Day 7: Watchung, NJ to Langhorne, PA

Phil with Liz and Brian

This morning we weighed our bikes on Liz’s scale.  My bike weighed just over 80 pounds with all its gear, and Phil’s weighed in at just under 80.  This was going to be my second day riding the heavier bike, and my legs could definitely feel the difference after day one (although maybe climbing the mountain had something to do with it).  Phil and I had changed our brake pads the day before, so we felt ready to go downhill.

When one begins at the top of a mountain, and there’s nowhere to go but down from there, one would expect the day’s ride to be relatively easy.  This was not the case for me and Phil today, as we fought strong headwinds for the entire length of our course.  Even going downhill, we struggled against the wind’s invisible force that was persistently trying to push us backwards, barely able to reach 20 mph at the steepest descents.  I am almost certain that if the wind had been at our backs we would have reached Ellen’s house in half the time.  There was a beautiful bike trail that went on for a sizeable portion of the course, but its surface was composed of loose gravel and was bordered by steep banks down to a river and a canal on either side.  It was flat, but slow, so we decided to deviate from the original path and take the roads to where we met up with the course that Garmin had laid out for us, in Princeton.

Making ciderDespite being on fairly main roads for most of the journey, the apple orchard was the only place we passed where we could get food, so it ended up being a wise move when we allowed the alluring aromas of apple pie to pull us off the road for a pit stop about 16 miles from the end.  We bought an apple cranberry crisp, which Phil strapped to his bike to bring as a gift to share with our hostess.

Ellen met us outside of her house and invited us out of the wind.  She is an avid cyclist who rode across the country, from Portland, Oregon to Gloucester, Massachusetts two summers ago, and she shared with us photos and tips from her touring experience.  She also has traveled extensively and has lovely decorations from all over the world around her home.  Since the grocery store did not have anymore roasted chicken, Ellen actually cooked for us, which apparently never happens, so I feel rather special.  The food was delicious.  After the meal, Ellen went over the route we planned to take out of Langhorne, making suggestions to put us on better roads, and taught us the numbers in Arabic.

About Sarah

Sarah grew up in Cranston - just south of Providence, Rhode Island - and developed a love for travel, music, and outdoor sports at an early age. She had started bicycling long distances at age 12, as a participant of the MS150 bike tours to raise money for the MS Society. She didn't use her bike regularly until she built her own while studying in Montreal and found it an excellent way to get around the city. After graduating from McGill and moving back to Providence, Sarah started working at Brown University's office of Environmental Health & Safety as the Biological Safety Specialist. She was living 4 miles away at the time, and for the first few weeks was driving to work. She made the switch from driving to bicycling when she realized that she could get to work faster, avoid parking tickets, and integrate a few miles of training into her day. Bicycling was better for the environment and better for her own health and mood. She found that she had more energy and felt much happier once she started biking to work. When her car broke down several months later, she never bothered replacing it. After 4 years of working in Biosafety (and on her master's in Environmental Studies), Sarah left her job to pursue her passion. She has been working various jobs in the bicycle industry since June of 2011, including pedicab driver, bicycle tour guide, bike mechanic and traveling bicycle advocate. In between seasonal jobs, she has done a few long-distance bike tours, which is the main reason for this blog. Her dream is to eventually ride around the world and sail across the oceans.

Posted on 21 October 2011, in Bicycle Touring, Providence to New Orleans. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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