I returned with Chris to the Delaware and Raritan Canal Towpath to make up for the abandoned ride of the week before. Once again we started from Scudder Falls trailhead, but this time we headed south, towards the end of the trail in Trenton. The towpath surface and surroundings remain rural for the first three miles or so, but soon enough the trail becomes narrow and filled with broken glass. Since I like to keep my tires intact and this blog isn’t A Taste For The City, we turned around just before the feeder canal towpath meets the towpath running from Trenton to New Brunswick on the Raritan River.
Once we were going back north, Chris informed me he was still having problems with his bike fit. Recumbency, the world’s seventh major religion, is sold as the answer to every cyclists’ problems, but truth be told they can be difficult to fit. My friend has struggled to find a position that doesn’t cause numbing in his feet and his posterior and still gives him a proper leg extension. After a couple of long stops the coin dropped in the slot and the answer came. He took his seat apart, adjusted it to he’s back further but he’s NOT raised higher, and much of the discomfort went away.
Meanwhile, my continued fit adjustments on Notung’s handlebars were leading to nothing. I was still getting numbness in my hands after a couple of miles of riding. Stopping to let blood back into my hands hurt my speed tremendously. (Waiting for 17 readers to email me about getting a recumbent…..) I’m going to have to take the bike in for a professional fitting so this problem is resolved. My tinkering isn’t working.
Still, stopping isn’t so bad if its a pretty trail. And it was a hot day, so stopping to drink was a good idea. I went through four water bottles; Chris consumed nearly two liters of fluid. That and the improved bike fit seemed to give him new energy.
The turn around spot on the ride was Bulls Island Recreation Area, a boat launch, picnic spot, campground, and service area for the towpath. The highlight of Bulls Island is the pedestrian bridge over the Delaware River. I crossed over to Lumberville, Pennsylvania and back, walking with Notung since riding is prohibited. My photos can’t do justice to the beauty of the Delaware River. At one point a private plane flew low over the bridge, and it traveled down the river like a mechanical bird.
Chris seemed to have gotten his second wind on the ride back. Even though I am allegedly the faster rider, my increasing discomfort in my hands gave him an advantage. Since he stopped less, he made it back to Scudder Falls twenty minutes before I did. The ride was 44 miles, longest for me post surgery and longest ever for Chris. I was very down by the end, as I had both my numbing hands and swelling in my knees to deal with. Fortunately Chris’ good humor and a relaxing meal helped improve my mood.
While the ride was generally good, there were some disconcerting notes. At one point a bunch of drunker rafters on the river were shouting vulgarities to people on the trail or the riverbank. Chris was trying to photograph a doe and fawn near the water and the rafters shouted “Hey Bambi, your mother’s dead!” The deer ran away, probably as offended as we were, And on the way back we came across two young men looking to win a Darwin Award. The water level wasn’t deep here, and yet both men were jumping into the stream feeding the canal. Chris observed that their form was a modified belly-flop, since anything else and they’d probably hit bottom during the dive.