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  • Writer's picturePatrick Baechle

No road back on industrial track

Riding into Willmington was the jam on the Jack A Markel trail

I arrived over a huge wetland marsh on the longest board bridge I've ever been on. At the end was a very cool wetlands environmental interpretation center.

Wilmington has an extensive trail system that connects multiple parks together. Unfortunately, it like a labyrinth and I became lost several times going over the wrong bridges and landing in condominium parking lots where I asked directions, only to that the people who live there do not know where they live.

. One time I was riding along what I thought was a bicycle trail only to rise unexpectedly on the 13th tee of some golf course. A bunch of smart aleck hackers came over to me holding out bills pretending that I was a pizza delivery guy. I thought only my brothers would do something like this.

After going in a big circle, and coming out at the same road, I gave up on the trails and headed for Philadelphia Road which took me right though miles and miles of the South Philly industrial district.

Going through an industrial area is like experiencing an outdoor sculpture garden. There are giant cylinders and spheres sitting out in vast spaces. All kinds of asymmetrical volumes connected together with bundles of giant tubes an pipes, and some of the most bizarre and confounding assemblies of steaming, belching and hissing cones, rings, towers and cantilevered assemblies all illuminated and blinking on and off. The goal of riding through here is to enjoy the visual experiences while keeping an eye on the scrap metal and broken glass in the path of your tire treads

Eventually the route transformed into the gritty outer neighborhoods of the city and before long I was zooming down the bike lanes of 22nd Avenue, traffic jamming with fellow cyclists, getting cut off by racing cyclists, and being blocked by slow cyclists carrying very large loads. In essence, riding in Philly bike lanes is not much different than driving on the Scukill Freeway.

I was happy to see our good freinds Steve and Lori at the Art Museum. They took me to their home across the Delaware to Mt Laural to give me a rest for a day. I cannot begin to describe the warm feelings you when you have friends and family to meet you on your excusions, feed you, wash your clothes and give you a comfy bed to rest in. These little refteshing breaks keep my engine going and give me happiness in my travels.

This morning I have left the Philadelphia art museum en route to New Hope .

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