The Columbia Trail runs along the former alignment of the High Bridge Branch of the Central Railroad of New Jersey. The South Branch Raritan River, a popular trout fishing spot, flows alongside it; the trail crosses the river at the bridge in the featured image above. The river valley here is known as Ken Lockwood Gorge and is a New Jersey Wildlife management Area.
Those 90s Trek VW bikes keep showing up. Who knew you could get a bike jersey and other swag, too? An unused ’97 purple bike with paperwork is up on Facebook Marketplace now [edit: or not – possibly sold?].
More on the VW/Trek collab is here and here, but contact the seller directly [edit: looks like it might have been sold] if you want this one. Seller is asking $750 and it’s in Pompton Plains, New Jersey. Perfect for the Volkswagen or Trek aficionado.
OK, now I’m done messing with this. I found this Huffy bicycle on the side of a road. Aside from trashed tires and one flat tube, it mostly needed just a cleaning to make it presentable. The final result is here. I shelled out for two new, slightly wider tires (no whitewalls), tubes, and handlebar grips, removed the decals, and added a bell and reflectors I already had. The front fork and chainguard were a very dull silver (a.k.a., gray) that detracted from the look of the chrome fenders, so I sprayed on two coats of Rustoleum gloss white. I believe it’s ready for a boardwalk.
About one mile of the twenty-mile-or-so Lawrence Hopewell Trail passes through Carson Road Woods’ hedgerows, fields, and forests. The land was once farm fields and a peach orchard; in the early twenty-first century, it was preserved as a park, saving it from development. To the north, the LHT passes through the Educational Testing Services headquarters, home of the SAT, GRE, and other standardized tests, before looping back through Rosedale Park and Mercer Meadows, a.k.a the Pole Farm, which are about three miles west of Carson Road Woods.
This bike was put out with the trash and I picked it up before the scrappers grabbed it. After a thorough cleaning, removing a lot of surface rust (with some assistance), and replacing one tube, it looked pretty good. It will need new tires soon if I can find an inexpensive pair of whitewalls, and new handlebar grips are also on the way.
All the decals were removed during the cleaning, but the bike is a Huffy Santa Fe single speed with coaster brake. Huffy used the Santa Fe model name at least as far back as the 1970s, but I’m guessing this one is maybe from the 1990s or 2000. Now it joins the fleet of old bikes and e-bikes. Will I ever rat rod it? Unlikely.
Some would call the region through which it passes “desolate”; a better word would be “subtle”A.D. Pierce, Iron in the Pines 1957
By the 1700s, a road, which likely followed a pre-existing Native American trail, ran from Camden, New Jersey, to the port town of Tuckerton on the Atlantic coast. According to local histories, to make their travel to yearly meetings easier, Quakers built a bridge over the Batsto River around 1772. The bridge predictably became known as the Quaker Bridge, and the road that passed over it became Quaker Bridge Road. In the 1800s, horse-drawn stage coaches regularly carried both mail and passengers through the Pine Barrens along this route.
In 1809, Arthur and Elizabeth Thompson opened the Quaker Bridge Hotel, also known as Thompson’s Tavern, just south of the bridge. The tavern remained open until at least 1850. Any remnants of the building vanished many years ago.
The area is now part of Wharton State Forest and Quaker Bridge Road is still a sandy trail through the barrens. On a pleasantly warm November day, there were few other people around: another (non-electric) fat bike, some hikers, a big dog, a couple of motorcycles, one jeep. From Atsion, a former company town and farming community, to the Quaker Bridge is about four miles. With some diversions, my round trip was 15 miles.
The Gold Camp Road runs through the Rocky Mountains south of Pikes Peak in Colorado. For over a hundred years, it has been traveled by tourists, first on passenger trains and later in automobiles. The Colorado Springs & Cripple Creek District Railway was built around the turn of the twentieth century to bring gold ore down from the mines around Cripple Creek and Victor. By the 1920s, the railroad was out of business and the route was soon converted into an automobile toll road for tourists.
It remains a popular destination. We rented a couple of KHS mountain bikes from Challenge Unlimited and they drove us in their van up the unpaved and potholed Old Stage Road to St. Peters Dome, roughly halfway between Cripple Creek and Colorado Springs. Our driver dropped us off with a couple water bottles, a photocopy of a hand-drawn map, and a little backpack with a pump and repair kit, in case we got a flat tire. From there, it was all downhill.
The first eight miles or so are closed to automobiles, and we were riding on a Monday after the summer tourist season ended, so we had the gravel road to ourselves. We rode through two tunnels, stopping several times to take in the views. After about an hour and a half, we reached Tunnel #3. In 1988, this tunnel collapsed (which is why cars are no longer allowed), so we had to walk the bikes along a trail that goes over the tunnel. Below Tunnel #3 there was a parking lot, cars, and more hikers and bikers, but it was definitely not crowded. We continued downhill through more tunnels and rock cuts.
Remember that time in the 1990s when Volkswagen gave you a Trek mountain bike if you bought a car? Here’s one of the original brochures for the 1996 Jetta, as seen on A2resource.com.
Back in 1996, Volkswagen partnered with Trek bicycles, offering a special VW Jetta Trek edition that came with a Trek mountain bike and a roof rack to put it on. The following year, they also offered a VW Trek Golf. One of those bikes turned up at a charity bike store, and, although I’ve never owned a VW, I picked it up because, as it says on the frame, it’s a Limited Edition.
The 1996 Jetta Trek Limited Edition Sedan started under $16,000 and came with either a five speed manual or four speed automatic. The VW Trek bike came with 21 speeds and custom seat, handgrips, and special graphics: a dude on a multi-colored rocket, orbiting the VW logo, and holding…something?
Details on the bikes are a bit harder to find. The 1996 ones had a steel frame, but this one has an aluminum frame, which may be the 1997 version. The OCLV on the rocket stands for Trek’s patented carbon fiber, but it’s unlikely that there’s any of it on this bike. A few parts had been replaced in the past twenty years, including the saddle (which also would have had that rocket boy logo), but it still has the original VW hand grips.
It’s definitely in better shape than some of the Trek Edition automobiles out there: Junkyard Gem.
Update: It’s 2022, and someone is selling a never-used VW Trek bike and branded gear in NJ.
Still on the lookout for a Jetta Shepherd edition, though: