Colors! October, 2015, "Fall Colors" Bicycle Ride
Delaware River and Delaware and Raritan Canal
Ride Date: Saturday, October 31, 2015.
Rain Date: Sunday, November 1, 2015.
organized by Ed Groth, October 9, 2015.
URL of this page:
http://grothserver.princeton.edu/~groth/random_pics/bikerides/ride_oct2015/ride_oct_2015.html

Update: October 31, 2015, 5:10 am. A beautiful fall day! The ride is on! Chilly to start (35 F), warming during the day (55 F), so dress in layers. See you there.


This is an informal ride for people who'd like to get out and enjoy the fall colors. Members of the physics department, family, and friends are invited.

I'll put the disclaimer right up front. I am not responsible - if you come along, you are supposed to know how to ride a bike and you are responsible for whatever happens to you and you release me from all liability! (Don't you just love lawyers!)

Ride summary: we'll ride north on the path next to the D&R canal starting from the parking lot at Washington's Crossing State Park next to the Delaware River off Route 29. We'll turn around at Frenchtown and stop in the Lambertville area for lunch, and then return to the parking lot. The total length of the ride is about 45 miles. We'll start at 8:00am, lunch will be at about 1pm and the ride will finish around 3:30 or 4pm.

This is our nineteenth annual fall colors ride and will be similar to our previous rides.

Check out my home page for whether the ride is on or off. I'll try to post something by 7:00 am as to whether we'll postpone to the raindate or cancel altogether due to bad weather. (The goal is to have an enjoyable ride, not slog though mud and rain!) The URL for my home page is http://grothserver.princeton.edu/~groth/.

If you're planning to come on the ride, please let me know. Email is a good way: groth@princeton.edu. Please include your cell phone number for coordination at the start.

Also be sure to read note 1 on what to bring, note 2 about cautions, and note 3 on trail courtesy!

We'll leave from the parking area in Washington Crossing State Park (see note 4). Let's get together at the north end of the parking area (near the bathroom building). We'll leave at 8:00 am and ride along the path next to the D&R feeder canal. This is an old tow path/railroad right of way that has been converted to a walking, jogging, cycling, etc. path. It's mostly paved with fine crushed gravel and is reasonably smooth (but there are some rough spots). We'll ride north and after about 7 miles, come to Lambertville. We'll continue north through Stockton, Prallsville, past Bull's Island (here the canal terminates, but the old rail line and the path continue), on up to Frenchtown where the path peters out. This is another 15 miles or so from Lambertville for a total of 22-23 miles. At this point, we turn around and come south on the path.

Once we get back to Lambertville/New Hope, we'll stop for lunch. There are many places to eat in this area. We'll lock our bikes next to the towpath in Lambertville and either eat in Lambertville or walk across the bridge to eat in New Hope on the Pennsylvania side of the river.

I expect (experience shows) that we'll average somewhat under 8 mph, so we'll probably be ready for lunch about 1pm.

Once we've enjoyed lunch, we continue south along the river to get back to our starting point.

Assuming we had a leisurely lunch, we'll probably finish lunch at about 2:30 and then take another hour or so to get back to the parking lot, the ride will end about 3:30 or 4:00.

If one does the whole trip it will be about 45 miles: 38 miles before lunch and 7 miles after lunch. However, Lambertville and New Hope are touristy areas. If you're not up to 45 miles, but can do 7 at a time, you could ride with the group to Lambertville, stop and do touristy things for several hours (don't buy anything big - how will you carry it?), then join the group for lunch and the ride back.

Similarly, you could ride past Lambertville for say, 5 miles, return to Lambertville, wait for the group to return, and then have lunch and return to the starting point. In other words, this ride can be anywhere from 14 to 45 miles, with the missing miles filled with sightseeing, or whatever, in Lambertville/New Hope.

If you have friends who are non-riders, they could plan to meet us for lunch at 1:00 pm.

Everyone is encouraged to make their own way to and from the start point. However, for those without cars, I can provide some limited help. I have a van with a bike rack. Altogether it can carry five people (includes me) and five bikes. Send email if you want to come with me. First come, first served! Assuming someone wants to go with me, I plan to be at the Jadwin loading dock by 7:15 am for loading the bikes and we will leave the loading dock by 7:30 am for the start.


Note 1. What to bring. You should bring enough tools to do minor repairs on your bike. This includes a patch kit, spare tube, a pump and whatever else you need to repair a flat. Also bring some bottled water and perhaps a snack like fig bars or bananas. You should bring a good lock, since we'll leave the bikes unattended while we have lunch. Bring money to pay for lunch and you may want to bring a back pack or fanny pack to carry the loose items with you when you leave the bike. A helmet is a good idea.

Note 2. Cautions. Along the path, you will have to be aware of other riders, joggers, and walkers - even rollerbladers! There are likely to be a number of people fishing the canal! Also, there can be wildlife you need to avoid. There are a number of places where roads (to parking lots or to bridges across the Delaware) cross the path. At these intersections there are closed gates to prevent cars from turning onto the path. There is generally enough room for a single bike to go around the outside of the gates on each side of each intersection, so you don't actually have to stop, but you should be careful of cars at these intersections and also you need to be careful of the other riders, joggers, etc., trying to get through these narrow openings. There are places where the path is close to the canal and you could conceivably fall in - not likely, but I suppose it could happen! Pay attention for overhanging branches that you might run into. Also keep an eye out for the occasional big rut or rock in the path. The key idea is to be alert and use common sense.

Note 3.Trail Courtesy. If you stop, you should pull off the path. If bicycles or other traffic is coming the other way, you should get into a single file line in order to pass smoothly. A single file will also be necessary when overtaking and passing traffic going the same direction or when being passed by traffic going in the same direction. Be sure and let the other riders know what you are going to do, so we don't have any collisions within the group!

Note 4. Finding the parking lot: Take I95 towards PA and get off at the last NJ exit, exit 1, route 29 north. The first traffic light you come to is Washington Crossing Pennington Road (it's also Route 546). Turn left toward the river. Just before going over the river turn right on River Drive and the parking lot is to your right. Once in the parking lot, proceed through the lot until almost ready to exit. You'll be near the restrooms. This is a good place to park.

D&R Feeder Map Thumbnail Note 5. Here is a map of the feeder canal scanned from the state park brochure.