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  1. #1
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    Riding through the Allegheny Forest

    I have relatives in New Jersey that I will likely be visiting in mid-August. I'm trying to find a possible bike tour that would end at their house (Lambertville, on the NJ/PA border).

    One idea is using the Pennsylvania State Routes. Route S pretty much ends in Lambertville.

    Checking things out, I see that in Northwest PA is the Allegheny Forest. One idea would be to start in either Cleveland or Buffalo or even Pittsburg (airline connection points), ride to and through the forest and then down to meet Route S and then over to Lambertville.

    Has anyone ridden any of route S? I've seen a couple of journal at CGOAB, but first hand experience is always welcome.

    Also, is the Allegheny Forest worth going out of my way to ride through?

    Any other suggestions would be welcome.

    Likely starting date would be late July.
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  2. #2
    Every day a winding road spinnaker's Avatar
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    Never been on S but I can tell you that region is very hilly. We have some pretty steep roads east of here.

    What not consider using the GAP? You could then head north east or just go all the way to DC on the C&O then either ride up to NJ or take the train. Sort of out of your way but you cut out all of those hills.

    If you decide to come to PittsburgH let me know. You have a place to stay. I at least owe you one tour.
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  3. #3
    Every day a winding road spinnaker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spinnaker View Post
    Never been on S but I can tell you that region is very hilly. We have some pretty steep roads east of here.

    What not consider using the GAP? You could then head north east or just go all the way to DC on the C&O then either ride up to NJ or take the train. Sort of out of your way but you cut out all of those hills.

    If you decide to come to PittsburgH let me know. You have a place to stay. I at least owe you one tour.

    And yes the forest is worth riding. Very pretty up in that region.
    "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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  4. #4
    AKA: Rusty Bitts pamaguahiker's Avatar
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    Hilly but beautiful. If you need a couch to rest and going to be near DuBois or Falls Creek. My wife and I would be happy to lend a couch. It is beautiful country!

  5. #5
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    With a few detours, I have ridden Route S from Bedford east during a tour from PGH to PHL. Bedford to Cowan's Gap State Park (which is very nice) is hilly. The rest of Route S isn't that bad. You can cut out one hilly section by riding a portion of the abandoned stretch of PA Turnpike between Breezewood and Pump Station Road. From there, it's easy to get back on Route S. The turnpike is a great ride. It's got a sort of post-apocalyptic look, which is why it was used in the film "The Road," starring Viggo Mortensen. You will need good lights as there are two unlit tunnels. The western tunnel is about 3,800'. The second is about a mile long and has a crown near the east portal so you literally cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel until you get close to the end. You will also need more than 23c tires. I road it last September fully loaded using 32c tires and was fine. Another nice thing about the tunnels is that the air inside is cool. Give you a good break from the heat.

    Route S has its problems in Lancaster and Chester Counties. The biggest one being that it uses PA 23 more than it needs to and, IMO, more than it should. I was just out that way last weekend. PA 23 can have heavy traffic, especially on spring and summer weekends. From Morgantown east through at least Elverson, the road is banged up. When traffic is heavy, getting through Elverson is scary as the road is relatively narrow and the shoulder disappears. PA's 4' passing law hasn't sunk into the brains of many people. I can give you a better way to get through that area that spends more time in the beautiful Conestoga Valley and takes you through French Creek State Park, which has a nice, albeit busy on the weekends, campground. I can also give you a few other detours off Route S that I prefer.

    I have never ridden Route S all the way to New Hope, but I have ridden to New Hope plenty of times. I have a couple different way to get there from Conshohocken, PA if you are interested. Route S takes you by the Schuykill River Trail. You could take that to Conshohocken and take one of my route to New Hope.

    If you do decide to go through PGH, it might make sense to ride the GAP all the way to Cumberland and then head north on U.S. 220 to pick up Route S in Beford. That's what I did. Route S uses the GAP for a while but leaves it at Rockwood. There is a private campground just outisde Bedford and down the street from the original Cannondale headquarters.

    In any event, I believe it's Route V that gives you more of the Allegheny Forest experience. It passes through DuBois, where Pamaguahiker is. I may be doing Youngstown, OH (Avis allows one way rentals to that location) to PHL in September via Franlkin PA then the Allegheny River Trail to meet up with Route V at Emlenton. I will eventually have to get off Route V to get to PHL. The preliminary plan is to go through Centralia and eventually into Lancaster County.

  6. #6
    Bike touring webrarian
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    Quote Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
    In any event, I believe it's Route V that gives you more of the Allegheny Forest experience. It passes through DuBois, where Pamaguahiker is. I may be doing Youngstown, OH (Avis allows one way rentals to that location) to PHL in September via Franlkin PA then the Allegheny River Trail to meet up with Route V at Emlenton. I will eventually have to get off Route V to get to PHL. The preliminary plan is to go through Centralia and eventually into Lancaster County.
    I am now considering Route V. Flying into Cleveland and riding east from there to meet up with Rt. V and then taking Route L down to Route S and then onto New Hope/Lambertville. Rt. V takes SR 6 virtually the entire way. But, 6 is a busy road (see AADT here, which makes me wonder if it is the best choice. Some sections have over 10,000 cars/trucks a day! And, according to the AADT data, there are few sections below 3000/day. I realize that the state Bike Routes are only on State Route roads, which might explain why 6 is used exclusively, instead of some local byways.

    I've read some journals that say the shoulders on 6 are wide in most places. And, it is certainly easier to follow a single signed route than to try and locate turns onto local roads. But, biking on a busy road is rarely pleasant, even it is safe.

    Any thoughts on using 6 all the way versus creating a similar but lower traffic (and possibly narrower) route?
    Last edited by raybo; 06-04-14 at 10:30 AM.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by raybo View Post
    Any thoughts on using 6 all the way versus creating a similar but lower traffic (and possibly narrower) route?
    It's Route Y, not Route V, that uses U.S. 6.

    I have driven a part of U.S. 6 (west from Ansonia), but not recently. Rode it for a while east of Erie, but that was 15 years ago. I believe the shoulder is really wide. From what I understand, truck traffic from fracking is heavy along some parts. I am sure traffic is also pretty heavy around Wellsboro. You might look to take parallel roads where available.

    If you do head across the northern tier of the state, a really nice way to get to L'Ville is make your way to near the end of Route Y at Milford, PA cross over into NJ via the U.S. 206 bridge and ride south through the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area and Worthington State Forest via Old Mine Rd., N.P.S. 615 and Old Min Rd. again. Fabulous ride, at least in the fall and spring. Summer might be a bir more crowded. There is a nice campground along the rover in Worthington State Forest. They have several group sites. One has a bear locker because are a decent number of such critters in the area.

    From there, you cross back the pedestrian walkway along I-80 into Delaware Water Gap, PA and continue down the river then cross back over into NJ at Belvedere. Belvedere to Philipsburg is splendid. Quiet, isolated river communites. I will actually be riding that stretch on Saturday as part of a day ride out of Frenchtown. If I encounter five cars in that 13 miles stretch I will be surprised. There are several railroad bridges/overpasses that have low and narrow clearances, so there are no trucks. Phillipsburg itself sort of sucks, but it's a short distance and then the riding gets great again all the way to Milford, NJ. Across the river from Milford, in Upper Black Eddy, PA, there is a private campground off the trail on the PA side. It's a bit dated, but the owner is nice and only charges cylists $15, which is cheap for those parts. You cross into PA and make a left on PA 32. In about .3 miles, you make a left on Canal Lane. Walk you bike down the foot path before crossing the canal and keep heading south. At the first road crossing make a right and you will see the gravel raod leading up to the campground. There is a grocery store in Milford along with several restaurants, including a pretty decent seafood/oyster house.

    Milford to Frenchtown (about 3 miles) is so-so depending on the time of day, but you can get off the somewhat busy road (it has a smallish but useable shoulder) by cutting down a dirt access road to the D&R Trail. That trail will take you through Frenchtown, Stockton and right into the center of Lambertville right near the bridge to PA. If you stay in Uppr Black Eddy, you can also ride down PA 32 and cross the bridge into Frenchtown to pick up the trail. I would only do that early in the morning and probably only on a weekend day. PA 32 has no shoulder and too many people drive like a-holes, including contractors in vans and pickups.

    Here is a map from Port Jervis, NY to Upped Black Eddy:

    PORT JERVIS-UBE at Bikely.com

    I have done Port Jervis to Philly twice as a three day tour. You can see where U.S. 206 crosses CR 521 and where Old Mine Rd. starts.

    Ignore the profile, The data is bad. The two "big" climbs are not even a mile. Except for one restaurant on NPS 615, there are no services in the National Rerceation Area or at Worthington State Forest other that water and bathrooms at Millbrook Village so you have to pick up food in Milford or Matamoras if you plan to stay at Worthington and cook. Another option is to drop your gear at Worthington and ride into Delaware Water Gap, PA and back. In town there is a pizza place, a diner and a couple of more expensive places. No grocery store though. Just a small c-store at a gas station. Round trip from the campground to town and back is about 7-8 miles.

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