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Local Treks

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Delaware & Raritan Canal Towpath

It's a bit of an understatement that it's been hot lately.  Even so, we have found some good, cool(er), mostly shady places to bike - and the Delaware & Raritan Canal Towpath is the latest and greatest.  

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Delaware


To get there, we drove to Washington Crossing State Park in New Jersey, following the directions of the nice Short Bike Rides Around Philly book that we picked up a few months ago.  There's parking on both the towpath itself and in the state park, with a pedestrian bridge from the latter. 

It's a fairly flat ride, with the verdant canal on one side, trees and then the river on the other.  There was a great breeze and we did the 7 miles to Lambertville pretty quickly - our goal was to ride there and back before the heat really hit at noon.  Just before Lambertville (which is a really cute town), we stopped and looked at the canal locks, and then stopped again to look at the local playground… you know the drill.  Lots of singleton bikers smiled and waved, and one asked if we'd dropped a bag of cheerios on the trail (nope, not us - we had dried mangoes and banana chips).
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Once in Lambertville, we debated stopping for a snack, but opted to walk across the bridge to New Hope.  The bridge is pedestrian only, and both New Hope (in Pennsylvania) and Lambertville (in New Jersey) have plenty of art galleries, antique shops, and places to grab a quick bite or to sit down for lunch.  We finally settled on eating in Lambertville and then starting the 7 mile ride back, which we did by about 11:30, after refilling our water bottles.
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Bridge between New Hope and Lambertville


The sun had passed over the trees on the path, increasing the shade, but even so, it was a hot, dusty ride back.  I was glad we had the trailer bike, as our daughter could rest if she wanted.  We'd also purchased a camelback for her, which allowed her to stay hydrated while she rested.  She weighed in once for us to duct-tape an iPad onto her dad's back so that she could watch movies, but then she was distracted by checking out the geese and swans along the canal, and describing the cat-tails she'd seen for the first time.  We made it back to the car drenched in sweat and cranked the A/C, but we were all happy with our ride.

In May, I'd put the Cyclemeter app onto my iPhone, and since then I've been tracking our rides.  It's a great tool for all of us, especially the maps that we can use to reflect on where we've been.  Another plus is that it tracks inclines, mileage, and speeds - over the course of a single ride, as well as a month.  I know a lot of apps do this, but I like how simple this one is.  The D&R Towpath ride was 14.4 miles and took us about an hour and a half.  We could have stayed on the path and gone up to Frenchtown… but that's another ride for another (cooler) day.

What does our daughter think of all this riding?  She's excited to go on some longer, multi-day rides, and it cracks her up when people ask if she's doing all the work on the trailer bike.  She gets tired sometimes, and takes breaks, and we've found that getting her biking gloves helped a lot.  But she also likes seeing new places.  One of the reasons we decided to drive to the Towpath instead of a Fairmount Park ride is that she had grown a little bored with our usual rides.  And encouraging her to help pick the rides is part of the fun.  We also got to talk a little history, about that guy who rowed across the Delaware, which was cool.
Posted in Acting like a child : Americas : June-Aug. : March-May : Sept.-Nov. : Teenager : Tween : Young Child by Fran W. at 7:41 PMPermalink

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