Session 3: The Ride - Philly to the Beach
*For the backstory of why and how the Women's Beachpackin' trip came about, read this*
Summer storms threatened to cancel the trip, but on the morning of roll-out, the overcast sky didn’t look menacing enough to turn us back home. We met up at WN/WN, a local breakfast coffee spot. Hair was braided (because, priorities), coffee was slurped, gear and bags were given a final cinch… and we were off.
Riding through Camden, New Jersey wasn’t so bad. We only spent 5 minutes getting down the stairs, and only got one or two cat calls. We hit the bike path just outside of Camden, which afforded us some greenery and non-trafficked riding. Some adjustments were made, snacks consumed… it’s never too early for snacks.
The first day did bring some epic skies and flash downpours, but nothing we couldn’t handle with a snack break. We stopped at less-than-glamourous gas stations for water and a bathroom.
Arriving at camp unscathed and with enough energy, we setup our tents and rolled to a local pub/restaurant with plenty of bikers (not cyclists), and a waitress that gave us really detailed directions about how to get to the shore.
That night took off with a healthy supply of whisky and story-telling. And Beyonce. It POURED that night. Most of us stayed dry and warm. The morning brought a slow start as we waited for the rain to finish up.
Everyone had the chance at that point to bail-out to the nearest train station or keep going. As I looked at everyone poised over the top tube ready for roll-out, I’ll never forget the expression on their faces. It was like, “seriously? we’re ready to ride.”
The first stop was a bakery/breakfast place that had the most decadent pies we'd ever seen. The whole flowers and bikes thing was painfully adorable - and I'm not usually the kind of person that swoons over such things.
That day brought blueberry fields forever, marshy grasses, and very tall pine trees. It got sunny and hot, and we struggled for a few miles through a very rural part of town before we hit a Wawa and gulped sports beverages. Chains were lubed with remnant oil from a nearby gas station (I forgot the lube), and we were off again.
The last few miles to the New Jersey shore is never easy. At some point, you have to battle with the cars to get Ocean-side. But when we finally did, it was perfect.
We had just enough time to jump in the amazingly cool ocean, feel the sand under our feet, and look out at the endless water. Because we got a late start in the morning due to the rain, we had to make a mad dash for the train station. Just after purchasing the tickets, the train rolled in and we were off. Two by two we got in the railcars. We snacked and slept… it only took an hour on the train to undo what had taken us two days, but it was the journey -not the destination- that will be remembered.
The planned ride was set to be about 80 miles - 40 each day. However, due to some excursions to a local bar and other side trips, we rounded out the trip with a solid 100 miles. For many women, distance per day records were broken and many could claim their first 100 mile ride in two days. And all that with gear. They were a little tired and dirty, but empowered, and wholly badass.
The Beachpacking Babes
Row 1: Roberta, Brittany, Anjali, Taryn
Row 2: Alexa, Jeni, Amanda, Victoria