Day 7: Watchung, NJ to Langhorne, PA
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.
Despite 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.