Rides We Like: Looping around Lake Nockamixon
(2015) I decided to take the day off from work. It had to happen. So, too, did a ride. I felt it needed to be a two-bottle affair instead of the quick affairs that happen so often. It also had to tackle roads I hadn’t ridden before or recently.
I have theorized that the absence of leaves on the trees is what leads to the constant breezes on off-season rides. It’s a gust’s velocity that gets itself behind sunglasses. To which one can only respond, “Blow, wind, and crack your cheeks! Rage! Blow!” while I wonder just what facial damage I am sustaining.
It finally cooled off here to have an enjoyable cold weather ride. I finally dug the cold gear out of the bin. It had lain dormant since last season’s cracking Polar Vortex. It was a sense of enjoyment to be sliding into fleece-lined bib knickers. It was exciting to have the neck gaiter to block the wind. The wool socks were put on. Belgian booties were slid over the shoes. The all-important cycling gloves – not of the knitted variety – were donned. The whole kit was polished off with a cold weather hat. These things excite me.
I decided to combine two routes that I had not taken recently. I wanted to get the full Bucks County experience. I pushed off and in no time I was passing Penn View Farms where they still sell milk in glass half gallon bottles. I just missed the Pearl S. Buck House. I found my way over to the bottom of Penn Ridge (by the high school) and encountered something new: a covered bridge I had never crossed before.
Please understand that covered bridges around here are a selling point. They are to get out-of-towners to open their digital wallets then meander around all of the area shops after regarding the spans. They are a talking point to many people around here. To find one previously unvisited is a new feeling. Also a new feeling was the fact that this bridge was a one-way bridge, although the traffic was quite heavy today. This bridge, though, has a past. It was destroyed by arson, which prompted its swift removal from the National Register of Historic Places. It could have been replaced by a metal span, but people love their covered bridges. The six twenty-year-olds had to pay $67,000 each to replace it. That's an awful lot of bike frames.
I continued up and over the ridge named after William Penn. Stay here long enough and one will hear his name regularly. From his record-setting statue atop Philadelphia's City Hall to the Walking Purchase, hardly a day goes by where Penn’s name hasn’t been heard at least once. William Penn struggled with finances and spent some time in debtors prison in England, but I digress.
Cruising down the other side of the ridge, past the Perkasie airport (there were no sky divers landing today) I managed to access East Rockhill Township’s notable scenery. This area has a railroad cut (of which I would cross again, only beneath), a quarry, glacial till, state game lands, and some wonderfully peaceful roads. It’s all so enjoyable. These roads are a welcome gradient after hiking it over a couple of steep ramps. There’s even a house that looks like an igloo.
This scenery continues until one comes to the shores of Lake Nockamixon. Here is where the road opens up highway proportions complete with an ample shoulder. For a while this was the site of the Pennsylvania time trial championships. It’s a fun road with a bit of challenge. It’s fast with some climbs as well as some lovely views of the manmade lake. It also has one of the most enjoyable couple miles around that is complete with a deceptive speedy downhill into a flat and into another gradual downhill. I always look forward to this portion of road. The headwind didn’t even damper it.
Furthering the ride I passed Owowcow, which is famous for its incredible ice cream. I passed a new restaurant in Ottsville. I passed the entrance to the Nockamixon mountain bike trails. They were closed for hunting season. I hammered down the road with the first wisps of a tailwind. It was here that I returned to all of my familiar roads. The day had been kind to me.
No sooner did I roll into the driveway then the clouds rolled in, the wind picked up more, and the temperature dropped further. I managed to get it all in. Lunch would taste great. I would eat it looking out the window and seeing the wind following my imperative of telling it to blow harder.