This fabulous new bike trail in Burlington County is finally officially open

I’ve been waiting for this lovely section of the Delaware River Heritage Trail to formally open. It finally has.

I’ve raved about the new trail from Crystal Lake Park to Roebling before — while it was under construction, while the railroad crossing was being finished … it even made my list of 5 great Central Jersey trails before it was formally finished.

So what more can I add? Beyond go. And offer up more photos to help tempt you.

Continue reading “This fabulous new bike trail in Burlington County is finally officially open”

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?”

How to bike from Trenton to Camden, New Jersey

We discover how to reach the section of the D&R Canal south of Trenton (and the Delaware River Heritage Trail) and debate which side of the Delaware River is the nicer bike ride to Philadelphia.

New trail along the Delaware River.

Biking to Philadelphia on the New Jersey side has long intrigued me, especially after having ridden to Philly on the Pennsylvania side. So when a group a sister has started riding with announced a ride from Trenton to Camden and then over the Ben Franklin Bridge to Philadelphia, I was all in (well, at least to Camden.)

We met the other nine riders at the Trenton train station. Right then was a big question mark for me: how to get to the section of the D&R Canal that goes to Bordentown? Google Maps sends you through South Trenton; the Delaware River Heritage Trail just leaves it out. The route isn’t signposted, and we’d heard that you have to find the slip road of NJ 29, a high-speed road.

It all sounded daunting.

Continue reading “How to bike from Trenton to Camden, New Jersey”

New Jersey’s Delaware River Heritage Trail pushes south

A new section of the Delaware River Heritage Trail will take you to Roebling .. almost.

The goal: biking to the Roebling Museum from our house.

The museum celebrates the company that built the Brooklyn Bridge, which opened 137 years ago to the day of our ride. I admit, I only learned that after we got home, but still, pretty cool. (And yes, the museum is closed because of coronavirus but it was the turn-around point for a ride a couple of years ago. Then we could say we’d ridden all the way to Riverside, about 5 1/2 miles from the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge into Philadelphia)

The more immediate reason is that a new section of the Delaware River Heritage Trail is under construction and will push the route south to Roebling (and eventually all the way to Camden and the Ben Franklin Bridge to the heart of Philadelphia). Right now it’s the alt route for the East Coast Greenway between Trenton and Philadelphia — we’ll see which route gets finished first.

So I wanted a look.

We used an app called Komoot to map out our route. Enter start point, enter end point and it maps out a bike route for you. Think Google Maps, and easier for mapping than Ride With GPS. And it was super easy to tinker with (for example, it kept us on Old Trenton Road toward Mercer County Community College longer than I’d like, rather than having us turn left at a traffic light onto Robbinsville-Edinburgh Road and then right onto Line Road, where there’s no through traffic for motorized vehicles at the West Windsor-Hamilton line but is open to bikes.) It was going to be about 21 miles each way.

The new trail didn’t show up, but hey, it’s not quite finished. We heard it was rideable anyway… Add on a few miles for that — maybe 25 miles each way?

But first we had to get through Hamilton, Mercer County’s largest city. I had to wonder if officials there have heard of bike lanes …

Traffic was light, but I credit the coronavirus for that. Otherwise we were biking on a road that crossed one major retail strip and crossed roads that led to other big retail centers. We crossed Interstate 195 and then US 130 a couple of times. I’d be happy to weave through residential neighborhoods, but not to get dumped out on an even busier road. (If I ever try this during normal traffic, I’m avoiding Hamilton and adding on a few miles via Allentown.)

Then we got to Bordentown, home to a signer of the Declaration of Independence (Francis Hopkinson), Napoleon’s oldest brother and once the king of Spain and Naples (Joseph Bonaparte), the founder of the American Red Cross (Clara Barton) and the man who proclaimed “Give me liberty, or give me death” just before the start of the American Revolution (Patrick Henry). We missed his statue by a couple of blocks. I know Bordentown better for its restaurants, but sign me up for a walking tour of this tiny town!

Bordentown also is where we picked up the Delaware River Heritage Trail. It does go north toward Trenton — it shows up on Google Maps as the D&R Canal, but I’m told the entrance from Trenton is hard to spot, that it doesn’t connect with the D&R Canal sections further north.

However, we were headed south, through Fieldsboro and to the QuickChek gas station at the corner of US 130 where the new segment of trail begins and lets us avoid this busy highway. Green paint at an intersection for bikes — that’s new for my part of NJ! The trail took us through Crystal Lake Park, onto a quiet road (fresh sidewalk for those who want it), then back to trail and under US 130.

And then …

New Jersey Transit isn’t quite ready for this trail to cross the RiverLine tracks. It has blocked off the next section of already-paved trail with a fence, and we weren’t ready to look for the goat paths to get around it.

More of what we saw at the railroad crossing:

Nor was there an easy way to get onto US 130 at that point and brave two lanes of fast-moving traffic by using the shoulder for a mile or so until we could turn right into Roebling.

So we turned back, just a few miles from our goal. We’ll try again when this section of the Philadelphia region’s Circuit Trails has its ribbon-cutting. (Actually, we didn’t wait for that and biked from Trenton to Camden — here’s how)

A 46-mile day.

Riverside to Roebling: a view of industrial NJ

A 15-mile route from Riverside, NJ, to the Roebling Museum.

IMG_1053This is part of an old Roebling factory, the company that built the Brooklyn Bridge. The East Coast Greenway goes past it — now on the road but eventually (I hope) on an off-road trail. That would be the Delaware River Heritage Trail, which is slowly pushing south from Trenton and Bordentown, and then up from Camden. It would be an alternative to riding from Trenton to Philadelphia on the Pennsylvania side. (And it’s no secret what I think of the current route.)

Here’s some news about the progress being made on the heritage trail.

Like the mini bridge outside the Roebling Museum? Stopping for a proper museum visit next time! Several picnic tables too, so it’s a prime rest stop.


We decided to explore from Riverside, following the Delaware River north. Our route took us through small communities and shuttered factory sites, like a large one for U.S. Pipe, once the largest employer in Burlington. (here’s some history about the company in New Jersey.)What will become of this prime riverfront location … and how much environmental cleanup is needed? Can gentrification reach this far, aided by transit? Waterfront condos one day? Or a new warehouse? The RiverLine light rail (which tracked our route) is right there … but so is a freight line. I just hope there is public access to the river (and yes, a trail).

Today, the 15 miles to Roebling are almost all on road; the East Coast Greenway route has a brief trail moment through a park, and we tested out a riverside walkway with a sign ordering you to walk your bike past an apartment building, per city ordinance. While there is usually a shoulder (I would not call them bike lanes), this is a route for people comfortable riding on roads, even on a Sunday morning. As we rode through an industrial area, I wondered about truck traffic during the week. One had a multi-use path out front… that dead-ended in the grass.

For those who don’t want to bike back (and yes, we did bike) or suffer mechanical trouble, there’s always the RiverLine. We were never that far from a stop.

Here’s a bonus for those who don’t ride on a Sunday: Junior’s Cheesecake. We biked past the company bakery in Burlington (sorry, New York). There’s an outlet there, apparently selling both “perfect and imperfect” cakes. Of course, you’d then have to balance it on your bike. Or be with a large group of hungry cyclists who can eat it all at once. (We went for a Portuguese restaurant in Riverside with scarily huge portions.)

Are there really free tours on the first Monday of the month?

Spotted along the way:




%d bloggers like this: