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  1. #1
    Rain Rider Diamond's Avatar
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    Bike Path Touring

    I’m looking for suggestions for tours which are mostly or entirely on bike paths. My girlfriend said she would go on a multi-day bike tour if I could find one that was on a bike path. We’ll be riding road bikes and will do 30-60 miles a day. She is not a big fan of camping but would be OK with it.

    Most of the bike paths I know of are 30 miles maximum. We live in Portland Oregon but would be willing to fly to almost anywhere in US/Canada if the bike path was nice enough. I did some on-line searching and found the following link:

    http://www.kk.org/cooltools/archives/001903.php

    This website is great but I thought I’d ask the list to find if I’ve missed anything.

    Thanks, Scott

  2. #2
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    The only place I've found decent "bike paths" was in France. The tow paths along the canals there were great.

    So far, anywhere else I've ever been, I wouldn't touch bike paths with a 10ft pole ... too many people walking, jogging, rollerblading, too many children dashing about, too many dogs, too much debris all over the paths, and too little maintenance.

    I can normally maintain about 18-20 km/h when I riding a loaded touring bicycle ... on most paths, that drops to about 12-15 km/h because of the conditions of the paths. If I happen to get onto a path, I try to get off of it as soon as possible so that I can actually ride without having to dodge 101 things.

    Would she be willing to ride on quiet country roads? I can suggest roads around where I live, for example, where the traffic volume is very low, and I'm sure others could do the same.

  3. #3
    Lentement mais sûrement Erick L's Avatar
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    You can ride on bike paths for hundreds of kilometers in Quebec, from Mont Laurier down tthrough Laval and Montreal, east through Montérégie and Estrie, northeast to Victoriaville, St-Agapit and Quebec City. and northwest on the Jacques-Cartier trail.

    It's mostly rail-trail and not always exciting but all on bike paths. Montreal and the surroundings can be confusing so allow time.
    Erick - www.borealphoto.com/velo

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    So far, anywhere else I've ever been, I wouldn't touch bike paths with a 10ft pole ... too many people walking, jogging, rollerblading, too many children dashing about, too many dogs, too much debris all over the paths, and too little maintenance.
    This is especially true for urban areas and especially true for sunny weekends. Crushed limestone trails are great for getting rid of please-go-in-a-straight-line-so-i-can-pass-you-rollerbladers.

    My suggestion would be the Route Verte in Québec. Huge interconnected bikepath network and a excellent potential for the trip you're describing.

  5. #5
    Senior Member BengeBoy's Avatar
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    I've heard good things about the Kettle Valley trail, which is one of the links you provided. Close to you, too...you could do the drive up in a day from Beaverton. There was a fire that took out some of the bridges a few years ago but I just read somewhere that the big bridge that burned was reopened this year. I also believe I saw some journals at crazyguyonabike covering that trail.

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    The Katy train in Missouri would work well. Bed and breakfasts are available about every 30-50 miles and the trail is flat covered with fine limestone gravel but easily rideable with a road bike unless there has been a lot of rain. My wife and I have ridden it with 25 and 28 tires with no problems. The stretch from Booneville to Rocheport then to Columbia could be done easily in 2 days with an overnight at Rocheport. I have not ridden east of Columbia but it is supposed to be very scenic. The trail is almost entirely flat which might be good for someone not used to riding but it can get a little boring if you are used to riding roads and hills. Scenery is very pretty - forests, farmlands and Missouri river.

  7. #7
    Senior Member robow's Avatar
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    +1 Katy Trail

    I think about 225 miles long.

    http://www.bikekatytrail.com/default.asp

  8. #8
    jwa
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    Another vote for the Katy Trail.

    Also nice, although not strictly a "bike path", is the Natchez Trace Parkway - nice road, light traffic (no commercial traffic allowed), pretty scenery, etc.

  9. #9
    Senior Member tourbiker's Avatar
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    Kettle Valley Railway (KVR) is fine for mountain bikes (with or without suspension) but, I wouldn't do it on road bikes.

    The Quebec routes sound interesting (I'd love to do them).

    If you're looking for something closer to home, check out the bike paths in the Victoria area including the Galloping Goose trail which offers a variety of surfaces. I've riden from the Swartz Bay ferry to Victoria (Lochside trail) on my touring bike. http://www.greatervictoria.com/gallo...hsidetrail.htm
    Variety of accomodations along the way. You could take the ferry to Victoria and start there or to Sidney from Annacortes and ride the Lochside Trail to Sooke via Victoria. I'd recommend this tour for someone who's new to touring because it's flat, bike paths, can avoid camping if you wish, minimal traffic and scenic plus, you wouldn't have to fly there.

    Then maybe next year your girlfriend will be ready to try rural roads instead of bike paths.
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  10. #10
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    Check out Rails to Trails for bike path networks in the United States. Wisconsin probably has the most extensive interlinked bike trail network, and I think they're lovely (I'm a sucker for that river and woods and farms landscape).

    Wisconsin has really great free online bike maps for roads, too -- I don't know how those guys got so far ahead of everyone else on these initiatives, but congratulations to them!

    These trails mostly link small communities via long-abandoned rail right-of-ways and therefore have next to no traffic of any kind. The ones I've ridden in Wisconsin are quite well maintained -- any touring bike can negotiate them without modification. I couldn't recommend these more strongly, especially for a first tour for folks seeking to stay off roads.

    The Route Verte and other trail routes in eastern Canada sound really terrific, too, though it's my impression that you'd want something closer to a mountain bike to follow many of these trails (I hope to be corrected if I'm wrong).

  11. #11
    Lentement mais sûrement Erick L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Takara View Post
    The Route Verte and other trail routes in eastern Canada sound really terrific, too, though it's my impression that you'd want something closer to a mountain bike to follow many of these trails (I hope to be corrected if I'm wrong).
    They are paved or packed crushed stone. 28mm tires are enough.
    Erick - www.borealphoto.com/velo

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Erick L View Post
    They are paved or packed crushed stone. 28mm tires are enough.
    Thanks -- good to know! I biked the Gaspe Peninsula fifteen years ago and it was an almost perfect touring experience, only spoiled by the goddamned whales who kept me up all night with their incessant spouting. Quebec is a tremendous place to tour, and I'm excited to check out these new paths sometime soon.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Takara View Post
    These trails mostly link small communities via long-abandoned rail right-of-ways and therefore have next to no traffic of any kind. The ones I've ridden in Wisconsin are quite well maintained -- any touring bike can negotiate them without modification. I couldn't recommend these more strongly, especially for a first tour for folks seeking to stay off roads.
    Key word here is mostly.

    Many of the state trails connect to the Madison trail system. If you hit Madison, expect traffic even if it's the middle of the day. Also, one of the state trails links Madison with the Milwaukee suburbs. I wouldn't expect low traffic on that one either.

    If you are interested in a camping tour, the WI trail system is well connected with WI state parks. If you're not interested in camping, you will need *some* ability to handle a bike in traffic... the trails tend to run through towns so it shouldn't take much road riding (say, less than 5 miles) to find a B&B or motel.

    IIRC the WI trail network is now connected with the IL state trail network. I don't know what that one is like, but if it's maintained like the WI network it should be quite nice.

  14. #14
    I'm made of earth! becnal's Avatar
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    Erie Canal, or Pittsburgh to DC.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  15. #15
    Senior Member Newspaperguy's Avatar
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    The Kettle Valley Railway is worth cycling. For the distances you've suggested, you should be able to avoid camping each day as there are towns nearby. I've been on a lot of this trail, but not all. The Myra Canyon section near Kelowna, which was destroyed by wildfires in 2003, has now been rebuilt. Farther east, the section from Christina Lake to Castlegar is one of my favourite rides anywhere in B.C.

    Quite a few sections of the KVR trail pass through farm land. You'll have to stop to open and close gates along the way. There are a few sections on the trail where there's loose gravel, but most of it is nicely packed and great for cycling.
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Erick L View Post
    They are paved or packed crushed stone. 28mm tires are enough.
    +1

    Even when wet, these trails are fine.

    Of about 500 km of the Route Verte I've explored, I recall only 1km that was slightly annoying because the surface was a bit loose.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    The only place I've found decent "bike paths" was in France. The tow paths along the canals there were great.
    Depending on what "bike path" means, Australia (or at least Victoria) is pretty good. The rail trails are really underused, and the distances between towns mean few locals seem to use them - mostly just bike tourists, or sometimes horse riders.

    Steve

  18. #18
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevage View Post
    Depending on what "bike path" means, Australia (or at least Victoria) is pretty good. The rail trails are really underused, and the distances between towns mean few locals seem to use them - mostly just bike tourists, or sometimes horse riders.

    Steve
    The ones I saw on the way out to Wilson's Prom were the crushed gravel variety, which just doesn't work for my tire width. However, you're right that there were hardly anyone on them. I think we saw one guy on a mtn bike.

    Pave them, and I'd use them, at least on a few of the busier sections out to Wilson's Prom.

  19. #19
    The Wheel is Turning The Figment's Avatar
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    Katy Trail-No big grades (Rail to Trail)
    Erie Canal Trail-No big grades (Old Barge Towpath)
    The Great Allegheny Passage/C&O Canal-BIG Grade in the middle!!

    One of the first Two may be a bit easier on the GF!!

    All Of These are Epic Rides!!! Tough Decision

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Torrilin View Post
    Key word here is mostly.
    IIRC the WI trail network is now connected with the IL state trail network. I don't know what that one is like, but if it's maintained like the WI network it should be quite nice.
    Torrilin, this sounds interesting. Can you point me to anything about the connection between Wisconsin and Illinois bike trails?

  21. #21
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Figment View Post
    Katy Trail-No big grades (Rail to Trail)
    Erie Canal Trail-No big grades (Old Barge Towpath)
    The Great Allegheny Passage/C&O Canal-BIG Grade in the middle!!

    One of the first Two may be a bit easier on the GF!!

    All Of These are Epic Rides!!! Tough Decision
    The grade is two percent uphill on the Great Allegheny Passage/C&O Canal going from Cumberland, MD, to Deal, PA. Hardly a Deal, err, deal breaker. Also, if you start in Pittsburgh, it's less than a 1 per cent grade up, and you have that nice 2 per cent going down.

  22. #22
    jwa
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    Quote Originally Posted by Takara View Post
    ... only spoiled by the goddamned whales who kept me up all night with their incessant spouting...
    Yeah, don'tcha hate nature?

  23. #23
    Junior Member preaves's Avatar
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    Katy Trail

    The Katy Trail is a great place to start. It's scenic but has lots of services at relatively short distances. For lots of information check out the website www.bikekatytrail.com.

  24. #24
    Forever CLYDE ! cyberpep's Avatar
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    One thing that I don,t like about the crushed stone variety of trails such as the Erie Canal is with my bike loaded with front and rear panniers as well as fenders the dust gets so bad that everything on the bike ends up covered in a layer of lime dust. It even got so bad that I had to reguarly wash off my drive components in order to be able to shift gears.
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  25. #25
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    silver comet/chief ladiga trails

    There is a 100 mile PAVED trail that goes from Smyrna, GA(near Atlanta) to Anniston, AL. There are motels at Rockmart, the half way point and at Anniston. You could do a 4 day round trip easily with no camping. There is a 2+ mile stretch in the middle that won't be finished until the end of summer 2008, but there is a reasonable road detour around it.

    http://pathfoundation.org/index.cfm?...howSilverComet
    http://epic.jsu.edu/clt/

    Getting from the airport to the trail head might be an expensive issue, although there may be airport shuttles to hotels in the Smyrna area.

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