Commuter Recap: Cherry Hill, NJ to Philly Commute
It has been a long time since sending out a ride report but I wanted to this time because this trip was somewhat special to me in many ways.
I had an all day meeting at the Restaurant School at Walnut Hill. I was a bit nervous because I was not sure sure how to get from Camden onto the bridge. The way I thought was not right and I was not sure how to commute over to Walnut Hill either. Yes, a map works wonders but for bike commuting, it is a little different.
The research: I tend, when doing something on my own, to research as much as possible. If it is buying a bike or learning how to commute, I do ask a lot of questions so I can visualize it in my head. I knew how to get from my place in Cherry Hill to my work at Campbell Soup in Camden so that was not an issue. I really had no clue how to get up to the bridge but after talking with a bike commuter at work, she wrote down the directions. They were spot on. I drove that little part on Sunday morning and found out it was in a little deeper into Camden then I am used to but what the heck, if I am going to die I will do so doing something I love. Next was trying to figure out which side was open and closed on the bridge. I had no clue they close and open one everyday and didnt know they had hours that limit use. But a couple people gave me the website so it was pretty easy with that. the Then there was where the heck to go after I get over the bridge. I looked to three people to help out. Indy, a commuter in the area and uses that area everyday and Cat, another commuter who I have ridden with before and knows a lot about the area, both being members of BF and also Kona, another member of BF who helped out too. I tried mapping it out before asking anyone but it proved to show that I know nothing about Philly. So it was a combination of all three of those people that helped create the route. Then I tried to figure out the route back with a little help from Indy. I felt pretty good.
Last night we had a sever storm with 30 plus mph wind, thunder, lightening and a lot of rain. With Cherry Hill and Camden, the roads EASILY flood so I knew it might not be a go for this trip which would have sucked because a lot of time and research went into this.
The morning time: All clear. I wanted to get an early start even though my meeting was not until 10 AM. I know all the chefs over at the Restaurant School so I knew it would not be wasted time. I left around 4:15 am and got to Campbells a little after 5 am. I had to do a little work and then made some breakfast and off I was around 5:40. The trip through Camden was not as quiet as what I drove early Sunday morning. It goes past this bus station and it is busy with people that I question the intent when looking at my bike. I know I know... it is not right to judge or assume the worst but I have learned a lot about Camden so it was a little nerve racking. I just pedaled faster! I got to the South side of the bridge and found the stairs. Now this was a real pain and I am paying for it in back pain right now. The stairs are VERY steep going up to the pedestrian path. I heard about this but did not realize how steep they really were. But the "neat" thing was that there was a little flat strip that one could roll your bike on while you walk the stairs. It did not work well. See, I was not using my road bike. Heck if I did, it would have been a breeze. But I was using my mtn bike commuter that had full panniers. It really hurt trying to get it up there. After I got it up there it was time to pedal. I knew that going over the bridge and into the city was not a race and I took that to heart. I enjoyed the sun rise, the noise of the traffic below and the quietness on the path. It really was nice. Then getting over the bridge was a breeze and of course you are greeted with a road of bone jarring cobblestone. After that, the pedal was on. I saw so many riders that I really felt like a community. I didnt realize how much of a loner I felt with commuting in Cherry Hill. Yes, I see a few commuters but they disappear in the winter time but in Philly, they are always there and a lot were out this morning. It felt like a great community and everyone said hi which was nice. Heck, I would say good morning to people in Camden this morning and they looked at me with craziness. I did get a change to scan a little all over while riding because traffic was quiet. The delivery trucks and taxi drivers were a little crazy but that was ok. The South Street Bridge was amazing with the truly dedicated GREEN bike lanes. I liked that! To be frank, all the roads were wonderful. I got to Walnut pretty early but I wanted to beat the morning traffic so mission accomplished. It was warm out but not bad but the sweat was rolling.
Go home time: I left around 1 PM and it was 90 degrees. I knew it was going to be hot so I filled the bottles with ice and a little water and off I went. I should have planned the ride home a little better because Philly is almost all one way streets and I got turned around a little but I figured it out. Traffic was much heavier but still manageable. I didn't have much opportunity to look around while riding. It was a lot of dodging of pot holes, ruts, watching out for traffic, lights, right hooks, and names of streets. But the nice morning ride was all I needed. There was a lot of traffic and it was backed up on the South Street Bridge but with the green bike lines, I didnt look back and it was a breeze. I got a little turned around looking for the bridge but I found it. Going over was really warm and more people running and riding. I got to those nasty stairs and headed down. A little easier but still awkward. I hope they really do something about that. The ride through Camden was a lot busier and the street with the buss stop was crazy. Camden is full of ruts, pot holes, and a lot of broken glass but I got through it and now I was off on my normal route. I had a little mechanical problem with my seat but fixed that. I wanted to ride to Voorhees which is past Cherry Hill but it is 10 more miles out of the way and to be frank, I was getting tired and hot.
The great: Going to commute over the bridge and seeing Philly on my own. Its much different when you follow someone. Not in a bad way at all but in the fact that it MAKES you learn your surroundings.
All in all, great commute. Total miles was 19 miles one way for a total of 38 miles. Eventually I would like to go on a tour using my mtn bike commuter so it was good to get the extra miles in. A few tweaks for bike fit need to be made.
Attached is a picture of my bike at the Restaurant School at Walnut Hill when I got there this morning.
Thanks for reading!
Fat Guy on a Little Bike
Glad it went well! When my leg heals we should go riding.
Great story! I keep saying I am going to make the trip into Philly because the view from the BF bridge has got to be worth it. I hear the plans are in the works for a bike ramp to get upto the bridge, sadly it will probably take years before they get around and actually build it.
Fat Guy on a Little Bike
side - I've heard funding for that project fell through, or is at least delayed. It would make things much easier...as well as the bridge being open a bit longer. It IS a great ride and view...when you come off the bridge. circle north to Deleware avenue and check out the park/pier they built. It's GORGEOUS.
That would be great. You riding a road bike or mtn bike? I am sooooo slow with my mtn bike. But I like that bike for commuting.
Originally Posted by KonAaron Snake
where abouts do you live if you dont mind me asking?
Originally Posted by side_FX
The stairs leading up to the bridge really do suck. My back is paying for it. Even if they just spaced them out better so it is not so steep.
Maybe I should make a hoist for the bike. lol.
Fat Guy on a Little Bike
I have a lot of bikes!
Originally Posted by chefisaac
The ones I use for most commuting are the triplet tandem above (with wife and/or friends), a drop bar MTB commuter and a touring bike. I just bought a Raleigh Twenty to ride during the recovery...the stand over should be a lot easier. But yeah, I have an ample supply of road bikes as well. It's a sickness!