Bear Bicycle Touring Co.

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Catskills 5- Last leg

29 January 2017
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Alex and I woke up as the sun was rising. We took our time making our coffee on our small burner and enjoyed our peaceful spot along the pond. Today was our last day and today we would be making our way out of the Catskills and heading out of NY straight into PA over the Delaware River before ending at our friend’s Pocono house. It was a long day out covering almost 100 miles or 160 km with 6,500 feet of elevation. Yesterday’s ride was out in the sticks and we had to carry all the food we consumed last night for dinner as well as snacks during the day leaving us food-less when we woke up. After one cup of coffee we packed up all our gear for the last time and started our journey out of the Catskills.

We had already earmarked the town of Livingston Manor, about 13 miles away, to stop at a diner and have a nice large breakfast to fuel us for the day. The first diner we came across was called the Robin Hood Diner and well why not! The diner was an extension of the original diner that was started in the 50’s when a rail car was delivered to be the diner. Since its origin they have expanded, however the original rail car was the room we sat in and I felt transported in time. The room was decked out in the theme of Robin Hood and over all I found it very entertaining and value for money, prices were low and quantity large.

After our bellies were full and happy we hopped back on our bikes and continued with a bit over 80 miles to go. The roads remained mostly clear of cars and the temperatures remained in the 90’s, but at this point we have gotten use to it. We winded through a couple farm towns and before not to long we were in sight of the Delaware river, our crossing over to Pennsylvania.

Bridge over Delaware

Crossing the Delaware from NY to PA was new to us, every time in the past when we crossed the Delaware river it was from NJ to PA or PA to NJ. This was new territory and further up north than we have been on the Delaware. Why I go on about the Delaware is because the significance it has on Alex and I’s life. We live on River road right next to the Delaware, got our engagement photos on the Delaware as well as our wedding being held on the Delaware. Getting to discover a new part of the river more isolated up north was a sight to see.

Crossing over Delaware from NY

Once in PA we had a scenic ride while along the Delaware before cutting in land and experiencing some hills. Once our energy levels got low we found a pizza place to stop in for a late lunch. After pizza we pressed on getting excited to be getting closer when we hit a steady climb. Half way up the climb the sound of another spoke on Alex’s bike popped and we had to pull over. We realized for cycle touring and the weight of Alex (nearly 200 pounds) a over the half the weight of the luggage was too much on the wheels. When we cycled tour in the past Alex has built up the wheels and were stronger, we needed to do this again for future tours. Once again we redistributed the weight to pass more of the weight to me and hoped that we could make it to our destination, about 25 miles left.

If I wasn’t hot before with the added weight and more uphill I was now. We had one main climb before a long downhill and then just a short distance to the end. By the time we got to the top I had enough and needed a break. We found an ice cream shop along the side of the road through state forest and pulled over; nothing better than ice cream on a hot day!

Ice cream break

Back on our bikes we continued our journey passing many summer camp like spots along ponds and lakes. I as a kid never went away to a whole summer long camp like you see on Parent’s trap, but looking around as we past a couple it was just like I thought it would be; lots of activities set up and a nice big pond or lake in the middle for swimming.

We got to Skytop and it was at this point we had a long downhill almost ending our cycle tour. We have ridden on these roads before and it felt comforting knowing where I was, mostly because the extra luggage and heat were getting to me and the thought of a nice beer and putting my feet up was an attractive thought. We powered our way to our destination and immediately awarded ourselves with a beer each and a cold shower.

We were sad that our cycle tour of the Catskills was over, but happy to know that cycle touring in the US is possible. It might not be the same as the south of France and we might have to learn that some routes are better than others, but overall a nice active break for us. We ended with a sense of achievement and fond memories. When my friends and coworkers asked what I did for my week off and I say I cycled to the Catskills the look of confusion washes over them. ‘You mean you drove up with your bikes?’ They asked. I respond no we started in Yardley, PA and cycle to the Catskills and back. The look on their faces is priceless. ‘How far is that?’ I get asked. The trip was about 380 miles and took us 8 days to complete with a couple short days and a few days off as well. One would be amazed at what your bodies are capable of and cycle touring is something that most people are capable of, just most don’t have it on their radar. Hoping we will be able to introduce the concept or maybe their first cycle trip and show others the joy and sense of achievement that comes with it.

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