Bike Route for Princeton / Cranbury, New Jersey
There are two main routes between Princeton and Cranbury. The shorter one takes you through lots of traffic and isn't especially scenic. The longer one is a whole lot safer and more enjoyable (and includes aliens). Welcome to my daily commute (on sunny, above-freezing days)!
At some point I might post more from my fitness log with Evernote, as Grant Muller has done for his workouts, but until then, here is some basic information about my route in a format that might be useful to someone wanting to ride around the Princeton area.
I do not live at Teddy's Luncheonette (the start of this route). Neither do I work at PJ's Pancake House (the destination). My commute is actually only 8 miles of the 10.4 mile route, but I thought I'd make it more useful to people by including delicious destinations nearby my home and office. You can see the Google Map here.
Plainsboro Road to George Davison Road
The road conditions for the stretch between Cranbury and Plainsboro proper are great through the farmland, but once we get into Plainsboro things turn nasty. The arrow in the photograph below points to a particularly ugly section of road that combines a busy intersection (see the truck turning in front of me) with treacherous potholes, a disappearing shoulder, and loose gravel. Fortunately, we are only on the road in Plainsboro for a few hundred yards in total, and we get to turn off onto a much better road soon.
George Davison Road to Cranbury Neck
This is a beautiful section of road that runs through neighborhoods and farmland. I like the wide shoulders (see the arrow). In the mornings between about 6:00 and 7:30 it doesn't have much traffic, but after that, especially during the school year, it can get a little crowded.
Cranbury Neck to County Road 571
Conditions vary along this road, but overall it is in pretty good repair without too much traffic. The shoulders crumble away in places (see arrow) so it is probably best to ride well inside the lane. There are plenty of opportunities for cars to pass us if needed.
Here is a part of the road with a nice shoulder.
Science fiction fans will recognize Grovers Mill as the site of our first recorded alien invasion in 1938. The mill somehow survived the War of the Worlds intact and the arrow in the photo points to a sign advertising loft space for rent. How cool would it be to live there? I don't know what that would cost you.
County Road 571 to Washington
Although the roads are well-paved along this leg, there is a lot of traffic. The photo shows an especially egregious example of New Jersey intersections gone bad. This one combines: 1) the infamous NJ jug handle, with 2) lanes that curve as they cross Route 1 (one of the major roads in NJ), at the same time that 3) the lanes are merging. Brilliant!
My advice? Get to the front of the line and stay ahead of the action. We don't want to get mixed up in the middle of the pack with drivers who don't know the roads well, because they have too much on their minds to pay attention to us.
The roads magically change once we cross Route 1 into Princeton. Gone is the heavy traffic. No more deep potholes. No more crumbling shoulders. We see trees stretching their branches protectively over the road, plenty of room to maneuver, and beautiful scenery.
My office is on the way to PJ's Pancake House. Should we stop in and do some work, or continue on and get something to eat?