Canal Bikers

Jay Lloyd / KYW Newsradio

Getaway Guide to a Laid Back Bike Ride

May 18, 2018 - 12:17 pm
Categories: 

By Jay Lloyd

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) -- I love watching the Tour de France - the eye-filling European countryside,  colorful villages, the narrow, winding roads, smashups, grueling mountain climbs, fans shoving water bottles at riders. It's a thrill a minute. Here at home, a peddle up the Manayunk Wall can make a bystander sweat. But suppose, you just want to go for a ride with friends of varying abilities, either on a day-trip local getaway or a vacation. Here's a few favorite choices near and far.

SCHUYLKILL RIVER TRAIL 

Traffic free, flat, river and canal views - even a bit of history thrown in. The trail runs from Philadelphia, with a few breaks, still under construction, all the way to Reading. The section I really enjoy takes riders on an easy peddle tour from Valley Forges to Phoenixville. Bring your own bike and park at either end. On the way, make a stop at Port Providence and rent a kayak to paddle on the canal or river. Then stop for as cool one at Fitzwater Station on an outdoor deck overlooking the water and the trail. This is also where you'll rent the kayak. 

CAPE MAY, NJ

The southern tip of New Jersey is a favorite spot for birders, nature lovers, beachgoers and foodies. It's all connected by Sunset Avenue, that carries you and your bike from the heart of town to Sunset Beach. The four-mile ride takes you past the eateries of West Cape May, a wildlife sanctuary, Cape May Point State Park, the lighthouse, watch tower and finally Sunset Beach at the confluence of the Atlantic Ocean and Delaware Bay. If you don't bring your own, bikes can be rented by the day or hour at Cape Island Bike and Beach Rentals and at Congress Hall.

Cape May Bike Rental
Jay Lloyd / KYW Newsradio

HUDSON RIVER GREENWAY, NYC 

Riverside scenery and an 11-mile pathway through history sums up biking on the Hudson River Greenway. It's served by New York Citi Bike and a number of independent bike rental operations near the 79th Street Boat Basin. The pathway takes you from the Battery at the tip of Manhattan Island to the little red lighthouse where I used to play as a kid in the shadow of the George Washington Bridge. On the way, you'll pass Chelsea Piers, the High Line, the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, cruise ship docks and the Boat Basin. My favorite stops for a bite to eat and a beer are the Frying Pan near Chelsea Piers and the Boat Basin Cafe.

Hudson River Greenway
Jay Lloyd / KYW Newsradio

MARYLAND EASTERN SHORE

The pristine Eastern Shore of Maryland and it's byways that meander through Chesapeake Bay boating villages and farming countryside are ideal for bicycle getaways. Bringing your own is best, but most B&B's and marinas provide them either free or at low cost for guests. I like the area around Rock Hall, Maryland. After all, it's where I've spent most of my leisure time over the past 30 years. The land is flat, traffic is light and the scenics are a succession of photo ops. A ride with variety starts on Main Street and runs south to Eastern Neck Wildlife Refuge. There are nature trails and bayside observation platforms - even a spot to rent boats and gear for a bit of crabbing. On the way back, stop at the Waterman's Crab House for hot crabs and cold beer. For accommodations try Haven Harbour Marina or Osprey Point Marina and Inn.

Eastern Neck Wildlife Refuge
Jay Lloyd / KYW Newsradio

TORONTO, ONTARIO 

A favorite North American hub for summer vacations, waterside eateries and views, unique venues for sipping and nightlife is Canada's major city, Toronto. It's also a fine town to get around by bicycle. Park the car at your downtown hotel, buy a Bike Share pass and see the city. Pick up a bike at convenient on-street locations, drop it off at a destination and grab another one when you're ready to move on. What makes Toronto bike-friendly is courteous drivers. We stay at the Blue Jays Stadium Marriott, just a short walk or bike ride to the riverfront to make a stop for lunch with a water view. Then there's a ride to the distillery district that made it's fortune during American prohibition. Now, it's a wonderful collection of shops, brew pubs and art galleries. On the way back, stop at the St. Lawrence Market - like Reading Terminal with a Canadian spin and Canadian prices.

Bike Toronto
Jay Lloyd / KYW Newsradio

Enjoy!