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Sneek-Peek Day 3 NYC-DC Route Rap – Pedaling Amish Country

Here’s a sneak-peek of this year’s Climate Ride NYC-DC 2013 from our Ride Director and logistics master, Blake Holiday. He tells us about Day 3 – the 60 mile day through Pennsylvania’s Amish County. Ride through history in the quaint countryside dotted with family farms and quiet roads frequented by horses and buggies.

When Caeli and Geraldine first created the NYC-DC ride, they wanted to show that you could ride your bike from the Big Apple to the nation’s Capitol through some of America’s loveliest countryside. It was no small feat – including a research day in 2008 when Caeli tested a possible route by riding her bike on the Pulaski Skyway near Jersey City (which did not become part of the ride!). She survived luckily, and the pair found beautiful towns and bike-friendly roads all the way to Washington DC.

On Day 3, we already have two amazing days of riding behind us and our legs are getting stronger. We cover a lot of ground today on the route from Camp Innabah near Valley Forge to Camp Andrews near the mighty Susquehanna River. It’s 58.3 from point to point – and we have some really special stops planned along the way. It’s an amazing ride and we hope you enjoy it!

After a hot breakfast in the dining hall at camp, we start out turning left out of camp onto small roads. Watch out for traffic, ride single file, and be careful crossing grated bridges. We climb our first hill, but luckily it ends at a lovely little village tucked up in a river gorge – you’ll think you’re pedaling in Europe. It’s the first Water Stop and luckily there’s the St Peters Bakery to help fuel us up the next hills. St Peters Village is a unique town because the whole thing was sold on eBay a few years back, and they’ve been slowly restoring it. Melanie, the owner of the Bakery, is really great, and we go a long way to support locally-owned businesses along the route. 

From the Bakery, we hit a hilly, wooded section through Hopewell Furnace National Historical Site – which is an example of early American iron production. When you reach the Joanna Store at Mile 15.9, the hills are over and the scenery opens up to the verdant rolling hills of Amish Country. You’ll start to see farms, and lots of silos. We’ll remind you to be careful on Morgantown Road – it’s a little bit busier but has a very wide shoulder.

From the turn at Morgantown, it’s 13 miles to the Lunch Spot in New Holland. Now we’re entering the heart of Amish Country. You will have packed your lunch this morning, and we’ll transport all the bag lunches to the picnic spot for you! Thank you to our leader crew! The Lunch Spot is at a nice park in New Holland – home of large agricultural machinery. There’s a covered pavilion and we’ll set up the lunches there.

After lunch, it’s 12 miles to the next Water Stop through several small towns including the infamous Intercourse, PA. Then, at Mile 43, we reach one of my favorite stops on the whole trip – the Strasburg Creamery. Anyone up for some homemade Amish ice cream?! General Manager Robin and her crew will be scooping cones, slinging milkshakes, and whipping up the specially-designed and delectable Climate Ride Sundae! It’s delicious and their shop is fun to poke around in. You can spend a moment listening to the ‘clop-clop’ of horses and buggies as Amish families travel through town.

Again, we like to show the local communities that cyclists are wonderful, courteous people who bring low-impact travel and significant economic vitality to towns. 

If you can still ride after filling up on treats from the Creamery, it’s 15 beautiful miles into camp including two awesome wooden bridges along the way. It starts out pretty easy, but there are definitely a few hills in this section – so save some power in your legs!

Our camp for the night is a Mennonite summer camp called Camp Andrews, and we’ll have camping available, as well as beds in cabins for $10 extra. The staff at Camp Andrews is really sweet and they’ll take good care of us with a hearty dinner. Afterwards, we’ll meet up the hill in the lodge for the evening’s speaking event.

So that’s Day 3…it’s quite an adventure. So ride safely out there everyone, and have fun!