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Old 02-14-08, 03:13 PM   #1
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Coast to Coast via Bike Paths

I was wondering if anyone has yet tried to make a coast to coast route linking as many rail trails and bike paths as possible?

I know that you can get from Mount Vernon Virginia to Colliers, WV via various trails (C&O, GAP, Panhandle). Then there is the Katy Trail and other longish bike paths here and there.

If it hasn't been done, let's use our collective knowledge of the local areas to select good roads to link the various bike paths. We can work up some maps on Google Maps and I'll volunteer my website to host it all if necessary (at no charge to anyone).

New trails pop up every year so even if it's been done it seems like something that the community here could constantly update. Input?
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Old 02-14-08, 03:22 PM   #2
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I don't have much input on the issue, just curious if it could help me on my trip. I know a good string of bike paths near the southside of richmond that can get you into the city from about 20 miles SW of the city if anyone is interested
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Old 02-14-08, 03:30 PM   #3
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Well, the object for now would be to link up the longest east/west links. Late we can work on various North/South routes. East of DC is a problem but the C&O/GAP route really takes the sting out of crossing the Appalachians and the rail trails are great for tourers that like to camp so linking them seems worthwhile.
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Old 02-14-08, 03:36 PM   #4
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Do you have a general route in mind? North? South? Mid?

Is the already existing American Discovery Trail close to what you have in mind?
http://www.discoverytrail.org/index.html

I am interested in it in concept, but in practice I will probably choose the TransAmerica, Northern Tier, Southern Tier or some other road route when I decide to ride across the country again.
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Old 02-14-08, 03:42 PM   #5
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Do you have a general route in mind? North? South? Mid?

Is the already existing American Discovery Trail close to what you have in mind?
http://www.discoverytrail.org/index.html

I am interested in it in concept, but in practice I will probably choose the TransAmerica, Northern Tier, Southern Tier or some other road route when I decide to ride across the country again.
Is there anything like this running to the extreme south at first (Alabama and Louisiana, etc.) and then going back up to Utah and New Mexico eventually ending in San Fran?

Kind of a far shot but I am ready to get my route recorded and researched so a big cheat sheet would help out.
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Old 02-14-08, 04:01 PM   #6
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Yeah, since the ADT links the Katy trail that route would be a big part of it. But I'd go from DC to Pittsburgh to Colliers, WV. From there you'll find there are a few trails in Ohio but it seems sparser for rail trails the farther west you go. Guess they still use their railroads out west.

Anyway, it seems like we could probably link a lot of trails with more and more popping up. There was a purchase of 150 miles in Indiana recently for instance.

The ADT isn't open to bikes for about 850 miles so we can't use that route as it exists so much. Maybe someone has worked a lot of this out already. I didn't find anything in my searches here or on CGOAB.
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Old 02-14-08, 04:06 PM   #7
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Is there anything like this running to the extreme south at first (Alabama and Louisiana, etc.) and then going back up to Utah and New Mexico eventually ending in San Fran?

Kind of a far shot but I am ready to get my route recorded and researched so a big cheat sheet would help out.
Off road? Not that I know of.

On road you can probably string together some of the various AC route segments. Maybe Southern Tier, to Underground Railroad, to TransAmerica, to Western Express would be close enough. It might be hard to pick a time of year where that works real well though.
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Old 02-14-08, 04:13 PM   #8
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The ADT isn't open to bikes for about 850 miles so we can't use that route as it exists so much. Maybe someone has worked a lot of this out already. I didn't find anything in my searches here or on CGOAB.
It has been a while since I looked at it, but I think they had proposed detours for that portion. You will not find a way to cross the US with no roads unless you go via mountain bike now or probably ever.

If you open it up to MTB riding then there is another option. The motorcycle folks off road trail that they also call the Trans-America trail. It doesn't go all the way to the east coast but maybe that part could be improvised.
http://www.transamtrail.com/
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Old 02-14-08, 04:27 PM   #9
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Neat resource. Didn't know about any motorcycle route like that.

Anyway, of course you can't do it without touching roads but linking the longer east/west trails seems doable. What I'm looking for is local advice about linking trails. For instance, I know how to link the C&O to the W&OD trails near Leesburg, Va except for about 2 miles. There are a lot of city bike paths that aren't on other trail maps. Maybe people in the local areas can help link say Colliers, WV (the end of the Panhandle Trail) to another trail in Western Ohio. Then someone in Mid-Ohio could help find good roads and trails to link up to the West.... etc.

We could point out the major east/west trails we'd like to link and then the BF community can help find road links between those points. Just an idea... I think it would be interesting and worthwhile.
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Old 02-14-08, 08:13 PM   #10
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I don't have much input on the issue, just curious if it could help me on my trip. I know a good string of bike paths near the southside of richmond that can get you into the city from about 20 miles SW of the city if anyone is interested
Yes, I'm quite interested - probably know a few of them, but don't spend enough time in the city to figure them all out.

I can add the newly forming VA Route 5 path system starting at Jamestown and heading west. Not absolutely sure how long it runs (I drove past it last year while it was under construction), but I'll know more by late March/early April when I do my first weekend trip for the year, Montpelier/Jamestown and return.
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Old 02-14-08, 10:31 PM   #11
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I'm opposed to bike paths on principle. I think cyclists belong on the road. I rode for a twenty or thirty mile stretch on a rail trail near Milwaukee on my last tour, and it slowed me down big time. Having to stop and yield for cross streets, avoiding small kids, joggers, dog walkers, and casual cyclists all contribute to considerably slower speeds than can be achieved on any country road.

Cyclists have a right to use surface streets, just like other forms of traffic, and they should use them, because they are far more efficient means of travel in most circumstances. If we, as cyclists, choose to self segregate ourselves on multi use pathways, we'll only be encouraging those motorists that think they own the road, and who try to intimidate cyclists, or who treat us with no respect. We need to increase our visibility and preserve our right to travel on the roads.

I'll get off my high horse now. Sorry for the thread hijack.
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Old 02-14-08, 11:01 PM   #12
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Here's one that goes through the northern part of Idaho. Paved all the way.

http://friendsofcdatrails.org/
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Old 02-15-08, 08:57 AM   #13
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I'm opposed to bike paths on principle. I think cyclists belong on the road. I rode for a twenty or thirty mile stretch on a rail trail near Milwaukee on my last tour, and it slowed me down big time. Having to stop and yield for cross streets, avoiding small kids, joggers, dog walkers, and casual cyclists all contribute to considerably slower speeds than can be achieved on any country road.

Cyclists have a right to use surface streets, just like other forms of traffic, and they should use them, because they are far more efficient means of travel in most circumstances. If we, as cyclists, choose to self segregate ourselves on multi use pathways, we'll only be encouraging those motorists that think they own the road, and who try to intimidate cyclists, or who treat us with no respect. We need to increase our visibility and preserve our right to travel on the roads.

I'll get off my high horse now. Sorry for the thread hijack.

I agree with this post, not really for ethical reasons, but because it does take longer.
It's nice to jump on trails every once in a while just to escape some of the ****tier roads and not have to worry about traffic, but it definitely does slow you down considerably. I do like trails and will usually use them if they're available and they go the direction I need to, but I wouldnt want to ride completely across the country on one of them. There doesnt sound like there is as much adventure in that.
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Old 02-15-08, 10:01 AM   #14
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I'm opposed to bike paths on principle. I think cyclists belong on the road. I rode for a twenty or thirty mile stretch on a rail trail near Milwaukee on my last tour, and it slowed me down big time. Having to stop and yield for cross streets, avoiding small kids, joggers, dog walkers, and casual cyclists all contribute to considerably slower speeds than can be achieved on any country road.

Cyclists have a right to use surface streets, just like other forms of traffic, and they should use them, because they are far more efficient means of travel in most circumstances. If we, as cyclists, choose to self segregate ourselves on multi use pathways, we'll only be encouraging those motorists that think they own the road, and who try to intimidate cyclists, or who treat us with no respect. We need to increase our visibility and preserve our right to travel on the roads.

I'll get off my high horse now. Sorry for the thread hijack.
I partially agree, but MUPs have a place. They are a great place to ride with small kids and they are a nice place for those unable or unwilling to deal with the public roads to go for a "bike stroll". I found that connecting them to make a coast to coast path an interesting idea, but I can't imagine wanting to ride coast to coast on them myself.

We rode a few sections of bike path on the TA with mixed results, the one in Eugene was nice on the day and time of day that we were there and was a change of pace for that short ways. There were at least a couple places where they were a welcome respite from a nasty section of highway. Other places there were a complete PITA and we often elected to not use them.
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Old 02-15-08, 10:53 AM   #15
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In Canada, we have the Trans-Canada Trail. The portion in B.C. (and other parts of the country) is mostly abandoned railway beds. It's loose surface but the grades are not more than 2.2 per cent. It also is much more scenic and much more relaxing than the highways. There are people who have used this trail to cycle across the country.
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Old 02-15-08, 11:07 AM   #16
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Check this out. www.greenway.org It's not east to west but it's a start.

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Old 02-15-08, 11:57 AM   #17
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This is a littler north of where you're riding , but you can ride MUP, rail trail or canal tow path for 230 mi from Chesterton IN on the southern shore of Lake Michigan to East Moline, IL on the Mississippi River. There are about 40 mi on secondary roads transitioning between paths.

The parts that cross IL are pretty much on the American Discovery Trail/Grand Illinois Trail, including the Old Plank Road Trail, I&M Canal, Hennepin Canal. The route is online, and I can post the URLs here if any one is interested.
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Old 02-15-08, 12:50 PM   #18
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What I'm looking for is local advice about linking trails. For instance, I know how to link the C&O to the W&OD trails near Leesburg, Va except for about 2 miles. There are a lot of city bike paths that aren't on other trail maps. Maybe people in the local areas can help link say Colliers, WV (the end of the Panhandle Trail) to another trail in Western Ohio. Then someone in Mid-Ohio could help find good roads and trails to link up to the West.... etc.

We could point out the major east/west trails we'd like to link and then the BF community can help find road links between those points. Just an idea... I think it would be interesting and worthwhile.
Possibly what you would need to to do is figure out where your gaps are and post in the appropriate regional forum. That way you might be able to piece together your whole route.
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Old 02-15-08, 11:08 PM   #19
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Possibly what you would need to to do is figure out where your gaps are and post in the appropriate regional forum. That way you might be able to piece together your whole route.
+1

I've gotten help over on the Northeast and Great Lakes sub forums from local riders who have helped me connect the C&O/GAP and our bike route across Ohio (route B).

I've modified the eastern portion of our East to West TransAm trip this summer to include the C&O/GAP and the Katy Trail. We're linking them together using ADT maps thru DE and MD, COP maps, Dept. of Transportation maps from IN and IL, and the advice of BikeForum people.

Connecting the West end of the Katy to the TransAm looks pretty simple, should merge together near Cassoday KS.

I'm looking forward to the trails but I think after 4 or 5 straight days of riding them, I'd like to see some open roads.
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Old 02-16-08, 12:49 AM   #20
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Many sections of the Trans Canada trail are crap. I broke a wheel on it in NB and in other sections barely got above 6 mph. It has been heavily taken over by 4 wheelers and the damage that does depends on the road bed. There are also places where it is very much better than taking the road.

The more options the better though. The argument about having the right to take the road is bogus, right about the point it crosses over into a requirement in order to fulfill an agenda.
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Old 02-16-08, 08:36 AM   #21
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Here's a couple of more links. One is for the rails to trails site. The link to the Geocommunicator site is a BLM database showing land usage, mining claims, forest lands, et cetera. This particular link was set up a few years ago when Bush and his boys had the idea of selling off forest lands to finance rural schools. It's a bit tedious to use, but has online access to topo maps of the US. The legend tab on the right allows users to turn on or off layers like roads, urban areas, land ownership, survey data, and quite a few more. Keep in mind most of "improvements" shown on the topo maps are probably outdated. It may help with route planning, the terrian, and finding public lands for camping.

There are some great long distance paths like this in Europe. I could envsion something similar. The comment about the route being longer is true. And there's no way most people would want to ride gravel for more than a few days at a time. But overall, I think developing a route like this connecting paths/trails and roads with some other connections to existing routes like the TramsAm, Northern Tier, whatever, is a cool idea. Peterpan1 is right, it's great to have options.

The thread hyjack, well, the more infrastructure there is for bikes like dedicated paths the more people will be using them. Alot of people won't ride on roads due to safety issues. As the saying goes "build it and they will come".



http://www.traillink.com/

http://http://www.geocommunicator.go...p.jsp?MAP=USFS

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Old 02-16-08, 08:46 AM   #22
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The argument about having the right to take the road is bogus, right about the point it crosses over into a requirement in order to fulfill an agenda.
It is not clear (to me at least) what you are saying. Care to clarify?

What requirement and agenda are you referring to? I am missing something here.
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Old 02-16-08, 09:47 AM   #23
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The anti-bikepath crap needs to be up in Advocacy where you guys can beotch about other people's choices until your hearts are content. I personally get sick of hearing it ! (Rant de'jour concluded)


Here is a list of railtrails and paths in Ohio. http://www.miamivalleytrails.org/trails.htm

From the end on the Panhandle trail. You can go northwest towards Akron OH. and pick up a few railtrails along the way. From Colliers WV to the nearest railtrail at Jewett OH is about a 35 mile rollercoaster ride through Ohio coal country.
Going west along the Ohio river you have a 10 mile road ride along the river to Wellsburg WV where you can pick up a short path there that connects to another trail that takes you through Wheeling WV. RT2 is pretty busy with trucks on weekdays. I rode it on a Sunday and had the highway pretty much to myself.

Don't over the look the possibility of using abandoned railroad ROW's either,
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Old 02-16-08, 10:08 AM   #24
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After crossing the U.S. twice I have found only a couple of stretches of bike paths that lent themselves to the route. If they are available I use them, but I don't go miles out of my way to go in the wrong direction. I am not going to hold my breath for a cross country bike path.
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Old 02-16-08, 10:31 AM   #25
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Just within 50 miles of me their are 2 smooth paved bike paths that are paved and you can go as fast as you can on the road and in much more safety.

Yeah please don't divert this thread away from it's purpose. Some people prefer the slower pace and safety that bike paths offer.
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