Trip Report: Crossing Delaware on a Bike and Lessons Learned
|Gearing up to start the ride just west of |
the MD/DE border. (P. Gensel)
like Iceland, running his many website projects, or taking amazing photos, he's kayaking, biking, and climbing around our mutual Eastern Pennsylvania stomping grounds. Friends like Patrick are good to have because when you're friends with someone who's always doing things, if you're lucky, they'll let you in on some of their adventures. In an effort to both help Patrick cross something off of his "30 Things to Do Before I Turn 30" bucket list and because we hadn't adventured together in a while, I agreed to join him for a little bike trip.
One of the things on Patrick's list was to cross one of the United States on a bike, and lucky for us, Delaware is both small and close to home. On a map, Delaware's shaped like a right triangle symbol. If we chose to most efficient (read: shortest and easiest) cross-state route, which is just over 10 miles, we could've done it in less than an hour. But of course, that would've been too easy. Instead, Patrick chose a route that crossed the widest part of the state - from the western border to Bethany Beach.
We opted to camp at Delaware Seashore State Park the night before in order to get an early start the next morning. The park itself, situated between the Atlantic Ocean and Rehoboth Bay and Indian River Bays hosts full service sites April through November and is open with limited services the rest of the year. Surfing, windsurfing, sailing and fishing are popular activities at the park, and with good reason.
|Unpacking at the campsite under beautiful skies.|
I arrived Saturday evening after battling traffic with enough time to take a quick walk on the beach before dinner. Though nearby Bethany Beach and Rehoboth Beach are typically mobbed this time of year, we nearly had Delaware Seashore State Park's oceanfront land all to ourselves. After a dip in the ocean, we spent the rest of the evening plotting our route for the next day and feasting at the campsite.
|Patrick strolling along the nearly empty beach at Delaware Seashore State Park the night before our ride.|
|Click on the image to see our complete route, courtesy of Strava and Patrick.|
|Patrick with our bikes and the ocean in the background |
at the end of our ride, 42 miles later!
Considering neither one of us trained for the ride at all, I was impressed with how well we did with the 42-mile trip, and I credit CrossFit with the fact that I felt completely fine by the end of the day. We planned on stopping for an extended break every 10-12 miles, but found ourselves in need of only a short snack at the halfway point and another snack spot about five miles from the ocean. I'm also proud to report that I didn't tip over - something I'm still afraid of with my clipless pedals.
Among the things I learned in getting ready for this trip was how important it is to plan. If you're planning a trip like this, be sure to scout routes ahead of time. Patrick came up with a few great options for us, and if we hadn't looked at them ahead of time, we could've ended up on bumpy backcountry roads or highways with no shoulder. We also got lucky with the gas station; if we'd been unable to find a suitable place to leave my car close to the border, it would've added a good distance to our ride.
I also learned that it's nearly impossible to hear turn-by-turn directions on your iPhone when you're biking. I tend to avoid wearing headphones when I'm biking on roadways to make sure I can hear everything I need to hear. Approaching cars are loud, but I want to know they're coming long before they're up next to me. I'd stashed my phone in my makeshift fanny pack and turned the volume all the way up, but still had trouble hearing the directions. Luckily, we didn't have too many turns to make.
I've seen map mounts for bikes during adventure races, handlebar mounts for iPhones and similar devices to make it easy to navigate without stopping, but I'd love to hear tips from readers! Got any to share? Anything else you think is essential for long rides? Who's up for biking across a bigger state, say, Wyoming? Leave a comment!
Also, be sure to check out Patrick's recap of our ride, including a short video of us in action!