Yesterday I rode Rick Carpenter’s Schuylkill to Delaware 200km. I’ve done this ride several times but every time is a little different. Yesterday I managed to finish the ride entirely in light and that was a first for me. The server in Limerick Diner recognized me and said she’d seen my buddies the week before. They’re so used to seeing us that they don’t even blink an eyes when I walk in clad in bike gear. I bought a cup of rice pudding for a snack a few miles down the road, had my card signed and started off.
I did not run into freshly chipped and oiled roads that Rick had warned me about–but the signs were out. I rode efficiently, took my whooping on Eichele Rd–I had really hoped to make it to the top this time, but no–and got myself to the Weis in Pennsburg with plenty of time in hand. The cashier who has been there every time I’ve stopped there wanted to know when I’m going to stop doing these rides. I replied that they’re better than ulcers so probably not for a while. The next 10 miles to Yum Yum donut shop in Quakertown went quickly and then I had to fight the crowds to get a donut and receipt. By this point, the temperature had started to rise and it was clear that it was going to be a beautiful day. I felt lucky to be out there. I bought a coconut covered donut but ate the rice pudding that I’d purchased from the diner. Good preparation for the next stage.
The route from Quakerstown to Riegelsville is deceptive, or rather, I deceive myself about it. While it trends downhill, because you’re riding down to the Delaware, it’s pretty lumpy and doesn’t go quite as fast as I expect it to. Still, I reached the post office in Riegelsville with an hour to spare–a new phenomenon for me! I wrote the answer to the question in my card and rode over to the bridge although the signs had already said it was closed. It was, and the construction workers wouldn’t let me walk across. Ok. So I turned around and rode on the Pennsylvania side down to the bridge to Milford. Then I had to dodge around the finish line for a race before I could get back on my bike and ride to Frenchtown.
Yesterday was a little breezy so the long stretch along 29 to Lambertsville went a little faster with the breeze at my back. Lots of people were out on bikes–on the bike path to my right (alongside the river) and coming the other way. I started to get really hungry on this stretch and remembered that I’d packed a couple of Jayne’s oatmeal, chocolate chip, cranberry, nut cookies in my bag. Munching happily on one of these, I picked up my pace and kept moving toward New Hope and lunch. I’d expected New Hope to be impossibly crowded and it was. I carefully worked my way through town and up the hill to 202. Turning left, I quickly rode to pizza restaurant next to the diner. The diner’s parking lot was way too full for me to want to try to get lunch there, so I went to the pizza place, ordered a sub to go and was outside munching on my lunch within 5 minutes. This place has benches and a little pond outside–nice setting for a picnic yesterday.
The route from there to Doylestown was also quite busy yesterday. I rode steadily but carefully and made it through Doylestown safely. The next section is navigationally challenging. Lots of turns, some weird crossings, and a state park to get through by back roads. It all went well except for a short bit of new construction. The end of W. Orvilla, before the right turn onto Allentown, is completely torn up, but since the construction crew was not working yesterday afternoon, I managed to ride through it. Then, the quick turn onto Troxel Rd wasn’t there. Apparently Troxel’s be torn up too–it just wasn’t there. Because I wasn’t quite sure what the instruction “immediate Left” meant, I rode up the road a bit and came across Keeler, the next road on the cue sheet. With a little help from someone out mowing his lawn, I was quickly back on course.
I reached the Dunkin Donuts in Phoenixville with plenty of time in hand, exhausted but wanting to finish the ride as quickly as possible. Coffee smelled good so I bought a small cup and ate the last of Jayne’s cookies with it. That fueled me for those not too difficult last miles to the diner.
I used my reflective gear for the last four or five miles, but it was still light when I pulled into the parking lot. Good. I managed to achieve my goal of finishing in daylight. A first for me on this route. The diner staff once again were incredibly sweet, this despite the fact that they were in the middle of their dinner rush. I bought a coke, had my card signed for the last time, packed up and drove home.
I was tired and sore but satisfied with my effort. And it was a beautiful day to have been out on my bike.