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  1. #1
    J9L
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    Anyone ride in the peapack/mendham/far hills/basking ridge/Bedminster area?

    Any feedback on roads that are ridiculously difficult in this area? I've been on many steep hills in this area...a lot of times by accident haha. Also, any roads around here with more flat areas? I'm a casual/fitness female road biker. I like hills for that fitness challenge but sometimes I just want to cruise at a higher speed. My avg speed is quite low because the majority of the time I'm hill climbing :/ thanks in advance!

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    If you want to avoid hills altogether, then you picked the wrong place to live. ;)

    Sure, you can cruise around the Great Swamp, or ride back and forth on roads like Lamington & Burnt Mills, but that might get old pretty quickly. If you head south of Route 22 into the Branchburg & Readington area all the way down toward The Sourlands it's generally flat to rolling terrain, with some occasional hills.

    Here's a handy reference on hills in NJ
    hills on paved roads in New Jersey -- Bike Roberts
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    Re: Anyone ride in the peapack/mendham/far hills/basking ridge/Bedminster area?

    Ironia Road in Mendham is one of the worst hills I can recall. Also the northern part of Black River Road.

    Washington Valley Road is a nice long stretch with mostly rolling hills.

    It really starts in Mountainside as Coles Ave and goes throuhh various name changes. Sky Top, Valley Road, Mountain Road, Washington Valley and Burnt Mills.

    Once you hit Berkeley Heights it is mostly rolllers. Burnt Mills Road in particular is very scenic with little traffic.

    I will second the Swamp recommendation. You will have to hit some hills to get there but nothing too bad. Particularly if you go in using Lyndsey Road. But be careful sometimes they gravel that road.

  4. #4
    J9L
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlanE View Post
    If you want to avoid hills altogether, then you picked the wrong place to live. ;)

    Sure, you can cruise around the Great Swamp, or ride back and forth on roads like Lamington & Burnt Mills, but that might get old pretty quickly. If you head south of Route 22 into the Branchburg & Readington area all the way down toward The Sourlands it's generally flat to rolling terrain, with some occasional hills.

    Here's a handy reference on hills in NJ
    hills on paved roads in New Jersey -- Bike Roberts
    Quote Originally Posted by NJBiker72 View Post
    Ironia Road in Mendham is one of the worst hills I can recall. Also the northern part of Black River Road.

    Washington Valley Road is a nice long stretch with mostly rolling hills.

    It really starts in Mountainside as Coles Ave and goes throuhh various name changes. Sky Top, Valley Road, Mountain Road, Washington Valley and Burnt Mills.

    Once you hit Berkeley Heights it is mostly rolllers. Burnt Mills Road in particular is very scenic with little traffic.

    I will second the Swamp recommendation. You will have to hit some hills to get there but nothing too bad. Particularly if you go in using Lyndsey Road. But be careful sometimes they gravel that road.
    Haha, you guys mentioned my favorite roads to cruise on and AlanE you described it well...its that rolling hill type road that I'm looking for more of. But you know, I'm so used to all of the hills, I'd probably get bored on a ton of flats and rolling hills...be careful what you wish for, right? I do love this area for riding though. NJBiker...thanks for the heads up on Black River Rd. I've been on the more southern part of it. One Rd. that absolutely killed me was Pottersville Rd out in Bedminster...WOW! I guess my average has been around 13-14mph over the course of a 20-25 mile ride in the mendham/farhills/peapack area...just non stop steep hills IMO. I'm not "competitive" at all but I'd like to increase my avg mph. Any advice for climbing faster...is it better on a lower or harder gears....not sure which is truly more work? Also, have you guys been on Stephens Rd or Chapin Rd. in Mendham/Far Hills (not sure which town it is)? If you have, are they flat or steep? TIA!

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    Quote Originally Posted by J9L View Post
    Haha, you guys mentioned my favorite roads to cruise on and AlanE you described it well...its that rolling hill type road that I'm looking for more of. But you know, I'm so used to all of the hills, I'd probably get bored on a ton of flats and rolling hills...be careful what you wish for, right? I do love this area for riding though. NJBiker...thanks for the heads up on Black River Rd. I've been on the more southern part of it. One Rd. that absolutely killed me was Pottersville Rd out in Bedminster...WOW! I guess my average has been around 13-14mph over the course of a 20-25 mile ride in the mendham/farhills/peapack area...just non stop steep hills IMO. I'm not "competitive" at all but I'd like to increase my avg mph. Any advice for climbing faster...is it better on a lower or harder gears....not sure which is truly more work? Also, have you guys been on Stephens Rd or Chapin Rd. in Mendham/Far Hills (not sure which town it is)? If you have, are they flat or steep? TIA!
    The best climbers I know stay seated and spin up the hills but my understanding is it somewhat preference. I am not a little guy and end up mashing a bit too much. I am working on both of those issues.

    The southern part of Black River Road is really nice. The northern part was the toughest climb in the Gran Fondo. That said it is not as bad as one of the Pottersville Roads, which runs parallel and at points is called Hacklebarney. If you stay straight on Black River Road, instead of going over the metal gate bridge, you will end up on that one. Brutal climbs, on dirt and gravel.

    Speaking of which, if you do not mind rough roads/gravel, there are some others back that way which are not too bad for hills. Long Road and Larger Cross come to mind in particular. But be careful if you choose to do them.

    Your average speed is going to vary based on what you do. I am usually around 16 on my good bike but want to get that up a couple of miles. Some good advice I got is to ride with faster people. To that effect, after I finish the NY Fondo, my next goal is to hang longer with the guys at the LBS. Hopefully get dropped a little later each week. ;)

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by J9L View Post
    Also, have you guys been on Stephens Rd or Chapin Rd. in Mendham/Far Hills (not sure which town it is)? If you have, are they flat or steep? TIA!
    Although it shows up on some maps, that road isn't actually a thru road. You can ride down Chapin road from the top of Turnbull until it turns to dirt and then climb back up. It does have a fairly steep section. There is also a Stephens Lane off the top of Bernardsville Mtn. It's a continuation of Campbell Rd that is a dead end with a very steep section. But if you like checking out the mansions in that area, sometimes the dead end roads are the best.

    Here's a route you might enjoy (or hate) - Bike Route Toaster
    Last edited by AlanE; 04-29-2013 at 05:18 AM.
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  7. #7
    J9L
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    Re: Anyone ride in the peapack/mendham/far hills/basking ridge/Bedminster area?

    Quote Originally Posted by AlanE View Post
    Although it shows up on some maps, that road isn't actually a thru road. You can ride down Chapin road from the top of Turnbull until it turns to dirt and then climb back up. It does have a fairly steep section. There is also a Stephens Lane off the top of Bernardsville Mtn. It's a continuation of Campbell Rd that is a dead end with a very steep section. But if you like checking out the mansions in that area, sometimes the dead end roads are the best.

    Here's a route you might enjoy (or hate) - Bike Route Toaster
    Thank u! I'm so glad so asked! I was going to use it to cut through to campbell to lake rd. I tried bliss last time and making that right hand turn uphill was pretty tough do I was checking out a map for other options. I don't want to waste time heading towards dirt roads that I won't ride my road bike on and then have to turn around and back track up steep hills. Of course, I know adventures can be fun but sometimes your limited on time and energy. I love this forum...Very helpful

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    The easiest way from there (Mendham Rd) to Lake Rd would simple be to take Pleasant Valley to Mosely to Branch (Hub Hollow) to Willow. I think that's the route Gran Fondo would have taken last year if not for the bridge construction on Willow.
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    J9L
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    Re: Anyone ride in the peapack/mendham/far hills/basking ridge/Bedminster area?

    Yup! That's the way I would normally go...I was just trying a longer route to add in miles. I love that route. Hub hollow/ Branch rd is gorgeous. I also like union school house rd. Do you recommend any other roads around there?

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    I recommend all of the roads around there. I used to live in Liberty Corner and rode that area all the time. It's all good. The descent on Hardscrabble used to be my favorite, but the last time I was on it the road surface had gotten pretty rough. The loop thru Jockey Hollow is another good one. Cherry & Corey. Mount Harmony. Pennbrook (aka Jacob's Ladder). Explore & Enjoy. Then head west into Hunterdon.
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  11. #11
    J9L
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    Re: Anyone ride in the peapack/mendham/far hills/basking ridge/Bedminster area?

    Awesome thanks!

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    If you are already doing Lamington/Rattlesnake/Burn Mills and Ravine Lake, you are doing the most popular routes. Try Rockaway Rd. at the end of Lamington, it will give you more options: Hill/Dale, Water St., Sawmill. All rollers or steady lower climbs. Another great area with rollers is south into 3 Bridges, Whitehouse, Neshanic Station etc. Check out the Morris Area Freewheelers web site, Far Hills or Pluckemin starting points. (Have to plug the club) For every hilly ride you can find something flatter. Access to maps and cue sheets and the ride schedule if you are interested.

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    Re: Anyone ride in the peapack/mendham/far hills/basking ridge/Bedminster area?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bee-an-key View Post
    If you are already doing Lamington/Rattlesnake/Burn Mills and Ravine Lake, you are doing the most popular routes. Try Rockaway Rd. at the end of Lamington, it will give you more options: Hill/Dale, Water St., Sawmill. All rollers or steady lower climbs. Another great area with rollers is south into 3 Bridges, Whitehouse, Neshanic Station etc. Check out the Morris Area Freewheelers web site, Far Hills or Pluckemin starting points. (Have to plug the club) For every hilly ride you can find something flatter. Access to maps and cue sheets and the ride schedule if you are interested.
    Some interesting ideas. May have to try those.

    To the OP, if looking to go west, there are nice roads out around Califon. And Bex Cafe is a great place to take a breather. Just head west from Pottersville. Frog Hollow Road is a nice long not too steep climb. River Road is also nice.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NJBiker72 View Post
    Some interesting ideas. May have to try those.

    To the OP, if looking to go west, there are nice roads out around Califon. And Bex Cafe is a great place to take a breather. Just head west from Pottersville. Frog Hollow Road is a nice long not too steep climb. River Road is also nice.
    Frog Hollow is great - love that climb. And at the top there is a long flat section (though bumpy) if you take West & East Valley Brook.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jsedlak View Post
    Frog Hollow is great - love that climb. And at the top there is a long flat section (though bumpy) if you take West & East Valley Brook.
    Was there last Saturday. Missed my turn off on the way back and ended up on 206 for longer than I cared for, but then took Old Mendham Road down into Gladstone. One of my favorite descents as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AlanE View Post
    The descent on Hardscrabble used to be my favorite, but the last time I was on it the road surface had gotten pretty rough.
    It's still pretty beat, unfortunately but the scenery is great if you can take your eyes off the road for a few moments. Corey & Cherry Lane are both nice roads as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by J9L View Post
    Hub hollow/ Branch rd is gorgeous. I also like union school house rd. Do you recommend any other roads around there?
    That whole area is gorgeous. I love coming down Branch Rd and coming around that right hand bend. That is one of my favorite views on the road bike, and I can't really say why.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bee-an-key View Post
    If you are already doing Lamington/Rattlesnake/Burn Mills and Ravine Lake, you are doing the most popular routes. Try Rockaway Rd. at the end of Lamington, it will give you more options: Hill/Dale, Water St., Sawmill. All rollers or steady lower climbs.
    Roackaway is a favorite of mine. Just about everything on this loop from Roxiticus to Burnt Mills is some great riding. Hollow Brook is a bit of a climb though.

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    Speaking of Basking Ridge, if you are in the area tomorrow (Thu. May 30) check out the Base Camp International race at 6:00 PM. One of the most spectator-friendly races on the NJ circuit.
    The BaseCamp International 2012 Presented by Verizon Wireless
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    I should be there tonight... say hello if you recognize me. I'll probably have my camera.

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    Re: Anyone ride in the peapack/mendham/far hills/basking ridge/Bedminster area?

    [QUOTE=rlb81;4367007]It's still pretty beat, unfortunately but the scenery is great if you can take your eyes off the road for a few moments. Corey & Cherry Lane are both nice roads as well.



    That whole area is gorgeous. I love coming down Branch Rd and coming around that right hand bend. That is one of my favorite views on the road bike, and I can't really say why.


    Yes! I completely agree...I know the exact spot you are referencing and its just a gorgeous scene...makes me feel happy and free

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    Re: Anyone ride in the peapack/mendham/far hills/basking ridge/Bedminster area?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bee-an-key View Post
    If you are already doing Lamington/Rattlesnake/Burn Mills and Ravine Lake, you are doing the most popular routes. Try Rockaway Rd. at the end of Lamington, it will give you more options: Hill/Dale, Water St., Sawmill. All rollers or steady lower climbs. Another great area with rollers is south into 3 Bridges, Whitehouse, Neshanic Station etc. Check out the Morris Area Freewheelers web site, Far Hills or Pluckemin starting points. (Have to plug the club) For every hilly ride you can find something flatter. Access to maps and cue sheets and the ride schedule if you are interested.
    Hey bee...I have to thank you for recommending Hill/Dale rd. I took a gorgeous ride out there and just loved it. I also liked rockaway rd and taylors mill rd. What an enjoyable ride! Can't wait to do it again! Also, have you made a left onto old turnpike rd from hollow brook? If so, is it doable?

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    Hollowbrook is a great steep downhill from there. I take Saw Mill from Rockaway, cross Old Turnpike to Wildwood, left on Fox and right on Hollow Brook. HB is a fast, twisty decent and really tough uphill if you reverse it. Take HB to Blackriver/Pottersville. Another version is Homestead which is parallel, across the street from Hill Dale. Fox Hollow is another way down to the valley, fast and technical downhill. Glad you are discovering!

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    Re: Anyone ride in the peapack/mendham/far hills/basking ridge/Bedminster area?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bee-an-key View Post
    Hollowbrook is a great steep downhill from there. I take Saw Mill from Rockaway, cross Old Turnpike to Wildwood, left on Fox and right on Hollow Brook. HB is a fast, twisty decent and really tough uphill if you reverse it. Take HB to Blackriver/Pottersville. Another version is Homestead which is parallel, across the street from Hill Dale. Fox Hollow is another way down to the valley, fast and technical downhill. Glad you are discovering!
    Thank you! I'm definitely glad I asked!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bee-an-key View Post
    Hollowbrook is a great steep downhill from there. I take Saw Mill from Rockaway, cross Old Turnpike to Wildwood, left on Fox and right on Hollow Brook. HB is a fast, twisty decent and really tough uphill if you reverse it. Take HB to Blackriver/Pottersville. Another version is Homestead which is parallel, across the street from Hill Dale. Fox Hollow is another way down to the valley, fast and technical downhill. Glad you are discovering!
    Also Cold Spring Rd. Not as steep as HB or Fox Hill, but nice and twisty. Just need to be alert for what might be around the bend.
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