Events: Festive 500 Day One
(2015) Ride Distance: 54 Miles / 256 Miles Remaining
Call me Moses. As in Moses Doan, codenamed “Eagle Spy” by the British. My goal today was to take a note down to Trenton to alert the Hessian Colonel Rahl who had the best chance at making this move unsuccessful.
I burst out of bed with excitement to crack away some kilometers of the Festive 500 total. And then I opened the curtains. It was pouring. It had poured all yesterday too. Perhaps I could take a mulligan starting the day after Christmas. A quick tabulation (I’m an English major and therefore awful at math) left me to conclude I would have to average ninety miles a day to make the total before New Year’s.
I sat on the bed watching videos of people explaining why they ride. This was accidental. Youtube recommended them. But they worked, and I decided to gear up for the more-than-fifty mile route. This was going to happen.
Leaving from the area of Plumsteadville, the stronghold of the Doan family, I made quick work of progressing toward New Hope, PA and the bridge I needed to cross to get to New Jersey. I made sure to snap a quick photo of the Doan road sign indicating their burial was out behind the Quaker Friends Meetinghouse. These roads were probably used by them, Point Pleasant Pike especially.
I took the regular route through Carversville, passing the Carversville Inn that also bore witness to the tumultuous events 239 years ago. I even rattled across the Carversville pave – all ten feet of them. The weather was holding off beautifully. Only stray raindrops were felt.
I then arrived at the New Hope Bridge. It used to be called Coryell’s Ferry in Revolutionary times. It connected today’s New Hope, PA with Lambertville, NJ. There were numerous runners and cyclists crossing the bridge. I wondered which riders were partaking in the Festive 500.
Upon crossing the bridge, I embarked on roads I had never ridden before. I climbed up an endless climb called Goat Hill Road. It was quite an experience being close to breaking traction on the wet road. I was being taken to parts of the Sourlands and portions of Baldpate Mountain, a popular mountain bike destination.
These roads are lovely. I saw little traffic out while wondering how much longer the climb would happen. I wondered if Moses Doan used this elevation to hide his movements. It became a magical turn when I recognized that I was descending into the New Jersey side of Washington Crossing Historic Park. I figured if it were all uphill going out, it would be all downhill going back. Not so much.
One of the attributes of road rides I tend to avoid is an out-and-back. I feel they lack creativity and adventure. I rode down to the waterfront to snap a picture and then realized I had always wondered where River Drive led. The answer is Titusville. Titusville, NJ is a beautiful hamlet that seems stuck in time. The buildings are polished, the colors are vibrant, and the schools and churches seem to be the center of the community. I was glad to have rolled through here. I turned onto Church Road, crossed Route 29, and began my climb wondering where I would meet up with my route.
Once I met up with my route, returned to Lambertville, and exited north of the town, my next target was Lumberville in Pennsylvania. I squinted through the headwind while keeping a close watch on the darker clouds ahead. I was close to home, and I figured now would be a decent time for the clouds to open up. I decided to alter my route through Stockton, NJ to avoid coming back on the same roads. When I reached Bulls Island Recreational Area, I snapped a quick photo of the Black Bass Inn from the pedestrian bridge. British officers reportedly used this Inn as a hangout.
Now back in Pennsylvania I kept with the Doan motif and turned up the steep climb of Fretz Mill Road. The lookout from about a quarter way down the hill is the mythical spot where Moses rode his horse off the cliffs to avoid capture. My bike was full of precipitation and road grit. My cleat split in half while crossing the pedestrian bridge. This was where I would earn my points.
I made it back without having to endure a downpour. My bike was a mess, my legs were exhausted, but I felt a sense of accomplishment at having a positive opening day of the Festive 500. I’m also glad I snapped several of the photos. Since I am without Strava, I need them to prove my accomplishments. I also like to use them to document the area. Christmas Day will be quite difficult to get some turns in, but that’s ok. This was a good start.