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Old 05-29-12, 10:47 AM   #1
chipg5
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Route question: Harpers Ferry to Fredericksburg VA

I'm riding from upstate NY to Norfolk VA, next month, and most of my route is set but I'm not so sure about this particular leg, Harpers Ferry WV to Fredericksburg VA. I'll be on my Jamis Aurora touring bike.

I'll be coming in on the C&O Canal towpath, staying the night at Harpers Ferry, then continuing on the canal. My route as of now has me coming off the path at Brunswick, getting down to the Washington and Old Dominion Trail abt 4 miles before Leesburg, staying on WODT to Reston, then taking what look like bike trails along Fairfax Parkway and other roads winding down to Joplin through Quantico then winding down to Fredericksburg, here's the tentative route: http://ridewithgps.com/routes/1251310

I'm especially concerned about the bit between Reston and F'burg.

Are these roads okay to ride on? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!
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Old 05-29-12, 05:39 PM   #2
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Looks good up to mile 52. Recommend you stay off Centreville Road. Continue on New Braddock for a block to Old Centreville Road, takes you to Ordway at Compton.
Recommend you stay on Mathis and take Main to Prince William. Much less traffic and Old Town Manassas is worth a stop.
I've never ridden Lake Jackson Dr but it seems to be the long way around. For a shorter route, go West on Prince William, then left on Grant, right on Wellington, left on Hendley, right on Hastings and left on Lucasville. That takes you to Brentville. Watch out for Bristow Road, which has fast traffic and no shoulder.
West around Quatico is good (I've ridden most of it and it's pretty country).
I've never ridden Garrisonville Road, but I've driven it and I'm not sure I would want to bike it. Alternate I usually recommend and I've heard works really well is Thacket's Mill to Poplar, then just before 17 take Truslow to Fredricksburg.
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Old 05-29-12, 06:43 PM   #3
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Thanks cc_rider, this is great, exactly what I was looking for. I really appreciate the help, it'll save me lots of grief, and a few miles too!
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Old 05-31-12, 12:10 PM   #4
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A few comments on the route. Berlin Pike/287 south can be a busy road with no shoulder (thank you, not, VDOT!). However, rideable outside of weekday commute times. Mile 11-13 may be all gravel (many of the side roads off Berlin Tpk/287 are gravel). May be OK as you were just on the C&O. I would start on 673/Milltown in Lovettesville. Waterford is picturesque but no shops to speak of; you can get water, snacks, etc. in Lovettseville or at 2 conveience stors at RT 9 (mile 19.5). And many places in Leesburg and east along W&OD. An alternate to Bruswick MD is stay on C&O to White's Ferry, take ferry across Potomac, side road, Rt 15 shoulder and 15 Business into Leesburg.

Expect heavy ped and clueless rider traffic on W&OD if it is a nice weekend day, especially Ashburn area and east. BBQ on south side of W&OD where is crosses Ashburn Rd - W&OD MP 27.5 (your mile 31.2). There is a Dairy Queen and free bread slices at Great Harvest in Herndon (DQ faces trail, GH is on Station St, left at 1st st after caboose at W&OD MP 20, your mile 38.8). VDOT doing extensive repaving & shoulder work on Ffx Pkwy (7700 old number), currently around your mile 40 or so. The side path is on the northbound side - rideable but poorly maintained in several spots. Be cautions at all road crossings on W&OD and Parkway side path - drivers either ignore presence of bikes or panic stop and scare whomever's tailgating behind them.

If you need bike shop help, Bicycle Outfitters is near W&OD on Catoctin Circle in Leesburg. A-1 Cycles is on S side of Herndon off Centreville Rd and has a 2nd location in Manassas. Bike Lane in Reston Town Center (W&OD MP 18ish, just east of where you head south).

Centreville Rd south of Herndon to Rt 50 *is* rideable (my regular commute). Go west at Wall Rd and the Air & Space Museum Pkwy across the unrideable Rt 28 to the Air & Space Museum Annex where Shuttle Discovery recently arrived. Admission is free, they charge $$ for car parking but not for bikes. (Yay!) Worth the side trip IMO if you like aviation & space flight. Use Franklin Farms Rd to get back to your route (Lees Corner looks shorter but is not IMO a good cycling route).

I don't get south into Manassas often enough to have a useful opinion on routes in that area. Union Mill Rd (your mile 50.8) is a decent road towards the town of Clifton (I forget if Clifton Rd to the east is OK or not), but I wouldn't know how to get further south from there and you need to get west to Manassas anyway (You study the map long enough and it begins to make sense why so much of the Civil War was fought there - there are only so many ways between here & Richmond). A local cycling club, Potomac Pedalers, has a lot of routes in their library that may include that area, and particpants on their google group/email list ("pedalers" https://groups.google.com/forum/?fro...forum/pedalers) may have local knowledge & suggestions. Ditto DC Radonnerus.

Have a great trip!
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Old 06-01-12, 07:18 AM   #5
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Thanks ks1g, this is great! I didn't know about White's ferry, and staying on the canal doesn't add any extra miles, so unless trail conditions aren't good I'll def'ly shift to that route; but thanks also for info on roads south of Brunswick, good to have alternates just in case. Good info on Fairfax Pkwy, I've shifted that part over to Centreville Rd -- and I'll def'ly check out the air and space museum!

Unfortunately I'll be riding this part of my trip on Saturday so will have to deal with 7 miles of W&OD with peds/slow traffic etc... the bbq will help me deal with that.

Info on bike shops and food etc are also real helpful!

Now I just have to hope for nice weather...
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Old 06-03-12, 06:13 PM   #6
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Stingfellow / Union Mill is an ok connector to Braddock Road, but DO NOT take Clifton Road to Clifton. Lots of fast traffic with no shoulders. Clifton Road is mostly rideable because of the long sight line, but stay off Compton Road unless you are a thrill junkie. Used to be a quiet country lane, but now it is over loaded. Narrow road with sharp turns and short sight lines makes it dangerous for bikes. I've driven it and even at cautious speed had to slam on the brakes for a suddenly appearing bike.
Plus it'll add several of slow-going miles to your ride for no good reason.

White's Ferry is a good alternate to Berlin Pike, but I like riding Milltown Road enough to put up with the traffic. Also, avoid Feather Bed and stay on Milltown. If I remember right, Feather Bed is unpaved and in rough shape. Milltown is paved and a pretty ride down to Waterford.
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Old 06-04-12, 06:44 AM   #7
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thanks cc_rider, will not take clifton or compton, i've tweaked the route some more to avoid clifton totally, don't need that kind of thrill... and also rerouted to Milltown.

I really appreciate the input, this part of the ride is the most iffy for me in terms of roads so this all has been a great help!
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Old 06-06-12, 03:52 AM   #8
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Waterford is well worth a pass-through if it's on your way. Very pretty historic little town.
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Old 06-06-12, 09:26 AM   #9
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Thanks Jim, I'll be sure to check it out.

Heres the route I've put together based on all the input/suggestions from you guys, thanks again all!

http://ridewithgps.com/routes/1251310

Depending on how I'm feeling I may do the White's Ferry option, it adds 6 miles overall to the day but saves 900 feet of climbing.
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Old 07-07-12, 06:33 AM   #10
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Back from my tour. I left Harpers Ferry on last Saturday morning, onto the C&O and immediately dealt with lots of down trees. Fortunately made it to Brunswick -- 6 miles in about 2 hours because of the downed trees -- and followed ks1g's suggested route to get to WODT, beautiful roads, went through Waterford where lots of big trees down and power lines -- all turned off, no power in most of the places I went through on that day.

The rest of the route went well too, since it was Saturday low traffic. WOD trail was great, esp after C&O, and not too much traffic on it, only a couple trees down, and the barbecue place at Ashburn was great and came just at the right time. Riding through Manassas went well, missed a few turns but found my way, the routes you guys suggested worked very well. Around Quantico was a bit busy, and then Thacketts Mill - Poplar - Truslow worked real well too. All in all 113 miles -- including a few wrong / missed turns and got to my hotel in Fredericksburg at about sunset.

Thanks again guys for the help, I really appreciate it!
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