June 10 is the ‘longest day’ in New Jersey for cyclists
"The Longest Day" — the 200 mile ride of the New Brunswick based Central Jersey Bike Club takes place on June 10.
Nineteen riders have signed up for the trek from Port Jarvis, New York, to Cape May, but you have to be a club member to participate.
Club president Steven Seigel says the sole purpose of The Longest Day bike ride is simply to have fun. This is not a charity event. It's an opportunity to see all of New Jersey and learn about the Central Jersey Bike Club, which consists of 200 members.
"The attraction for our members has been the friendliness and variety of the rides. We have a no-one-gets-left-behind attitude and our rides are rated so that our members can choose the rides that best fit their desires," says Seigel.
The Longest Day has been going on for 30 years. It's a ride for endurance cyclists who train for months. Seigel says many cyclists see the ride as a badge of courage and accomplishment.
The one-day ride is a long one, starting at 5 a.m. and lasting about 12 hours. The route starts from Route 202 north all the way down to the Pine Barrens and Cape May. You'll skirt around Princeton and Allentown and also hit the farmlands of Central and South Jersey.
He says it gets very scenic through the Pine Barrens. It's very woody and you get a feeling as to what the land is like and the people there as well.
This year, The Longest Day bike ride is broken up into two rides: a 50-mile route and a 100 mile route, says Seigel.
"Our rides are rated so that our members can choose the rides that best fit their desires."
What is important to remember, says Seigel, is that this is a one-way ride, meaning bicyclists must find a way home at the end of the ride. But the ride comes complete with SAG, meaning there will be someone available to pick up a broken down bicyclist or a person who simply can't finish the ride for any reason. New for this year will also be various rest stops with snacks and bathrooms.
Seigel says he will be a volunteer at the Atlantic County rest stop.
A pre-ride dinner for members and drivers who can accommodate riders will be held the night before on June 9 at Godfathers Italian Restaurant in Pennsylvania near the start of the New Jersey border.
He also has some advice for riders: use a road bike. There are some brave souls who use mountain bikes to do this trek, but Seigel says "it's like doing 300 miles instead of 200 miles because the bike is so heavy."
Since you must be a member of the Central Jersey Bike Club, Seigel says many people have joined the club just to do this ride. Not many bike clubs in the state offer this one day 200-mile ride so this is very special.
"We may not have the largest bicycle club but I can truly say that we have the best bicycle club in New Jersey thanks to our members who give freely of themselves," says Seigel.
To track the Longest Day scenic bike route or to learn about the Central Jersey Bike Club, visit www.cjbc.org.
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