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Bicycling in Delaware

This is the second in a series of articles discussing rides outside of the Southeastern Pennsylvania area. This month the featured location is Delaware. Bicycling in Delaware provides an interesting change of scenery, including marshlands, Delaware Bay, and the C&D Canal. Most of these events are within a 90-minute car ride from Horsham. Not all rides in Delaware are on flat terrain. The events that start in Newark and go North into Pennsylvania are rolling to hilly.

The White Clay Bicycle Club (WCBC) stages more events than most other clubs, starting with the earliest event of the season - the Icicle Metric - and ending in October with Savage Century and a Cape May weekend trip.

The WCBC Icicle Metric takes place in late March starting from the University of Delaware in Newark, DE. This moderately hilly ride offers a choice of 16, 32, or 62-mi. routes. An indoor food stop gives riders a break from the early-season weather.

The Baltimore Bicycle Club offers the Flatlands Tour in June. This is a scarcely publicized but very scenic ride through marshes and farmlands. This ride starts in Chesapeake City, MD, but the route is predominantly in Delaware just South of the C&D Canal. Choose from 31 to 106-mile routes on flat terrain. This is a "no frills ride" that includes a cue sheet and map but no SAG or supported food stops. There is no pre-registration, and day-of-event registration is only $6 (2005 fee). Several SCU riders really enjoyed this event in 2001.

The Delaware Double-Cross takes place on the Sunday closest to July 4, and starts from Middletown. Many cross-state rides are measured in hundreds of miles and many days. The White Clay Bicycle Club offers an alternative that offers a chance to cross and “doublecross” an entire state in only 30 total miles over flat to gently rolling terrain. In addition to the traditional route, a second 32-mile loop is also available.

The WCBC Shore Fire Century takes place at the end of August, and also starts from Middletown. Ride on scenic 35, 65, or 100-mile routes taking you through flat to gently rolling farmland in central Delaware and Maryland's Eastern Shore. Several SCU riders really enjoyed this event in previous years.

The Amish Country Tour is a great ride taking place on the first Saturday after Labor Day. Yes, there are Amish in Delaware; this event is like riding in Lancaster County without the hills. The ride starts in Dover and offers routes of 15, 25, 50, 62, or 100-miles on flat terrain. There is a mass start at 8:15AM with the police controlling traffic through Dover, so it is very important to be there on time. There are now 4 rest stops on the century and a picnic with live music at the end. For more information, contact Kent County Tourism, P.O. Box 576, Dover, DE 19903; phone 302-734-1736 or 1-800-233-5368.

The WCBC Savage Century takes place in October and starts in Newark, DE. Since it's inception in the '70's, the Savage has been considered one of the most difficult rides on the east coast. Enjoy the beauty of Pennsylvania Dutch farmlands and the hills along the Susquehanna River, through Chester and Lancaster Counties. The major hills are only on the 75 and 100-mile loops.

The Potomac Pedalers Touring Club (PPTC) sponsors sponsors rally-style overnight-weekend events with hotel accommodations in Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, that are open to non-members.

"Delaware Maps for Bicycle Users" are available at no cost by contacting one of the following:

Delaware Tourism Office, 99 Kings Highway, P.O. Box 1401, Dover, DE 19903; phone 800-441-8846

Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator, Delaware D.O.T, P.O. Box 778, Dover, DE 19903; phone 302-760-2453 <dpetrosky@mail.dot.state.de.us>

There are two separate maps, one for New Castle County and the other for Kent & Sussex Counties combined.

For more information

Delaware Bicycle Council - Promoting and enhancing bicycling in Delaware (link updated 1/1/08)

Bike Delaware - The statewide bicycle advocacy organization for the State of Delaware (link updated 1/1/08)

LAB-Affiliated Clubs - Find bicycle clubs in Delaware

SCU Calendar of Events - Find additional bicycle events in Delaware and the current year's dates for events on this page

Maps and driving directions

SCU home page

Unless stated otherwise, all events provide a cue sheet, marked route, and SAG support. When requesting information by mail, please send a S.A.S.E. to the sponsor. All distances are listed in miles. To convert to metric: 31 miles = Half Metric Century (50 km), 62 miles = Metric Century (100 km). There are no ride leaders for these events, and you ride at your own pace.

Although this list is compiled from reliable sources, SCU and the editor are not responsible for errors or omissions. Please contact the event sponsor to confirm the date, registration deadlines and fees, start times, and services provided. The listing of an event in this article does not represent an endorsement by SCU or by the editor. All rides and activities posted on this site are the sole responsibility of the individual organizers of and participants in the ride or activity. All participants in rides and activities appearing in this article do so at their own risk and assume responsibility for all hazards, injuries, and other risks inherent in such rides and activities. Roads will be open to motor-vehicle traffic; extreme caution must be used while riding.

This article was originally published in the January 2001 SCU Chainletter. Revised 1/1/08.

Copyright © 2000-2008 Suburban Cyclists Unlimited.  Reproduction in whole or in part without the written permission of the author is prohibited.