I'm about to embark on a long ride, and need any help/tips.
I'm fairly young, and all my life I've wanted to do something; to accomplish something. Well, it just so happens that I think I may have found that thing. I've got a friend who lives northeast of Philadelphia, and I live about 75 miles east of Richmond Va (east of Williamsburg, if you know the area). My math tells me that, avoiding interstates, it would be roughly a 330 mile journey. I've been training on a bike since I was about six and am fairly confident in my ability to make it there. However, the sojourn would have me on toll roads, (which I believe is the New Jersey turnpike) and I was wondering if I would be allowed on these roads on a bike. If not, what path would you suggest, other than to drive, because that would defeat the purpose. I appreciate any insight.
You will not be allowed on an interstate or toll road with your bicycle. You will have to find an overpass or underpass to get to the other side of freeway. You do not need to be on the NJ turnpike if you are going to Philly.
Just curious - are you going up the VA coast of the Chesapeake? You could get a ride across the bay bridge tunnel & take those roads all the way up to Philly. I would think the traffic would be a little less going up the Delmarva Pennisula. You wouldn't have DC, Annapolis, or Baltimore to deal with. Just a thought.
November, Trek OCLV, Bianchi Castro Valley commuter
+1 on P20's suggestion - the Delmarva is FLAT and many of the roads on the Maryland section of the Eastern Shore, at least, have well-paved shoulders. I've ridden sections around Salisbury to Assateague (Seagull Century) and sections up in Kent County. I would avoid US 50 and 301 if you go that way. Bikes are prohibited on the limited access highways, so stay off I-95, for example.
I'd also ask in the Touring forum - there is a bike route up the east coast thru the Richmond area, and you could use the route the Jamestwon-Richmond ride uses to get there. I would also post in the SE and NE regional forums, where you will find people with local knowledge or routes around the major cities.
Look at Mapquest. You can route it to avoid toll roads and highways. Although there is no way around the Chesapeake bay Bridge Tunnel. You'll have to find a ride across that. Good luck...sounds like fun!
Google maps suggests this route. (I interpolated Doylestown for Philly, if it's not right, feel free to change to the right town *g*)
The Philly routing makes me leery, since it's running you around some of the absolute *worst* interchanges in the area. Very heavy commuter traffic is not my idea of a good bike ride. The Susquehanna crossing looks like a decent enough way to avoid crossing the Chesapeake. I'm not as familiar with Baltimore as I am with Philly, but the routing there makes me suspicious... looks like it's sending you *right* through Inner Harbor which is not bike friendly at all. The Potomac crossing might be ok since it's sending you fairly far south of DC. (I'm not taking bets tho)
If I were rerouting for lower traffic, I'd try to avoid both the DC and Baltimore downtowns. It looks like Manassas and Fredrick work for doing that. I'm not familiar with the Susquehanna bridge they're sending you over, but it's not like Red Lion is a major metropolis. The Fredrick bits look roughly ok. My big caveat is that the routing on US 15 might be a problem. I'm familiar with it in PA and there I would try very hard to keep a cyclist from using it - major truck route. I've never been on it south of Gettysburg tho, so I don't know what it's like in MD and VA.
Check the department of transportation web sites for each state you plan to ride through. Look for county maps that show paved vs. unpaved roads. Look for maps showing Average Annual Daily Traffic (AADT) for the highways. Look for a cycling suitability map, or suggested bike routes map. Use these to help find a good route. Look for a "road conditions" link to check for construction along your proposed route and route away from it.
Search for web sites of bike clubs in cities near your route and see if they have route maps. Look for roads on their routes that would help you navigate through the area. Use bikely.com to search for routes others have entered along your route to find suggested roads.
Use google or yahoo maps search feature to find services along the way. Do searches for "restauarant" "gas", "convenience", "motel", "grocery", etc.
Be prepared to replan along the way. Take paper maps (preferably county level) or a GPS with detailed street maps so you don't find yourself facing a closed road without a clue where to go.
Route-making is more art than science. A good route will take a lot of planning, but will make your trip much more enjoyable. It's worth the effort.
I'm 18, and had no intention of going on the interstate, because its both illegal and not intelligent. I wasn't sure if I had to go on the turnpike to get to Philadelphia, so that's why I asked that question. As of right now, I have no specific directions, but had originally intended on going up the Delmarva peninsula.
this won't be the shortest route but i bet it will be safe and fun!
If you don't want to buy the map, you can download the gps coordinates and get them into google earth and use that figure out their route. But the map has turn-by-turn directions, and includes info about where to camp, services, etc.
November, Trek OCLV, Bianchi Castro Valley commuter
Originally Posted by Torrilin
My big caveat is that the routing on US 15 might be a problem. I'm familiar with it in PA and there I would try very hard to keep a cyclist from using it - major truck route. I've never been on it south of Gettysburg tho, so I don't know what it's like in MD and VA.
Rt 15 is more than a problem - between Leesburg VA and Point of Rocks MD is **AVOID**. 2 lanes, NO shoulder, heavy truck traffic. I hate driving it and would bike it only if I was planning on making my wife a rich widow! Check some of the rides listed at www.bikewashington.org for alternates. Rt 15 north of Point of Rocks to Frederick and Gettysburgh is rideable, although there are probably better routes (used by the "Civil War Century" and DC Radonneurs, so the cue sheets may be available online). There's an annual disabled mil veterans charity ride between DC/Bethesda and Gettysburg, so someone has figured out a route. To get across the Potomac, I'd take 15 Business north from Leesburg, it rejoins the main highway where there is still a shoulder to the turn off for White's Ferry, take the ferry over, then continue on the MD side (MUCH less traffic), and the C&O Canal towpath is an option if you can handle double-track packed gravel or dirt. Or cross at Brunswick MD.
Further east, Chain Bridge (VA Rt 123) is do-able although the approaches via 123 or Glebe are STEEP downhills, and Key Bridge (Georgetown) is accessible via the W&OD and Custis trails or Mt Vernon bike trail on the Virginia side and the Capital Crescent on the DC side. The more I think about it, if you can find a way to the Mt Vernon trail, take that, cross on one of the DC bridges (14th st, Memorial, or Key), then take the Cap Crescent and maybe Rock Creek trails to get north of DC into Maryland. Bike Washington's "Invasion Routes" page has some suggestions for getting into DC and up north as far as Baltimore (connect to a rail-trail to York PA) or Thurmont MD (hillier).