First, the rolling hills of upper Bucks County mean the scenery is gorgeous, even if my iPhone photography skills can’t do them justice. The roads through the woods, with a stony creek alongside. And then the old stone homes.
But getting out of the river valley to the top of those hills? That’s another matter. Hard work! Or perhaps that’s the danger of just taking a random ride off Ride With GPS and there is an easier (and less trafficked) climb than Upper York Road? What should we have done instead?
I should have asked that group ride that started and ended at the same time as we did.
It’s a bad sign when you’re painfully pedaling up another steep climb and a group of serious riders screaming down call out that you should try the other way, only partly in jest.
It’s also a reminder to take elevation claims with a grain of salt … my Garmin claimed more than 25% more than the older Garmins of my two fellow riders, and our legs were so tired that we didn’t even tackle the climbs on the New Jersey side of this ride. Still, that a fast ride on the shoulder between Frenchtown and Stockton took the last of my energy.
Bucks County has a number of covered bridges (there’s a big bike club event ride just for that), and we’d ridden through several before on a route that I remember being much easier. The surprise this time was the Van Sant Airfield, with biplanes and gliders. We watched a few; should we go back and book a flight?
We stopped for a moment by a field with cute baby lambs following their moms. We passed a few cideries .. is that a theme for another ride? And a thumbs up to that big group of Scouts heading back to their campsite in Tinicum Park after a 25-mile towpath loop.
The excuse for this ride, though, was a craft brewery in Stockton, a town on the D&R Canal towpath. It also has the benefit of easy parking (and real restrooms!) at Prallsville Mills at the northern end of town.
The brewery — Odd Bird — opened in part of a gas station (!) a quarter of mile toward town just a month before COVID hit. On this sunny day, the outdoor seating area was full, but we only had to wait 10 minutes (if that) for a table to open up.
Having done plenty of rides for weird beer (here and here, among others), this one didn’t really rated on that scale– which can be a good thing. The weirdest might have been a smoked Helles that definitely smelled like barbecue but tasted to me like regular beer.
Like all these craft breweries, the rules don’t allow them to sell real food (Pringles don’t count), but you can bring whatever you like. One couple had something that smelled amazing from one of the food spots inside the Stockton Market. Then there’s a deli on the other side of the gas station building as well as Cravings, a sandwich, burger and ice cream place next door (note the 3 p.m. close). Had we been better organized, we’d have eaten better than a Clif bar and nuts.
Want a beer ride but don’t want hills? Here’s an easy ride from Stockton (or further south along the D&R to watch polo on Saturdays.