Joe' Bicycle Rides

In 2007 I got a used Garmin V GPS unit and made a mount for my bike. I have used it to plan and record my rides. It has proved to be the cool tool for the riding I like to do. I can plan rides before I head out. It also keeps me from getting lost on the tiny, poorly marked back roads that I love to ride on. The biggest thing is that I don't have stop and unfold a sweaty map on some windy corner to figure out where I am.

The GPS is not perfect. In the deep woods it has lost the satellite signal. This only happened once and only for a mile. This reminded me to still carry a map. One must remember to switch the auto-routing preferences to "bicycle" so it picks the most direct route and uses small roads. The GPS does not know about road conditions like milled pavement or dirt roads. This can ruin a perfect ride. Still, I love having the GPS when I ride.

This is my commute to and from Brooks, where I work. The yellow track is my normal commute which is 5.3 miles long. There is one long climb on the way back, but all in all there are no steep hills on the ride. During the months with more daylight I like to stretch my ride home by taking one of two alternate routes home. Each one adds about 7 miles to my ride home. Alternate route #1 (green) is fairly flat and has nice long stretch along an old mill creek. Alternate route #2 (blue) has more hills but is also very nice.

10th Street

I read about 10th street in Emmaus in Bicycling magazine as part of an article on hills. I looked on a map and I could see that it was 20 miles from my house. It was a long ride to get to the hill through lovley country. The hill was difficult, steep and long. The good news is it had a couple of breaks along the way which allowed me to build a little steam along the way.

The purple track is my planned route. The yellow is my actual route. The big difference is because I missed one of the GPS cues and the unit re-routed me. Unfortunately, I had the preferences set to "car" and it selected larger roads for the rest of the route. I still got home, but it was a longer ride. Note to self: check the GPS setup before starting on a long ride.

Bridge Cafe

The Bridge Cafe is a foo-foo little coffee shop in Frenchtown NJ located just on the other side of the Frenchtown-Uhlerstown bridge. This is a long ride that I have taken several times. With maps I always got lost a couple of miles from the Delaware river. I was hoping that the GPS would prevent this. For the most part it did except a short section where it lost signal and it told me I was off route. I fumbled around a bit near the airport before I got going again. Once I was out of the woods it showed me the way.

The Uhlerstown hill is difficult. The road is so steep that it is closed to traffic during the winter.

Eichele Hill

Eichele hill is a famous road to local bicyclists. It is very steep, hitting a 30% grade near the top. It is always on Univest Grand Prix professional race route in the summer. The hill is only a mile long but there are no breaks and it just gets steeper and steeper as you head up. I have made it up several times and I have failed twice.

On my return I went down Engram's hill on County Line road. This is a fairly steep hill that is dead straight. I often see how fast I can get on the way down. My best speed is 51.2mph with a good run up to the hill and hammering as hard as I can on on the way down.

Pottstown Family Diner

The Pottstown Family Diner is the gathering place for the monthly mac-pac motorcycle group. They put up with me arriving on a bicycle. On the route there I decided to let the GPS do the routing. It took me up and over the hill in Green Lane park (the same one as Eichele). It then took ,me along RT 663, which is straight, but lots of hills. On the ride back I took my normal route, which is much flatter, and 3 miles shorter. I have no reason why the GPS took me on such a long route. Despite the hills it was a nice ride.

Dietz Mill Road

This is a track showing some of the hills that are real close to me. This is 22 mile loop that has a couple of challenging hills including Dietz mill and Miller (a.k.a. Miller the Killer).

2007 Nockamixon Century Ride

This is the track from the 2007 Lake Nockamixon Century Ride, hosted by the Surburban Cyclists Unlimited. The longest hill was in the begining, but at the end it went over Dietz Mill Road, which was really tough after 70 miles of riding. I did really well on this ride averaging 17.1 mph.

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