I got a call last Thursday from my friend and frequent riding partner
Montana Norvell who works at Bilenky Cycleworks asking me if I wanted to do a ride.
I didn't expect that we would be adventuring from NYC to Philadelphia,
carrying a proclamation from Mayor Bloomberg's office to Mayor Street's office
regarding the creation of bicycle greenways - what an honor!
On Sunday, June 27th, we met at the Market East train station in Philadelphia, but realized we
could buy full fare tickets to NYC at the 30th Street station, so we
sprinted over there at 5:55 AM. When the train came, one of the conductors
told us that there could only be two bicycles on the whole train - this was a
problem because we had picked up two "domestiques" to help us on the way, so
we were four people and four bikes and time was of the essence. She
consulted with another conductor who said it would be OK this time on the
weekend. We transferred in Trenton, and arrived in NYC at 8:28 am.
Fortunately, Andy knew of a great diner in the village that had amazing
challah bread, kasha and eggs - excellent fuel for our trip ahead. We met a
friend and recent transplant to NYC from Philly at our breakfast in
Union Square while we waited for the Proclamation to be delivered to us by
Josh Kinberg...and our trip by bicycle had begun.
The ride from Union Square to the 34th street ferry terminal was fairly
short, but qualified as riding in NY. There is a bikeway that runs along
the West side of the city, and that was a help, although traffic was pretty
minimal Sunday morning. Next stop-Hoboken. We got off the ferry at 11:15,
and it was time to get a move on-we had been on the adventure for 5.5 hours
already, but had only crossed the river from NY.
The route planned and described to Montana was sketchy at best, and we
realized this as we headed off - so we made him buy us a very useful trip
map - that didn't have enough detail of north NJ. We took truck Rt 19S to get
across the waterways , and eventually linked to Rt22S. This was very
sketchy as it was side of the highway riding, but we couldn't find another way to do
it without wasting too much time. It really emphasized the need for
designated routes. Alex got the first flat riding on 22S.
We stopped on the way to get a local to tell us how to get to Rt 27S, and
made our way there-finally-safer roads, but still a lot of traffic and urban
sprawl-and then Andy's flat. We took this through New Brunswick where we found
the most amazing roadside tacqueria for lunch and a break. We're definitely
going back for more. It was almost 3:30 till we left and really had to put
on miles to be home by dark. Not feeling so threatened by traffic, we
followed 27S though several towns nearly to Princeton, where we hopped on
This is where things started to get really pretty - 518 is a country road that
is newly paved, and goes through farmland and woodland. There were slight
rolling hills and then a great 40mph descent into Lambertville. We really
wanted to be in PA, so we walked our bikes across the bridge at the Delaware
River to New Hope. Both L-ville and New Hope are "cute" towns with
antiques, coffee shops, art galleries and tons of Sunday tourists. We ate
some food, filled our water bottles and headed out again-6:30pm 80 miles
done and 40 miles to Philly.
Rt 132S begins just south of New Hope with a B I G hill. And then another
B I G hill. But it was rolling and the descents helped us keep up a good
momentum. Another gorgeous road, but maybe not the road to ride after 80
miles already! We took 132S all the way to the outskirts of Philly rolling
hills all the way, then headed west on Meeting House Road and eventually hit
the city limits in Cheltenham. Abington is really pretty. I got to the
sign first, and waited for the others. 8:30 pm...As I was taking a picture
of "Welcome to Philadelphia" a house owner came out and threatened to call
the cops on me for standing in his yard (well-the Right of Way he mows next
to the road-no sidewalk here). I told him to call the cops if he wanted
to-I just wanted the picture, and was waiting for the other three a block
behind...Andy had "expired" so it took a few minutes.
I always forget how tall the city is. We were at 5th St. and 66th avenue.
That means 60 blocks south and 11 blocks west to my house. We decided to
ride straight through North Philly, and take our chances on the most direct
route. 9:00 PM - we were getting water ice and ice cream around the corner
from Montana's house - we (Alex Montgomery, Andy Satinsky
Matt Yoder, Montana Norvell and myself Matthew Yoder) were done.
Tomorrow we would be at at Philadelphia CIty Hall for Philadelphia NBG Day!
Matthew Wray Yoder, Assoc. AIA