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Casual road ride recs in Princeton NJ, 40-50 miles, for me and my girlfriend?

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Casual road ride recs in Princeton NJ, 40-50 miles, for me and my girlfriend?

Old 05-12-17, 05:58 PM
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ChipSeals
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Casual road ride recs in Princeton NJ, 40-50 miles, for me and my girlfriend?

My GF and I are spending next weekend in Princeton, and we'll have our road bikes with us. We're thinking of getting in one or two 40-50 mile rides in the area. Does anyone have any recommendations?

We're not looking to do any suffer fests. Just something to get out on some scenic roads without much traffic. Moderate hills, some options for food maybe, etc.

Any help is much appreciated!
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Old 05-12-17, 07:44 PM
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Originally Posted by ChipSeals View Post
My GF and I are spending next weekend in Princeton, and we'll have our road bikes with us. We're thinking of getting in one or two 40-50 mile rides in the area. Does anyone have any recommendations?

We're not looking to do any suffer fests. Just something to get out on some scenic roads without much traffic. Moderate hills, some options for food maybe, etc.

Any help is much appreciated!
The Canal tow path is always a good ride. Easy to do a 40-50 mile round trip with plenty of food options right in the path or just off it.
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Old 05-13-17, 09:24 AM
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Originally Posted by coney462 View Post
The Canal tow path is always a good ride. Easy to do a 40-50 mile round trip with plenty of food options right in the path or just off it.
I would second this. The canal path is easily doable with 25mm+ tires, unless it's rained in the past couple of days. It's a solid 50 miles round trip from Alexander in Princeton, to the park at the other end in New Brunswick. Kingston/Princeton/Lawrenceville is the iffiest section of the canal, as it is natural surface (dirt), and the most heavily used. There are two spots where you are almost certainly going to have to walk over a 30 foot cobble spillway, if you head this direction.

Lambertville/New Hope is also just about 50 miles round trip, from Alexander...also a nice area, and also mostly off-road. There are a couple of sections in Trenton where you have to watch out for broken glass (the paved area just north of the city proper, and one section that cuts behind some houses around Chauncy, I think), but most of the trail is in good repair, if you started at the turning point park (canoe/kayak rentals) on Alexander, and headed south.

You could even start at Washington's Crossing park, and go further along the feeder canal into the Frenchtown area. This section of the trail is almost all packed pea gravel, and very easy for a road bike with even moderate tires (25-28+).

Otherwise, you can set out into the Hopewell Valley; check the Lawrence-Hopewell Trail, which can be connected from the canal towpath in Lawrenceville (or accessed from the history house in Lawrenceville). There is one area, if you followed the blazes, where you would almost certainly have to walk the bikes (the park near Cold Soil Road has sections of quite deep gravel, but can be avoided by detouring on the road). Otherwise, the path is, again, mostly off road, and winds through a somewhat more populated area. Lots of restaurants/bakeries/farms along here to stop.

If you are otherwise limited to roads, or otherwise just don't want to bother with planning your own route, check the Princeton Freewheelers' site. Many cycling groups are more than happy to let you 'try out' a ride without paying membership dues.
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Old 05-14-17, 07:55 PM
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Cool. How about doing the return through Lambertville-Hopewell road and Stonybrook road, etc?

We like rail trails just fine, but also want to get some country roads as well.

Originally Posted by coney462 View Post
The Canal tow path is always a good ride. Easy to do a 40-50 mile round trip with plenty of food options right in the path or just off it.
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Old 05-14-17, 08:46 PM
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I haven't ridden the specific tow path being recommended here, but I have ridden the one along the Delaware River and lots of paths and rail trails in general. Personally, if I'm visiting a new place I wouldn't choose to ride a path because the scenery, while pleasant, can get monotonous and interchangeable, i.e, a path lined with trees is going to look the same in Princeton as it will in thousands of other places. Got to be lots of on-road routes in that area. I second checking out local bike club rides and cue sheets.
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Old 05-16-17, 08:09 AM
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Thanks for this. A question by "the path is. again. mostly off road," are you referring to the Lawrence-Hopewell Trail?

On Google Maps that trail appears to be just a short section in Rosedale Park (above Mercer Meadows). Are roads in that area fairly low-traffic?


Originally Posted by wschruba View Post
Otherwise, you can set out into the Hopewell Valley; check the Lawrence-Hopewell Trail, which can be connected from the canal towpath in Lawrenceville (or accessed from the history house in Lawrenceville). There is one area, if you followed the blazes, where you would almost certainly have to walk the bikes (the park near Cold Soil Road has sections of quite deep gravel, but can be avoided by detouring on the road). Otherwise, the path is, again, mostly off road, and winds through a somewhat more populated area. Lots of restaurants/bakeries/farms along here to stop.
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Old 05-16-17, 09:26 AM
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Originally Posted by ChipSeals View Post
Thanks for this. A question by "the path is. again. mostly off road," are you referring to the Lawrence-Hopewell Trail?

On Google Maps that trail appears to be just a short section in Rosedale Park (above Mercer Meadows). Are roads in that area fairly low-traffic?
Here's a link to the trail group's (current) map. The way that Google Maps picks/chooses what is a 'bicycle friendly route' makes looking at the area around Princeton difficult, to say the least.

I mean to say that, literally, most of the path is off-road...in that it is not on the road. Much of the LHT is paved, with short road sections, except for the one park at Cold Soil Road that is gravel--and deep, at that. I used to skip it, anyway. The area surrounding the park up that way is fairly low traffic (or, as low traffic as NJ gets, anyway)...just beware that as you get closer to 27 or 206, the traffic gets bad. Take advantage of the bike paths along them near Princeton, if you go that way; the roads are just plain dangerous as you get closer to the town, as they neck down into 2 lanes with almost no shoulder. If it's your first time in the area, avoid Nassau Street (and any street the University boarders, for that matter) like the plague; access is easy enough from Wiggins/Hamilton using side streets/walking.

There is a lovely little farm east (or north...road directions get screwed up down there) on 206 from where the LHT comes out of the Lawrence School that sells fresh eggs, cheese, etc. Not really a place to stop and eat, so much as maybe sit down and nibble on some cheese/whatever else they have lying around. There's a bakery pretty much across from the school campus, as well (and a Starbucks, too, but why go off the beaten path for that?).
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Old 05-16-17, 12:00 PM
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Interesting. I'll be around that area, so I'll check it out. (We are staying just west of the University.)

I found some of the Princeton Freewheeler routes on RWGPS. This one looks really nice, for starters:

https://ridewithgps.com/routes/4736418
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Old 05-16-17, 02:24 PM
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Take the canal path north into Lambertville and then through Stockton. Once you get through there, hop off the canal and onto route 29. There is a decent size shoulder on the road. Take that all the way up to Frenchtown and turn around. That should be a good mile amount. There should be minimal climbing involved also.
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Old 05-17-17, 07:44 AM
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How about this?

Here's one route I'm thinking.

Heading to the D&R from west of Princeton:

Take Pennington Rocky Hill Road to Main Street in Pennington
Onto Delaware Avenue
Down to Washington Crossing Pennington Road, taking that all the way west
and onto the D&R, riding north to New Hope and beyond, depending on how we feel

On the way back, go to:

Lambertville Hopewell Turnpike going east
to Pennington Hopewell road
South onto Aunt Molly Road
to Carter Road, with some detours in between to explore the Lawrence Hopewell Trail

Does that sound OK?

Originally Posted by 09box View Post
Take the canal path north into Lambertville and then through Stockton. Once you get through there, hop off the canal and onto route 29. There is a decent size shoulder on the road. Take that all the way up to Frenchtown and turn around. That should be a good mile amount. There should be minimal climbing involved also.
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Old 05-17-17, 08:13 AM
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Originally Posted by ChipSeals View Post
Here's one route I'm thinking.

Heading to the D&R from west of Princeton:

Take Pennington Rocky Hill Road to Main Street in Pennington
Onto Delaware Avenue
Down to Washington Crossing Pennington Road, taking that all the way west
and onto the D&R, riding north to New Hope and beyond, depending on how we feel

On the way back, go to:

Lambertville Hopewell Turnpike going east
to Pennington Hopewell road
South onto Aunt Molly Road
to Carter Road, with some detours in between to explore the Lawrence Hopewell Trail

Does that sound OK?
FYI, Aunt Molly Road is partially unpaved, and it is currently pretty rough. The filled the hole with gravel, a piece of which got stuck in my car tire, causing a flat that couldn't be repaired.
You'd be better to turn onto Hopewell Princeton Rd, which is newly paved and very smooth, to Carter Rd.

Lots of good places to eat in Lambertville\New Hope.
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Old 05-17-17, 10:25 AM
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Props. Thanks for that tidbit.

Originally Posted by leob1 View Post
FYI, Aunt Molly Road is partially unpaved, and it is currently pretty rough. The filled the hole with gravel, a piece of which got stuck in my car tire, causing a flat that couldn't be repaired.
You'd be better to turn onto Hopewell Princeton Rd, which is newly paved and very smooth, to Carter Rd.

Lots of good places to eat in Lambertville\New Hope.
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Old 05-17-17, 12:56 PM
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I think there are some rolling hills around that Lambertville Hopewell Turnpike. Also lots of good gravel roads in the area (if you are into those).
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Old 05-17-17, 03:33 PM
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Originally Posted by 09box View Post
I think there are some rolling hills around that Lambertville Hopewell Turnpike. Also lots of good gravel roads in the area (if you are into those).
Yes, there is a climb leaving Lambertville, and more hills to Hopewell.
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Old 05-21-17, 08:13 PM
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Thanks to everyone who offered advice.

The Princeton trip was fun. Had a three-day weekend with two days of good weather and one day of so-so weather.

In the end, due to time we downloaded the GPX for the short "Bike the Bridges" ride and did that. Another day we just tooled around, visiting Mercer Meadows, Institute Woods, getting in some miles on the D&R towpath and Lambertville Hopewell Turnpike, and sampling things from one of the organic farms. We went up to the Sourlands area but didn't bike. Had a great time overall.

On Friday afternoon we saw a group of kitted road riders setting out from downtown Princeton at around 1PM, heading south I think. I should've asked where they were going.

We'll definitely be back in the area. It's such a short trip from NYC. I'll do much better research next time though, and probably opt to drive to a starting point that's more toward the south.

While I found the environs around Princeton pleasant enough for riding, the car situation was pretty terrible. (Chalk it up to a beautiful spring weekend, I guess.) We got strafed a bunch of times. I was pretty surprised to see what constitutes a "bike route" there. It's a bit like central Westchester, only with more expensive cars and a few too many Escalades and Expeditions for my taste.
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Old 05-22-17, 09:30 AM
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Originally Posted by ChipSeals View Post
Interesting. I'll be around that area, so I'll check it out. (We are staying just west of the University.)

I found some of the Princeton Freewheeler routes on RWGPS. This one looks really nice, for starters:

https://ridewithgps.com/routes/4736418
This is a really good ride, and mostley on secluded winding country roads. Buthere in the great Garden state, people can be fast and wild on those roads, but I would not call them unsafe
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