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Old 05-16-09, 12:32 PM   #1
Padraic
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Route needed: Toronto to DC

Hi there, I am planning a 5-day trip from Toronto to DC (so planning to take a bus to Buffalo or Rochester to cut off the first 200km and go from there). Does anybody have any ideas on the best route for going through western NY and Pennsylvania - both in terms of things to see (either natural or cultural) and just avoiding the big highways? I really have no idea right now beyond peering at Google Maps, so any tips would be much appreciated. Even just telling me some good maps or resources would be great.
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Old 05-16-09, 12:56 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Padraic View Post
Hi there, I am planning a 5-day trip from Toronto to DC (so planning to take a bus to Buffalo or Rochester to cut off the first 200km and go from there). Does anybody have any ideas on the best route for going through western NY and Pennsylvania - both in terms of things to see (either natural or cultural) and just avoiding the big highways? I really have no idea right now beyond peering at Google Maps, so any tips would be much appreciated. Even just telling me some good maps or resources would be great.
Depending on your tolerance for hills, you might reconsider your plan of taking the bus (why not take Amtrak instead, btw?) for the first part, as that would probably the only flat part of the whole route. And there are good routing options, i.e. the http://www.waterfronttrail.org/ and the Erie Canal trail/NY State Bike Route 5/the ACA Northern Tier segment (if you want to go that far east). For the other parts it might be worth having a look at the PA State bike routes http://www.dot.state.pa.us/BIKE/WEB/tour_routes.htm
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Old 05-16-09, 02:22 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Padraic View Post
Hi there, I am planning a 5-day trip from Toronto to DC (so planning to take a bus to Buffalo or Rochester to cut off the first 200km and go from there). Does anybody have any ideas on the best route for going through western NY and Pennsylvania - both in terms of things to see (either natural or cultural) and just avoiding the big highways? I really have no idea right now beyond peering at Google Maps, so any tips would be much appreciated. Even just telling me some good maps or resources would be great.
If you can handle gravel and canal towpaths, follow the Great Allegheny Passage and C & O Canal Towpath from near Pittsburgh to DC.
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Old 05-16-09, 08:18 PM   #4
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That's an easy one use the Adventure Cylcling Northern Tier route from Orchard Park, NY to Erie, PA then take the Pittsburgh Spur of the Underground Railroad Route to Pittsburgh. Then in Pittsburgh take the Great Allegheny Passage to Washington D.C.

That's going to be really tough in 5 days. Let me know if you have any questions.

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Old 05-18-09, 06:13 AM   #5
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Thanks for all the replies.

1. Amtrak only leaves TO at 8:30am - I'm hoping to start the trip in the evening after work, so it has to be Greyhound.

2. I'd like to skip the Ontario leg because I have seen that all before, the new part of my trip starts in NY (and I do like hills).

3. I have 25mm wheels and would like to avoid gravel, so it sounds like the Great Alleghany is out. Is the C&O Canal gravel or paved?

4. Monkd, that route sounds promising - but what is the total distance?
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Old 05-18-09, 07:17 AM   #6
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I know that highway 14 that runs north/south through new york state on the west side of Seneca Lake is gorgeous with wide shoulders. It is popular with bikers and runs past a number of wineries. If you take the bus to Rochester, you could head out of town on NY state bike route 5 to Lyons, then head south on 14 to Geneva and down to Watkins Glen. There is a beautiful state park in Watkins Glen with camping. I've camped in Watkins Glen and been on highway 14 by car a number of times.

From Watkins Glen, you could then try taking route 224, then 34 to Waverly. Than would connect you to Pennsylvania state bike route J. That route goes south through Harrisburg. Not sure the mileage and places to stop. Also, I've never been on the route south of Watkins Glen, so I am not sure what you would run into in terms of road quality.

Here are the state bike routes:

http://www.dot.state.pa.us/BIKE/WEB/tour_routes.htm

https://www.nysdot.gov/divisions/ope...-bureau/biking
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Old 05-18-09, 07:52 AM   #7
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Thanks for all the replies.

1. Amtrak only leaves TO at 8:30am - I'm hoping to start the trip in the evening after work, so it has to be Greyhound.

2. I'd like to skip the Ontario leg because I have seen that all before, the new part of my trip starts in NY (and I do like hills).

3. I have 25mm wheels and would like to avoid gravel, so it sounds like the Great Alleghany is out. Is the C&O Canal gravel or paved?

4. Monkd, that route sounds promising - but what is the total distance?
The C & O is gravel and dirt.
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Old 05-18-09, 08:06 AM   #8
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An account of one poster's ride on the J route:

http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/p..._id=77968&v=2L
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Old 05-19-09, 07:13 PM   #9
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Thanks for all the replies.
3. I have 25mm wheels and would like to avoid gravel, so it sounds like the Great Alleghany is out. Is the C&O Canal gravel or paved?
As already mentioned, C&O towpath is gravel and packed dirt (or mud if it's been raining a lot). Camping spots about every 15 miles, motels likely available in the towns (also check towns across the river in WV). 25mm tires? Your bike can probably handle 28mm tires which may be good enough and if it'll take 32mm and you travel light, I think you'd be fine. Check the thread on the GAP/C&O ride some folks here are planning for June for ideas. Figure on 2 or 3 days for the C&O portion (Cumberland to DC) depending on how hard you go. A paved rail trail parallels a portion of the C&O NW of Ft Frederick.
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Old 05-19-09, 08:29 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Padraic View Post
Thanks for all the replies.

1. Amtrak only leaves TO at 8:30am - I'm hoping to start the trip in the evening after work, so it has to be Greyhound.

2. I'd like to skip the Ontario leg because I have seen that all before, the new part of my trip starts in NY (and I do like hills).

3. I have 25mm wheels and would like to avoid gravel, so it sounds like the Great Alleghany is out. Is the C&O Canal gravel or paved?

4. Monkd, that route sounds promising - but what is the total distance?
Something like this:
I' m not sure where your start but, here is what I have a descent handle on.
Orchard Park, NY - Erie, PA - ~100 miles
Erie, PA - Pittsburgh, PA - ~152 miles
Misc Pittsburgh Miles - ~15 miles
GAP - ~318 miles

I think you'll struggle on the GAP with 25's. Without taking the GAP I don't see how you can make it to DC and make good time. The roads south of Pittsburgh are hilly.

Sorry I can't be of more help.

monkd
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Old 05-20-09, 10:53 AM   #11
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You might want to check out the Bike Train from TO to Niagara Falls Ontario. www.biketrain.ca leaves at 11 AM and arrives about 1 PM in Niagara Falls.
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Old 05-31-09, 09:57 AM   #12
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For anyone who is curious, here is the route I'm settled on. All distances are in kilometres. I am following Route G in Pennsylvania, but I've decided my tires are too skinny for the C&O Canal trail, so any tips on a good route into DC would be appreciated. I have links to the routes in Google Maps but apparently I can't embed links on here.

Day 0
Depart Toronto via Greyhound at 23:15

Day 1
Arrive in Corning, NY at 11:15
Cycle Corning, NY to Blackwell, PA (100km)

Day 2
Cycle Blackwell, PA to State College, PA (140)

Day 3
Cycle State College, PA to Bedford PA (138)

Day 4
Cycle Bedford, PA to Hagerstown, MD (123)

Day 5
Cycle Hagerstown, MD to Washington, DC (113)
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