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Bicycling Rails, Trails and Country Lanes in Rustic Pennsylvania

Program No. 16480RJ
Bike your way through Pennsylvania and New Jersey, riding scenic trails, visiting historic towns, enjoying evening concerts and learning the story of the region.

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At a Glance

Pedal through the wild gems of Pennsylvania and New Jersey on this picturesque bicycling adventure. Bicycle a variety of trails with expert guides who illuminate the area’s natural and cultural highlights. During the week, hear presentations on local history and wildlife that give you the context needed to make the most out of your experience.
Activity Level
Outdoor: Spirited
I enjoy getting my heart going on my bike or on trails. Nothing beats the thrill of taking on a rewarding climb or ride on varied terrain with inclines. Let’s keep moving — occasional stops only, please.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 13 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Ride beside converted railroad lines in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Gorge State Park and New Jersey’s Paulinskill Valley Trail.
  • Experience the historic town of Jim Thorpe, often called the “Switzerland of America” for its beautiful scenery and architecture.
  • See some of the world's most unique Human Powered Vehicles during a hands-on experience with Bob Swaim.

General Notes

The Retreat Difference: This unique, often basic and no-frills experience at a Road Scholar Retreat includes opportunities for early morning exercise, interaction with the local community for insight into local life, an authentic farm-to-table or locally sourced meal and a live performance or event. Airport transfer at added cost.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
by Joe Friel
Conventional wisdom says that middle-aged cyclists should slow down and expect to achieve less as they grow older. But in Cycling Past 50, author Joe Friel shows cyclists that with proper training and the right attitude, the years after 50 can be their best ever. Written for cyclists of all types-road riders, mountain bikers, track racers-this book provides an in-depth look at the full range of considerations for cycling successfully into and through middle age. Joe Friel, a writer and contributing editor to several top cycling publications and a dedicated rider himself, will inspire cyclists toward better performance and more biking enjoyment as he presents: - basic principles of training; - advanced workouts to improve endurance, climbing ability, and sprinting; - training advice for 100-mile events and multi-day tours; - planning tips and a workout program for getting into racing form; - injury prevention tips and exercises; and - body fueling advice. In addition to explaining the physical adjustments seasoned cyclists can make to keep their biking effective and satisfying, Friel discusses the mental aspects of cycling successfully into middle age. He explains the importance of developing a positive attitude, maintaining a high level of motivation, and taking pride in their accomplishments. He also reminds cyclists that, above all, biking should be a fun activity that should be shared with fellow riders, family, and friends. If this book is unavailable, something similar would be helpful.
The Complete Book of Long-Distance Cycling: Build the Strength, Skills, and Confidence to Ride as Far as You Want
by Edmund R. Burke
Ride Strong, Ride Long ... Whether Your Goal Is 30 Miles or 3,000 From Edmund R. Burke, PhD., and Ed Pavelka - two of the country's top cycling experts - comes the most comprehensive guide ever to achieving the strength, skills, and strategies you need for long-distance riding. Whether you're training for day rides, centuries, or cross-country trips, The Complete Book of Long-Distance Cycling helps you choose the right equipment, train step-by-step, and map out your riding strategy so that you can go the distance. Discover how to: * Make the most of every hour on your bike * Build your mileage base efficiently * Customize your training to suit your personality and physical capabilities * Build extra training time into your hectic schedule * Avoid injuries and the dangers of overtraining * Achieve the mental edge you need to ride farther and faster * Train for both road and off-road touring * Choose cycling gear that goes and goes * Eat for the long haul-- nutrition before, during, and after your rides To help you achieve your riding goals, The Complete Book of Long-Distance Cycling gives you complete, step-by-step training programs for riding a half-century, century, double century, and beyond. You'll also find strategies and techniques for special situations, such as riding in bed weather and riding at night. Published by the world's leading authority on bicycling, this informative guide is a must-have for all cycling enthusiasts. If this book in unavailable, something similar would be helpful.
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6 days
5 nights
13 meals
5 B 3 L 5 D
Check-in, Reception, Welcome Dinner, Orientation, Class
Shawnee on Delaware
Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort

Activity note: Inn check-in from 4:30 p.m.

Afternoon: Unload bicycles at the recreation base between 5:00 - 6:00 p.m. Program staff will advise where your bicycle will be securely stored indoors overnight. Hotel Check-in begins at 4:30 p.m. After you check in at the front desk and get settled into your room, join your fellow Road Scholars in the hospitality room to socialize until the Welcome Dinner begins. This program is staffed with a Group Leader who is an expert cyclist and a professional bicycle mechanic. During our bicycling field trips, we will ride as a group with periodic stops when experts will provide information on local history, nature, and bicycling techniques. Everyone will be able to ride at their own pace with regroups as needed/requested. A sweep will make sure no one is left behind. A support van (SAG wagon) is available where routes permit to allow riders to take a break and relax when tired. Weather conditions may require using alternate trails. Periods in the daily schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: Tonight's 7:00 p.m. American Home Style dinner buffet offers a variety of selections including a vegetarian option and other healthy choices including fruits and vegetables from our own garden, a delightful dessert, plus coffee, iced water, water.

Evening: At the Inn with our Group Leader, we’ll discuss bicycling safety, group riding communication and strategies, and specifics of rides planned for the upcoming days of our adventure bicycling rails, trails, and country lanes in rustic Pennsylvania. Orientation: 7:45 p.m. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the schedule and any changes, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. We will review COVID-19 protocols and will adhere to local COVID-19 guidelines and requirements throughout the program. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead

Warm-up Ride, Delaware & Lehigh Canal Towpath, Local History
Shawnee on Delaware
Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort

Activity note: Getting in/out of vans; driving about 75 miles, approximately 1.5 hours total. Bicycling 3 miles for warm-up/practice ride; mixed surface paved/gravel/dirt. Bicycling 15 miles on towpath; flat, packed, smooth trails; climbing 224 feet, descending 483 feet.

Breakfast: In the Inn's River Room Restaurant, choose from hot and cold breakfast selections such as an omelette station, make your own waffles, breakfast meats, pancakes or French toast, homemade granola, fruit, and homemade pastries plus coffee, tea, water. In good weather, you are welcome to dine on the veranda. After breakfast we will pack lunches to take with us on the ride. Offerings include deli meats, cheeses, breads, condiments, crudité platter, trail mix, fresh fruit, homemade cookies, juices. We will carry a supply of water to refill your own reusable water bottles; bottled water will be available. The Group Leader/support van can carry lunches on the ride if you choose.

Morning: At the Inn's recreation base, where we store our bikes, the Group Leader will conduct a short briefing on the ABCs of checking our bikes before we ride, focusing on troubleshooting and avoiding mechanical problems. We’ll then take a warm-up ride around the campus of the Shawnee Inn, Shawnee Village, and along River Road. We’ll have a short amount of time to pack our own lunches and visit our rooms if needed before we reconvene for an energizing stretch. We will then board vans and drive to historic Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, founded by Moravians in 1741. We’ll have a view from the trail of the Bethlehem Steel blast furnaces and Lehigh University. Our route will take us along the 1831 built Delaware & Lehigh Canal towpath for 15 miles. Keep eyes open for turtles and birds. The D&L is a historic travel and trade corridor paralleling the Lehigh River.

Lunch: We’ll stop at a scenic spot in Hugh Moore Park and have the lunches we prepared this morning.

Afternoon: Back on our bikes, we’ll ride five more miles and finish at the confluence of the Delaware and Lehigh Rivers in downtown Easton, Pennsylvania. We’ll hop in vans and return to the Inn via the Delaware River Scenic Drive, Route 611.

Dinner: Italian themed Inn buffet.

Evening: We will gather with a local expert for a presentation on local history featuring fascinating stories and hundreds of historical photographs slides and learn about the fascinating people and experiences of life in Shawnee on Delaware.

Allamuchy Road Ride, Evening Concert
Shawnee on Delaware
Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort

Activity note: Getting in/out of vans; driving about 50 miles total, approximately 1 hour. Bicycling approximately 22 miles; climbing/descending 840 feet; rolling hills, light to moderate vehicle traffic.

Breakfast: Inn buffet. After breakfast, we will pack lunches to take with us on the ride.

Morning: Prior to boarding the vans for the half-hour ride to Allamuchy, New Jersey, we will pack our own lunches and then engage in an invigorating morning stretch. Upon arrival in Allamuchy, we’ll bicycle 15 miles on smoothly paved roads through stately farms and woodlands here in the western part of the state, also known as the Skylands region. We will begin and end our ride near the Allamuchy General Store, established in 1827. It’s just outside Allamuchy Mountain State Park.

Lunch: We’ll stop for lunch at Evergreen Park in Tranquility, New Jersey. It was named by early Quaker settlers along with the local towns of Hope, Harmony, and Liberty.

Afternoon: We’ll continue bicycling seven more miles through beautiful open and wooded country. After the ride, we’ll load up in vans for the ride back to the Inn.

Dinner: Inn buffet. Tonight's Pennsylvania Favorites meal will be presented by our Executive Chef.

Evening: The Shawnee Institute concert series, open to the public, presents a variety of performing groups throughout the year. In tonight’s concert, we’ll hear local musicians. This is a great opportunity for community engagement with the audience member and performers!

Cherry Valley Road Ride, Free Time, Bob Swaim's HPVs
Shawnee on Delaware
Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort

Activity note: Getting in/out of vans; driving about 21 miles total, approximately 1/2 hour. Bicycling 14 miles; smooth pavement, rolling hills; climbing 650 feet, descending 900 feet through the ride.

Breakfast: Inn buffet.

Morning: After a nice morning stretch we’ll board the vans and ride to the appropriately named Cherry Valley Winery in Cherry Valley National Wildlife Refuge. We’ll bike northeast through rolling wooded hills towards Josie Porter Farm, an active Community Support Agriculture (CSA) operation. There, we’ll explore with the farmer and enjoy some tasty snacks. We will continue our ride on Cherry Valley Road, finishing in the town of Delaware Water Gap, and taking vans on a short ride back to the Inn. We expect to return to the Inn before lunch.

Lunch: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Afternoon: Free time. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. The Inn has much to offer including hikes on nearby trails and canoeing or kayaking on the Delaware River. You might also like to visit any of the area’s other attractions. At 5 p.m. we’ll be joined by a local expert who is a certified “Leave No Trace” instructor for a presentation on minimum impact skills as we enjoy nature.

Dinner: Mexican themed Inn buffet.

Evening: Tonight we will be entertained by Bob Swaim, who is a collector of human powered vehicles. His collection includes monocycles, unicycles, linear tandems from 2 to 6 people, and a polygon 7 passenger. Bob is world record holder. His parade resume includes Macy's Parade, Football Hall of Fame, Penn State Homecoming, Miss America, Twin Parade, and numerous local parades. Expect to be impressed with Bob's unique artistic collection. Q&A will be integrated into the program rather than at the end of the program. He will bring a sample of 3 unique artistic pieces to be demonstrated in the ballroom.

Lehigh Gorge Rail Trail Ride, Jim Thorpe-PA
Shawnee on Delaware
Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort

Activity note: Getting in/out of vans; driving about 41 miles, approximately 1 hour. Bicycling 24 miles; wide, flat-packed cinder trail, smooth surface conditions; downhill at 1% grade for duration of ride.

Breakfast: Inn buffet. After breakfast, we will pack lunches to take with us on the ride.

Morning: Today’s ride will be the longest but most rewarding of all. After our morning stretch, we'll head to the borough of White Haven to ride the scenic Lehigh Gorge Trail. Along our bicycling journey, we’ll be rewarded with stunning views of the Lehigh Gorge, waterfalls, and forested hillsides. The former canal was replaced with a railroad after floods in the 1860s and was then converted into the current multi-use trail in the 1970s. This beautiful ride has been rated as one of the best in the state and the region.

Lunch: We’ll stop at a scenic spot overlooking the river and have the lunches we prepared this morning.

Afternoon: We’ll continue our bicycling field trip and end at the historic town of Jim Thorpe. This small town nicknamed the "Switzerland of America" is known for its picturesque scenery nestled between the mountains occupying both sides of the Lehigh River. We'll have some time in Jim Thorpe for independent exploration. You might like to walk around, have a snack, or some delicious ice cream (bring a few dollars just in case). The vans will then pick us up and we will ride back to the Inn with some time to freshen up before dinner.

Dinner: At the Inn, we’ll have a plated meal specially prepared by the executive chef. Share favorite experiences during our farewell dinner.

Evening: At leisure. This concludes our organized group activities. Prepare for check-out and departure after breakfast in the morning.

Breakfast, Program Concludes
Shawnee on Delaware

Activity note: Inn check-out 11:00 a.m.

Breakfast: Inn buffet.

Morning: This concludes our program. If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!

Important registration tip:
If you want to attend the live lecture, please do not wait until the last minute to enroll.
If you enroll after a lecture is complete, we’ll send you a recording of the event.