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Old 06-25-09, 06:46 AM   #1
chris_aug18
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Around Lake Ontario and Bears

Well, last summer I planned a trip around lake Ontario and I only ended up biking about 350km to kingston and getting a ride home from a friend(I started a thread here about that too). This summer I decided I was going to do it so, I've scraped together a touring bike, front and rear racks, front and rear panniers, aerobars, a lightweight tent, a nice sleeping pad. I've also been commuting to work every day(14km round trip) and doing longish rides(60-100km) every weekend. Needless to say, I'm in much better shape and have much better equipment this year.

I am going to be leaving this friday after work

I have just about everything sorted out and ready to go but, I have a few questions about bears in New York state between Kingston and Rochester. I've read there are lots of bears in Adirondack park so, I'm assuming that if I was camping somewhere along lake Ontario to the west of that park it's very possible to encounter bears, is this correct? Should all necessary precautions be taken?

Also, I've been using my panniers for getting groceries and commuting to work so there has been a fair amount of food in them, any way to get those smells out or should I not worry about it?
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Old 06-25-09, 07:48 AM   #2
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I just got back from a tour around Lake Ontario that started and ended in Buffalo. Between Kingston and Buffalo, I stayed at Southwick Beach State Park (near Henderson Bay), Anchor Campsites (near Sodus Point), and Holley, NY. I never saw any mention of bear concerns.

When I've camped in Colorado bear country, there have always been warning signs and bear-proof containers for food items. I didn't see either while I was circling Lake Ontario. The Adirondack area is quite different terrain and climate than the coastal areas near the lake. I don't think you'll see any bears.
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Old 06-25-09, 07:52 AM   #3
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By the way, Southwick Beach State Park near Henderson Harbor is a nice place to camp if you're rounding Lake Ontario. The price is right (about $17 weeknight, $21 weekend) and the facilities are maintained very well. There is a new shower/bathroom building near the non-electric tent camping sites that is first class.
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Old 06-25-09, 09:54 AM   #4
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I toured around Lake Ontario last year and never saw a sign of a bear. I have also done the FANY ride, spends 2-3 days each year in Adirondack park. When in the state park you notice the way they handle garbage in bear resistant containers ect. The terrain and woods are very different. I would still keep any sented items, food, deordant, shampoo, ect out of the tent at night, not only for bears but other wildlife, ie racoons.

Happy touring
Jeff
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Old 06-25-09, 10:48 AM   #5
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Well, sounds like it shouldn't be much of a problem, thanks for the responses. I suppose i'm just finding things to worry about since this is my first tour longer than 2 days
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Old 06-26-09, 06:10 AM   #6
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Lake Ontario is far from the Adirondacks, and the area around the lake is way too agricultural to make bears a real concern. I've cycled through the Adirondacks and free camped and never came across any bears along the road either, although hikers do see them.

Good luck on your ride.
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Old 06-26-09, 08:28 AM   #7
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Thanks, thats what I figured but, it was hard to find any information about it online.

Oh, and heres my cgoab journal if anyones interested:
http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/AroundLakeOntario
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Old 06-26-09, 09:18 AM   #8
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Hi - just got back from a tour around Lake Ontario and no worries at all about bears. Lots of state parks on the lake to stay at. There's a long hike the one day between the last state park east and west of Rochester, but we ended up staying at a private park just east of Rochester - Webster Park campground which is right on the route you'd probably be taking. Nice large sites with lots of trees $25 + 50 cent showers (Harvey Botzman's guidebook said it didn't have any showers which made me weary of going to the campground)

Crossing the border at Lewiston/Queenston is a bit confusing with the highway on and off ramps. We also couldn't find a way off at Queenston without riding on hwy 405 for a few km (no doubt illegal), but the shoulder was decent enough so...

Oh and enjoy the drumlins near Oswego, hehehe...
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Old 06-26-09, 12:09 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by crazybikerchick View Post
Crossing the border at Lewiston/Queenston is a bit confusing with the highway on and off ramps. We also couldn't find a way off at Queenston without riding on hwy 405 for a few km (no doubt illegal), but the shoulder was decent enough so...
I wasn't aware that cyclists could cross at this bridge...I'm not sure why I thought that but, I had planned my route to use the rainbow bridge.

Using the lewiston/queenston bridge would shave a few kilometers off the trip so maybe I will change my route to use that bridge. Would you recommend it? or do you think, in hind sight, it would be worth the extra kilometers to go to a pedestrian friendly bridge?

Thanks a bunch,
Chris
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Old 06-26-09, 01:51 PM   #10
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I wasn't aware that cyclists could cross at this bridge...I'm not sure why I thought that but, I had planned my route to use the rainbow bridge.

Using the lewiston/queenston bridge would shave a few kilometers off the trip so maybe I will change my route to use that bridge. Would you recommend it? or do you think, in hind sight, it would be worth the extra kilometers to go to a pedestrian friendly bridge?

Thanks a bunch,
Chris
The bridge is cyclist legal, from the site
http://niagarafallsbridges.com/rulesandregs.pdf

<B>
Bicycles are permitted on the Rainbow Bridge and Lewiston-Queenston Bridge
under the same circumstances as passenger vehicles. Cyclists should stay in the
most far right lane designated for automobiles when entering the United States or
Canada.
</B>

Note if you are going from US->Canada there are two lanes on the bridge - one for autos, one for trucks, and almost no shoulder. Autos on the left, trucks on the right. The official speed limit for the bridge is 15 mph but nobody drives that slow across. Since there was little to no truck traffic when we were crossing we just rode to the right, but if there are trucks I assume you should be in the left lane. Traffic was light overall (Saturday morning) but on the US bound side it was congested to the point of not moving.

I would ask when you pay the toll (50 cents) where to proceed in Queenston. We followed the Niagara Parkway for a while on the 405 before exiting and then reversing almost back to where we came from on the Niagara parkway. When we passed the edge of the bridge again I saw there was a ramp from the crossing road onto the parkway but it was locked behind a large gate. Perhaps they will open the gate for cyclists, I don't know.

Having never crossed on the Rainbow bridge I can't compare them but I think overall the Queenston/Lewiston was not too much of a problem and I would cross it again. I guess it depends on if you are interested in shortest distance, or whether you want to go past the falls specifically on your trip etc. (also nice to avoid falls tourist trap traffic!)
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Old 06-26-09, 02:24 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by crazybikerchick View Post
The bridge is cyclist legal, from the site
http://niagarafallsbridges.com/rulesandregs.pdf

<B>
Bicycles are permitted on the Rainbow Bridge and Lewiston-Queenston Bridge
under the same circumstances as passenger vehicles. Cyclists should stay in the
most far right lane designated for automobiles when entering the United States or
Canada.
</B>

Note if you are going from US->Canada there are two lanes on the bridge - one for autos, one for trucks, and almost no shoulder. Autos on the left, trucks on the right. The official speed limit for the bridge is 15 mph but nobody drives that slow across. Since there was little to no truck traffic when we were crossing we just rode to the right, but if there are trucks I assume you should be in the left lane. Traffic was light overall (Saturday morning) but on the US bound side it was congested to the point of not moving.

I would ask when you pay the toll (50 cents) where to proceed in Queenston. We followed the Niagara Parkway for a while on the 405 before exiting and then reversing almost back to where we came from on the Niagara parkway. When we passed the edge of the bridge again I saw there was a ramp from the crossing road onto the parkway but it was locked behind a large gate. Perhaps they will open the gate for cyclists, I don't know.

Having never crossed on the Rainbow bridge I can't compare them but I think overall the Queenston/Lewiston was not too much of a problem and I would cross it again. I guess it depends on if you are interested in shortest distance, or whether you want to go past the falls specifically on your trip etc. (also nice to avoid falls tourist trap traffic!)
Wow thanks for the great reply, I'm literally leaving for the trip in about 5 minutes when I change out of my work clothes.

Thanks,
Chris.
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Old 06-26-09, 04:00 PM   #12
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Not that it will help you much now, but the Niagara Parkway is about as close to cyclist heaven as I have ever gotten. Fantastic views, beautiful pavement (on the road or the extra-wide bike paths) and drivers who are generally aware of cyclists.

Cycling is forbidden on any 400-class highway (such as the QEW or the 405, 420, etc.). See section 185 of the ontario highway traffic act...

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Old 06-27-09, 05:46 AM   #13
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Well I'm originally from about one mile outside of Adirondack park, and currently live where I could throw a rock at Kingston.

Along the water here, if there's bears, I've never heard tell or seen signs. Whoever said "too agricultural" really hit the nail on the head. There are NO woods anywhere near the lake, just farms and camps. And I'd say it's a sure bet that this part of the lake is the most rural/lightly populated. Campgrounds here (Cape Vincent, Henderson, Point Peninsula, A-Bay...) seem to have no precautions against bears, which is VERY different than where my family camped in Cranberry Lake when I was a kid.

I'm always riding these backroads at dusk or dawn, and the only thing I'll tell you to watch out for is skunks and Rover, Spot, or Ol' Yeller if you happen to detour off of the main road of the Seaway Trail.

I myself will be riding Kingston-MTL-Kingston next month, and have been told that there might be bears near the water past Ogdensburg/Prescott, FWIW.


Oh and while I'm at it, despite what any environmental agency will tell you, there ARE panthers (mountain lions, cougars, whatever) in the Adirondacks. Trust me...
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