Touring - Lake Champlain bike tour info
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01-17-11, 10:47 PM
Does anyone have experience riding around Lake Champlain on the Bikeway trail that is mapped? We are a group of experienced touring Dads that take our kids on a week long tandem tour every summer (3 tandems). We are looking into riding the Champlain Bikeway route this summer and would like to know the following:
- Are there lots of camping and hotel options so we can adjust our ride length every day as needed to keep it fun for the kids?
- How hilly is it? We can handle some hills but because the kids can bonk unpredictably sometimes we occasionally have to haul a lot of unpowered weight.
- How bad are the headwinds and what direction is normal?
- Are the shoulders and road conditions good for bikes all around?
- Would there be enough entertaining things along the way to keep 6 to 13 year olds interested?
Any experience you can share would be appreciated!
And keep the rubber side down!
01-18-11, 06:09 AM
I live in the area and have ridden many parts of the route, so
1) There are numerous Vermont state campgrounds along the lake for camping and Burlington has its own campground at North Beach. In NY, Plattsburgh has a campground and there is one by Chimney Point. Lodging is a little more sparse on the NY side south of Plattsburgh, but other then that there will be small motels or B&B's.
2)Its hilly, not mountainous. NY side is more so, especially south of Plattsburgh. Much flatter north of Plattsburgh and north of Burlington.
3) Winds in summer tend to be from the south or west, but of course shift with fronts passing thru. Not really any steady winds and many days are dead calm.
4) Roads run the spectrum, from dirt to paved. Some have shoulders, many don't, but drivers tend to give way and most of the roads on the route are very lightly traveled.
5) Lots of historical forts and history in Ticonderoga, and Chimney Point. Burlington has Echo, a kids aquarium.
Anything else you need help with, just ask be happy to help,
I did the north half with my wife and son a few years ago. We started at Burlington VT, went around to Port Kent NY, and then took the ferry back. This section is quite flat and we thought it was a nice ride. Road conditions around the north half were good. If this route is too short, you could add a further excursion into Canada. We crossed the first bridge, but the bikeway also goes further north. You could also go further south at Port Kent, either going all the way around or picking up another ferry. It is much hillier south of Port Kent. This gives you the lots of route flexibility if you need it. We would recommend it-- especially hanging out in Burlington while camping at the municipal campground on the lake.
There are plenty of places to stay on the East side. Plan ahead a bit for the West side of the lake. If I recall correctly, the NY campgrounds allow cyclists to make single day reservations.
PS: Don't miss the hotdogs, Michigan style
Just north in Quebec, there are many great rides in huge network of the Route Verte. We particularly liked the Le Petite Train du Nord (use the shuttle) and the Veloroute de Bleuets around Lac St. Jean.
last summer with friends and two 14 year olds and a 12 year old, we toodled around for two days on the islands. Stayed at a relatively cheap motel mid island and did two day trips. Very pretty area, fairly flattish being the islands, farm country. Good shoulders generally, and as teh other person said, cars were pretty good about being careful and respectful around bikes (loads of Bike signs around)
Perhaps not super interesting for youngins, but the causeway bike path (old railway line) with the wee ferry to get across the 50 yard bit where a bridge used to be might be fun.
Biked up beside the lake from the south back up to Canada later in teh summer and it was alright roads wise. I guess the main thing I recall is how friendly people were, yes its a touristy place, but in a nice way, country-store sort of way, not pizzaz if yoiu know what I mean.
01-19-11, 04:30 PM
Hey goys, this info is great. I sent away for the bikeway maps this week but have notreceived yet. Am now feeling pretty good that this would be a good trip!
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