WOODS HOLE – One proven way to meet new friends on Cape Cod is to dress like a pirate and go for a bike ride.
Saturday morning near the Shining Sea Bikeway Roger Leary, of Wareham, tried that exact strategy. “This is my pirate outfit, he said while pausing on Church Street near Nobska Beach. “I am a DJ. I’ve got a few outfits, the pirate, a pimp, and a Mardi Gras outfit with a feather boa.”
Leary said he was dressed a pirate for a bike trip with his Meetup group, the South Shore Hike, Bike & Social Club. The group wanted to do a charity ride. Because of an inside joke, it was going to be a spandex-wearing charity ride for the Boston One Fund, and somehow that inside joke about spandex evolved into a costume-wearing ride through Falmouth.
So that’s how Leary the pirate found himself riding alongside Betsy Kerrigan, aka Superwoman, Richie Coppola, aka Doctor Richie in hospital scrubs, and Jenny Memoli, aka Catwoman.
“I started the group a couple of years ago after a couple of really bad dates,” said Leary. In the club, he said, ”You get to know people the old-fashioned way by just getting out and doing stuff.”
There were about 20 members who traveled to Falmouth, he said, but the group split up and one group went north towards North Falmouth. His group had wandered off the bike path to take a trek past Nobska Lighthouse. “This is one of my favorite bike paths. It’s gorgeous and flat, and people love riding it, and we can take detours like this,” said Leary.
He meant a detour off the bike path, but they had also taken a detour into a land of characters, at least for a while.
Memoli, 41, of Wareham, had been dressed as Catwoman but she quickly abandoned the nose and ears because they were too hot, she said. She is a health and music teacher and a sometime professional violinist who was once a full-time musician. She joined the group to be able to play volleyball when she quit performing full time. “As a violinist, I wasn’t allowed to touch sports balls.” So with the group, she has finally gotten to enjoy playing sports.
And she was enjoying the ride and the Cape but she wasn’t ready to give it anything over her hometown. “I love the Cape, but Wareham is pretty sweet too,” she said.
But there were others who did not live near the ocean. Kerrigan, 48, of East Bridgewater, said Falmouth was nicer than Bridgewater. When asked why, she pointed to the ocean. “It’s a little bit bigger than Robbins Pond” (in East Bridgewater,) she said.
Kerrigan was dressed as Superwoman with an “S” on her chest. But she had decided against wearing her cape/ , but said it would have looked cool flapping in the wind. She is an adaptive physical education teacher for students with special needs when she is not a super hero.
Kerrigan said she enjoyed playing dress up for the day. “It’s a blast,” she said. “People are stopping and waving.”
Kerrigan, who said she “just hooked up with this group,” and until she did, she said, “I had no idea that there was a whole world out there of people my age who are fun.”
Coppola, 48, a heating and air conditioning tech from Wareham, was dressed in hospital scrubs. He is also new to the group. “I don’t drink so it’s tough for me to find things to do,” he said. “These are good healthy people and this is a good healthy environment for me to be in,” he said.
Wearing the costume, said Coppola, is fun. “It helps me get out of myself. It helps me not to think about myself. It humbles me.” he said, adding in the kind of philosophical gem that you can only get from a guy in a doctor costume on a bicycle, “Today’s peacock is tomorrow’s feather duster.”
— Brian Tarcy