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  1. #1
    Senior Member oldnslow2's Avatar
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    Old Croton Aqueduct Trail

    Going to ride it with my 25 year old son and his best friend.

    What should I expect?

    Paved/gravel/dirt?

    Hilly or relatively flat?
    2015 Trek Emonda SLR Project One - Sram Red eTap - Zipp 303
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  2. #2
    Senior Member kaos joe's Avatar
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    Flat as you can get. Dirt with some rocks and roots, lots of road crossings, none of which are an issue. There are several detours onto the local roads, as the OCA trail is not continuous. See if you can find someone on Strava or RideWithGPS or something like that who has downloaded the route as a few of these detours are not intuitive. I don't have the route and have always done it with folks who knew it very well.

    I would not do it on a road bike, you will spend 90% of your attention on avoiding rocks & roots on the trail surface, and won't be able to watch your surroundings, which are interesting. We usually start in Yonkers, although we have started in the Bronx in VanCortlandt Park. You can pick up lunch in Ossining, which is one of the road detours, and take it up to the Croton Dam for a picnic. We have always taken MetroNorth back down to the start from Ossining or Tarrytown using MTA bike passes, never had an issue.
    joebike

  3. #3
    Senior Member oldnslow2's Avatar
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    I plan on taking my "trail" bike, a Trek 8.5 Dual Sport.

    My son lives in Riverdale and has ridden it so i'm not concerned about staying on the trail.

    Flat is good since the two of them are triathletes and very strong.
    2015 Trek Emonda SLR Project One - Sram Red eTap - Zipp 303
    2016 Cannondale SuperX Rival CX1
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    1974 VW Beetle, 2180cc engine, Berg 5 speed

    iRide4Sue.org Please Donate to fight Cancer. $25,000 raised in 2016

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  4. #4
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    As I recall you have to purchase metro north bike passes at Grand Central. For some reason they do not sell them at individual stations.

  5. #5
    Senior Member kaos joe's Avatar
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    I should amend what I said earlier about the OCA trail being flat. It has an extremely gradual, imperceptible gradient, up hill going north. But some of the road detours include short but steep climbs.
    joebike

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    The southern section from about Rt 9 and Ashburton Ave., in Yonkers is very easy to follow.

    When the trail crosses Rt 9 at the Lyndhurst mansion/estate (if heading north), you cross over Rt 9 and ride a short stretch to Sheldon Ave. At that point you need to detour west on Sheldon, north to Rt 9, cross over the NY State Thruway to Rt 119/White Plains Rd, then get back on. When I do this with my Ossining buddy, he skips a lot thru Tarrytown after the Thruway, rides Rt 9 up 1.7 miles to Sleepy Hollow High School, then a right into the school lot and an immediate left up and thru the parking lot behind the school. The trail picks up again in the long parking field next to the ball fields.

    Then there are some sections thru Ossining where you detour frequently on local streets.

    It's all on Google Maps however, so is easy enough to follow.
    Last edited by Steve B.; 10-13-15 at 05:10 PM.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Papa Tom's Avatar
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    OldnSlow: Given the type of riding you seem to do, I don't think the Old Croton is your kind of ride. The Westchester County Trails (North and South) seem to be a better fit. A lot of the Croton Trail, from my most recent experience, is riding on a six-inch wide strip of dirt in the middle of a grass field. The Bronx River Trail is another one that is much more scenic and a better surface for riding. Plus there are some cool places to stop along the way. I'm just sayin'...
    Papa Tom

    "I just need a rest...and by 'rest' I mean a really long bicycle ride."

  8. #8
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    Tom, I'm surprised you are not recommending the OCA as opposed to SCT and NCT. Of all your suggestions in this post, it's certainly the most scenic, with wonderful views of the Hudson, as well as passing thru Hastings, Dobbs Ferry, Tarrytown and Ossining, all of which have terrific possibilities for food and interesting detours. As well, in the Dobbs Ferry area, is a series of exhibits which explains the OCA history.

    The trick to the OCA is, if possible, not visiting on a weekend morning as that's when its busiest with hikers, runners and dog walkers. It's almost too crowded and makes for a slow slog on a bike. The NCT and SCT absorb all the assorted user groups better, IMO.

    In in my mind, the very best OCA time is on a cold winters night when there's no snow but the ground is frozen. With a helmet and h-bar light and a mt. bike running 60 psi, you fly on this trail.

  9. #9
    Senior Member kaos joe's Avatar
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    "In in my mind, the very best OCA time is on a cold winters night when there's no snow but the ground is frozen. With a helmet and h-bar light and a mt. bike running 60 psi, you fly on this trail."

    OK Steve, that got my attention. When we get a night like that, with a full moon being a plus, let's do it.
    joebike

  10. #10
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    Unfortunately my ancient incandescent lighting system is dead. Batteries wouldn't hold charges, but it was fun while they lasted. New LED stuff is pretty far down on my priorities right now as I'm currently pricing a potential replacement carbon road frame.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Papa Tom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
    Tom, I'm surprised you are not recommending the OCA as opposed to SCT and NCT. Of all your suggestions in this post, it's certainly the most scenic, with wonderful views of the Hudson, as well as passing thru Hastings, Dobbs Ferry, Tarrytown and Ossining, all of which have terrific possibilities for food and interesting detours. As well, in the Dobbs Ferry area, is a series of exhibits which explains the OCA history.
    Hmm, well I haven't ridden the Old Croton in a while, and the last few times I did, it was only the southern portion, from Lyndhurst down. My recollection of the north is of an awe-inspiring start at the Croton Dam, followed by miles of nothing on a bad surface. And the south, to me, was kind of uneventful, except for the cool places (Tarrytown, etc.) I'd always visit AFTER the ride.

    I don't know...maybe I'm remembering the OCA wrong, but oldnslow, to me, seems to be a rider who likes to hammer a little and not stop to see the scenery all that much. Maybe I'm wrong about both.
    Papa Tom

    "I just need a rest...and by 'rest' I mean a really long bicycle ride."

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