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October 27, 2021 / bikesbytesbites

BCP Fall Foliage Weekend

Every year, for many years, the Bicycle Club of Philadelphia has been holding a fall foliage weekend. The ride is based in Hanover PA. I think they might refer to the event as the “Hanover/Gettysburg Weekend”, since many of the rides go towards or ride through the Gettysburg battlefields. However, since I’m fairly familiar with those battlefields, I usually pick other rides, or make up my own.


The weekend starts on Friday. An official ride, with a designated leader, was set to leave the headquarters hotel (the Hampton Inn) at 2 PM. I was there on time, but decided to explore the town instead, at my own pace, which seems to be quite slow these days.

Hanover is the headquarters of Utz potato chips and Snyder’s pretzels. Unfortunately, I didn’t pass Snyder’s, and, although I rode by the Visitor’s Center for Utz, it was closed on Fridays! I guess I’ll have to get my local snack food fix elsewhere.

Driving into town, I had passed by a bike trail that I didn’t remember from my last trip here — maybe I had taken a different route. Anyhow, I returned to where I remembered the trail crossing the road, and made a note to get back there later this weekend, to ride on the trail.

A few weeks ago, I had participated in another biking event kind-of in the same area — the Potomac Pedalers Taneytown Twister. Both around Hanover and Taneytown, I was struck by the combination of farms and agri-business. I guess these days they have to go hand-in-hand.


On Saturday, I volunteered to lead a ride that I had scouted a few years ago — Hanover to York. There was an official cue sheet and RwGPS route for the ride, with a note that the first quarter was “hilly”. Yup. I got a flat (on my front wheel, thankfully) somewhere around mile 5, while we were in the middle of the hills. The worst one was yet to come (around mile 7, if I recall correctly). I’ve thought about trying to reroute that part, but then we would miss the gorgeous lake views, and possibly have a bit more traffic.

After that, the terrain was more rolling than hilly, until we got to the last four miles on the York County Heritage Rail Trail, which is pretty much flat (a slight downhill heading into York) on a crushed limestone surface. I love the sculptures and monuments along the trail as it enters York. There are more sculptures made from repurposed industrial materials, as well as many murals, throughout York if you have the time to explore. We didn’t because (1) it wasn’t on the route and (2) people were anxious to get back to Hanover, to try to avoid the rain that was predicted for that afternoon. So, we had a brief visit to the York Central Market then got on our bikes. I didn’t get to check out the continuation of the Heritage Trail that heads north from the center of town; maybe next trip.

I diverged from the route when I got back to Hanover. I figured, since it was only slightly raining, I had time to check out the local bike shop to top off the air in my front tire, to explore the historic section of Hanover, and to find a deli for lunch. I did all. The historic section of Hanover is a bit disappointing. Plus, the extra half-hour meant I really got caught in the rain for the last mile back to the hotel. Oh well, plenty of time for a hot shower.

That night was the group dinner at a restaurant walking distance (if so inclined) from the hotel. Great organization by Linda McGrane, and wonderful celebratory cakes, one chocolate and one vanilla.


The weather forecast for Sunday was for more overcast skies. Some people elected to do real rides, ie, longer than 10 miles. Since I had made a date to visit some friends who live in Maryland, just off the Torrey C Brown Rail Trail (the Maryland continuation of the York Heritage Trail, both originally the NCR – National Central Railway – Trail), I did a short ride that I had planned the day before — ride the entire length of the Hanover Trolley Trail in a loop from the hotel. 8 miles! The trail is lovely — nice surface, mostly unpaved but fairly smooth. The surrounding roads featured the expected mix of exurbs, farms, and industry. (Note to self: The Sheppard Diesel Museum seems to have many old tractors for display; I’d love to get back there once when it’s open!)

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