Two ways to bike from Princeton to Philadelphia — which is better?

Both have great sections — and messy parts too.

Philadelphia from the Ben Franklin Bridge

I shocked a few of my neighbors when I said I was biking to Philadelphia this past weekend. It takes an hour to drive using I-95 so it seems crazy far to bike … and besides, how would you go?

OK, it was 50 miles on Saturday, 58 on Sunday. One day for the Pennsylvania side, one for the New Jersey side, using parts of the Philadelphia area Circuit Trails network. We’d biked sections of the two routes so what we really wanted to know is which way is better.

The answer?

Continue reading “Two ways to bike from Princeton to Philadelphia — which is better?”

5 great one-day bike rides on central New Jersey trails

Some kid-friendly bike rides in central New Jersey … also good when adults would prefer biking on trails instead of with traffic.

So you’re looking for a new place to ride your bike but don’t want to deal with traffic? Or you’re encouraging someone to bike who gets nervous around traffic? You need some kid-friendly options?

Central New Jersey has some great options, and more trails are coming (it’s just not a fast process, unfortunately). I think these five are fabulous; I hope you’ll love them too.

Of course there are more trails than just these five, so keep exploring and add your favorite to the comments section.

Continue reading “5 great one-day bike rides on central New Jersey trails”

My 5 best bike-trail overnights within easy reach of New Jersey

These bike overnights are all trail or mostly trails. Trips range from one night to closer to a week.

It’s winter. I’m staring at snow. I really want to get on my bike and go somewhere, but all I can is plan trips for once the weather gets nicer, including a multi-day ride on New York’s new Empire State Trail.

If you’re getting cabin fever too, here are five favorite DIY bike overnights using trails or mostly trails and (important for me) easily reached from New Jersey. (Sorry, Katy Trail, much as I enjoyed it.) We are generally credit-card tourists, travelling light and staying in hotels rather than camping. But I’ve included some camping information if that’s more your thing.

Continue reading “My 5 best bike-trail overnights within easy reach of New Jersey”

30 socially distanced miles on the D&L and D&R trails

A gorgeous day, and a trail has reopened. What more could we want?

The D&R Canal towpath has reopened — yay! And it’s finally sunny and warm! Time for a longish but easy bike ride.

So on Saturday we headed to the blue water tower along the Delaware River in Morrisville, Pa., the same place we met friends last year for a “weird beer” ride to Neshaminy Creek. Only this time we were headed north, chatting with a friend as we went (with social distance, of course) along the Delaware & Lehigh Trail.

Our first stop: this odd historical marker at the edge of Morrisville. It’s taller than me and commemorates the nearby spot where William Penn bought the first section of Pennsylvania.

Continue reading “30 socially distanced miles on the D&L and D&R trails”

Camping on the D&L Trail

A belated reply to a question I was asked at a talk about cool places to bike,

This is for those who want to camp along the 165-mile Delaware and Lehigh Trail. The question of campsites came up at a recent talk I gave at REI about great places to bike in New Jersey and beyond, because two people independently said they wanted to bike the entire route and cut costs by camping.

I was stumped. I know you can camp at Tinicum Park and at a private campsite just a bit north of it (as I discovered on a bike ride), and then there’s Washington Crossing State Park on the New Jersey side. (Info about an upcoming group bike ride and camping trip from Easton to Tinicum Park here.)

But beyond Easton and Bethlehem?

So I asked Brian at the D&L for help, and he kindly shared his map of campsites on or near the trail. (Let him know if you know of others.)

You can also check out Hipcamp, which includes camping possibilities on private land.

For those who want an indoor option, there’s this trail-friendly business in Lehighton (south of Jim Thorpe) that offers cheap sleeps in a bunkhouse.

Anyone else have suggestions? Or experiences with the campsites?

If you’re looking for a campsite in New Jersey that’s close to the main D&R Canal towpath (the one between Trenton and New Brunswick), there’s now one in Mercer County Park.

Read more about my bike rides on the D&L Trail here:

Bristol to Morrisville: A milkshake latte IPA? Another bike ride to yet more ‘weird beer’

Morrisville to New Hope: 30 socially distanced miles on the D&L and D&R trails

New Hope to Bethlehem: 24 soft-serve flavors on a 2-day bike adventure along the D&L Trail to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and back

D&L Trail: 24 soft-serve flavors on a 2-day bike adventure to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and back

What a shakedown ride: 133 miles over 2 days, going through New Hope and Easton on the D&L Trail. Plus the food report.

This mile marker is along the Lehigh River; unfortunately they aren’t used along the Delaware.

We’ll soon be heading out on another of our longer bike rides, and like last year, we have some new gear. So we needed another shakedown ride, like last year. Also like last year, we chose to make the Delaware & Lehigh Trail the focus. But unlike last year, we made it a two-day affair over Memorial Day weekend.

For a 165-mile trail (admittedly with a few road sections), the D&L Trail seems to still be pretty unknown, as I first said four years ago and again two years ago. Oh sure, people in our area may know there’s a trail on the “Pennsylvania side” of the Delaware between Lambertville and Frenchtown, NJ, and maybe as far south as Washington Crossing. But few realize the trail begins in Bristol, a Philadelphia suburb, and goes through Easton, Bethlehem and Allentown and ends north of I-80. I just keep trying to spread the word.

One problem with a bike overnight is figuring out where to stash the car. We decided we’d get around that by just riding from home, through Princeton and Pennington and then down to the river, avoiding the worst of the Sourland Mountains. That was easy to map out, aside from one little mistake. We didn’t want to ride on busy NJ 29 and thought something called Old River Road would take us behind the Golden Nugget flea market to a spot where we could cross the road and bridge to the D& Canal towpath. Unfortunately, that looks like it’s at least partly PSE&G private property, and we found ourselves on the road for about half a mile.

Then it was just a few miles to Lambertville, where we crossed over to New Hope. Our first reward: a French bakery.

Continue reading “D&L Trail: 24 soft-serve flavors on a 2-day bike adventure to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and back”

Biking 2 trails — the D&R and D&L — to watch polo in Pennsylvania

Polo matches along the Delaware? Who knew?

2B034D8E-1642-49BB-93D7-84CE589BE71FThis bike ride began with a tip: you can watch polo matches in Tinicum Park, in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, just across the Delaware River from New Jersey.

Polo? That blue-blood sport? Who knew?

A little bit of Internet sleuthing nailed it down: the Tinicum Park Polo Club hosts matches every Saturday at 2 p.m. from May to early October. And it’s easy to reach by bike because the Delaware & Lehigh Trail goes by the park and the D&R Canal State Park (a trail) is on the other side of the river, connected by the bridge at Frenchtown.

Bonus for cyclists: we don’t pay (I checked). Regular admission is $10 per carload.

Continue reading “Biking 2 trails — the D&R and D&L — to watch polo in Pennsylvania”

Single-tracking along Pennsylvania’s Delaware Canal and the D&L Trail

Time to experience the Pennsylvania side of the Delaware River.

d&l single trackWell, only some of the time.

But the trail on the Pennsylvania side of Delaware River (it’s actually along the Delaware Canal, which runs parallel to the river) is quite different from the one on the New Jersey side, to say nothing of the Delaware & Raritan Canal towpath from Trenton through Princeton and to New Brunswick. Continue reading “Single-tracking along Pennsylvania’s Delaware Canal and the D&L Trail”

This secret long-distance trail in Pennsylvania is one for the bucket list

I’ve discovered the Delaware & Lehigh Trail.


My last two-day training ride before the Week-a-Year was 70 miles along part of the Delaware and Lehigh Trail in northeastern Pennsylvania. And all four of us on this trip kept looking at each other and saying this is beautiful and why didn’t we know about it?

Here’s some of what it has: miles of thick tree canopy that offers shade on hot summer days and that no doubt will turn brilliant colors at peak leaf time, a gorge, the river, complete with rapids, remnants of the railroad line, down to an old signal, a nature center built on an old superfund site and generous trailheads with shelters and sometimes even toilets. Continue reading “This secret long-distance trail in Pennsylvania is one for the bucket list”

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