Saturday, November 4, 2017

Central Bucks Bike Club Thursday Night Ride

I lead a ride on Thursday nights (on the Canal Tow Path) from 630pm to 8pm on River Rd. near Pt. Pleasant, PA (not NJ).  The GPS address is: 4788 River Rd (Rt 32), New Hope, PA.  The start/finish is in the parking lot across the street of a former hotel/restaurant (forget the name). 

I ride my Mountain Bike but most people ride either a hybrid road bike or a cyclo-cross bike.  I have a hybrid bike but I ride the Mountain Bike because I get a better workout since the Coefficient of Drag (Cd) is much higher on a mountain bike than it is on a hybrid/road bike.  That's because the mountain bike is heavier, wider more agressive tires, has a suspension system, etc.  Do you need a mountain bike?  Nope, that is until it snows.  I'd rather ride a mountain bike in the snow than a hybrid or road bike.  In fact, I'd rather ride a Fat Tire bike in the snow but I don't have one.  And, the plan is to ride throughout the Winter on Thursday night.

What's the route?  The ride starts on the PA side of the River near Pt. Pleasant and heads Northwest on the canal/towpath up to the Uhlerstown Covered Bridge.  At the Covered Bridge we get off the canal/towpath and head down Uhlerstown Rd. to River Rd.  We're on River Rd. for no more than 100 yds. when we cross the bridge over the Delaware River into Frenchtown, NJ.  Once in Frenchtown, we re-group at the Cafe on the canal/towpath for no more than a few minutes.  From there, it's a straight shot (non-stop) to Bulls Island and I mean a straight shot.  Once at Bulls Island we cross the walking bridge across the Delaware River to the Black Bass Inn.  Once across the River, it's no more than 100 yds. up River Rd. until we're back on the Canal/TowPath. From there it's no more than 1.2 miles back to the Start.  The route is 19 miles long and flat and at the speed we average makes it a 1.5 hr. ride- on the button.  I don't believe there is more than a 50 ft. elevation rise/drop the entire ride.  The PA side is mostly single track with dirt/gravel.  The NJ side is mostly double wide with gravel.  The PA side has at least 4-5 bridges that you need to duck under the NJ side is void of any bridges.

What to bring?  Lights.  It's best to have two lights: 1 on the bike and 1 on your helmet.  The disadvantage of only 1 light on your bike is that it only lights up where your bike is pointed.  You can't see in the woods and if you have a bike computer you can't see that either.  What else?  A helmet.  I know it's only the canal path but it's just as easy to fall on the canal path as it is the road.  And, when the ground freezes, it's just as hard as the road.  Besides, at night the tow path/woods come alive and there are all kinds of critters (big and small) on the Canal/Tow Path.  So far on every ride we've had deer jump out in front of us.  Also, if you go off the Canal/Tow Path for whatever reason, you've got the canal on one side and a drop-off in some cases of over 30 ft. into the Delaware River (or on rocks) on the other side.  The Canal/Tow Path is only 12 ft. wide in some spots on the PA side.  The NJ side is much wider.  A snack/drink is advisable even though it's only 19 miles.  That's because we go at a pretty good least for me on a mountain bike..ha.  The ride is advertised as 14-15 mph average, but there are times when we crank it up to 18-19 mph.  And, dress warm.

Oh, one more thing, I just created a 3 mile segment on Strava on the NJ side.  Right now, my time is 11 minutes and change...for normal riding.  I hope to improve on that time each week throughout the Winter.  I'd like to get that time down to 10 minutes- or just under 10 which I believe is an 18 mph average.

Come join us on Thursday night.  Power ON!  Coach Rob

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