, but there was only a 35 mile ride option and it would take longer to get there than it would for us to bike it. They did add a canoe option which would have been fun, but more money and we just couldn’t justify the costs, so we decided to make our own ride for that weekend, not a night, but out on the North Fork touring some vineyards like we always said we would.
K did some research and made us an awesome 55 mile ride that started at Riverhead, stopped at several vineyards and then ended at Greenport. We decided to reverse the ride and start on the east and work our way back west to catch the train in Riverhead. We knew we definitely wanted to get out to Orient Beach again and if we had to cut distance at the end because we were running out of time to catch the LIRR back, we would have rather had it be on the western side. We had the ambitious plan of going to about 5 or 6 vineyards, but after we got the longer front portion of our ride done, we only stopped at three, and did two tastings since we were worried about time. We changed the route a little bit and cut out a few miles, but it was still a 50.7 mile ride. We made it to the train station with seven minutes to spare, otherwise we would have been spending the night on Long Island or trying to figure out how to get home some other way.
The first portion of our trip was a long section from Greenport out to Orient Beach were we stopped for pictures, lunch and the bathrooms. The sun was teasing us the whole way.
We made our way back through Greenport and to our first vineyard, Croteaux. We didn’t do a tasting here because no one was too crazy about rose wine, but we had heard it was so cute that we had to check it out. As you can see below, it was adorable.
The next stop was at Pugliese Vineyards where we had a Living Social deal for a wine tasting (four wines each) with cheese and cracker platter for four. We arrived just in time for it to start raining. This wasn’t our favorite, and if we didn’t have the Living Social deal, we probably would have skipped it for a different vineyard on our list. But we definitely welcomed the food, it was the perfect stopping point, and the ground were very lovely. It was also very obivous that it was family run and we all appreciated it.
Once the rain stopped we headed to Shinn Estate Vineyards on the recommendation of a local wine shop that Courtney was interning at. The ride between the two vineyards was gorgeous and we avoided the rain again by arriving just in time. This was hands down everyone’s favorite. It was an adorable place with a sweet dog named Panda, and tasty wines. Highly recommend checking out this place. If we hadn’t been on bikes and needed to haul it to the train station, I probably would have bought a bottle or two and we probably would have hung around longer.
After Shinn’s we had one hour and 12 miles to go back to the station. The road was wet from the storm that went through and for some reason Long Island does not have signs on the road telling you were the train station is, so we kept pulling out our phones to make sure we knew were we where and that we didn’t over shoot the station. As I said, we made it to the station with seven minutes to spare and spent the next two and a half hours dreaming about the Bonnie’s burgers we were going to consume when we got back to Brooklyn. We all decided we were going to have to do it again, but the weather has turned cold really fast this year, so it might have to wait until next year.