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Old 03-09-07, 09:46 AM   #1
macaroni steve
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Touring Atlantic Coast in a few weeks

Hi,

I'm going to be biking from Jacksonville to NYC in just a few weeks. We were originally planning on following the ADV Cycling atlantic coast route, but are open to other suggestions. I also got a GPS for the trip which I've never used before. So I have a few questions:

1) Has anyone ever done this route, and if so, how is it in general? does it steer clear of heavy trafficked areas?

2) Should I purchase the ADV maps? will the GPS waypoint info be enough? Maybe the GPS combined with a regular AAA map will suffice?

Thanks!
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Old 03-10-07, 08:00 PM   #2
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Anyone?
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Old 03-10-07, 08:59 PM   #3
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Sorry I've never ridden the route although I dod own the maps from Philly to Richmond for planning of other rides. They might avoid the worst parts of the cities, but you will undoubtedly face heavy urban traffic. The parts around DC that I have looked at on the map will have serious traffic but are ridable for people with reasonable experience. Fortunately, starting down south and heading north will give you a chance to sharpen your traffic riding skills before you hit the really big cities. Good luck with the ride.
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Old 03-10-07, 10:32 PM   #4
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Howdy -

Been a long time since I lived in North Carolina - moved west in 1990 - did a good deal of touring then along the cost and up to DC - some north-south - more east-west. But even then the traffic along the coast was getting nasty. With all the coastal development since then it's probably four times worse. To be perfectly honest, the AC route seems pretty sucky to me. Why bike thru Richmond, DC, and Baltimore unless you really have to??

I think you would be MUCH happier biking the Eastern Shore and crossing over to Jersey on the Cape May Ferry. then you can bike thru Wharton forest and up to Atlantic Highlands and come into Manhattan via the Express Ferry.

One of the basic problems abou biking the East Coast is that you have many river and estuary crossings to deal with. In the olden days before 4-mile-long bridges, ferries would shuttle cars and what few cyclists there were. Now all that traffic rushing to the beach is squeezed across a mega-bridge. Bridge crossings are always the issue - even inland - since the rivers are fairly wide.

You can check state DOT sites for traffic volume.
For example - South Carolina's is here -
http://www.dot.state.sc.us/getting/aadt.shtml

I checked Horry County against the AC route - 7000 to 11,000 AADT
Average Annual Daily Traffic -
Rough Rule of Thumb -
Under 500 - Nirvana
500-1000 - Nice
1000-2500 - Okay, but you start to want a shoulder
2500-5000 - Busy and really need a shoulder
Anything over 5000 without a shoulder really sucks
(Even with a shoulder it's a constant stream of cars.)

WABA has information on Washington area routes.
The general consensus is that there is NO good way to get from Richmond to DC.

I know the NC coast best.
The stretch north of Cape Hatteras to Nags Head is really busy.
Ocracoke Island is wondermous.
I recommend taking the Cedar Island Ferry to Ocracoke - base there.
If you want - ride up to the Hatteras lighthouse and back on an off day.
Then continue north on the Swan Quarter Ferry.
(I think the ferries are $3 per cyclist - the best ferry bargain in North America.)

From Swan Quarter, take the NC 94 across Lake Mattamuskeet to Columbia -
Then back roads to Pettigrew State Park - on a huge lake.
Somerset Plantation - in the middle of the vast swamp - is right next to the park.
http://www.ah.dcr.state.nc.us/sectio...t/somerset.htm
Then back roads to Edenton - a superb colonial town.
You can find NC County maps on line

NC 94 has an AADT of 530 north of Lake Mattamuskeet - - truly sweet.
(NC 12 has 5300 at Oregon Inlet - and probably over 10,000 near Nag's Head.)
http://www.ncdot.org/doh/preconstruc...raffic_survey/

I'd cut east in Virginia - taking care to cross the tidewater rivers in the best locations possible
And cross over to the Eastern Shore via Tangier Island to Crisfield, Maryland -
Then take great backroads to Cape Henlopen in Delaware.

It's a challenge, but you can find better routes than the AC.

Best - J
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Old 03-11-07, 07:47 AM   #5
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Thanks so much! The information you have provided is very valuable!
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Old 03-11-07, 04:00 PM   #6
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Great suggestion Jamawmi, you really paid attention while you were here. NCDOT has a full set of county-by-county maps available. The "bike routes" sometimes are on pretty busy roads, though.
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Old 03-12-07, 11:17 AM   #7
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I might change course and go the smokey mountain/appalachian route. Does anybody have any experience in these areas?
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Old 03-12-07, 12:35 PM   #8
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I rode from Raleigh to the mountains a couple of summers ago. My experience there tells me that you need to like climbing! It's really not too bad, after a couple of days in the mts. you'll get used to the constant up and down. If you do go this route you should take the Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline drive which is the northern extension to the Parkway. It's so beautiful there, and in about 2 weeks the flowers and trees will really start greening up.
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Old 03-12-07, 03:06 PM   #9
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To respond to one part of your question, don't be relying JUST on a GPS! It's a great aid, but it's really hard to figure out a route from A to B on a little bike-a-ble unit.

Also, I recall reading either on these forums or over at Adventure Cycling, that the AC route from Fla. to NYC adds a few hundred miles over some other possible routes. Don't know if that's something you care about.
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Old 04-04-07, 08:40 AM   #10
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I second thanking everyone for that advice. I just ordered the maps to do the ACA Atlantic Coast route and now am having secong thoughts! EEK! If I want to ride in traffic I'll stay in NYC!

Sorry to hijack the board, but does anyone have suggestions for an alternate ACA 2 week trip from/to NYC area (for a multi-day newbie)?

THANKS!
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Old 04-04-07, 09:29 AM   #11
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Just got back yesterday! Took us 2 weeks Jacksonville FLA to NYC!

The adv cycling maps add significant mileage so we didn't follow them. We took a few untraffic'd county/state roads and a few heavily traffic'd sucky roads. the worst part was yesterday, pedalling back into NYC from jersey. that really sucked!
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Old 04-05-07, 10:09 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tridreamin
I second thanking everyone for that advice. I just ordered the maps to do the ACA Atlantic Coast route and now am having secong thoughts! EEK! If I want to ride in traffic I'll stay in NYC!
I've ridden several hundred miles of the Atlantic Coast Route from near Bridgewater, NJ to near Bel Air, MD. Yes, parts of it have heavy traffic, but only a few times did I really feel "threatened." DC and Baltimore traffic is course are heavier, overall, but parts of those areas are on bike paths.

Parts of my ride were fantastic, especially the Amish country in PA. It's so beautiful.

I plan to ride the AC someday, regardless of traffic. And my humble opinion says that you should not have second thoughts. There's a tremendous amount of natural beauty (mountains for one) and history along the AC route. Hell, south of DC things really open up. The traffic will no doubt be a hassle or even troublesome sometimes, but there's always some hassles in any route.

David in FL
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Old 04-10-07, 08:05 PM   #13
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if you haven't seen this map of NJ, it's excellent!
http://www.njbikemap.com/
I found it to be very useful following the coast from NYC to Atlantic City-ish and back a couple of years ago...
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Old 05-24-07, 01:51 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by macaroni steve
Just got back yesterday! Took us 2 weeks Jacksonville FLA to NYC!

The adv cycling maps add significant mileage so we didn't follow them. We took a few untraffic'd county/state roads and a few heavily traffic'd sucky roads. the worst part was yesterday, pedalling back into NYC from jersey. that really sucked!
Two weeks! You must have rocket boosters! I'm riding from Tallahassee to NYC soon, any tips?
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