Events: Lake Nockamixon Century Ride and Why You Should Do It
(2015) For thirty-five years, riders have lined up to tackle the Lake Nockamixon Century Ride (registration here), a ride that has a “Best Century Award” by the League of American Cyclists amongst its palmares. But no matter which route is selected – the 41, the 65, or the 103-mile-route – each rider can thank Maurice Goddard for putting the lake where it is today (although be prepared for some who may reserve their applause). While the Century is in its thirty-sixth year, the lake proper is only in its fourth decade of existence. That feels so weird to say. At approximately 1500 acres, the reservoir was created to bring a state park to the doorsteps of those living nearby. With its natural beauty, the lake itself holds many secrets, along with several structures below the water line. It gets to a depth around eighty-feet deep in the southeast corner, near the shore from the The Ride Nox mountain bike trails. It is a lake that flooded some 240-properties along with a couple businesses and a school. All this from the determination of Maurice Goddard to put a park in Bucks County.
It’s why many of the roads running north and south of the lake seem to suddenly end only to visibly pick up on the other side. Roads such as Kellers Church Road, Ridge Road, or especially Old Bethlehem Road (they didn't even bother to change the name of both ends of that road) terminate at the lake and pick up on the other side. A body of water interrupts throughways that connect in the mind. It’s also why, when paired with State Game Lands, some of the most scenic riding in Bucks County can be found north of Lake Nockamixon.
One feature surely to be noted by first-time riders in the area is the prominent glacial detritus in the landscape north of the Lake. The glaciers stopped close by thousands of years ago. Their bulldozing approach left mounds of felsenmeer rocks, some with harmonic tendencies (Ringing Rocks Park, famous examples of this, is the third aid station for the 103-mile course) in random fashion. This effect is furthered at the summit of Haycock Mountain that looks as if a giant maneuvered boulders into a balancing act as some sort of joke.
The preserve of the Game Lands mean the northern section is heavily shaded as well. It always seems to have the smell of campfire due to the many campsites located nearby. With the shade riders can pass through these roads in the warmest of times yet still feel comfortable. These roads are quite remarkable to ride. When one reads about bike testing in magazines, they surely had these Haycock Township roads in mind. They’re windy, they’re rolling, but most of all they are impressively fun. This section also provides riders with the Sheards Mill Covered Bridge.
The ride pays homage to Bucks County in general: The aforementioned Lake Nockamixon as well as Lake Galena - also flooded around the same time. The small mining town of Leven is at the bottom of that lake. Riders of the long course will also have the opportunity to patron Brig O’Doon Coffee House in Ottsville, next to the fourth rest stop. The longer ride will also send cyclists through High Rocks State Park, which offers supremely beautiful views. As a matter of fact, with Nockamixon being the county’s largest body of water, the long course will also pass Haycock Mountain, the tallest point in Bucks County.
Ask any of the riders in the Bucks area about the thought of riding these roads, and a similar comment will be mentioned: We live in quite a beautiful corner of the world. The stops planned for each ride are places locals might take visitors to experience. The Lake Nockamixon Century Ride does a bike ride equivalent of experiencing this area. Each route does a fantastic job of trying to put all of Bucks County’s traits in one ride.