As part of our continuing efforts to find new and challenging rides for Team Evesham, Brad, Frank and I travelled to Washington Crossing State Park north of Trenton for a ride that took us through three counties and two states along the scenic Delaware River. The ride also provided us with more of a challenge than we anticipated.
We began heading north on Bear Tavern Road in the general direction of Lambertville. Several miles into the ride we made a left turn onto Pleasant Valley Road which turned out to be anything but pleasant. The road began rising sharply at a 5 to 7 per cent grade with no obvious end in sight. All conversations ceased and were replaced by labored breathing as it suddenly dawned upon us that we were no longer in southern New Jersey. I soon realized things were not going ideally when my heart rate monitor began ringing after reaching its maximum limit of 165 beats. Nonetheless, we did reach the end of the first climb only to discover that a second, less severe climb awaited us. Mercifully, the road began dropping sharply to the west and Frank plunged ahead of us down the hill at speeds in excess of 30 miles per hour.
Our relative comfort was short-lived. After a right turn on Valley Road, we reached our next turn at Goat Hill Road, affectionately known simply as “the Goat” among local cyclists. In retrospect, I now understand it is not a good thing when a climbing hill has its own nickname. The Goat extended for three-quarters of a mile at a grade ranging from five to eight per cent. Our pace slowed to 6 or 7 miles per hours. Midway up the hill, Brad called for a much needed break as two female cyclists passed us and disappeared up the road in no evident distress. We ultimately reached the top of the hill and proceeded down into Lambertville nestled along the bank of the Delaware River across from New Hope. We soon left Lambertville behind and sped north on a mercifully flat road along the river to Stockton.
After a short stop at the local farm market in Stockton, we walked our bikes across the Delaware River to the Pennsylvania side of the river. (The steel mesh bridge is not suitable for bikes or foot traffic). River Road heads directly south towards New Hope. The twisting road was scenic and largely devoid of traffic on a quiet Friday morning. We rode into bucolic New Hope thirty minutes later. After an ice cream treat in town, we continued south along River Road past the Washington Crossing Park on the Pennsylvania side of the river. We concluded our trip by walking our bikes back across the bride at Washington Crossing and heading back up the hill to our starting point.
All things considered, we had an excellent ride. We have since done some research and have discovered some additional route options that could provide more climbing or a longer trip along the river north of Stockton. This ride would make for a very nice optional ride on a Saturday. Once we get past next Sunday’s ACS ride, we will look for a date later in July for this ride.