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  1. #1
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    My office is moving to Somerset, NJ - any ideas for a bike commute?

    My office is moving, so my commute is changing:

    From this nearly ideal bike commute, 5.5 miles on the MUP alongside the Hudson River

    To this insane multi-modal commute via NYC Subway, NJ Transit, Bound Brook RR station, leaving me about 2 miles from work.

    Alternately I could take the train to New Brunswick RR station, which is a faster, no transfer ride on NJ transit, leaving me about 6 miles from work.

    Any advice on cycling conditions around New Brunswick, Bound Brook, and Somerset? How about overnight bike storage? The NJ Transit site claims some stations rent bike lockers, but the woman I spoke with at the New Brunswick station could only offer an outdoor bike rack (not good!)

  2. #2
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    ... anyone? I can't believe there are no New Jersey commuters out there?

  3. #3
    Senior Member neilfein's Avatar
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    Would riding the 30 blocks to Penn station on the west side greenway be much slower?

    The Rairtan Valley line is on my commute, and it only runs once an hour in the AM - during rush hour, yet. If I miss a train, that makes me an hour late.

    You might consider taking the Northeast corridor to New Brunswick, then riding the rest of it (about 6 miles). You could duck into Highland Park and go through Johnson Park to the D&RC towpath to the Bound Brook access point. That's the scenic route - you'll want knobbies for this. (Edit: There's a bike path on JFK Blvd, but it's pretty badly maintained and only on the northbound side.)

    The NY Penn to Bound Brook ride is a 70 minute train ride. You won't save much time, but you might consider taking the Northeast corridor to New Brunswick, (45 minutes on the express, an hour on the local).

    Lastly, you could move to NJ. (My landlady in Highland Park is trying to rent a 1-bedroom apartment downstairs...)
    Last edited by neilfein; 04-05-09 at 01:43 AM. Reason: Added the bit about JFK boulevard, fixed a copy/paste error.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by neilfein View Post
    Would riding the 30 blocks to Penn station on the west side greenway be much slower?
    That's my plan. I don't know how long it'll take me to drag my bike down thru Penn Station to the NJ Transit terminal. I'll have to time it.

    You might consider taking the Northeast corridor to New Brunswick, then riding the rest of it (about 6 miles). You could duck into Highland Park and go through Johnson Park to the D&RC towpath to the Bound Brook access point. That's the scenic route - you'll want knobbies for this. (Edit: There's a bike path on JFK Blvd, but it's pretty badly maintained and only on the northbound side.)
    Now this is the kind of info I am looking for! Let's say I take the direct route as mapped out in your link. How bike-friendly is that route? Any danger spots? Huge hills? I'll have to do a test ride on a weekend.

    The scenic route sounds interesting - I'll have to find the Bound Brook access point that you mention; I don't see it on the map - but I'm riding a folding bike with 16" wheels so paved roads are probably best.

    Lastly, you could move to NJ.


    Thanks for the info - I really appreciate it!

  5. #5
    Senior Member neilfein's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dschwarz View Post
    Let's say I take the direct route as mapped out in your link. How bike-friendly is that route? Any danger spots? Huge hills? I'll have to do a test ride on a weekend.
    All the main streets around there have traffic on them during rush hour, sorry to say. A route with side roads would be twisty and slower, but possible: http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&sour...6,0.08626&z=14

    Here's the route in Bikely: http://www.bikely.com/maps/bike-path...n-Ave-Somerset

    There are two hills to speak of: Getting onto Easton Avenue, and one (according to the elevation profile) on New Brunswick Rd.

    Easton Avenue is pretty high traffic, but the traffic moves slowly until you pass Landing Lane. (George Street isn't a good option here - the traffic is faster, and it ends at Landing Lane.)

    I only rode New Brunswick road once on a Sunday, but it's pretty suburban.

    You could take Hamilton Street to Amwell to Cedar Grove. It's a wide street with shoulders in some places. I'm a little afraid of Hamilton street, but that's because I almost got creamed there by a Smartcar recently. (Yeah, I know. It'd be almost like being hit by another bike...) It adds about 2 miles to the ride. I'd try both on your test ride.

    Quote Originally Posted by dschwarz View Post
    The scenic route sounds interesting - I'll have to find the Bound Brook access point that you mention; I don't see it on the map - but I'm riding a folding bike with 16" wheels so paved roads are probably best.
    It's here: http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&sour...5,0.08626&z=14

    PM me if you want company on your test ride; I live a mile from the New Brunswick train station.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member TuckertonRR's Avatar
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    NYP to Bound Brook - don't you have to transfer @ Newark Penn? that would add some time right there...

  7. #7
    Senior Member neilfein's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TuckertonRR View Post
    NYP to Bound Brook - don't you have to transfer @ Newark Penn? that would add some time right there...
    He does; see above, that's why I advised he go directly to New Brunswick. It adds to his ride, but it cuts out the aggrivation of a transfer.

    It occured to me that he could take the train to Bound Brook only in the summer, when perspiring is an issue.
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    I was thinking of moving to Somerset at one point. I think going to New Bruswick in the NE Corr. line would be better.

  9. #9
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    I've been thinking about my options and looking at the road conditions on Google Street View. I am used to commuting on the MUP. Commuting on a busy two lane road with no shoulder scares me. I'll have to check it out in person. This may be the end of my bike commuting days :-(

  10. #10
    Senior Member neilfein's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dschwarz View Post
    I've been thinking about my options and looking at the road conditions on Google Street View. I am used to commuting on the MUP. Commuting on a busy two lane road with no shoulder scares me. I'll have to check it out in person. This may be the end of my bike commuting days :-(
    The Towpath route is about a miel and a half longer - if you get off the towpath on Easton Avenue by 287. You'll definitely want knobbies for this one. (I have a pair I use in the winter, you're welcome to borrow them for a test ride.)

    http://www.bikely.com/maps/bike-path...merset-via-D-R

    I haven't been on the towpath around here for some time, though. Maybe they smoothed it over? Anyone been there lately?
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  11. #11
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    You have knobbies that'll fit on 16" wheels? I'll take em! :-)
    Neil - I like your sig. Matzo pizza is not so bad, you know...

  12. #12
    Senior Member neilfein's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dschwarz View Post
    You have knobbies that'll fit on 16" wheels? I'll take em! :-)
    Email/PM me, we'll set something up.

    Quote Originally Posted by dschwarz View Post
    Neil - I like your sig. Matzo pizza is not so bad, you know...
    You say that now, but in 10 days... ugh.
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  13. #13
    HenryL HenryL's Avatar
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    Riding a bike along Easton ave towards Somerset during rush hour is ill advised. It becomes a 4 lane 45 mph no shoulder road out to 287 and I wouldn't even think about riding under 287 to get to your turn. There are no hills worth mentioning from NB but if you do choose to take the train to NB the Hamilton Street option is preferred. Easton is crowded and tight in NB.

    Bound Brook puts you much closer but the train schedule for reverse commuters like you is not great. Easton from Bound Brook to your location is easier but I would still approach from the back side to avoid the speeders trying to get to the interstate. Haven't ridden the tow path in over a year but it was very beat up in 2008, might be better now.

    If you leave the city, there are lots of living arrangements that will provide you with bike commuting options to your location.

  14. #14
    Senior Member neilfein's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HenryL View Post
    Riding a bike along Easton ave towards Somerset during rush hour is ill advised. It becomes a 4 lane 45 mph no shoulder road out to 287 and I wouldn't even think about riding under 287 to get to your turn. There are no hills worth mentioning from NB but if you do choose to take the train to NB the Hamilton Street option is preferred. Easton is crowded and tight in NB.
    I'm guessing you mean Jersey Avenue, not Hamilton Street. That's a very good idea. It adds less than a mile to the trip, but it'd be far less harrowing. It's still shorter than the towpath option.

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  15. #15
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    Hamilton Ave looks a lot less scary than Easton. I'm looking at this route. Most of it looks pretty good on Google Street View. It even has a bike path on Cedar Grove Lane. Couple of busy 4-lane sections on Hamilton, but nothing like Easton Ave.

    I'm not sure what Jersey Ave. does for me in this case - it goes mostly South-Southwest, taking me closer to where I want to go.

    Another alternative, could go straight through the heart of the suburbs. Not sure if this would actually be safer. The roads would be less busy, no doubt.

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