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Bicyclist rides the waves from Falmouth to M.V.
Most people who visit Martha's Vineyard arrive by boat or plane. For Richard Marino, however, there is only one way to go. "I can't imagine a more enjoyable way to view the shore than from my bike," he will tell you.
Once deflated, the pontoons can be rolled up compactly, and the Shuttle Bike's parts carried in a backpack.
By removing the propeller, another mechanism can be attached to inflate the pontoons by pedaling the bike, a process that takes about five minutes for each pontoon. When dissembled, the pontoons can be rolled up, and the whole kit can be carried in a backpack.
Richard Marino enjoys the calm waters of Vineyard Haven Harbor aboard his Shuttle Bike after a sloppy crossing from the Cape. Photos by Janet Hefler
He put off calling anyone until near the end of his trip, not wanting to make it "official" until he was sure he would not turn back. However, at about 5:30 pm, Mr. Marino slipped his cell phone from a plastic bag under his life-vest and called the Times to say he was on his final stretch, in sight of the ferry slip in Vineyard Haven.
About three-quarters of a mile from West Chop, Mr. DiSanto got a tow call, so he notified the Steamship Authority, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the Tisbury harbormaster's office about Mr. Marino's arrival.
"The ferry guys asked me, is this guy drunk?" Mr. DiSanto said. "I said no, he's just 40-something." He gave Mr. Marino his phone number and the Coast Guard's before leaving him.
A little after 6 pm, the Shuttle Bike's bright yellow pontoons rounded the seawall into Vineyard Haven. The strange sight of what looked like a man bicycling on a banana split on water drew a small crowd at the dock.
After clocking his finish time at 6:10 pm, Mr. Marino took great delight in letting people take the Shuttle Bike for a spin.
"I should put the words, 'That's so cool' on the pontoons, because that's what everyone says when they see it," he laughed.
The bike intrigued both tourists and natives alike. Visiting from Mansfield, Kelsie, 12, and Kristen, 17, both tried the bike while their parents, Frank and Kathy Fleck, watched in amusement.
Sal McNamara, 13, Chloe McLane, 13, and Kaelin Nelson, 12, all students at Martha's Vineyard Public Charter School, took several turns each, followed by Sveta Drevila, a Steamship Authority employee from Belarus.
The Shuttle Bike proved to be surprisingly stable, as Mr. Marino demonstrated by standing on one leg on one pontoon, gliding along with his other leg raised behind him. He thinks it works best for people who weigh 200 lbs. or less.
The pontoons are double-hulled, with an upper and lower chamber, so if they lose air, they will not completely deflate. In the event one pontoon deflates, Mr. Marino could sit on the other one and use an oar he brings along to paddle to shore.
With his trip completed, Mr. Marino could not stop smiling. He packed up the Shuttle Bike kit and walked his bicycle onto the 7:15 pm Islander. "I think I earned a ride back on the ferry," he grinned.