Events: 2019 Fall Fondo Lineup
Fall is a time for so many things. Fall is the season of color; a break from the summer heat. Autumn is the World Road Cycling Championship. It’s also the start of cyclocross season, but with how much it is talked about year-round, it hardly feels like ‘cross ever left. The aging television show lineups are released for the fall season as well. It’s also pumpkin beer, cider donut, and apple picking season. The long cycling season has left us all over the place with thoughts.
It also leaves us searching for ways to round off the road season. Luckily in the eastern Pennsylvania area - and one New York City ride - there are conveniently-spaced events to get those final miles in and inform the indoor trainer again, “Not today.” Have a look at seven unique events with varying levels of distances, elevation, and causes.
New York Cycle Club 25th Annual Escape New York (September 21)
Departing from – and returning to – Grant’s Tomb Memorial in Manhattan, the Escape New York Century ride sends riders due north, straight into northern New Jersey before returning into New York State. After paralleling the Hudson River, the route will reach its zenith in Harriman State Park. It will then turn south and west, returning to New Jersey for the final twenty-five miles. The century route finds just under 6,000 feet of climbing.
For those looking for scrabbled roads instead of quantity, Escape New York features a metric century called Dirty Spin, which seeks out unpaved and unsealed roads. This is impressive considering how built up the area is and that there are still unpaved roads. This route parallels the Hudson in its entirety and recommends a ‘cross or gravel bike. There is also a 75-mile, 50-mile, and 25-mile offering for riders of all abilities looking to close out a competitive season.
Bicycling Magazine Fall Classic (September 29)
After a one-year hiatus the Bicycling Magazine Fall Classic returns for its eighth iteration, providing cyclists with variable distances from 10- to 90- mile rides. Considering Bicycling Magazine has its roots in the area, this event hardly skimps on quality. We have ridden the 50-mile event twice and finding it to be of the utmost enjoyment. Furthermore, with Bicycling Magazine’s name attached to the event, and holding it in one of the largest cycling communities around, hundreds of people come together to ride bikes and enjoy the Lehigh Valley roads during harvest.
It is a point of focus that the after party is the highlight of the event. Participants get a commemorative t-shirt, socks, and chipped timing. The entry fee includes a post-ride meal (usually with food trucks) and a free beer. Expect to see judicious course marking and remarkable feed zones for the 50 and 90-mile courses. Though the on-course organization and after event cool-down are remarkable, the Lehigh Valley provides beautiful scenery and peaceful roads. What is professional is how the whole event comes together in the end to ride laps around the velodrome. Do one lap, do fifty, just remember there is a party happening after you get off the bike.
Rapha Water Gap Brevet (October 5 – 6)
It’s like Rapha has been reading our emails. For many months now we have been trying to explore the roads around the Delaware Water Gap, a picturesque park stretching from Pennsylvania to New Jersey. Both sides have a mountain, and people will disagree as to which side is prettier. But around Water Gap there are beautiful and remote roads with not a little bit of climbing.
Rapha New York has set aside a small number of rooms at a Clarion Inn & Suites hotel in Strousburg, PA, for a modest overnight fee. The event is focused on hitting some roads many have not ridden, and for that we are grateful Rapha is introducing climbers to the region. It is also possible overnight cycling events will be the new thing in cycling events; rides just long enough to pique the interest, but short enough to keep awake at the dinner table that night. Now excuse us while we stock up on après ride wares from the Rapha store for proper usage.
Covered Bridges Ride presented by Central Bucks Bicycle Club (October 13)
Where Belgium has cobbles, Colorado has fire roads, and England has hedgerows, Bucks County specializes in covered bridges. The Covered Bridges ride is one of the most impressive events on account of how quickly the expansive Tinicum Park field fills with cars. With the rural Bucks County roads winding through beautiful countryside, it is an event that complements the stone farm walls, thick groves of trees, and, of course, the timber spans that rattle and squeak during crossing.
The Covered Bridges Ride offers route distances from 20 miles to metric century. The post ride food and views are remarkable as Tinicum Park, known for a single lovely red barn and huge field hosts the finishers in fine style. Bring the family to do the canal path for one covered bridge, or do the metric century for around six bridges. There are shorter distances in between. This is a great way to explore the roads of northern Bucks County with a few hundred other friends.
Oktoberfest Ride (October 20)
Can’t fly to Germany for Oktoberfest or to Belgium for kermesse events? Have no fear because Kermesse Sport, organizers of great cycling events, brings both those experiences to the countryside of Montgomery County for this fall’s Oktoberfest Ride. The course features aspects of antique and scenic Montgomery County roads and the ever-beautiful Green Lane Park. Those are just two of the details to get the expectations churning.
Oktoberfest Ride’s route winds its way through sleepy hamlets and lazy streams. There are cracks of rifles when passing a gun club. Boy Scouts can be seen crossing the street on the way to morning obligations. There are single-lane roads that go up and familiar pathways to freewheel down. Once the steep climb of Eichele has been slayed and the bike has been stowed, Oktoberfest Ride ushers participants indoors to where post-event German food is featured. Kermesse events feature delectable offerings perfect for refueling after a hard day out. Former pro course, beautiful countryside, tasty food, and post-ride libations: what else is needed for a perfect fall day?
Road – N – Road Gravel Lehigh presented by Piscitello Law (November 3)
Continuing with the European experience theme, Rock -N- Road Gravel Lehigh brings big experiences to the Trexlertown velodrome for the series inaguaral event in 2019. It is not everyday someone can say they rode with a Paris-Roubaix winner, but Andrea Tafi, “The Gladiator,” won the Classic in 1999. He is part of the Rock - N - Road Gravel experience including a VIP pre-ride the day before. Laura van Gilder and Bobby Lea, two local cycling celebrities will also take on the distance. The ride will close with a lap around the velodrome, Roubaix-style.
We have explored some of the gravel roads in the Lehigh area and found them to have a persona all their own. The metric century features 22 miles of unpaved roads or, one-third of the distance. The unsealed roads can be dark hallways or bright wrap-around porches. Either way, the gravel segments for Rock - N - Road is stacked and ready and, should you find yourself still with them, Andrea Tafi, Laura van Gilder, and Bobby Lea, feel free to post-up and celebrate. After a hard day out, step off the bike and imbibe on Funk Brewing creations, the official sponsor brewery of Rock - N - Road Gravel as well as the Trexlertown velodrome.
Bucks County Cranksgiving presented by Doylestown Bike Works (November 10)
After a season of taking, Cranksgiving is the way to giving. Promoted by Doylestown Bike Works, and leaving from the high school in the middle of Doylestown, riders wind through the town before emptying onto quieter country roads. Eventually the route heads north to the first of three super market stops. At each grocery store, participants shop for those in need of food and personal items. A list is provided for specific groceries but event participants can deviate where needed.
We have partaken in Cranksgiving twice. Each time we found ourselves wanting to give back more each year. In recent years Mission BBQ’s food truck has served finishers with extremely flavorful bbq options for a post-ride wind down. With the time of year at hand, the Cranksgiving mission is of the utmost importance. Considering the ride is free, use the theoretical entry money toward groceries for those who need it.
If you have managed to complete each event at its longest distance, congratulations. You just pedaled 500 miles. Talk about an accomplishment to toast to. We will see you out there.