Between the caricatures portrayed on television shows like the Sopranos and Jersey Shore, and the visuals of an industrial wasteland that people are exposed to as they travel the Turnpike, New Jersey gets an unfair rap in the media and in most people's perceptions. Today we're going to take a bike tour that will kick those images to the curb -- few people know that the western half of the state contains natural beauty and bucolic towns that rival anything you'd find in New England.
The plan ...
We'll gather at the New Jersey Transit train station in Princeton to begin our adventure. Into the countryside we go as we peddle our way over rolling hills to our first destination, The Delaware & Raritan Canal state park. Its central attraction being a miles long crushed gravel tow path that follows the banks of the Delaware River, this is one of central New Jersey's most popular recreational corridors for canoeing, jogging, hiking, bicycling, fishing and horseback riding.
We'll cycle north through the D&R park on our way to scenic Lambertsville. Founded in 1705, the town and its charming streets are lined with well-preserved federal townhouses and Victorian homes. It's a gathering of antiques shops, eclectic galleries and comfortable coffee shops clustered on the banks of the scenic Delaware River. Here we'll stop for lunch and explore a bit.
Leaving Lambertsville for our return journey to Princeton, we'll cross the Delaware River into Pennsylvania. We'll pass through historic New Hope as we peddle down the opposite side of the river for a bit of different scenery, until we cross back over into New Jersey to make our way back to our journey's start.
Here is the cue sheet for the ride http://goo.gl/maps/C74Ff. Print and bring it so you can catch up with the group in case you get separated.
The important stuff ...
- This is going to be a casually-paced (10 - 12 mph) ride of about 45 miles. Most of the ride will take place on flat terrain in bike paths and on quiet roads but there will be parts with some automobile congestion. You must be comfortable riding in a group and in traffic. Helmets are strongly suggested.
- Bring snacks and water. Bring a bit of dough also for a lunch stop in Lambertville.
- Make sure your bike is in good working order before the meetup and a spare inner tube, pump, and lock to leave our cycles.
- Rain or similar un-favorable weather cancels the meetup.
- Check your email the evening before for last minute meetup updates as well as my mobile phone number which will be sent to those who RSVP.
- Please DO NOT RSVP if you do not seriously plan to attend as space is limited. No flakes allowed! If you RSVP and I notice that you have a number of no shows or have a history of last minute cancellations, you will be removed.
- Sorry, no guests allowed for this one.
How to get there ...
Yes, they allow bicycles on New Jersey Transit trains. You can catch the 8:14 AM NJT train #7825 from New York Penn Station, transfer in Princeton Junction to Princeton Shuttle #4221 and you will arrive in Princeton at 9:42 AM. Train fare is $16.50 each way. NOTE: NJT rules indicate that only two bicycles are allowed per train car so be sure to arrive at Penn Station early enough to make sure you will be among the first in line to board the train in case there are other cyclists traveling.
The Princeton train station is on University Place, one block north of Alexander Road. Parking at the station lot is $.25 per hour on Saturday until either 7 or 8 PM -- yeah, this ain't NYC. Park in either lot #2, 3, or, 4. Lot #1 is permit parking only.