Touring - seeking touring suggestions: nyc to northeastern vermont!
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my friend and i are going on our first long bike tour this summer, from new york city through connecticut and massachusetts and ending on northeast vermont. We're both from California and have no experience biking in these areas. I'm currently trying to route plan and would love any suggestions. So far I've been looking at the north and south county routes up to putnam county, ny, and the state of connecticut mailed me a free statewide bike map (which was awesome).
That's all I have so far, though, so I was wondering if anyone had map suggestions for mass. and vt. I've been looking at the Rubell western mass touring map, but it's been a little hard to track down. Does anyone have experience with this map and/or recommend it?
any advice pertaining to this route would be greatly appreciated.
I'll try to get you started. First, the layout of the land. The Green Mountains run the length of VT, the Berkshire "hills" run north/south in western MA, and the Taconic hills run along the NY/CT border. I don't know MA and CT well enough to offer specific routes, but I believe you basically have 3 choices. You can follow the CT River through CT, MA and VT all the way to VT's northeast kingdom, you can go up the spine through the middle or you can go up the Hudson River valley in NY and up the east side of Lake Champlain in VT. There are many nice secondary roads that follow the CT River in VT and NH. I think just following Route 5 would be decent. It connects small river towns and most of the traffic is on the parallel interstate. Riding through the hills would be scenic but definitely more difficult that the other two options. While you're not climbing mountain passes, the hills are sometimes quite steep and you could probably easily accumulate 3000 vertical feet in a 50 mile ride. It is doable, but you'll earn your miles. The scenery from Route 100 in VT is beautiful, but it's like a rollercoaster, kind of busy and often there is not much of a shoulder. There are some nice roads between Poughkeepsie, NY and Albany, and the area from Bennington (like Route 30) all the way up to Burlington is great riding. From the VT side near Crown Point you can follow Lake Champlain on rural, county/town roads almost all the way to Burlington. Check out www.champlainbikeways.org (http://www.champlainbikeways.org). Cycling in the northeast kingdom of VT is superb. You can download a nice pdf booklet from www.nvda.net/Transp/bikeped.html (http://www.nvda.net/Transp/bikeped.html). If you want more details or have questions on the Hudson Valley route, send me a private message and I'll try to help you further.
How are you planning to ride out from the city to Westchester? Take a train, get a car ride or just bike through bridges? It's my dilemma. I'm riding from Queens to Adirondacks next month. I did a training ride thorough GWB up to Harriman (doing another one today). But I'm also wondering about the Triboro.... um... RFK bridge, or taking Metro North to Poughkeepsie - that'll save me two days of riding through suburbs.
adam, i'm not quite sure how i'm getting out of the city. Ideally by biking. the north and south county trails start in van cortland park, and it seems possible to me from the maps to get there by bike. i'll be starting in brooklyn, so probably the williamsburg bridge into manhattan, the western greenway north, and then it seems like with a bit of a jog you hit van cortland park. the beginning of the trail is unpaved, which makes me a little nervous as i'll be riding a road bike, but it is in a park so maybe it'll be somewhat maintained- and it seems like the only real way out to nicer lands.
metro north to poughkeepsie would save you a lot of time. I haven't ridden the areas but from photos they seem nice enough to warrant biking through to me.
05-19-10, 12:35 PM
Hope you like hills. Other than that, should be a BEAUTIFUL tour. I love touring anywhere along the northeast as the season always provide for great scenery and changing all the time.
i think the route that i am most interested is the ct river route. I'm ending in the northeast kingdom. Do you think the north and south county trails are a bad idea, then, because they take you too far west? following route 5 seems about the right idea too, especially if you don't recommend 100.
also, thanks for that link for the NEK bike map, that's really great!
Here is the link for buying Rubel bike maps: http://www.bikemaps.com/index.htm#purchinf
Vermont is a great state to bike. If you go up the Champlain Valley, then consider following the ACA Green Mountain Loop to the NE Kingdom.
But, a short answer to questions about planning: Anytime you go east-west in Western Mass or Vermont, expect to do some climbing.
Looks like Western Mass map may be out of print. Bummer. That's not the first Rubel map to be out of print.
05-19-10, 11:57 PM
Avoid Rt. 5 south of Hartford. You can use it for a little bit just to get out of New Haven, but it's not recommended. There is a bike trail from Hamden CT, to Cheshire, CT, then get on Rt. 10 North, however, at Southington it becomes very busy again. If you can follow the map the state gave you, that would be your best choice. If you make it to Farmington, get on the Farmington Valley Greenway, which parallels rt 10 and will take you all the way up to Southwick, MA. From there, there are back roads that will be hilly, but also follow Rt. 10. I'm going to be riding from Hartford to Vt, following Rt 189 to the Greenway, then Southwick, MA, following back roads to the west side of Northampton, MA. From there, back roads to Shelburne Falls, MA, then directly up to Wilmington, VT. You'll see it all on a map of MA. Pack enough water. Sometimes there are 20 miles between towns. Wilmington is at the top of the Green Mt. range and so you can go anywhere from there. If you choose rt. 100 it goes straight north from there. It can be bumpy at times, but a beautiful ride. Otherwise, take 9 west to Bennington and then 7A (not 7-it's a freeway) or a parallel north, then either stay on it, (a little busy) or get on 30 north (or west, I can't remember). You can go straight up the western border to Burlington from there. From west-central VT, if you want to head east, I recommend rt. 125 over Brandon Gap. The other gaps over the Green Mt. range are longer and steeper, ie, VERY difficult. If you want to get to the CT river and go up that way, just take 9 east from Wilmington to Brattleboro. It's a long fast downhill and there is a bit of traffic, so be careful. A thrilling ride, nonetheless. From there take Rt. 5 North or cross into NH and take 12 north. It's true that the east-west routes can be very steep, so choose your paths wisely. Also, when you get to VT, find a bookstore or a bike shop. Bennington and Brattleboro are good places for this. Shop for books on biking in VT. They'll have excellent routes for you that will be beautiful and bike friendly. Also, stop into a few bike shops and talk to the people there. They're all riders and know the area. Have a blast!
05-20-10, 07:31 PM
Here's another suggestion. If going up the Hudson River Valley, once you pass Pawling, you can wind your way over to Rt. 7 in CT. It's one of the most beautiful roads in New England and goes all the way up to Burlington, VT. In MA, you can find several parallel routes, in VT, take 7A once you pass Bennington.
05-20-10, 10:36 PM
I did a tour from New Haven to Montreal in Sept-Oct 2007. I used Route 5 from Brattleboro VT to White River Jct VT (where I turned westward towards Montpelier). Route 5 was pretty decent there. Shoulder was ok for most of it, traffic was moderate, and there were some rolling hills, but nothing super-bad. You get to go through some pretty towns like the above-mentioned plus Bellows Falls. There's also a Harpoon Brewery outside of Windsor, if microbrews are your thing.
microbrews are definitely my thing.
yeah, i'd like to avoid burlington and heading too far west altogether, and make it sort of as straight a shot north as possible. white river junction is only 90 miles from glover, where i'm trying to get to, and the NEK maps start about 60 miles from glover, so that's actually really encouraging.
05-23-10, 12:25 PM
white river junction is only 90 miles from glover, where i'm trying to get to,
Let me guess...Bread and Puppets? :)
Love to visit up there one of these days!
05-23-10, 01:25 PM
Here's another suggestion: Head up the Hudson Valley until Poughkeepsie and then catch the segment of Adventure Cycling's Atlantic Coast route eastward to Windsor Locks, CT, where you can head north up the Connecticut River Valley:
I haven't ridden either the Hudson Valley, nor the Atlantic Coast route, so I don't have personal experience. Heading east-west will mean crossing hills. Hugging the coast through Connecticut would mean a flatter route, but going through lots of traffic and built up areas. At least with the route from Poughkeepsie to Windsor Locks you'd end up seeing some of the nicest, most "New England" areas of the state.
ok, so my friend and i (neither of us having any experience in the area) put together a sort of sample itinerary, banking on around 50 miles per day, with a number of parks with (expensive) camping along the way. We'd rather pitch our tent for free, but are using designated camp grounds as a sort of fall back.
anyway, i'd love any feedback about our route, especially if you know good places to stay, or ways that are probably really not a good idea to go, or really just anything.
The trip is Brooklyn, NY to Glover, VT. We have it planned over 10 days.
Day 1:Brooklyn to War Pound Ridge Reservation, Cross River, NY (westchester county): $25 camping avail.
Day 2:Ward Pound to Danbury, CT (Where we probably have a place to stay for the night)
Day 3:Danbury to Macedonia State Park, Kent, CT (more pricey camping)
Day 4: Macedonia, CT to Beartown State Forest, Monterey, MA (camping)
Day 5:Beartown to somewhere in southern Green Mountain National Forest, VT
Day 6:Green Mountain Nat'l Forest, VT to Brattleboro, VT
Day 7:Brattleboro, VT to Claremont, NH
Day 8:Claremont, NH to Bradford, VT
Day 9: Bradford, VT to St. Johnsbury, VT
Day 10:St. Johnsbury, VT to Glover, VT
so what do you think? reasonable? absurd? way too easy? way too hard? any feedback greatly appreciated!!!
06-04-10, 08:47 PM
Very cool itinerary. I'm biased to the CT coast, though-- it's often more urban riding, but you'd get some nice beachside rides in before cutting north.
There is a system of bike trails that will take you up from New Haven to Mass. http://www.farmingtoncanal.org/
I also have an excellent route for the 15-20 miles from Bridgeport, CT to New Haven (my daily commute) if you decide to cut East, I'll google maps it for you.
Enjoy your trip!
06-20-10, 11:00 AM
sweet, I'm thinking of doing the same thing, sort of, but I only have 9 days total to be gone, so maybe I'll take the train to poughkeepsie and back, and only go as far north as bennington area. When are you going?
good info, thanks for doing some of my work for me ;)
You can easily go from the city to Bennington and back in nine days - from Poughkeepsie to Bennington is a pretty easy two-day trip.
A couple of thoughts on the above....
1) The Poughkeepsie to Windsor Locks section of the Adventure Cycling route is pretty but the hills will be pretty relentless from eastern Dutchess County to Windsor. And a bunch of those hills are on steroids. If you wanted to use that route to get to Vermont, you're better off using State Bike Route 9 up the Hudson Valley and then cut into Vermont south of the Champain Valley - you sorta shoot the gap between a handful of mountain ranges in that route.
2) The original poster's route will work - looks good to me. Just please tell me that you're not taking Route 7 into Danbury - if you are, don't. It's no place for a bike.
Not sure if it's common knowledge, but Google Maps just added bike directions to their service. In a word, it's awesome. The route it picks from Cross River, NY to Danbury is great.
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