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  1. #1
    Senior Member neilfein's Avatar
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    3-day tour in NJ, where to go?

    I've got three days to do a tour on Thanksgiving weekend. I'm looking something relatively flat; the last tour in Westchester didn't go so well.

    Let the ideas flow!
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    I'm in the celtic folk fusion band Baroque and Hungry. "Mended", our new full-length studio album, is now available for download.

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    Southern New Jersey is mostly flat. I recommend that you do part of your tour through the Pine Barrens, which cover about a million acres (20% of the state) in south-central New Jersey. This region is sparsely populated, and the landscape is sandy with pines, oaks, cranberry bogs, and blueberry farms. The convenience stores and restaurants are farther apart than in the rest of the state, and so are the motels. There are no hostels in this area (that I know of), but there are a few campgrounds. The Pine Barrens are located generally east of Route 206, south of Route 195, west of the Garden State Parkway, and north of the Atlantic City Expressway.

    Southwestern New Jersey (south of the Pine Barrens) is very rural, with a lot of farming. Cape May, at the southeastern tip of the state, is worth a visit with its Victorian architecture. Most of the rest of the Jersey shore is filled with summer rental houses and motels, but there won't be much traffic late in the year, so it would not be a bad region to include in your tour.

    Avoid the Camden area (near Philadelphia) and northeastern New Jersey--too much traffic. Northwestern New Jersey is beautiful, but hilly.

  3. #3
    Senior Member neilfein's Avatar
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    If I had the time, I'd like to do High Point to Cape May, but take at least 4 days so I can smell the roses. After I've had timwe for hill training, of course. I'm moving through the middle of November, and will have little time for training.

    The Pine Barrens sounds like a very good tour, but camping isn't on my agenda. I enjoy riding in the cold, but really have no desire to try camping in November until I'm a little more experienced. I've pitched a tent perhaps half a dozen times.

    I've biked through Camden and Cherry Hill, and I agree with you. You don't have to get that far from Cherry Hill for it to open up, though. Cherry Hill to West Windsor is a nice ride.

    The shore is sounding good, although the crosswinds will be pretty fierce.
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  4. #4
    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    www.njbikemap.com

    Go make your own tour.

  5. #5
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    I live in Cherry Hill and agree the pine barrens would be a great ride. From Medford to Chatsworth and Chatsworth to New Gretna all bike laned. Problem is once in NG no way to go south or east. RT 563 into Egg Harbor and then RT 50 into Mays landing would be a good route south. From Mays Landing Ocean City is reachable via back roads. Probably some B&Bs in Mays Landing.
    I'm just trying to be the person my dog thinks I am.

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    oops, medford to chatworth, mostly bike bike laned.
    I'm just trying to be the person my dog thinks I am.

  7. #7
    Slow but Safe Commuter...
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    If you make it to South Jersey, pedal over to Ocean City and get some Shriver's salt water taffy!

  8. #8
    Senior Member neilfein's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cliffbatson View Post
    If you make it to South Jersey, pedal over to Ocean City and get some Shriver's salt water taffy!
    I was in Ocean City for the MS City to Shore ride. Unfortunately, I was overdue for some dental work and didn't think taffy was all the best idea... next time!
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  9. #9
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by neilfein View Post
    I was in Ocean City for the MS City to Shore ride. Unfortunately, I was overdue for some dental work and didn't think taffy was all the best idea... next time!
    The MS City to Shore route, and cue sheets, are on the event website. It's low traffic roads in scenic areas. It might give you some ideas.

    Shore rentals in the off-season might be very cheap.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by neilfein View Post
    I've got three days to do a tour on Thanksgiving weekend. I'm looking something relatively flat; the last tour in Westchester didn't go so well.

    Let the ideas flow!
    Take a Transit tour using NJ Transit and Newark as your home base.

    Day 1. Take the Main Line to Suffern and bike back to Newark Penn Station. See the great Falls of Patterson or go shopping at the malls! Not hilly at all and I can send you some routes if you have GPS. Loads of places to eat and stay in Newark.

    Day 2. Take the train to Gladstone and bike back to Newark. Not too hilly at all and I've got some routes that are quite interesting.

    Day 3. Take the North Jersey Coast Line to Long Branch and ride all the way to Sea Side Heights. Totally flat with plenty of places to eat. The shore should be dead but you never really know. Visit Asbury Park because it's changing each time I go there.

    If you want some hills, subsitude Day 3 with the following.

    Day 3. Take the train to Dover and head back to Newark. There's only one big Mountain you have to climb but it's fun and a little dangerous. However, you'll see all the towns including the Summit, Shorhills, Oranges etc.

    Again, I have routes on Garmin GPS if you're interested.

  11. #11
    Bike touring webrarian
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    You might check out this page at crazyguyonabike: http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/2197

    It is a list of about 30 places to ride in New Jersey. Each page appears to have a set of pictures of people riding bikes in that area. There is little other information besides that but the list of places might give you some ideas.

    Ray
    Visit the on-line Bike Touring Archive at www.biketouringtips.com

  12. #12
    Senior Member neilfein's Avatar
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    Not sure I want to do the first two days, but I'd be interested in seeing that route to Seaside. Maybe I could turn that into a day 1 and make my way back home from there.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve View Post
    Take a Transit tour using NJ Transit and Newark as your home base.

    Day 1. Take the Main Line to Suffern and bike back to Newark Penn Station. See the great Falls of Patterson or go shopping at the malls! Not hilly at all and I can send you some routes if you have GPS. Loads of places to eat and stay in Newark.

    Day 2. Take the train to Gladstone and bike back to Newark. Not too hilly at all and I've got some routes that are quite interesting.

    Day 3. Take the North Jersey Coast Line to Long Branch and ride all the way to Sea Side Heights. Totally flat with plenty of places to eat. The shore should be dead but you never really know. Visit Asbury Park because it's changing each time I go there.

    If you want some hills, subsitude Day 3 with the following.

    Day 3. Take the train to Dover and head back to Newark. There's only one big Mountain you have to climb but it's fun and a little dangerous. However, you'll see all the towns including the Summit, Shorhills, Oranges etc.

    Again, I have routes on Garmin GPS if you're interested.
    Tour Journals, Blog, ride pix

    I'm in the celtic folk fusion band Baroque and Hungry. "Mended", our new full-length studio album, is now available for download.

  13. #13
    Senior Member neilfein's Avatar
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    Based on Dahon.Steve's post:

    Day 1, 25 miles

    Newark - Paterson - Fair Lawn

    I grew up in Fair Lawn, may as well visit the old hometown. Oddly enough, I've never seen the falls. despite living next door.

    Day 2, 35 miles

    Suffern - Patterson - Fair Lawn - Fort Lee.

    Cross the George Washington Bridge, ride down to Wall Street. Take the Seastreak Ferry to Atlantic Highlands. (Assuming, of course, that the ferry is running on the Thanksgiving weekend.)

    Day 3:

    Atlantic Highlands to Seaside, around 35 miles.

    The biggest catch is that NJ transit doesn't allow full-frame bikes on the trains on holidays. That counts the day after Thanksgiving.

    I may be able to get away with it if I'm on the train very early in the morning.
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  14. #14
    Senior Member neilfein's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by raybo View Post
    You might check out this page at crazyguyonabike: http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/2197

    It is a list of about 30 places to ride in New Jersey. Each page appears to have a set of pictures of people riding bikes in that area. There is little other information besides that but the list of places might give you some ideas.

    Ray
    Looks like they had a good time.
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    I'm in the celtic folk fusion band Baroque and Hungry. "Mended", our new full-length studio album, is now available for download.

  15. #15
    rhm
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    multimodal commuter rhm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by neilfein View Post
    ...
    The biggest catch is that NJ transit doesn't allow full-frame bikes on the trains on holidays. That counts the day after Thanksgiving.

    I may be able to get away with it if I'm on the train very early in the morning.
    I think you'll find, if you read the fine print, it's always the conductor's discretion whether to allow a bike on the train or not. So if you can figure out ahead of time which train you'll be on, and speak to the head conductor (the one in the first coach, typically), s/he may grant/deny permission ahead of time. My experience with train conductors is that if you make it clear that you understand and respect the rules and you're only asking leniency for one reason or another (for example: I don't have a ticket today because I left my wallet on my desk at work), they will cut you some slack; but if you get all high and mighty on them, they will toss you off the train at the next station.

    Of course, if you were planning to get off at the next station anyway, no problem.

  16. #16
    Senior Member neilfein's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rhm View Post
    I think you'll find, if you read the fine print, it's always the conductor's discretion whether to allow a bike on the train or not. So if you can figure out ahead of time which train you'll be on, and speak to the head conductor (the one in the first coach, typically), s/he may grant/deny permission ahead of time. My experience with train conductors is that if you make it clear that you understand and respect the rules and you're only asking leniency for one reason or another (for example: I don't have a ticket today because I left my wallet on my desk at work), they will cut you some slack; but if you get all high and mighty on them, they will toss you off the train at the next station.

    Of course, if you were planning to get off at the next station anyway, no problem.
    Yeah, I'll probably do that. The last time I was on the train on a holiday I didn't know about this rule, and they let it pass. I can always wait for the next train.
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  17. #17
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by neilfein View Post
    ...the last tour in Westchester didn't go so well.
    It reads as if you had a good time.

  18. #18
    rhm
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Historian View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by neilfein View Post
    ... the last tour in Westchester didn't go so well.
    It reads as if you had a good time.
    I love it! You (collectively) have put your finger on my favorite aspect of bike touring. You plan a trip, you go ahead and do it... and at some point, you look back on it and think, wow, that was great!

    The most miserable episodes encountered while actually on the tour ... riding through hot black smoke in a range fire ... setting up camp in the dark in the pouring rain ... unable to sleep because of the bugs ... standing, dripping wet, under a bridge, hiding from the lightning ... staring at a map and wondering, I know I'm right here, so where's the town that's supposed to be here? ... or whatever ... all have a way of turning into wonderful adventures in the retelling.

  19. #19
    Senior Member neilfein's Avatar
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    Day 1, Newark to Fair Lawn, 25 miles. Of course, this depends on my finding a place to stay in Fair Lawn. On Thanksgiving weekend.

    http://www.bikely.com/maps/bike-path/Newark-Fair-Lawn

    I haven't checked out any of these roads yet (the Fair Lawn ones are fine, I grew up on those streets.)

    Anyone have any input on this?
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  20. #20
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by rhm View Post
    I love it! You (collectively) have put your finger on my favorite aspect of bike touring. You plan a trip, you go ahead and do it... and at some point, you look back on it and think, wow, that was great!

    The most miserable episodes encountered while actually on the tour ... riding through hot black smoke in a range fire ... setting up camp in the dark in the pouring rain ... unable to sleep because of the bugs ... standing, dripping wet, under a bridge, hiding from the lightning ... staring at a map and wondering, I know I'm right here, so where's the town that's supposed to be here? ... or whatever ... all have a way of turning into wonderful adventures in the retelling.
    After enough distance, both physical and in time, almost any tour can become a Patrick McManus tale.

  21. #21
    Senior Member neilfein's Avatar
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    Day 2 part 1 of 2, Fair Lawn to Wall Street, via the George Washington Bridge:

    http://www.bikely.com/maps/bike-path/Fair-lawn-Fort-Lee

    There's a fair bit of climbing to get to the George, but I really can't avoid that. I put in Henry Hudson Drive, since it's a paved footpath along the Hudson - how can you go in this area and not? I need to find out if they allow bikes on that path. (If I see a no-bikes sign, I'll just take 9W all the way to the bridge.)

    The NYC Bike Map shows that the Greenway goes all the way around Manhattan from the bridge to Wall Street, except for two short gaps - one in Riverside and one by the south ferry.
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by neilfein View Post
    Day 1, Newark to Fair Lawn, 25 miles. Of course, this depends on my finding a place to stay in Fair Lawn. On Thanksgiving weekend.

    http://www.bikely.com/maps/bike-path/Newark-Fair-Lawn

    I haven't checked out any of these roads yet (the Fair Lawn ones are fine, I grew up on those streets.)

    Anyone have any input on this?
    Not bad at all. I see you made a stop at the great falls in Patterson. Don't forget to visit the museum next door. It seems hard to believe they used to make Locomotives in Patterson! It's amazing how industrial that city was just 100 years ago.

    You might want to get a used GPS that will guide you turn by turn through the whole trip. You probably didn't explore beyond Fair Lawn because it's easy to lost up there. With the GPS, that just doesn't happen to often if at all. By the way, Fair Lawns a nice place to grow up in. I use the Fairlawn train stop to visit all the Paramus mall or Garden State Plaza.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by neilfein View Post
    Day 2 part 1 of 2, Fair Lawn to Wall Street, via the George Washington Bridge:

    http://www.bikely.com/maps/bike-path/Fair-lawn-Fort-Lee

    There's a fair bit of climbing to get to the George, but I really can't avoid that. I put in Henry Hudson Drive, since it's a paved footpath along the Hudson - how can you go in this area and not? I need to find out if they allow bikes on that path. (If I see a no-bikes sign, I'll just take 9W all the way to the bridge.)

    The NYC Bike Map shows that the Greenway goes all the way around Manhattan from the bridge to Wall Street, except for two short gaps - one in Riverside and one by the south ferry.
    You actually have to climb a steep palisaide to get to the GW Bridge and I did it once, walking all the way up! LOL!

    By the way, get youself a Take A Look mirror. Seriously.

  24. #24
    Senior Member neilfein's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve View Post
    Not bad at all. I see you made a stop at the great falls in Patterson. Don't forget to visit the museum next door. It seems hard to believe they used to make Locomotives in Patterson! It's amazing how industrial that city was just 100 years ago.
    I had a friend in college who worked a summer job in the museum. It's already in the bikely cue sheet.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve View Post
    You might want to get a used GPS that will guide you turn by turn through the whole trip. You probably didn't explore beyond Fair Lawn because it's easy to lost up there. With the GPS, that just doesn't happen to often if at all. By the way, Fair Lawns a nice place to grow up in. I use the Fairlawn train stop to visit all the Paramus mall or Garden State Plaza.
    I have a Garmin eTrex handheld unit. Well used...

    I've ridden mostly in Oradell, Paramus, Ridgewood, Glen Rock, probably others as well. Never in Paterson, oddly enough.
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  25. #25
    Senior Member neilfein's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve View Post
    You actually have to climb a steep palisaide to get to the GW Bridge and I did it once, walking all the way up! LOL!

    By the way, get youself a Take A Look mirror. Seriously.
    I've been using a small helmet mirror lately (Made by Bell to snap onto the helmet visor), but I'd like to get one that's a little larger.
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    I'm in the celtic folk fusion band Baroque and Hungry. "Mended", our new full-length studio album, is now available for download.

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