- Biking in the Brandywine Valley: Hills, headwinds and Hurricane Ida’s wrath
- I’ve found another 5-star trail on the East Coast Greenway
- Tour de Pines 2021, day 4: I’m in love with Belleplain State Forest
- Tour de Pines 2021, day 3: The hunt for the Jersey Devil
- Tour de Pines 2021, day 2: Historic Whitesbog Village plus Potato the baby pig
We’re planning a five-day ride in Vermont and Canada. The route is picked out, the hotels booked — yes, this is credit-card touring. But there’s no support crew … no one to haul our bags from place to place. And I want to bring my carbon-fiber road bike, which can’t handle a rack and panniers. What to do? A bikepacking class at REI led to buying a bikepacking bag that attaches to the seat and seatpost. My favorite local bike shop suggested some slightly wider tires that can handle trails, rather than my slick road tires. But I still needed to make sure it would all work. And Clive’s new toy is a carbon “gravel-grinder” bike that can handle a rack and panniers, but not unlimited weight. Time to test out or new setups. A section of the D&L Trail — from Morrisville, opposite Trenton, to Bristol Borough — seemed perfect. It’s a new ride for us, and I’ve been wanting to check out Bristol ever since I binge-watched Hulu’s Small Business Revolution show. This is my new bag, packed with almost as much as I’ll take on the road, light packer that I am, or am forced to be:And new tires:This is Clive’s set-up (he’ll carry the bulkier stuff): We parked near the Calhoun Street Bridge, next to the elevated banks of the Delaware River. Here’s the landmark for those who want to do the same: And off we went. This section of the 165-mile Delaware & Lehigh Trail has some workarounds, some official, others definitely not. (Hint: follow the dirt paths.) (2019 UPDATE: Two gaps closed, with a tunnel and an underpass. Now one easy trail ride all the way to Bristol.) And it’s clear there have been some improvements, notably the pair of underpasses that are so new there isn’t yet graffiti (I say ask high schoolers to paint a mural to keep it nice). Construction on another — a tunnel through an embankment! — is happening. Given the day’s heat, it was nice to spend so much time in the shade. The trail surface is mostly a brown crushed stone, no problem at all for the new tires (and probably just fine for my road tires too). It was wide in some spots, narrow in others. We were just about always next to the Delaware Canal, which starts in Easton and heads south to Bristol. It opened in 1832 and was big for a few decades carrying coal, pretty much like the Delaware and Raritan Canal in New Jersey that opened a few years later. Business declined, the canal operator eventually went bust … and today we have a park, officially known here as the Delaware Canal State Park. I just wish the water wasn’t so stagnant and sections weren’t dominated with algae.