Rides We Like: Rope Walk/ Center Road
(2016) A few weeks back I was led down a previously unridden road by our regularly mentioned hero, Mike. It was a road he stated was used for the Fools Classic and had expressed his desire to return to it in a clearer frame of mind. Unlucky as it were today, Mike had time to ride in the morning, and I time in the evening. Yet we both set our sights on this stretch of pavement that will inspire any rider to seek this two-road combination.
It is a road I pedaled past scores of times. I wondered where it led yet never pointed the bike down its tunnel-like path. I am here to tell you – implore you – to ride on this road, inspecting both ends, alternating the starting point.
I’d like to think Rope Walk Road combined with Center Road is much like the bergs of Europe. Currently the summer months see overgrown grasses and laden tree branches tilting into the tunnel of the road, like spectators trying to catch first glimpse of the closing sprint. This road is barely one car width wide. This is fine because after two times of descending its lumpy pavement, no cars made their presence known.
I’ve only descended Rope Walk/ Center Road. The first time Mike and I approached from the unpaved portion of Rope Walk to access the final descent of Center Road. It is an incredible affair in grandiosity juxtaposed by the narrow passageway of the carriageway. It is one of those roads that will call out during every bike ride, begging to be descended or ascended.
Tonight was the existence in beauty. On the back roads of Bucks County one can find absolute solitude. Stopping to photograph the road sign allowed me to soak in the long summer evening. There was the honey sunset light draping itself over swaths of land arching toward the sky. Those summer insects were warming up the evening symphony by creating the high-pitched white noise in the high grasses. Motorcycles could be heard forever far away. I took several photos from the center of Cafferty Road without ever having to shuffle to the side to let a car by. A far off dog let out a single bark.
I’d like to think Europeans would be suitably satisfied to come up Center Road from Headquarters. There is a proper switchback obscured by the woods and vegetation. A right circumnavigates an old farmhouse. A quick left sends the riders away from it. I’ve never decided to come up mostly because Center Road begins after a significant downhill, and riders enjoying the swift flight toward the Delaware River easily oversee its obscured maw.
As I came down Center Road, I had to squeeze the brakes hard to make the right turn. There is little room to work with through this half chicane. There are also limited sight lines to set up for the instant left that puts a rider in view of Headquarters Road. This is the primary reason to ride this road. It feels like a paved trail. It continues the feeling of being the only person on any Bucks County road.
I came back the typical route satisfied at having hit this newfound road. Naturally a return trip will explore Center Road's uphill drag back to those very signs I photographed without a bother in the world. This descent was the perfect end point to the weekend on a hill that has beautiful start and stop points. If you’re in the area and the odd signage of ‘Rope Walk Road’ comes up, it’s best to take it to explore what it has to offer.