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  1. #1
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    Riding Youngstown OH to Pittsburgh in the fall

    Hi,
    My grandfather told me when I was young that he and his brother rode their bikes from Youngstown OH to Pittsburgh to visit some family friends. this would have been in the 40's, single speed bikes, fat tires. About 4 years before my great uncle passed, he gave me the approximate route they took, most of which is still intact, but some sections have been replaced by 4 lane highways.
    My Uncle, sister, and myself decided we would repeat the journey in September over Labor Day weekend. I live in Atlanta, my sister lives in NYC, and my uncle is coming in from AZ.
    At first, the idea sounded great, but when we started looking at the logistics, that's where it starts getting tricky. If we wanted to fly in, we would go into Pitt, but then how to rent bikes, get them to Youngstown to ride back? It would be simpler if we flew into Pitt, then did the bike ride round trip, but it's 70 miles each way (going by the original route), and none of us has ridden 70 miles before, so I'm not sure what kind of shape we would be in for the return trip.
    And if we rented bikes, they would not have racks for a pannier bag (we could ask for one maybe).
    Maybe another option would be to find bikes in Youngstown on Craigslist then donate them to someone on the street in Pitt, but the bike listings on CL in Youngstown are only a few per day, so not a large selection.
    At any rate, I was hoping for general tips on how to accomplish a ride like this if anyone has experience with it.
    Thanks,
    Jon

  2. #2
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    This is all off the cuff here, but:

    How 'bout flying into Pittsburgh, rent your bikes, and drive to Youngstown using a one-way U-Haul rental truck? If you can get a rental with a bench seat, the three of you should be able to fit. The ride to Youngstown isn't that far. I just did a quick check at a U-Haul location here in Pittsburgh for a mid-month rental. A 10' box van would cost $110 for a one-way rental to Youngstown, OH.

    You can rent bikes here:

    http://www.bikepittsburgh.com/bikes-and-rates

    There may be other places to rent bikes here, but I ride past this place frequently, so I know they do. Since they rent for the Great Allegheny Passage, you should be able to get bikes with a rack and panniers.

    Hope that helps. I like stories where one generation of people is reconnecting with their past through pursuit of recreating some great adventure. Good luck with ride and please post back with a report how your planning goes and of the ride itself.

  3. #3
    Every day a winding road spinnaker's Avatar
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    Pick up the price of the gas and if I am off that day, I can pick you up at the airport and take you to Youngstown. It would be helpful if all 3 of you arrive at the same time. But as you mentioned you have family and friends here so perhaps they can assist too. It is not all that far to Youngstown and easy to get to by car. I have a bike rack here you are welcome to use if friends do not have one.

    Also I live very close to the airport so if you wanted to collect here to start the trip, you are welcome. It gives you the option of some people grabbing a cab. Maybe $25 to my place (if you need to all arrive at different hours of the day).


    What is your intended route? PA bike route A is not too bad till you hit Route 51 in Pittsburgh. The section from Monaca to Coraopolis will be busy, loud and nerve wracking but not overly dangerous. There is a good shoulder most of the way. I would recommend crossing the Ambridge Bridge then cross back to Coraopolis but sadly the Ambridge Bridge will be under construction again this year. PM me or call your friends when it gets closer in, to check on the status of the bridge. It might be fully open by that time or the sidewalk might be open. The bridge would save you a good chunk of the busy section plus a killer hill.

    There is supposed to be a real nice B&B in Beaver. This would be about half way for you. Beaver Falls is a horrible run down steel town but nearby Beaver remains very charming (at least last I have been up there). This would be about half way for you.

    Let me know if you have plans to actually ride to the city and I can give you some tips there too. Even if you have to have your friends drive you into the city don't miss Bicycle Heaven our bicycle museum. Give yourself at least an hour to see because the place is huge.

    This might also be an option for your bicycle needs. Craig has literally thousands of bikes. Most of them vintage but he might have a few touring worthy bikes hidden in his stash. Craig is a good guy. Explain your story about you Grandpa and it would not surprise me if he figured a way to help you out.
    Last edited by spinnaker; 03-16-13 at 08:22 AM.
    "The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it."

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    I'm a Youngstown native now living in Cleveland. If you have any questions on routes around Youngstown feel free and post and I'll do my best to help!

  5. #5
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    Hi,
    I apologize for being so late to respond to your post, I don't have notifications enabled on the forum and did not realize anyone had responded.
    Our route is pretty much fixed, as closely as I could make it to what their original route was, considering the new highways that have been built since. Basically it's a straight shot from Y-town to Darlington on the secondary roads, then connect to the river at New Brighton down to Monaca. You mention the strech from Monaca to Coroapolis is busy, but I see on Google Maps a bike path (planned) that runs most of that stretch, do you know if it is open yet? My Grandad's original route was on the other side of the river on Ohio River Blvd, but it appears to be a 4 lane now and not very suitable for biking. Our destination is Bellevue - Grant St. This was the home of the family friends that my grandfather and great-uncle visited on their trip. From looking at the map, if we rented from a downtown Pitt bike shop, we could make our trip, then continue on to return the bikes and catch a cab to the airport, however it's looking like we will be doing this on a Sunday on Labor Day weekend, so I'm not sure if the bike shop will be open to return the bikes.
    Thank you so much for your generous offer. I will also follow up with Craig.

    Thanks again!
    Jon

  6. #6
    Every day a winding road spinnaker's Avatar
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    I have seen that path on Google too. If it exists then it must be so short, it is hardly worth it. For sure there is no path all the way from Monaca to Pittsburgh.

    An option is to take Broadhead Rd. out of Monaca but you will have several fairly steep hills but very little traffic.
    "The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it."

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  7. #7
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    Hi, if you want to pm me your email address, I can share with you the map I created on Google. It looks like from the map anyway, the Ohio River Trail runs a good ways, in conjunction with Woodlawn Road and Railroad St.

  8. #8
    Every day a winding road spinnaker's Avatar
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    I live in the area. That trail does not yet exist. It is planned. Some of the proposed trail is on back roads which you can take but hardly worth getting off the main road, it is so short.


    The Ambridge Bridge is under construction. Last I heard the pedestrian walkway is closed too, but you might want to check it out. If you can cross the bridge into Ambridge, you can cut out a significant portion of Route 51. Route 65 south of Ambridge is not that bad. You quickly enter a suburban area where traffic has to slow down. You will also save a rather steep climb up 51.

    But as I said I am pretty sure the Ambridge Bridge is out but worht a check.
    "The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it."

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  9. #9
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    The main reason we planned to stay on the west side of the river was that from the maps, it looks like Ohio River Blvd (rt 65) is 4 lane, and I wasn't sure if it was legal to ride on, and if it was, how safe it would be. The original route went that way, they crossed over on Madison St in Rochester as my Great Uncle called the 'old bridge'. When I saw the map, I assumed rd 65 would not be bike friendly, so I chose the other side of the river.

  10. #10
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    Here are his directions (starting from Canfield Oh)

    RIGHT (SOUTH) ON MESSERLY RD TO END
    LEFT (EAST) ON SHIELDS FOR MILE
    RIGHT ON TIPPECANOE TO WESTERN RESERVE RD 2 0R 3 MILES
    LEFT (EAST) 0N WESTERN RESERVE RD. TO RT 7 WADSWORTH
    TAKE THE DIAGONAL RD
    SOUTHEAST ON WADSWORTH RD THRU SPRINGFIELD TO UNITY
    THE AREA FROM HERE ON HAS BEEN CHANGED AND SOME ROADS NOW ARE PART OF THE NEW HIGHWAY WE TOOK BACK ROADS WINDING UP IN DARLINGTON
    LEFT ON 14 TO HALEY RD (TOWNSHIP RD 1016)
    AT THE STATE LINE THIS BECOMES OLD ENON UNITY RD THE AREA FROM HERE ON HAS BEEN CHANGED AND SOME ROADS NOW ARE PART OF THE NEW HIGHWAY WE TOOK BACK ROADS WINDING UP IN DARLINGTON
    FROM THE OLD ENON UNITY RD SOUTH ON MUD BRIDGE WHICH BECOMES LITTLE BEAVER RDTO 51 WHICH HAS DESTROYED PART OF THE OLD ROAD
    Left ON DARLINGTON RD TO DARLINGTON THEN RIGHT (SOUTH) ON OLD DARLINGTON RD TO BEAVER ST FALLSTON RT51 PROBABLY WIPED OUT THE OLD RD TO DOWNTOWN BEAVER WE CROSED ON THE OLD BRIDGE TO WEST MADISON AVE
    Right ON BRIGHTON AVE TO 65 OHIO RIVER BLVD THE OHIO RIVER BLVD STARTED AROUND SWICLEY THEN.
    THRU ROCHESTER, FREEDOM, CONWAY, BADEN, HARMONY , AMBRIDGE, LEETSDALE, SWICKLEY, EMSWORTH, BEN AVON, BELLVUE - GRANT ST

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by byrd48 View Post
    The main reason we planned to stay on the west side of the river was that from the maps, it looks like Ohio River Blvd (rt 65) is 4 lane, and I wasn't sure if it was legal to ride on, and if it was, how safe it would be. The original route went that way, they crossed over on Madison St in Rochester as my Great Uncle called the 'old bridge'. When I saw the map, I assumed rd 65 would not be bike friendly, so I chose the other side of the river.
    Over all, Route 51 will be safer than 65 but the portion of 65 from the end of Ambridge to the Coraoplis Bridge will ebe safer than the corresponding section of 51. But as I said that detour may not be an option. In fact, I think if you do a bicycle rout of that section Google will suggest the Route 65 "bypass".
    "The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it."

    Albert Einstein

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