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  1. #1
    Senior Member balto charlie's Avatar
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    Mid-atlantic touring

    Hi folks: I'm going to tour this spring and am searching for a nice 3-5 day tour in the Mid-Atl. region. It will be my first self support tour. I am use to riding a lot as I commute everyday but have never having gone on a loaded tour. Iwould like your input. I know about Skyline dr and Blue Ridge pkwy. I think I want something with fewer hills to start. C&O Canal is nice but have ridden it so much that I would like something different. I will be camping and cooking on the road. I should be able to ride at least 50, maybe up to 100 miles/day. I can handle traffic but prefer empty roads. I appreciate any input. Thanks Charlie

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    Hooked on Touring
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    BC -

    Looks like the Delmarva Penninsula is calling your name. There are great county roads that wind through little hamlets. I'd avoid the beaches and places like St. Mike's. Also you need to plan so that you can stay off US 50, US 301, and US 13. Don't try to bike across the bay bridge - start south of the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal - which has only a few busy crossings. There are a number of state parks with campgrounds - also state forests allow remote camping if you are up for that. My guess is that you could work your way down to Accomac and maybe take the ferry out to Tangier Island.

    Best - J

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    FOG
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    Another interesting area is north-central Pennsylvania. I have skied at Ski sawmill, and the area around there is pretty empty, especially as you go west from wellsboro. There are a couple of rail-to-trail locations there, but the roads are good and lightly traveled. the biggest issue might be drivers not expecting you to be there. Ski Sawmill used to try to attract bike riders in the summer, but they are under new management now, and have a new hotel, so they may not be quite as friendly. they have a website at www.skisawmill.com .

  4. #4
    Videre non videri
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    Mid-Atlantic?
    Isn't that kinda wet...?

  5. #5
    In Memory of One Cool Cat Blackberry's Avatar
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    If you're in VA (my homestate) and you don't want anything too hilly but still quite scenic--check this out: http://www.dcr.state.va.us/parks/newriver.htm

    Also a google search of the Virginia Creeper Trail will yield interesting results.

    Have a great tour!
    Dead last finish is better than did not finish and infinitely better than did not start.

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    If you don't mind driving a bit, the Finger Lakes of NY state are a nice area to tour by bike.

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    Senior Member balto charlie's Avatar
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    Thanks guys: Mid atlantic is wet but I have sealed bearings;-)
    Trails in VA: Done the Va creeper(day trip) and it was the best rail trail I've ever done. The New RIver is new(to me) so that 's a good suggestion. I see they have a couple of campgrounds as well.
    Delmarva: I've thought about this one. You state stay off 301 and 50, are the rest good roads? What about a tour to Chincoteague, Va from MD. Is that road good to ride? This would have to be in Spring as summer tourist clog the roads.
    PA: I like the nothern area but know nothing of the roads. Which are some good ones to tour on.
    NY: Finger lakes is an interesting idea. I found a rail trail (Genesee Valley that runs for 90 miles and includes Letchworth St pk. Beautiful canyon park. What other lakes would be good to travel around? Best roads? Any other suggestions welcomed. Charlie

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    FOG
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    Quote Originally Posted by balto charlie
    PA: I like the nothern area but know nothing of the roads. Which are some good ones to tour on.
    Look at the rail-to-trail here:
    http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/railtrai...ne+Creek+TRAIL
    also for activites http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/statepar...thcentral.aspx

    I have driven pa 287, and it looks good for biking, and you can probably do alright on US 6, although there is more traffic there, it still is not what I think of as a busy road.

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    What other lakes would be good to travel around?
    I seem to recall that Keuka Lake was particularly nice for biking.

  10. #10
    Ride it, don't fondle it! Wheel Doctor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jamawani
    BC -

    Looks like the Delmarva Penninsula is calling your name. There are great county roads that wind through little hamlets. I'd avoid the beaches and places like St. Mike's. Also you need to plan so that you can stay off US 50, US 301, and US 13. Don't try to bike across the bay bridge - start south of the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal - which has only a few busy crossings. There are a number of state parks with campgrounds - also state forests allow remote camping if you are up for that. My guess is that you could work your way down to Accomac and maybe take the ferry out to Tangier Island.

    Best - J
    I agree with the above poster. I live in the area and can help you out if you wish. You could go to Tangier Island and cross to the VA side and go back to Balt. There are numerous routes to be had with the ability to bypass population centers. Send me a private e-mail if you want to. I know about camping too and the motels.

    Jude

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    All of the finger lake region is very nice. I can't recommend individual roads, but I lived in Ithaca, NY, during those now-ancient college days and it was a fine area for cycling. If you like the dedicated trail idea and you're thinking of upstate NY, the Erie canal might be worth a look. I haven't done it, but it gets good reviews. Here's something I pulled up from a google search. http://www.nycanal.com/recreation/cyclotourguide.html
    Dead last finish is better than did not finish and infinitely better than did not start.

  12. #12
    Senior Member balto charlie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jamawani
    BC -

    Looks like the Delmarva Penninsula is calling your name. There are great county roads that wind through little hamlets. I'd avoid the beaches and places like St. Mike's. Also you need to plan so that you can stay off US 50, US 301, and US 13. Don't try to bike across the bay bridge - start south of the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal - which has only a few busy crossings. There are a number of state parks with campgrounds - also state forests allow remote camping if you are up for that. My guess is that you could work your way down to Accomac and maybe take the ferry out to Tangier Island.

    Best - J
    Would it be possible to bike from Assateague to Chincoteague along the ocean? I know Assa has back country camping, and Toms Cove in Chin. Heading over to Tangiers and back up Va to Balto would be nice. A trip in the planning. I imagine April would be a good time, before tourist and skeeters. Since crossing the Bay Bridge will be tough/impossible I guess heading to Balto would be wrong. I probably will have to ride back north on the Eastern shore towards Delaware. Jude I'll be sending you an email. Thanks all, Charlie

  13. #13
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    The answer is - no. You can get to either by a causeway across the sound, but there is no connection between the two. In fact, the Virginia portion is highly protected within a wildlife refuge. http://www.nps.gov/asis/

    I'd avoid Ocean City like the plague. Early in the season it's still okay midweek at Assateague Island National Seashore in Maryland. You can also hike to a backcountry site in the Maryland section. This would be my #1 choice to enjoy the ocean. Chincoteague has no park campgrounds, private sites in town are RVish, B&Bs are pricey.

    Another option - You can wind your way down from Millsboro, DE to Snow Hill, MD then out to Public Landing where - I believe - you can still rent canoes. It's about 4 miles across the sound remote areas of Assateague Island and the ocean. Backcountry camping available - but I don't know if you can get your permit without reporting to park HQ. Yes, the entire world is automobile centered.

    Then there's also Cape Henlopen near Lewes, DE - and don't forget the Bay. Maybe do one night at Assateague, then another night on the Bay?? Tangier Island is expensive, but pleasant - especially in early season. Crisfield has cheaper accomodations and camping - you can do a day tour of Tangier or Smith Island.

    Enjoy - J

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    cyclist/gearhead/cycli... moxfyre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jamawani
    BC -

    Looks like the Delmarva Penninsula is calling your name. There are great county roads that wind through little hamlets. I'd avoid the beaches and places like St. Mike's. Also you need to plan so that you can stay off US 50, US 301, and US 13. Don't try to bike across the bay bridge - start south of the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal - which has only a few busy crossings. There are a number of state parks with campgrounds - also state forests allow remote camping if you are up for that. My guess is that you could work your way down to Accomac and maybe take the ferry out to Tangier Island.

    Best - J
    I am interested in touring in almost the same area as Charlie. I was wondering about the possibility of cycling from the DC area to Assateague. Given that I should avoid rte 50 and the Bay Bridge, what is the best way to cross the Chesapeake. If anyone's done this ride, I would love some tips
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  15. #15
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    The Smith Island ferry used to run scheduled service from Point Lookout during the warmer months to the Island then you could connect to Crisfield - but they switched to charter tours I hear. http://www.smithislandcruises.com/daycruise.html

    You will need to contact them about bicycles and whether or not you can do a one-way trip or a return trip on a later date.

    Bikes are prohibited on the Bay Bridge - you can arrange a Maryland DOT shuttle in a pick-up. (Bleeahhh!) There are also a couple of charter boat tours from Annapolis to St. Mikes. They may work a deal with you on weekdays.

    Best - J

    PS - I live out west now, but used to live in Chapel Hill. Did a lot of riding near the coast. Found that near the coast was far better than on the coast.
    Last edited by jamawani; 03-16-05 at 11:57 AM.

  16. #16
    RPM: 85. MPH: varies. edtrek's Avatar
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    Ride Round the Chesapeake

    I'm currently plotting a Ride Round the Chesapeake - 650 miles in 7 days, all the way around the Chesapeake Bay. Both the Hampton Roads Tunnel (Hampton to Norfolk, VA) and the Bay Bridge Tunnel (the Va Beach - Chincoteague one, not the Baltimore Bay Bridge) will both attempt to accomodate riders for a very reasonable fare- the deal is it's a courtesy service, not a publicly guaranteed sag/limo service, you may have to wait an hour, but it seems like they'll put your geat in the back of a truck and get you across.

    Let me get my documents links and info into a somewhat organized pile and I'll post some details.
    I'll be back on this shortly,
    Ed

  17. #17
    Hooked on Touring
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    Hey Ed -

    Don't buy the "public service" line. Agencies that use federal funds for bridges, tunnels, highways, etc. MUST make provisions for multimodal travel - it's called ISTEA (pronounced "Ice Tea") - Intermodal Surface Transportation Act - and it's federal law. When they say it's a service - say, "Why, thank you very much - but I do believe that ISTEA requires you to do so in a reasonable manner." Make sure to say it with a nice southern drawl, but with steel in your eyes.

    I'd say 15 minutes is reasonable - an hour is getting on the far extreme. You don't have to be a jerk - but don't let them put any fast ones over on you. As cyclists we MUST stick with the few protections we have in an ever increasing automotive society. No we are not nuisances, we are legitimate vehicles on the public roadway.

    Enjoy your trip - J

  18. #18
    Sweetened with Splenda
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    Are the Outer Banks too far south? I did it outside of tourist season, to be fair, but had some of the nicest riding I can remember...

  19. #19
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    yes, Adventure cycling has a tour that starts in VA and ends down the NC Outer Banks

  20. #20
    Senior Member librarian's Avatar
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    I've crossed the Bay Bridge Tunnel 3 times. Each time we just held up a sign that said "Pay toll for ride" We never had to wait longer than 5 minutes. Twice the pickup driver (a local) refused to take our money.

    Just make sure that you stand right before the Bridge owned property. I've never had them say anything to us but it pays to be safe.


    And for you weight weenies we made the sign out of paper towell's marked with magic marker. 2.923345 grams.

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    cyclist/gearhead/cycli... moxfyre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by librarian
    I've crossed the Bay Bridge Tunnel 3 times. Each time we just held up a sign that said "Pay toll for ride" We never had to wait longer than 5 minutes. Twice the pickup driver (a local) refused to take our money.

    Just make sure that you stand right before the Bridge owned property. I've never had them say anything to us but it pays to be safe.


    And for you weight weenies we made the sign out of paper towell's marked with magic marker. 2.923345 grams.
    Hey, thanks for the tip! That just might work
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  22. #22
    Ride it, don't fondle it! Wheel Doctor's Avatar
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    I like to support riders that ride in my area. I am in my shop in St. Michaels, MD from 9-5 M,T, Th, F and Sat. 800-586-6645 if no answer after hr. leave msg with return#.

    Jude

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    RPM: 85. MPH: varies. edtrek's Avatar
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    Hi, I promised to put some research I've been doing on a Chespeake Bay circumnavigation online. It's at:
    http://www.thirdwave-websites.com/bi...-bicycling.cfm

    It's not nearly complete, I'm planning this for 2006 (love to do it on 2005 but I don't think my other events will permit it).

    But there's a few links on there that may be useful to you planning your trip.
    If anybody else out there has any advice, love to hear it--
    I stuck on planning a route along the northwest side of the bay, from Elkton MD via Baltimore to Annapolis.

    Enjoy,
    Ed

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    I'll second (or third or fourth) the Eastern Shore. It's a great area to ride in, and it's pretty flat. There are alot of other options to 50 and 301. If you are interested in migratory water birds, you might find some heading north, although they are generally more abundant in the fall heading south. Let us know where you end up riding!

  25. #25
    Senior Member balto charlie's Avatar
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    HEy folks:
    Librarian-great advice, I had similar thoughts. I lived by the thumb in the 60's
    Wheel-doc- I'll check out your shop if I am nearby. Thanks for the offer
    Ed-I'll read your site when I get home, sounds like a nice journey. I've ridden on the NE part of the bay but not the NW. Lots to ride in the NE area.
    robot- Love OBX. I would agree that off season is best as the roads down there get awful congested(same for eastern shore, MD during summer). I would like to read your trip report if you have one, at least the route. Especially around Newport. That area sucks witha car!!
    I'll post when and where I'll be going. If folks are interested in joining let me know. Charlie

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