Curious Cape May Tour is Sure to Satisfy History Loving Cyclists

Guided tour adds a helping of history to your Cape May ride.

Cyclists stop at the landmark Chalfonte Hotel on Curious Cape May's new guided bike tour.
Cyclists stop at the landmark Chalfonte Hotel on Curious Cape May's new guided bike tour.
Photo courtesy of Curious Cape May

There’s a new spin on getting to know New Jersey’s oldest resort. Curious Cape May is a guided bicycle tour fueled with Cape May facts and trivia as you pedal around the town and its environs.

Recently, six of us—friends from college fast approaching senior sisterhood—crisscrossed Cape May on a Curious Cape May tour. As we pedaled through town single-file in matching helmets on identical beach cruisers, with flags flying above our rear fenders, we were reminded that everyone loves a parade.

“Hey, bikers,” one guy called to us. “Look, it’s a biker gang,” another pointed out to her friends.
There are many ways to tour Cape May—by foot, car, carriage, trolley, tour boat, tiki barge, even paddleboard—but Curious Cape May throws in a workout as you roll through history.

Soft-launched this season by local entrepreneurs Wendy Collins, Laura Shaddock and Ryan O’Keefe Testa, Curious Cape May currently offers a two-hour morning tour from 9-11 daily. A sunset tour to Cape May Point will be added in October. Rates are $35 a person, including bike and helmet.

Testa was the leader of the pack the day we rode. Personable and Cape-May savvy, she deftly switched gears from safety instructor to historian to den mother throughout the morning.
We met Testa at the tour headquarters in West Cape May, where she assigned us bikes, adjusted our seats, fitted our helmets and reviewed safety protocols such as hand signals. She also recruited our most experienced cyclist as the “caboose” to bring up the rear.

The tour bikes are classic, three-speed beach cruisers with hand and coaster brakes. They sport wide, leather seats; a side mirror and bell; and a Nantucket basket.

The standard tour is a round-trip starting at the shop with stops at a dozen or so points of interest, including South Cape May meadows, the Historic District, the beachfront promenade, and East Cape May. Tours typically cover five to six miles.

Tour guide Ryan O'Keefe Testa explains the demise of South Cape May overlooking nearby meadows.

Tour guide Ryan O’Keefe Testa explains the demise of South Cape May overlooking nearby meadows. Photo courtesy of Curious Cape May

In part, what sets Curious Cape May apart is the curiosity of its founders, who spent hundreds of hours last winter researching 300 years of local history to mine obscure facts and trivia to share with customers. Testa skillfully guided us through that time tunnel with commentary, stopping to show us archival photos and maps on her IPad.

One fun place was an 1890s house on First Avenue, moved there by a team of oxen in 1918 to escape the encroaching seas that threatened—and ultimately destroyed—South Cape May. The story goes that the movers guaranteed their work to the homeowners by placing a glass of water on the dining room table during the move. The house arrived in fine shape, as will you, when you roll through time with Curious Cape May.

Curious Cape May is located at 122 Sunset Boulevard in West Cape May, and can be reached by calling 833-386-7433 or emailing [email protected].

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