Rides We Like: Cuttalossa Road
(2016) Despite it being Labor Day weekend in the States, the towns through which I passed Saturday were bustling. Perhaps it was the late Jersey Shore departers, perhaps it was the Budweiser Clydesdales scheduled to walk around Doylestown as they do once a year, or perhaps everyone actually had something to do on the first day of a three-day weekend, but people were out on the cool late summer morning on a weekend that is typically barren of a population.
I chose Old Easton Road to meet up with the world famous Mike. We were both on a schedule. Our ride had two solid plans: to meet at 10:00am and for Mike to be back at 11:30am. Everything else was left to circumstance and will.
Our route took us down a cycling favorite road of Landisville Road. We’ll jump right into what we saw. Landisville Road is a long, straight road. I noticed the strange view about ¾ of a mile in front of us, a car perpendicular to the roadway. Maybe someone backed out of the driveway and stalled. The car did not move in the duration of our approach. With concern, we saw bikes in the vicinity and noticed the car had hit a tree. This was not going to be a normal morning ride.
As it turns out, it was a one-car accident and the first helpers on the scene were two cyclists from Doylestown Bike Works. To be more factual it was two owners of Doylestown Bike Works taking on the responsibility of communicating with the driver and also directing traffic. Once the police and ambulance arrived Mike and I rolled away discussing our new parameters for our ride. Instead of crossing the Delaware River we’d have to remain local.
Mike quickly suggested an old friend of a road. It’s an extremely old and beautiful gravel road that connects the busy Mechanicsville/ Sugan Road to the Delaware River. I was in quick agreement for us to revisit this beautiful connector. I had not been down its road since a Fool's Classic many years ago. It was exciting to access Cuttalossa Road after completing the full distance of Fleecydale Road, arguably Cuttalossa’s twin, only younger by a few decades and paved.
Between our two roads is the bustling village of Lumberville. I’ve bragged about its cycling friendly area. The Lumberville General Store is neatly placed for a hydration stop, be it for Homestead Coffee or otherwise. It also has a little shelf of cycling parts including tubes and tires in case one is in dire straits.
But we continued on, passing Greenhill Road on our right and down a slight hill. It’s then that the small cluster of buildings comes into view indicating the intersection of Cuttalossa with River Road. There is a quarry still in operation across the street that used to supply Philadelphia stone via barges and later New York City via rail.
Mike and I swung a hard right then leaned a slight left at the fork. Going right would send us up the final climb of this year's Flèche Buffoon, a stinger called Armitage Road. Instead we kept our left, passing the old Cuttalossa Inn that used to be a quaint restaurant.
The Inn has quite a past that is just as varied as many old structures in this area. The Inn itself was a general store and post office, according to soleburyhistory.org. When I had dined at the Cuttalossa Inn about ten years ago, I wondered what the stone structure was across the waterfall that served as the Inn’s bar. Turns out, the crumbling foundation was remains of an old tavern that had interesting names. The first, in 1758, was Hard Times Tavern because of its light patronage. Then the canal came through in 1833 and the tavern’s name was changed to Sign of the Camel.
Much like the bustling traffic we left behind in Doylestown, Cuttalossa Road and its paralleling creek used to be the site of five mills and two factories. Having learned this it made me wonder where they stuffed all of those buildings. Today the road is a serene and undisturbed road, the only sound coming from the crunching gravel under the tires. It’s not hard to figure out why so many artists once lived in this valley. There is an old gristmill that appeared on our left.
I argue this one of the most photographed places in Bucks County. I’ve been in many faraway places or flipped through many scenic calendars only to find this beautiful moss covered building staring back at me. Sometimes there are sheep, the most peaceful sheep mind you, enjoying their little slice of serenity in the only pasture on Cuttalossa Road. Once we crossed the bridge the road became a winding one-lane road with a remarkable canopy of leaves. This short stretch of road can really cleanse the soul. Should the serenity be too much for a rider, the only exit option is Paxson Hill Road, a hard effort of a climb to Paxson Road.
After the 1.5-mile experience that flashes back in time, riders are returned to present day by being dumped onto the busy Mechanicsville Road and its one-lane stone bridge. From there numerous route options are presented. Mike and I took advantage of the approaching tropical storm’s rare westerly winds and surfed them back to Doylestown via Sawmill Road and Long Lane. These, too, are roads I had not visited in a while.
Slowly the traffic increased, as if we were gently brought out of a peaceful sleep to find a busy world of people with places to go and things to do. I was not without the full local experience; I broke off from Mike’s path home to head toward my house. This requires me to climb atop the ridge, meaning my day ended uphill. Those enjoyable moments on such a peaceful road as Cuttalossa made the climbing just a little more tolerable that day.
All information on Cuttalossa Road was sourced from soleburyhistory.org.