Back to the Road Biking New Jersey book for a route in southern jersey off LBI. I don’t mind riding LBI but on a holiday weekend if you’re not on the road by 5:30, you’re going to deal with a lot of road traffic and stupid pedestrians who walk with traffic, not against it (but that’s all in a previous rant).
So at 6:30 am, we loaded up the bikes and drove 45 minutes (with a stop at Wawa first for breakfast sandwiches) to Oyster Creek. You see the ride in the book starts at Batsto Village but that would have been a 75 minute ride off island and since the route goes close to Oyster Creek (also historic Smithville, where the author suggests an alternative start) which is closer to us, we decided to do that.
We parked in the lot at the Oyster Creek Inn, since they weren’t open, pumped tires and took off.
The route I concocted with this starting location came in at 47+ miles and was flat! Not only was it flat but for much of the ride, you are on really quiet roads traffic-wise (and that was with a 7:40am start on a holiday weekend). Lastly, there are many long stretches without turns so you can really get your speed going and keep it going. The only semi-annoying part was on Leibig Avenue as a few of the cross streets had stop signs but the distance between them was great enough that you could still get some speed going.
The ride goes along a lot of preserved forest so beautiful (think scents of pine) but after some time gets redundant though it did provide plenty of shade, which I loved! As you approach Batsto Village, you ride along the Mullica River so some nice changes with water views. After you cross the river, you’ll go through some swamp land and can see some Osprey nests along the side of the road.
Lastly, as you finish the ride (using my route), you’ll go through Leeds Point, home of the Jersey Devil (not the hockey team, the monster). We’ve always had a fascination with the story so of course I had to stop for another photo.
Oh, and one word of warning, parking at Oyster Creek led to a bit of a problem at the end of the ride as the area is filled with the “real Jersey Devil”, the green-headed fly. I made a bee-line for the car, diving in and letting Chris deal with those buggers as he loaded the bikes. The bites were painful. With that in mind, I’d park and Smithville next time instead.
Oh, another word of warning, sorry, other than the stores in and around Smithville, I didn’t notice any place where you could purchase amenities, so bring your own food and water.