Last week my buddy told me he was having a birthday at the shore and we should come down. I put it in the back of my head then at some point I thought more about it, but didn’t really want to drive. Lauren had been wanting to ride to the beach for a while but I wanted to try a bit of the route before we made the trek together. I don’t like leading people unless I feel confident in where I’m going to some degree, but I don’t mind getting myself lost. So Friday came around and I asked a friend who had rode to Cape May a while back for a que sheet. He showed me a route and I used that as my main guideline since I wasn’t very familiar with the area. I printed out a few maps and cue sheets just in case I was in the mood Saturday morning.
Unfortunately the night before when I should have been getting things ready for the trip, I was at the bar. Anyways fast forward to Saturday morning, I was still up pretty early and thought, eh why not. So I got to it and started to get my bike prepped, food made, and beach goodness gathered. I packed up my small backpack with shoes, clothing/other stuff for the beach, two peanut butter sandwiches (one containing some chocolate NOM), a few different bars, some shot blocks (which I really like), keys, wallet, small lock, and the rest went in the side jersey pockets. I crammed two water bottles full of ice and added some green powder to one, and straight water to the other. Gave the tires some air and was almost ready to go give the new bike a ride. I hadn’t put too many miles on the new steed, but I swapped stems, and threw my commuting wheel set on for the trip.
At this point Lauren was getting up and I think told me I was crazy or something along those lines… oh and also not to die. I confirmed the fact I would try not to die but I couldn’t promise her anything and I would give a call later in the day. Luckily for us we live very close to the Ben Franklin Bridge so getting into New Jersey isn’t out of the way. The Ben Franklin is the only pedestrian crossing close to Center City Philadelphia and during the Spring/Summer the pedestrian walkway is open 6am – 9pm and 6am-8pm in the Fall/Winter months. Said my goodbyes and cruised through the city and onto the bridge.
Not bad for an over the shoulder.
The bridge ends at a set of stairs on the other side of the river by Campbell’s Field. Since I was a bit unfamiliar with the route I was doing a lot of double checking through Camden since I don’t really know that area so unfortunately there are no photos during this section. The scenery changes greatly from the other side of the river/school/hospital and when you start cruising through Camden itself. After a couple miles I made it out of Camden and after a wrong turn or two and a few doubles back I was on track. Even found me a bike lane to cruise.
I think when most people think of New Jersey they think of North Jersey or the shore, but South Jersey is a much different place. Its predominantly flat with vast amounts of farmland, parks, and has more in common with the South than the NE.
Obviously I’m no roadie
One of the best parts of riding in Jersey is the fresh produce/farm stands. I was pretty excited to get off the bike for a couple minutes and get some energy. I asked the young lady what I should get into, hoping shed point me to a peach or something to that nature but she told me I had to get the strawberries. I agreed and ended up with a pint of strawberry and two bottles of water. They were good, amazingly good. Its wild how different fruit can taste when its fresh. I downed the entire pint and a few bits of my PB sandwich, filled up the bottles, used the restroom and got back to business.
I was actually looking forward to the typical beach traffic. Not much worse than sitting in a car, not moving when some lycra wearing weirdo cruises by you.
After I passed the exit for Sea Isle/Avalon the majority of the traffic diminished.
I turned the corner at one point and strong walf a the sea hit me. I was getting closer.
‘Climbing’ the bridges were the most elevation gain/loss of the trip… its dead flat 🙂
Finally got to the hotel and wished my buddy happy birthday and jumped in the shower to cool down. Ate a bit and enjoyed the deck views.
The man the myth, Wizmerski. 30 years young and still getting paid to ride little kids bikes, congrats to that. The rest of the day was full of sun and fun and I was surprisingly not all that tired.
Over all the trip was great. With me not knowing where I was going and a few double backs it ended up being 90+ miles and rode for a bit under 5 hours. Not too bad for the first go at it.
The route Isn’t the most direct but there was very little traffic and plenty of Wawa’s/gas stations/stores along the way for food & drinks. I added a link to the cycling route from philly to the shore below. If I rode again and wanted to do a few less miles i might switch it up, but overall the route is pretty solid.