Monday, October 14, 2019

road riding in gettysburg, v. 0.5

Tom H, author of Road Biking New Jersey and Best Bike Rides Philadelphia, and locally known as the slightly mendacious, but always entertaining, leader of his Insane Bike Posse, has been commissioned to write a book of rides around the Gettysburg Battlefield Park and environs.

He'd approached a number of members of the Posse about having a weekend in Gettysburg to try out some of the rides. He asked if I could bring The Excellent Wife (TEW), if she was willing, as he wanted the input of a less-than-obsessed rider about whether these rides might be possible for the regular, non-biking public.

Somewhat to my surprise, TEW was up for it, and when the weather promised clear (if a bit cooler than we might have liked) for this past weekend, we made arrangements to go. We drove down after work (getting caught in a huge tie-up on the Pennsylvania Turnpike; it was a three-day weekend for some), and stayed in a motel in Maryland, not far from the battlefield.

The rides in Tom's book are short, and his plan for the first day was to do a ride of about 24 miles that covered all or part of a number of them, followed by another 8-or-so mile ride to see a covered bridge. We were to plan on lots of stops, for pictures (Tom doesn't have a good idea of what pictures the editors of the book will want) and to check out directions and road conditions.

The battlefield is FULL of monuments. Evidently, in the years after the war, veterans on both sides wanted to commemorate their comrades. We stopped often for pictures; I got well over 100 on the first day.

Below; at the Eternal Flame:

The ride took us into town, to the re-created station through which Lincoln came on the fall day he was to give the Gettysburg Address:

Then back into the park, at the top of Seminary Ridge, the site of Pickett's Charge. That white dome off in the distance is the Pennsylvania Monument, at the top of the ridge the Confederates were trying to take.

We climbed Little Round Top, where fire was rained down onto two rocky outcrops below. In the center, you can see the Devil's Den:

Above, in the Devil's Den.

On this holiday weekend, the traffic going up and down Little Round Top was intense; if you're going to do Gettysburg, on a bike is a sensible way to do it.

 At the Pennsylvania Monument:

We decided to go up Culp Hill (from which there wasn't much of a view, so no pictures), and when we got there, we found that all the ways back to the place we started were marked with one of these:

Tom's re-working that part of the route. It's a shame he has to do it, because it's demanding enough that I'm sure none of the intended audience for the book will ever do that particular ride!

While we were there, TEW had a chat with some of the re-enactors; they're interesting guys.

We got back to the start, and went on the ride to the covered bridge (TEW decided to sit that part out; the ride was more tiring than most of this distance and climb, and we think it was likely due to the many starts-and-stops). On the route is a pedestrian bridge that is marked as closed, but it seemed fine to us:

The covered bridge in question is just great.

And back for the day.

In the evening, we had planned to go to the Dobbin House for dinner, a historic inn in Gettysburg... but apparently everyone in town for the holiday weekend had the same idea; they may still be lined up at the door, for all I know. Instead, we went to a local bar and restaurant, O'Rorke's, which was surprisingly good, and might be my choice if we go back. (It looked like nothing-in-particular, but the crab cakes were full of crab, and not filler, for example.)

The next day, we did a 32-mile ride that covered some rides outside of town. We passed some cows, of which I had to get a picture for Laura OLPH:

I thought this barn was great:

This ride includes another battlefield, from an engagement a day or two after the battles at Gettysburg.

On the way, we passed a field where people were flying radio-controlled planes. We stopped for a while; it was a treat:

And back.

Ride pages: First part of the first ride, and second part of the first ride (GPS weirdness), and covered bridge, and second day.

Tom's talking about inviting a few of us in the spring to take cue sheets and ride the routes to see how they go. I think it might be cool!

Saturday, October 5, 2019

destination: sandy hook

You ride to Sandy Hook so you can see stuff like this:

Most of the rides we do are about the ride; the place we wind up, or stop at, is of secondary importance (although Laura OLPH tries to make a point of stopping at places with great coffee). When we do Tom H's ride to Sandy Hook, though, it's largely about the destination. While some of the roads are pretty (and much of the real estate is exclusive), many of the roads have no shoulders, and today, in particular, there seemed to be a larger-than-usual number of cranky and aggressive drivers.

(It was also colder than I had planned for. After I got home, I made sure that my full-finger gloves and other cold weather gear was conveniently placed and ready to go.)

On this 65-mile ride, we made two stops; the first at a Wawa of no significance other than convenience, and the second at this pizza place that was on the route. As we were leaving, next to Ricky's purple Cinelli, was this excellent purple kids bike.

It looks almost like a father-and-daughter picture, doesn't it?

Ride Page here.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

sorry for sundays

Last Sunday I had a conflict; this Sunday I'm working; and at least one other Sunday in October I have a conflict. I'll get back to Sunday rides sometime, but there may be snow on the ground and Christmas carols in the stores by the time I do.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

beautiful day

I thought Laura OLPH was going to be blowing glass on Saturdays, so I was delighted to see her list a ride from Hillsborough up to Oldwick for today. I checked in with her about distance, and was told about 50-55 miles. Right up my alley.

Starting in January, I started at Weight Watchers; I've hit goal and become a lifetime member, and I still go to the meetings (and track my food, weight, and activity, because that's what worked for me). The topic this week (last week?) was about maintaining motivation, and with my group's coach, the estimable Amy H, it led to a discussion of how our motivations (our "why's", in the WW parlance) can change over time.

Well, one of my "why's" is so I  can do rides like this one. I get to hang out with some extremely cool people, and push my bike around with 'em on some demanding roads, on one of the most beautiful ride days ever.

Tom H, Ricky G, Bob N, and Blake joined.

We started at the park in Hillsborough, and headed just about straight north. Laura made clear that there would be stops for pictures, and when she did, I did:

Well, you can't get that close to Solberg Airport without droppin' in, now can you?

We pass this farm on this ride, and I can never remember where it is... but I loved the twisted sycamore framed by the straighter, darker trees. I got a bunch of these; this was the best of the lot:

Where we turn onto Rockaway Road, there's this nifty ruin...

...and a bit further along, this nifty cottage compound. It's usually obscured by foliage; this was a rare sight of the grounds.

Shortly thereafter, there was this WHIPPIN' downhill on Fox Hill Road... but with a vista like this about halfway down, wouldn't you stop, too? The pictures don't do it justice.

And then to the Oldwick General Store, where I ate about my whole quota of calories and food points for the whole day. But I know I'll burn it off on a day like this.

Bob had some tire trouble on the way back.

My club is the Princeton Freewheelers, and my joke is, Q.: "How many Freewheelers does it take to change a tire?" A.: "How many do you have?"

I have no idea where this was:

By the time we got back, we had a smidge over 51 miles, 2200' of climb. I might have kept up on this ride a year ago, but I would have been miserable. This year, I'm glad I was in shape to do it. And it was a beautiful day.