Riding Beyond Hope to New Hope

When you are a cycling enthusiast (that’s putting it nicely) and you get a day in February where temperatures in the mid-forties are promised, you take the opportunity to do a decent bike ride.  I’m glad I showed up for the “Beyond Hope to New Hope” Ride that was a down and back route from Blairstown, NJ to New Hope, PA.  The hilliest part of the course is the beginning…fortunately for us so we could warm up before we came to our senses and returned to our heated cars.  Once the sun came up and my shoulders loosened out of their hunched position, I started to enjoy the ride.

I had been hoping to convince Chris to ride with me for the day, but I hardly had to ask because she came on her “fixie” so the odds were evened up a little bit although she went barreling down most hills way faster than I did and she was turning the cranks the whole way.  The first highlight of the ride, after learning that I would have company, was the Milford Bakery, in its new location close to the bridge that crosses the Delaware.  Yum.  I could sit in there and devour several pastries but I kept myself to one almond croissant.  Flaky, buttery, fresh, so much better than what you can buy in the store or most coffee shops.  We took a short break with our pastries and coffee and kept moving toward New Hope where the controle was at a Wawa.  (What’s not to like about this route.  Pastries and a Wawa stop.)

While we were making our way through Frenchtown, we started talking about Valentine’s Day.   More specifically, I started worrying that I had still done nothing and I was afraid that I would get all the way up to the day and still have nothing.  Chris tried to pretend that she was going to ignore the whole day, but she was quite willing to help me in my efforts, so we kept seeing potential places to stop and shop…if only we didn’t have 125 miles to finish before dinner.  Still, we kept ourselves entertained with schemes for helping me get the right gift.

We made pretty quick work of Wawa: soup, rice pudding, text messages home, and we were off.  The way back along Route 29, though flat, feels long because you’ve already done it once, right, and nothing has changed in the last hour or two.  And then you don’t have a good controle to look forward to.  Rode right past the bakery this time and kept going.  Past a couple of wineries that looked inviting, but dinner, you know, and finally we got to the deli in Stewartsville.  Not exciting.  We wandered the aisles for 10 minutes trying to get excited about something there.  We had to eat to be able to finish the final 25 miles or so, but nothing looked good.  Believe it or not, despite the fact that the sun was setting which meant that the temperature was dropping again, we both ate ice cream.  I had hot cocoa with mine to counteract the effect a bit.

Not much talking on the last leg.  We were a bit chilled, tired, ready to be done, and not looking forward to the hills ahead of us.  Chris was right though when she anticipated that they would be easier on the way back, and they were.  We did the last several miles in the dark so I was extra glad of her company at this point, but finally, we pulled ourselves to the top of the last hill and coasted (well, I coasted) down into Blairstown once again, just short of 11 hours after we started.

The next day I felt a little stiff but quite pleased with myself for showing up and then giving it my best effort.  In February.

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