2017 HBC Fall Tour – Cape May, NJ
September 19th thru 24th
See the VIDEO of the 2017 tour!
NOTE ! Click here for the 2017 Cape May Beacon
2017 marks the 43rd anniversary of the HBC Fall Tour, dedicated to the memory of Owen Moore. Be sure to mark your calendar now for this special event. Organized by experienced HBC member volunteers, the tour will once again travel to Cape May, NJ with the 4 day ride down running from Sept 19-22, and the weekend in Cape May running from Sept. 22-24.
The Fall Tour has evolved to become a very flexible cycling experience for all levels of riders. Options include cycling the full, four-day tour leaving from the Harrisburg area (about 220 miles over 4 days), or you can join the tour “in progress” and ride only the days your schedule permits. Special Fall Tour training rides are offered to help participants prepare for a multi-day tour, and there are always interesting points of interest along the way. Fall Tour Committee members will help make arrangements for participants to get home from Cape May after the tour.
We also provide a luggage transport vehicle, so no need to carry all of your gear on your bike. We also encourage weekenders to join us in Cape May, and they do! Discounted hotel rooms are available for Thursday and Sunday evenings for anyone that wants to stay longer in Cape May. We guarantee you’ll return with some new friends and a great stories to tell! Stay tuned for more updates as the year progresses, but mark the dates on your calendar - NOW!
Snacks and drinks are offered in the Hospitality Suite on Friday and Saturday where you will meet friends and hear stories from the “ride down.” Friday evening features a banquet at the Grand Hotel with reports from the riders and presentations. Saturday starts with a continental breakfast in the Hospitality Suite. Those who want to ride can choose from a full slate of day rides hosted by HBC club members. Everyone will enjoy the Cape May experience by touring this historic Victorian national landmark. All of the usual fun will happen this year – trolley tours, Alpaca farms, kite flying, shopping, birding at Cape May Point State Park, eating at the wonderful restaurants, checking out the latest brews at the Cape May Brewery, and just relaxing on the beach!
. You should also take a look at the HBC website for more information from the 2016 Fall Tour page. There are links (in green) to documents including the Beacon, description of the weekend in Cape May, and Frequently Asked Questions (under FAQ-1 and FAQ-2).
We look forward to seeing you on the 2017 Fall Tour!
We guarantee you’ll return with new friends, great memories and stories to share!
Announcing!! The Fall Tour Registration is now available right here at the HBC Website
Click the link below to download it now!
The Fall Tour Committee has developed a new registration form that makes registering for the tour easy. Just open the .pdf file and print it out. You will have two sheets, a page of instructions and the registration form itself. Read the instructions carefully, look over all your options, and choose the one that suites your needs.
Are you still thinking about the tour for yourself or wondering what goes on during the weekend in Cape May? Wondering if you could interest a friend/guest/family-member in doing the weekend in Cape May? Just look at Weekend in Cape May below to see what’s going on for the weekend’s activities.
If you think about it, this is a tremendous value. For example, this is a weekend for two in Cape May at a beachfront resort, with a dinner, two happy hours, and a continental breakfast for around $500. And that doesn’t even consider the camaraderie, the socializing with friends—new and old, the bike rides, the beach time, the sightseeing, etc., etc., etc.
See you on the Tour!
FALL TOUR FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Question: “What is the main thing to consider in planning for the Fall Tour?”
Answer: You’ve got options! You have options on how many days you ride, how much gear you take, who you ride with, etc, etc, etc… The secret is to select the options that fit your needs and interests.
Question: “OK then, what is a ‘tour’ anyway? Is it like the Tour de France?”
Answer: A tour is a ride that starts at one place ends at another with stages of various lengths in between. That’s about the only thing common to the HBC Fall Tour and the Tour de France. For us, there are no anorexic racers, no cheering crowds (unless the Amish children are on recess when we pass them at Nickel Mines, PA), no pelotons, and no WADA officials asking for urine samples. For us, there are 4, 3, 2, or 1 days of riding over back roads through amazing scenery to arrive at Cape May, NJ for a weekend of more riding or sightseeing.
Question: “Would I need a special bike or equipment to do the ride?”
Answer: Simply put, no. In 2015, bikes on the ride included road bikes, touring bikes, hybrid bikes, and mountain bikes. We even had a tandem and a recumbent on the tour. We do ask that your bike be adequate in its quality and condition and be fitted properly to you. You will see bikes with the latest equipment (electronic shifting, anyone?) as well as some bikes dating back a few decades (more likely the norm).
Equipment needed for the ride is little to none. Some riders choose to carry their own gear in panniers on front or rear racks in a classic touring style. However, others choose to take advantage of the luggage shuttle and drop their stuff in the shuttle each morning and pick it up again at the end of the day’s ride. Club rules (think lawyers) require us to wear appropriate bike helmets on any sanctioned ride (always a good idea in any case). You need to make your own decisions about shoes, gloves, etc.
Question: “Would I need to be an ‘amazing physical specimen’ to do the Fall Tour?”
Answer: Again, no. For many of our riders, the terms, “amazing,” “physical” and “specimen” could be used in one sentence but not with the usual meaning.
The question is, “What level of conditioning is required to do the Fall Tour.” But remember, you have options. If you can’t devote the time or you don’t have the inclination to do all four days, you can scale back to your own level. Maybe one or two days on the flats of Delaware would be more appealing than the rolling terrain of southern PA. Or maybe, you’d just like to drive to Cape May and join the Tour in progress.
The answer to the conditioning question is that you need to be able to ride 60-plus miles averaging 10 mph or more to complete a day’s ride on the Tour. To help you get in shape for the Tour, there will be at least three “training rides” in the local area starting in mid-August.
Experience has taught us that there is no substitute for cycling on the road before the start of the tour. No matter the state of your overall conditioning, you need time on the bike. Your body must adapt to the cycling position (neck and shoulders) and the points of contact with the bike (feet, hands, and saddle).
Case in point. On one Fall Tour long ago, a rider showed up to do the Tour. He was an experienced, fit distance runner with no biking to speak of. The night before the start of the Tour he rode a borrowed bike around the parking lot a few times and announced that he was ready to go. At the end of the first day, when he was asked how he enjoyed the ride, he responded that “it sure took the sting out of death.” The second day, he rode the entire day without sitting on the saddle!
Finally, you’ll find not only a physical diversity on the Tour, but a social mix as well. Singles, couples, teens, retirees all rode in the Tour. You don’t have to be only one kind of rider to do the Tour.
Question: “Would I need to ride all by myself or keep up with all the riders on the Tour? What if I got lost? What if I said the wrong things to the wrong people? What if I made a fool of myself?”
Answer: Ok, ok, ok. Calm down for a minute. Let’s explain how we organize the ride so we can deal with the real question behind your concerns. Years ago we decided that if many riders came on the Tour, we’d have to accommodate to the variety of their skills and conditioning levels. Also, we knew that we needed to keep the riders safe and accounted for. We came up with the idea of riding in “six packs” (named after favorite post-ride consumables). We split the entire tour into various groups of four to seven riders and ask them to ride together as a group.
The six-packs are formed based on individual preferences, riding styles and abilities. Each six-pack departs together, rides and stops during the day together, and arrives together. At least one member of the six-pack is familiar with the route and has maps and cue sheets (and maybe even Map My Ride or GPS). He or she is responsible for not getting lost. Another member of the group is responsible for seeing that no one gets dropped from the group or is too far behind. Some members will carry tools and equipment to make small repairs or fix flats along the way.
Usually the six-packs develop a comradery during the tour which is one of the great benefits of this kind of event that makes it a rarity in our contemporary culture. More on that later. So relax, leave your stress behind, and come and enjoy the adventure.
Question: “Is the Tour just about biking?”
Answer: The primary reason that a person would go on the Fall Tour is that he or she likes to bicycle.
Now there are many forms of cycling. Some folks like to ride as a recreation while others like to commute on their bikes. Some like to use a bike for physical conditioning while others like to use it as a form of relaxation. Whatever your common use of a bicycle, riding on a tour is a unique experience—different from any other form of biking you do.
Touring captures the imagination because it lets you see the world at a “cycling pace” as you travel from one place to another. It is a total departure from the experiences in the rest of your life, and most of those who tour love it for the experience it is and the sense of accomplishment it provides.
One word of warning—it is not a good idea to try to talk someone into going with you on the tour if they are only lukewarm about bicycling. If a person is not prepared physically to be on a bike for the major portion of each day, he or she will not be a “happy camper” on the tour. Also, if a person is not interested in developing some friendships with fellow riders or adapting to changes in everything from weather to dinner arrangements, he or she is not going to enjoy the experience. Excited anticipation is a good thing, dread is not.
Question: “What am I likely to see and do while biking that I might miss if I were driving?”
Answer: First of all, we are biking on back roads and streets less traveled by cars and trucks. So we are able to spend more time seeing the sights than if we were constantly scanning for oncoming traffic and looking in a rear view mirror for approaching vehicles.
Also, each day of the Fall Tour presents different terrain and sights—the variety of the HBC Fall Tour rivals any other tour in existence, including the pricey commercial tours. On the first day of the tour, we travel through the rolling terrain of Dauphin and Lancaster Counties populated by small farms and woods. On the second day, we traverse a few more hills but we are rewarded by panoramic views of Amish country, tobacco drying in open-slatted barns, a covered bridge, and orchards in Chester County and Northern Delaware. Here we leave the rolling terrain of PA to enjoy the flats of Delaware. On the third day, we parallel the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal and then ride along the brackish waters of the Delaware Bay observing Canada Geese migrating south along their flyway. On the fourth day, we travel roads through fields and small towns on the way to the ferry in Lewes. After an 80-minute ferry ride, we ride ten miles into Cape May where we spend the weekend in a beach front hotel. In all, it can’t get much better than this!
Question: “What can go wrong? How do we deal with problems on the road?”
Answer: Well, when you get a large group of cyclists riding together for four days, there is always a potential for problems. However, for the vast majority of the problems, they add to the experience. The best way to think of the Fall Tour is that it is part recreational activity and part adventure, and the difficulties most often add to the adventure.
The key to dealing with problems is to prepare for them in advance. Mid-September weather can be variable so you need to prepare you clothing accordingly. Bicycles can break, so you need to start the tour with a well-maintained bicycle. Your body can respond to the stresses of touring so you need to depart on the tour in good physical shape. (To assist you in the physical preparation, we offer prep rides starting in late August that build mileage each week to improve conditioning. Feel free to join some or all of these ride even if you are just thinking about doing the tour.) And remember, you have options in the number of days and the length you ride!
Above all, dealing with problems is a matter of attitude. Again, excited anticipation is a good thing, dread is not.
Question: “Are there things other than biking that make touring fun and interesting?”
Answer: You bet! The social part of the tour cannot be underestimated. We are all in this together. So it is natural for camaraderie to develop among those who ride together. Then there is the food. We gather with our groups for nice dinners along the way and some four-star meals in Cape May. (Some of our member accuse the HBC as being an “eating and drinking club with a bicycling disorder. ) Then there is the sightseeing mentioned above. Finally, there is the sense of accomplishment. Yes, there are “bragging rights” in answering a friend’s question, “And what did you do over the weekend?”
Question: “Why do some people do the Fall Tour year after year? Are they crazy? Addicted? Or is it just that much fun?
Answer: The variety of riders from past tours is amazing. Some people want to do it once. You know the type—“Been there, done that, got the T-shirt.” Some people want to do it as time permits. You know them as well—“We’re all so busy now, and I wish I could do it more, but I can’t take the time this year.” But there is a core of riders that have participated in the Fall Tour literally for decades! Obviously they love it. But what makes it special is that even though much of the ride is the same, each year presents new and different opportunities and challenges. So each tour is unique and they don’t want to miss it. Take our advice and do it this year. You may be able to do it next year, but why wait. Make it a priority and do it now.
Does this sound interesting? We’ll keep you posted. If you’re ready to register, download the Registration Form and Instructions, file it out and send it in.
See you on the Tour!
Weekend in Cape May
Do you want to know what happens on the Fall Tour weekend in Cape May? Read on!
Visiting Cape May can be an end in itself. It is the quintes¬sential seashore resort offering bustling venues with history and modern amenities. Once thought of as a sleepy beach town (where ‘Mothers take their mothers on vacation” ), Cape May has transformed itself into one of the most dynamic of the New Jersey resorts. Cape May has something for everyone, be it beaches, night life, or Victorian charm. The entire town is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It also avoided the devastation from Hurricane Sandy suffered by neighboring beaches. So it is the perfect destination for the Fall Tour.
Tour headquarters will be the ocean front Grand Hotel: http://www.grandhotelcapemay.com/. Many rooms have a refrigerator and some have a small efficiency kitchen. Be sure to bring your bathing suit to try out the indoor or outdoor pools.
Friday, upon check-in at the Grand Hotel, you will receive your room key and an information packet. After settling into your room, you may want to take a dip in the ocean! Then, you’ll find the Hospitality Suite where you can welcome the waves of cyclists who are finishing the “ride down.” Light refreshments and beverages will be provided in the Suite.
This year we will have a Friday welcome dinner at 7:00 pm. An Italian Buffet with a cash bar is sure to exceed the demands of most participants. This dinner is included in all the tour package options for those staying in Cape May and participating in any of the Fall Tour activities. Last year’s participants rated the banquet as “four star.” You’ll hear reports from those who rode down and be entertained by stories from the riders.
Some information about Cape May attractions will be provided when you register at the hotel. Additional information about Cape May attractions will be available in the Hospitality Suite. The suite will also have information for the Saturday and Sunday activities. This is where the other club members congregate and socialize.
All meals except the Friday welcome dinner are “on your own” at Cape May, and information about restaurants is available at http://www.capemaytimes.com/Restaurants/cape-may.htm (for advance planning). Also, information is available in the Hospitality Suite or at the front desk to help you plan and perhaps get a group together, too.
On Saturday morning, a continental breakfast is provided in the Hospitality Room and a group photo will be taken. You can launch into the day’s activities checking out the local sights by bike or on foot. Several group rides as short as 12 miles and as long as over 40 miles will be offered. Maps will be available for doing your own thing. All group rides will likely either include or end with a lunch stop.
Après biking, Cape May attractions include: the beach, the boardwalk, shops, restaurants, Victorian area with walking and trolley tours, and Cape May Point which features a light-house, museum, and nature area which is a haven for migratory birds. Kite flying is another popular beach activity.
The Hospitality Suite opens at 3:00 PM. At 5:00 PM, a meeting will take place for comments and evaluation of the 2016 Tour, the awarding of tokens of appreciation to tour participants, an opportunity to thank all those who have worked on the Fall Tour, and decisions about the 2017 Fall Tour. Saturday evening dinner is on your own. Then after dining, enjoy the nightlife of Cape May, or do anything else that tickles your fancy.
Sunday will see many of us doing a little light riding or finding that last souvenir prior to checking out. Accommodations are made for those who need to leave by midday as well as those who want to stay for the sunset. A room will be available for showers and changing for those who depart later than checkout.
If you are interested in extending your stay at the Grand Hotel a few days by arriving early or staying afterward, the hotel is offering HBC members a discounted room rate (no meals) of $89 plus 7% tax, single or double occupancy, available for Thursday and/or Sunday nights. These arrangements must be made in advance directly with the hotel by calling (609) 884-5611 ext.553 (Theresa Stevens) and letting them know you are an HBC member. These fees will not be a part of the HBC group weekend registration cost and must be paid individually to the hotel. Ask the hotel if additional nights are possible based upon availability.
Sound good? You bet! Download the Registration Form, fill it out, and send it in. Enjoy!