I was really looking forward to this days ride through Pennsylvania but, while there were very nice riding conditions for about 10% of my day, much of the day was not so nice. There are simply too many cars and, even more so, too many big trucks on these roads. Riding is unpleasant even when, as was the case most of the day, there was a rideable shoulder. I was especially disappointed with the area west of Allentown which I had been told was good bicycling. It wasn't and the 'Bikes share the Road' sign didn't help. It was one bike, me, and seemingly endless numbers of cars and trucks, often big trucks, 'sharing' a road that for 10 miles or so did not have a rideable shoulder. There was a center lane and most folks used it, but still it was not fun.
The day started out with a flat tire in the heart of Amish Country. I didn't even make it through New Holland! A wicked brass spiral about .5 inches long and .125 inches wide with a very sharp edge punctured my rear tire. Since I didn't have sealant in that tube, I was able to patch and be on my way down Penn 23 in 15 minutes or less.
It runs through a beautiful valley, but moderate to heavy traffic including lots of large trucks made it difficult to enjoy riding Penn 23. The sun came out (it has been a while ...), and I stopped to take a picture. A buggy came by , the driver said 'Hi!', and I got one shot with valley, bike, and buggy. Shortly after that I crossed I-76, and headed north on Penn 82. Now that is a nice bicycling road! Unfortunately it is also closed between Geigertown and Birdsboro, so I didn't get to enjoy it for long. The detour was almost as nice, but added 5 miles or so and lots of climbing.
I stopped in Birdsboro for a light lunch and then headed north across the busy route 422. Well I tried to head north on a route shown on my map, but reality interfered and I ended up riding 5 miles west on 422 (not fun, but with a good shoulder after the first half a mile - just like riding a busy interstate) in order to get to a road which let to Penn 522 which I then rode 5 miles east, ending up a few miles north of where I tried to cross 422. Then I continued on to 622. I think I could have taken 174 east to Douglasville and then headed north west on 662. It would have saved five miles or more of 'urban' riding.
I took 662 (moderate traffic, lots of trucks, mostly good shoulder) to Moselem Springs, stopping for a second lunch at a nice Sandwich and Sub place on the main street in Fleetwood. I got good route advice and a good meatball sub from the nice ladies that run this, rather unique, store. I rode east from Moselem Springs on 222, the route with the 'Bikes share' sign. They don't and the route is not very bike friendly until you get ten miles or so from Allentown. Then the shoulder is good (if sometimes dirty) and the riding is fine if you like riding heavily traveled divided four lane highways 8^(.
I stopped at a bikestore in Trexlertown, where they have a Velodrome, to ask about the races. No races tonight, so I elected to ride on. I did get a route suggestion from the bikeshop owner, but it wasn't easy to get anything from him, and I suspect he gave me the hilliest route he knew of. It was an elitist, 'racer' (or poseur) kind of shop. The owner had his groupies gather around him and a young woman who was asking about touring bikes (!), was not getting much attention. I did see four bicyclists there, about as many as I saw all day elsewhere and the ones at the shop were wearing helmets, unlike the rest the riders I saw. The guys at the shop said 'Oh yeah, this a big area for riding'. Well, I don't know where those riders were, cause I was riding where they were supposed to be.
I'm actually getting bummed out about the lack of riders I'm seeing. Here I am, in country that is famous for bicycle riding, and there aren't any riders. This is the tenth day of this tour and, other than a group of three (German?) guys I saw on the first day, I haven't seen any other tourists. In New Holland, a lady at the motel said "There used to be groups of riders through here all the time, but I haven't seen any for several years." In Fleetwood the ladies wanted to call the local paper because my ride was so unusual. In Nazareth (actually more like on the outskirts of Allentown) they say the only riders they have seen are on sponsored rides (with sag support?). I expect I'll see some other tourists in NS, but I've sort of given up on the north eastern US.
After leaving the bike shop, I rode towards Allentown on 222, stopped at a Comfort Inn to ask about motels north and east of town, then rode north on Cedar Crest Blvd (big hills) to Penn 329 and then east (more big hills) to Bath (nice town) where I asked about the 'Nazareth' Comfort Inn. I was told it was about 4 miles south west of Nazareth on US 22. It was an nice ride, mostly, on 329 and an easy ride from Bath to the motel. Tomorrow I'll head back towards Nazareth and then on to rejoin the AC route at the Delaware River.