Yesterday I met Neil from the Bike Forums for a ride along the D&R Canal Tow Path. It's a great stretch of compacted dirt (so I thought) and shaded trees, that runs along the canal from New Brunswick to Trenton. There's a feeder path that meets this one somewhere down in Trenton and heads off towards Frenchtown. The first or main path spans 29.9 miles, while the second, or feeder path, spans 28.7 miles of great, no traffic (pedestrians, bikers and horses only) except where you cross roads, uninterrupted biking. Not something I would do with my road bike but with my Giant Comfy bike, it was fine.
Now, as I mentioned, I "met" Neil on the Bike Forums and before yesterday I hadn't really met Neil. So I bet you're wondering, are you crazy, Kim? Going for a bike ride with a stranger you met on the Internet on a semi-deserted path? Well, I have to admit, the thought did cross my mind. I did try to get Chris to go with me, you know, safety in numbers, but he had his heart set on a run, not a ride, so off I went. I figured, c'mon, how stupid could this guy be. He gave me his cell phone number, there were messages from him in my private message folder on the forums linked to his e-mail address, it would take the police 20 minutes to find him. Okay, my town, maybe 40 minutes, but Chris could probably do it faster. He wouldn't try anything. Would he?
Yes, I know, the thought going through my mind now, is hey - toss away cell phones, fake Internet identities (heck, wrote a murder mystery based on that one), but I guess I was lucky. I lived to tell the tale.
Neil's a nice guy who loves to ride, trails and some roads, and we met in Johnson Park in Piscataway. It was good spending time with him. Wish I could say the same for the trail.
We picked it up at the trail-head by Landing Lane bridge and headed south/west (the only direction afforded us) towards Trenton. The first few miles were a muddy gravely mess (on the return I was covered, waist to toe - and my bike caked). It had been a while since I road the trails, so that was a bit tenuous at first for me; on the return though, we rode at a good clip. In the first few miles you hit four boulder-like spillways though, that the braver soul might ride over (I've done the one further south on the trail), but some of these had falls on either side that were pretty steep, so we walked across. The next issue though came when approaching Bound Brook, someone, maybe to combat the devastation of the recent floods, made the idiotic decision to put down, rocks, not the gray, slate rocks that run from Bound Brook towards Zarapeth, which make for a bumpy, jarring ride but are passable, but the smooth round pebbles people use to "pave" their driveways on Long Beach Island (wish I had a picture). What do they do? They sink your bike - you can't steer, you can barely peddle. So we had to walk there too.
Lastly, as I mentioned, was the tons of gray, rock on the other side of the Bound Brook crossing. I thought I'd chip some teeth over there but we made it. Needless to say, I'm a bigger fan of starting the trail about two miles past where we ended up riding too rather than Landing Lane - well at least I'd like to find a ways to skip that crud approaching Bound Brook.
Neil doesn't drive, so next time, I may pick him up and we'll head down to Amwell to start our ride. One of these days, I still need to make it to Trenton. And now we all know what Neil looks like, so no worries :D.