IN THE KNOW: ROAD BIKE 101

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Seargentsville General Store

One way to embrace the summer sun with open arms is to hit the open road/trail on a bike.  Our area has an active bicycling community, and here at Callaway Henderson Sotheby’s International Realty, we are lucky enough to have our own resident expert, Martha Moseley.  We asked Marti to share her best bike scoop on THE A-LIST:

Q: What are a few of your favorite towns/areas/routes to bike?

A: We are really lucky in central NJ because we have access to all sorts of terrains. I can go north and west and hit some challenging hills or I can go south and east and enjoy some beautiful flat stretches that go the whole way to the jersey coast. I’m a poor climber, so if I am feeling lazy I will opt for a great route out through Cranbury, Allentown, Cream Ridge, and Chesterfield. The roads have nice wide shoulders so I can do some great cruising. But the flats are not great training miles. For that I have to head to the hills in Mercer and Hunterdon County. As I plan a route, I will certainly take weather in to account. If it is really windy out, it is usually a better option to head for the hills to get some protection from the terrain – the flat stretches out in Monmouth and Ocean County can be a real challenge when the wind comes across the open fields that are out there. We have some good hills for those that like to climb….Poor Farm Road, Goat Hill and my personal LEAST favorite… Federal Twist Road off of Route 29. This one includes a 200 foot section with an 11% grade and causes me A LOT of anxiety!

Do you ever use trails for biking, or mostly road biking? If trails, any favorites?

Almost all of my biking is on the road. The exception is that very rarely I will take out my beater-bike and jump on the Delaware and Raritan Canal on either the NJ side or the PA side of the Delaware River. This is a great way to visit the historic river towns Frenchtown, Stockton and Lambertville if you access the path at Washingtons Crossing. Or you can head north and travel thru Princeton, Kingston, Griggstown and Blackwells Mills and go the whole way to New Brunswick. Its nearly 70 miles long so lots of opportunity for a ride with a detour into a local bisto along the way for refueling. The PA side has similar opportunities. Both the NJ and the PA paths are very well maintained and are great for easy miles. You can pack a picnic lunch and ride a few miles and then stop and watch the kayakers float by.

Do you have a favorite bike shop?

My favorite bike shop is Knapps Cyclery on Princeton Avenue in Lawrence Township. I have been using their expert services since I started cycling way back in 1995 when they were located on Olden Avenue in Trenton. They built me the bike that I still ride today and are just the right fit for my style of cycling and needs. But there are many other good ones too – we are very fortunate to have so many talented mechanics and cyclists in our community. They are all locally owned and operated and all of my experiences with the other bike shops in the area have been wonderful.

What is the charity you bike for?

The Anchor House Ride for Runaways! On a complete whim I signed up to participate in their annual fundraising 500 mile bike ride back in 1995. I had never really been on a bike other than as a way to get in to town to get an ice cream cone. I participated in the ride, had the most fun of my entire life, and have been riding every day ever since. Anchor House is Mercer County’s only shelter for runaway and abused children and the ride raises much-needed funds to support their programs and facilities.   This year I will participate in my 18th Anchor House Ride for Runaways and I could not be more proud to be a part of this extraordinary cause.  Rarely do I feel like I can make a difference. But thru my involvement with Anchor House on the ride and on the foundation board, I have watched them work magic.  It is an extraordinary organization and I am continually impressed with the difference this agency makes in the lives of our community’s underprivileged youth. It is an amazing collection of people who make the ride happen every year and I am so lucky to be a part of the Anchor House family.

Are there “biking groups” to join in the area? Any fun events/races to participate in the area?

We have a number of different cycling groups in the area that cater to different cycling styles. Most of my cycling is about training miles for the Anchor House Ride which I accomplish by commuting to our office in downtown Princeton from Yardley, or meeting up with some of my gang from the Anchor House ride. So for me, I haven’t really had the need to reach out and join one of our area clubs for additional cycling opportunities. Probably the one that is most recognized is the Princeton Freewheelers.  Another popular area club is the Bucks County Cycling Club.   Each of these clubs holds a monster annual event every year that is open to all area cyclists. Thousands of cyclists come from the tri-state area to participate. The Freewheeler event is the first Saturday in August and starts and finishes at Mercer County Community College and includes many route options, a picnic, music and support . The BCCC event is known as the Covered Bridges Ride and is held in mid-October and includes a route that, you guessed it – includes a number of covered bridges. At the conclusion is a fantastic picnic at Tinicum Park in Erwinna PA. Additionally, all of the local bike shops have organized rides throughout the year and offer a great range in distances and terrain.  

Do you use any cool bike maps?

Ha, this is a funny question for me. I am pretty much old school when it comes to maps. In my car, I still keep a road atlas in the trunk and I have never used a gps. Well, the same it true for my bike. Many of my favorite cycling buddies use a device that provides gps, turn by turn instructions and maps. But I use the old fashion method of a cue sheet that is strapped to my handle bars with plastic clips. During the Anchor House ride, I am the designated “navigator” for my group. This assignment is mostly because I am willing to be burdened with keeping us on course, not because they think I have an amazing internal compass.  Not surprisingly, we take a few wrong turns – mostly just trying to navigate out of the hotel parking lot as we start each days ride.   The cue sheet still works for me so I am sticking with it!

What is your favorite place to stop and refuel while riding?

The Sergeantsville General Store in Sergeantsville, NJ. This place is an oasis for area cyclists and on any given Saturday or Sunday it is teaming with colorful, lycra wearing riders.  There is an eclectic array of offerings to be found here that range from the “always on the convenience store shelf” like Vienna Sausages and Spam to Chinese take-out.. but by far, the most popular items are their home-made scones, usually chased with a bottle of Gatorade.  The proprietors are very accommodating as evidenced by two important signs on their store front….”Bikers Welcome” and “Restrooms”.  The location is great and serves riders from all central and northern NJ, PA. It is also a much-needed respite for those of us that managed to get up Federal Twist!

PS: Stay tuned for an upcoming feature on another A-LIST favorite spot to bike, walk, jog or hike: The 20+ mile Lawrence Hopewell Trail.

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Thanks Marti!