Posted by: robinson2000 | August 5, 2012

Behind Schedule

3rd – 4th August

Leaving the Shady Acres Campground, we began pedalling South, following the course of the Delaware River, which also acts as the natural border between New Jersey and Pennsylvania. We grabbed a quick breakfast at the local deli and ate our bacon, sausage & egg filled roll on the curb in the sunshine. Today was pencilled in as an easier ride as we’d left the hills of the Delaware Water Gap behind and could relax and enjoy some flattish terrain alongside the river. Within 2.5 hours we had devoured 35 miles and stopped for refreshments at a liquor store. The day was an absolute scorcher so fluid was essential. In fact, we were drinking so much fluid through the day that it was difficult to find a real appetite for lunch and dinner as our stomachs were bloated.

We sat outside of the back of the liquor store by the river to have lunch but didn’t stop for long as it felt even hotter when you weren’t riding. After another 2 hours of good riding we arrived at the quant town of Frenchtown and found a nice cool café to drink milkshake and generally cool the body down. Feeling pretty pleased that we had completed the majority of the ride for the day we consulted our maps to see how far from Washington DC we were. After much head-scratching, we were horrified to find we were still 250 miles away, which is about 4 days riding and a little behind schedule, even though we had been slogging our guts out on the road for 11 days straight. Digging deeper in to the mileages down to Miami, and working out the number of days left until we flew home, we calculated that with a day off in DC, two days off in Miami, and a day off in between DC and Miami, meant we needed to average 65 miles a day! This was a bit of a shock for us as we’d hoped to budget in more rest days, but even with so few days off, and hoping nothing went wrong with the bikes or us, left a pretty big chunk of cycling left to complete. Our only saving grace is that south of the nation’s capital, the terrain flattens out noticeably meaning we should be able to push 70 miles a day without too much bother.

We both felt very deflated on leaving the café but vowed not to let it worry us at this stage. We pedalled out the remaining 9 miles at breakneck speed to Bull Island State Park, which on arrival we found it closed. With no other campsites nearby, we were left with no option other than to cycle an extra 8 miles into Lambertville and find lodging there. As we entered Lambertville the heavens opened just as we found a nice looking B&B. The spinster-like lady offered us a room for $185 but soon brought it down to $100 upon seeing the desperate looks on our faces and our limited budget. The room was something out of the 1950’s, but sufficed and even had its own living room. 

Over breakfast the next morning, the cat loving owner served us eggs and sausages in her nightgown and began bleating about the weather whilst we were trying to prepare for our day. We had planned a 70-75 miler as we were leaving the Appalachian Mountains and had hopes for much flatter pastures. Upon leaving Lambertville, we got shouted at by an irate bridge controller because we were cycling our bikes over the wrong part of the bridge. It was hilarious as he bellowed at us from the sidewalk and we pedalled by waving. Unfortunately, the first 10 miles went by at a very slow pace as one after another, the hills sapped our much needed energy. Luckily the hills finally flattened out, and we were left to ride through more of an urban landscape. Rice managed to up his mileage for the day by getting lost behind me and leaving me to relax and regain my energy on the verge as he realised his mistake. By lunchtime we were on the outskirts of the City of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia, but the cycling was hard going as the roads were heavily congested and we were held up by traffic lights every couple of blocks. We passed through the type of area where you really don’t want to get a puncture as shop windows were boarded up and a colourful scattering of unemployed layabouts littered the streets.

Once out of the urban chaos, we were treated to some excellent roads which ran along the top of a ridge and by 4.30 we were homing in on our campsite, French Creek State Park. Typically it was at the top of a massive hill but that wasn’t the most annoying part about it. The annoying part was the half mile long dirt track that the GPS directed us up, that at first seemed to go nowhere but after lugging our heavy bikes over the rocks, eventually took us to our campsite. With a good days riding behind us and hopefully only 3 more until we get a rest, we pitched up a cooked our soup and noddle’s for dinner and watched the glow flies sparkle around the campsite.

Total Mileage : 776

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Responses

  1. Hi Ben, sounds like a bit of a slog. Hope you are getting some good views of the places as you race by. Maybe you will make some time up so the rest days can be increased! x C&C

    • Hi C&C, thanks for reading the blog. Still slogging it out in North Carolina at the moment. Chris has some bike troubles so we’re hoping to get it fixed tomorrow before we can continue. Your right about the rest days. If we can up the mileage abit then we can definately fit in another rest day. Hope your both way and enjoying the English Summer. See you soon. Ben xx


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