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Kimmyt
07-30-2006, 05:32 AM
So for weeks The Boy and I have been seeing those little green signs saying BikePA alongside some of the roads around here. We were intrigued, mostly because the signs seemed to follow some lovely winding roads through the area.

So, some research was done, and we discovered http://www.bikepa.com We decided to take a day trip on the route, to check on ease of routefinding and quality of roads.

We took our trip yesterday, starting in Collegeville near the Skippack leg of Route S and followed it down to Yardley, PA to where my dad lived and then back. Estimated at 46 miles each way.

The trip started out well, we travelled light, on our road bikes. It was looking to be a warm day so I had three bottles of water and The Boy had two. We each carried a bar, figuring to stop along the way for snacks, and of course my dad promised to have lunch waiting for us when we got to his place.

About 14 miles down the route we pulled into the parking lot of a school, to check the map for our next few turns.

"Uhm..." The Boy said, and instantly my heart dropped.

No map. Nowhere. It had been in his bike bag when we were getting ready to leave, but he must have took it out. Okay, so it looked like this would be a real test of the markings on the Route, since we now had no idea where we were going except that we were ending on River Rd. in Yardley (an area at least I was a bit familiar with).

We continued riding, the day was lovely and a bit cool, the sun was brilliant. Doylestown was gorgeous, filled with old colonials and quirky stores, and we rolled past a very large farmers market which I definitely want to check out later when I have storage capacity in my vehicle.

Somewhere in Doylestown, though, we missed a turn, and next thing we knew we were headed south on 611 (which would, eventually, dump us into Philly as Broad Street so I KNEW we were off route). Besides that, the road was a large two lane highway and the BikePA route had been mostly single lane roads. We made an executive decision to be adventurous, and after determing which direction was east, we took a random turn. Unfortunately the turn took us to a gigantic hill (up till now the hills had been rolling and enjoyable).

We took some more semi-planned turns and then suddenly I recognized something. Tanner's, an ice cream and produce store we had visited alot as a kid. I knew that my dad would be able to get us to Yardley from here, so I whipped out the cell phone carried just for emergencies like this, and got directions. The directions given took us down an unlovely stretch of divided road, with busy cars whizzing by, but eventually we made it to Main Street of Yardley, and to my dad's.

We hoped the return trip would be less eventful, and managed to follow the road signs from Yardley. Got yelled off the road by a pickup truck full of idiots. For some reason I guess they thought we were interrupting their drive by sitting in front of them at a red light that we were waiting to make a turn on. They yelled at us to get off the road, and angrily I yelled back. They hollered something else as we passed, but that was it.

The ride continued, through lovely winding wooded roads to Doylestown, where we stopped for ice cream. It was a well-needed rest, as the sun had risen to it's fiercest, and it was a fierce 94 degrees. After a brief respite, we continued, through the ritzy residential areas of BlueBell. Suddenly we were lost again. We were headed towards Horsham, and I knew this was wrong. We discussed, and decided to follow directions again, which meant turning towards the West this time. Following the road we turned on we eventually came to a sign for the Bike Route, surprisingly we had just missed our turn and apparently for a short 100 yards or so the route intersected this road. We were back in business!

The rest of the ride went well, as far as routefinding. My legs were not so happy, since I had never done 100 miles with hills before.

We pulled back into home very exhausted, but our first trip on the BikePA route was successful, at a roundtrip mileage of 102.7. And we're thinking of doing a long weekend at some time in the fall, perhaps headed west.

K.

Nanci
07-30-2006, 06:40 AM
I've lost my cue sheet on brevets, always toward the end, when I was riding with other people, so it didn't matter, but it scares me! That's why I now always carry a spare tucked away somewhere. Geez, I can have it on a "cue clip" right in front of me and NEVER see it when it flutters off...

Nanci

Tri Girl
07-30-2006, 12:07 PM
Sounds like a lovely (albeit a very long) trip through the country. Glad you didn't get frustrated, just went with the flow. Good for you and the boy!
Glad you had a nice time!

Evie
08-22-2006, 08:25 PM
Did you go through New Holland? After I read your post, I finally noticed a BikePA sign on one of my rides, and as it turns out, we live on the S route.

I'm glad you managed to find your way! I would have been terrified without the map. Did you ride through Amish country at all? They have such looooong driveways! Sometimes I can't tell if I'm on the road or if I'm winding my way back to someone's house.