The Longest Day
208 miles in one Day

(Last updated: Thu. Sep 24, 2009)

The Longest Day Introduction

The Longest Day

These pages describe a Central Jersey Bike Club (CJBC) double century bike ride called the Longest Day. The event is held in NJ (USA) before the summer solstice (usually the 2ndSaturday in June). This date was chosen because it gives the riders the maximum amount of sun light to complete this ride and it's the weekend before the summer resort season opens, where rooms are booked months in advance and the prices jump.

The Longest Day is a 208+ mile, self supported, single day ride that starts in Port Jervis, NY (near the High Point Monument), crosses from north-west NJ, through the plains of Central Jersey, the Pine Barrens in the south and finishes in Cape May, NJ. There is no official start time so you can start as early as you like or as late as you want. But the club does want you to be off the road by sunset of Saturday evening (usually 8:30 PM) as as the roadways around Cape May become crowded with shore goers.

Some people call this ride the High Point ride because it used to start at the Park near the High Point monument. Officially the park is closed when many people start riding (before sunrise) so the club doesn't encourage you to visit the monument.

This ride started in the 1970's as a 3 day bicycle-camping ride. Then in 1980 turned into a 1 day challenge (see the history page for further details). Since that time the current route has evolved as traffic has grown and roadways have been re-engineered.

As I said, it's held by the Central Jersey Bike Club (CJBC). To participate in this ride you must be a member of CJBC. You must also register and pay a fee for the ride. The fee pays for the costs to organize the ride (there are club costs involved). I've checked with other clubs and the price is more than reasonable. In the past the shirts have been very nice Polo shirts with wonderful embroidery over the left breast. In 2008 Sandy (William Somers, the 2008 chairman) added a Longest Day Jersey ( see the images left and right) but these are at an additional cost. I hope to keep this tradition alive for future events.

Now most people don't do such a ride because of the club. What's unique about this ride is the scenery, the mix of terrain, the weather and the fact, as double centuries go, this one is easy. It's not the scenes of the NJ Turnpike in Elizabeth at the start of the Soprano's! It starts out in the north-west part of NJ, in the mountains. The scenery is that of farms and forests. For the first 60+ miles you'll be doing some climbing. The climbs are not difficult, this coming from a 'flatlander'. In fact there is more descent than climb. It then flattens out as you enter the central part of the state. The scenery is still that of farms and forests but now there's a bit more civilization to be seen. There are some sections where you will be sharing the roads with auto traffic but this is not NY City. As you leave the central part of the state the scenery changes to more farm land. With horse farms and agriculture. Eventually you reach the Pine Barrens. Here the traffic will be quite low as you travel through a Pine Scrub forest. You'll see white sand, cranberry bogs, blueberry farms, and dark, clear, cool rivers (you even might want to dive in to cool off :-). The terrain is very flat and the largest climb will be that of the Cape May Canal overpass at the end (around mile 200). This is also the home of the Jersey Devil (no, not the hockey team). After riding through the Barrens you'll venture back to civilization again in Egg Harbor City. A short time later you'll, once more, be back in the Pine Barrens. During the last 30 miles traffic will pick up as you are now approaching Cape May and civilization finally returns. After a quick few miles it's up and over the canal. Soon the Lighthouse will be in view and the end of the journey will be near. For those who have made it this far a huge feeling of satisfaction will be yours. When you finally reach the Lighthouse remember to take pictures. Your friends won't believe you otherwise. ;-)

General route information

The following route information is left here for historic reasons but check the routes section for up to date route information. Though we don't change the route much we do make changes for road work or major traffic pattern changes.

I've also added, for historic reasons, earlier route sheets from the 2001 and 2002 Longest Day rides. No cue sheets will be provided for these rides as I prefer to dissuade you from trying those routes out. The route used on the 2005 (2003 through the present actually) is much safer. I also go on to describe my recollections of my first Longest Day (2001) which was a real eye opener and one of my favorite rides.

There are 3 different official routes, the double century (which I'll describe here), the double metric (which starts out outside of East Millstone, before Griggstown) and the century (which starts in Allentown, NJ). The century and double metic start on the last 100 and 135 miles, respectively, of the double century route, respectively. The double century ride is scenic but travels through some very busy sections of NJ (it's kind of hard to miss them). So dealing with traffic is part of the ride. Some of the other challenges are the hills at the beginning of the ride. They really aren't difficult (this from a 'flatlander') but comprises the first 60 miles of the ride. Most of the 3463 ft. of climb and 3994 ft of descent are over by the first 100 miles. The rest is the flat lands of central and southern Jersey (NJ) where you never stop pedaling. Overall it's a down hill ride (500+ ft more descent than climb) from near the highest point in NJ (High Point) to the ocean at Cape May Light House. Some of the challenges are the hills in North Western NJ, the traffic of Northern NJ, the Pine Barrens (generally hot), the 'Doldrums' of the Pine Barrens in Lebanon and Wharton State Forests (doldrums A) and the 'Doldrums' below the May's Landing (doldrums B) and the final miles into the wind to Cape May. All these can be easily overcome by proper training. Training is an absolute must for a ride of this length. More on how to training in the Training sections.