Around Port Mercer by E-Bike

Port Mercer was a small town along the Delaware and Raritan Canal in central New Jersey. Since the canal closed down in 1932, commerce has shifted east to U.S. Route 1, where shopping malls, car dealers, and restaurants are now located. On the west side of the canal, there are still extensive swampy wetlands between Lawrence Township and Princeton.

Source: TCM

One of the buildings that remains from the canal’s heyday is the Bridge Tender’s House – the worker who lived there was responsible for swinging open the bridge when a canal boat came through. Several similar buildings still exist along the canal.

Bridge Tender’s house at Port Mercer, NJ. Source: TCM

E-Biking Crystal Lake on Friday the 13th

Source: TCM

Serendipitous is not the right word to use when you find yourself riding your bike alone in the woods around Crystal Lake on Friday the 13th. Fortunately, this was not Camp Crystal Lake, the stomping grounds of infamous axe-murderer Jason Voorhees. That’s up in north Jersey.

This Crystal Lake Park is near Bordentown in central Jersey. The park is mostly farm fields, with some steep wooded areas along the bluff overlooking Crystal Lake. To get to the park, you do have to drive down Axe Factory Road. I saw no actual axe factory, nor, I’m happy to say, any axe-wielders.

Into the Woods.
Source: TCM
Source: TCM

More Bogs, More Barrens

At the Cranberry Bogs along Mt. Misery trail. Source: TCM

Fall colors are appearing in the Pine Barrens. I rode about 10 miles on parts of the Mt. Misery trail and Glass House Road in Brendan Byrne State Forest, which provide a mix of paved roads, wide graded sand roads, and single track closely hemmed by bushes and trees. I must have been the first visitor that morning, because I was constantly riding through webs spanning the trail and when I stopped for a bit, there were at least three spiders still hanging on to the front of my bike.

The RadMini alongside the bogs. Source: TCM
Sand road along cranberry bog
Riding through the cranberry bogs in Brendan Byrne State Forest. Source: TCM
cranberry bog
Another view of the bogs. Source: TCM

Near the end of the ride, the Reeves cranberry bogs provided a peerless photographic opportunity. The bogs were created by William H. Reeves at the beginning of the twentieth century and remained in operation for at least half a century.

The roads around the bogs had some soft sand. The RadMini did not seem to have a problem with it, but I did almost wipe out plowing through a turn a little too fast.

Sand road blocked by water
Time to turn around. Source: TCM

E-Biking Along the Rancocas

Rancocas Creek. Source: TCM

Rancocas State Park is in Burlington County, New Jersey, where the North and South branches of Rancocas Creek meet to form the Forks of the Rancocas. A Lenape village was formerly located here and in the 18th century, agriculturalist Charles Read owned the land. More houses were built in the 19th century, but in the first decade of the 20th century, much of the land was mined for sand, permanently altering the landscape and likely destroying any archaeological remains. Some ruins survived to the present, and trees and other vegetation now cover the scars from mining.

My Radmini e-bike had no trouble with the trails, which includes loose sand, packed sand, lots of roots, a little bit of mud, and the occasional log.

Radpower RadMini. Source: TCM
Rancocas State Park. Source: TCM
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E-Biking Whitesbog

Whitesbog is where, in 1916, Elizabeth White and Frederick Coville produced the first commercial crop of blueberries. Before that, Whitesbog was a cranberry farm, and before that, it was part of the Pine Barren’s bog iron industry. It’s now part of New Jersey’s Brendan Byrne State Forest and sand roads surround its cranberry bogs.

Source: TCM
Source: TCM
Source: TCM
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