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The Ride not Taken

David Meltzer | Published on 12/6/2021

Not all Scout Rides Work

One of the things that the 5BBC always encourages is for leaders to actually scout a ride. Rides that often look wonderful on paper – do not always translate to wonderful on the road. An example of this was a scout that Myles and I did to Overpeck Park in Leonia, NJ.

After crossing the George Washington Bridge, cyclists always make either the right to go up to Piermont and points North, or the left to go along the water to Hoboken and points South. I wondered...what happens if you go due West. And why nobody ever does that route? I looked at the map and found Overpeck Park – which looked like a lovely oasis of green. The short route was perfect for a Winter's ride. Myles and I thought “Let's scout this.”

I immediately found trouble making the actual route. It seems that not many roads go through the area, and those that do are often steep and full of traffic. We did a pit stop in lovely Fort Lee Park along the Hudson, and Myles re-routed us, thinking that we could go through some nice neighborhoods and then down through the north end of the park. We did find a lovely sculpture garden. But, unfortunately, the north end of the park was a fenced private golf course. We got our bearings, and headed back to the originally planned route. Strike One.

Having returned to the route, we had a screaming downhill to Overpeck Park. This park has a beautiful lake that I wanted to ride around. But, that was not to be, as the loops, both left and right, just stopped. There was no pathway to do a scenic ride around the lake. After doing some riding, and some scouring of the maps, we gave up, and again went back to the original route. Strike Two.

Heading back, I originally mapped Edgewater Road, a very steep long climb, heading to Gorge Road – a very sharp descent. Myles reminded me that last time I was on Gorge Road, I kind of freaked out due to the steepness and the traffic. We re-routed over to Fort Lee Road. That long screaming downhill into the park was now a long slogging uphill back. And again, the road had no shoulder and lots of traffic. About half way up – when I conked out – Myles turned to me and said, “This is not a 5BBC Ride.” He was absolutely right. Strike Three.

Am I glad that I did this ride? Absolutely, I went to some place I had never gone to. Am I ever going to list this as a club ride – absolutely not. The fact is that not all rides are worthy of listing. In particular this one just had far too many hills, far too much traffic, and far too few bailouts. Rides like this are the reason that we always try to scout.