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New Haven Ride Suggestions

Old 08-19-21, 05:42 AM
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Attilio
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New Haven Ride Suggestions

My kids have a sports competition in New Haven in a few weeks right near Yale. Am somewhat competent experienced rider able to go 40-50 miles without too much trouble, can do any hills not that I am looking for anything crazy just a 1-2h nice ride not picky about elevation change at all.

The reason I ask is cities these days aren't that great and even before the crises of the last decade especially COVID not that safe. Any ride suggestions in safe areas, bike paths, parks or just nice areas that will take 1-2h to keep me out of bad neighborhoods?
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Old 08-19-21, 07:38 PM
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I haven't ridden it myself, but I always hear good things about the Farmington Canal Greenway.
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Old 08-21-21, 08:33 AM
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Check this:
https://fchtrail.org/pages/default.asp

From New Haven (watch the maps) you can ride all the way to Southington R/t about 40 Miles + /-
Food and rest stops along the way.
Soon to connect to Plainville to Mass. Some open sections hopefully soon (?) to be filled
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Old 08-21-21, 08:38 PM
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Thanks for the suggestion. Farmington Canal Heritage Trail seems to work. It's not exactly in New Haven and the first access point is about 8 miles from where my kids will have their competition. So if I multiply it by 2 it means I am riding 8 miles to get there, and 8 miles back. Even if I drive that's a total of almost 20 minutes each way, or nearly 40 total. It's a nice suggestion that can work but it's a bit far. I do bring some weights then to workout and do resistance afterwards.

One question, if I were to end up doing the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail what kind of bike do you suggest? I have two, a gravel bike I use for the road (New England roads are awful, don't get me started), and a mountain bike. Is this like a trail trail as in rocks & roots where an MTB would be preferrable, or more like a smooth dirt trail where a gravel bike would be fine. Basically I have experience doing all kinds of surfaces but I know if I am taking the gravel bike on what I think are light, smooth trails that are good enough to say drive a car but end up seeing rocks or roots I have to walk the bike, period. Gravel bikes don't do well on rocks or roots for sure.

I am basically going twice, the first I need a shorter local ride. The second I could take this "trail" but just need to know what I will be looking at surface wise to bring the right bike.

Thanks again for your helpful suggestion(s), keep them coming especially more local to the New Haven City with regards to what might be safe areas.
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Old 08-21-21, 09:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Attilio View Post
Farmington Canal Heritage Trail seems to work. It's not exactly in New Haven and the first access point is about 8 miles
The canal trail most definitely runs right into New Haven proper though as of yet not quite to the waterfront or train station historic endpoints. Current start is mid-block off Hillhouse Avenue on the Yale campus, a very short ride north from the New Haven green, downtown, train station, etc. It should show on google maps, etc but there's no sign at the start, it just looks like a gravel campus path between two buildings that goes a hundred feet down a gentle hill to meet the paved former railroad right of way behind them.

One question, if I were to end up doing the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail what kind of bike do you suggest? I have two, a gravel bike I use for the road (New England roads are awful, don't get me started), and a mountain bike.
It would be fine on a road bike, gravel bike, hybrid, whatever. I heard someone even rode the whole way to Northampton on a unicycle ;-)

The trail is paved, and up to Southington has only isolated mild issues. If you're used to keeping an eye on paving condition many of the visible blemish spots are ultimately smoother than they look, but of course still deserve caution. Behind the school bus garage in Hamden you'll find a stretch of tree root cracks but they're really not mounded up very much so not a biggie if you take them at a reasonable speed more in your legs rather than as dead weight on the saddle. Above the mid-CT gap there are occasional sections with slightly more notable paving issues, a few of which were fixed this summer, but it's still a pretty smooth ride overall.

The second mile north from Yale is a bit urban so it might be good to be back through that by dark. A LOT of effort has gone into making the trail there a community resource, you'll see trail related murals on buildings and if it's a nice day people walking.

Only place you'd find unpaved route is if seeking alonger ride you continued through the road gap up to Farmington and decided to make a loop with the Farmington River trail. There the shortest closure back to the main canal in Simsbury is a delightful carpet of pine needles through the state forest, but you can take a slightly longer route around that on roads.

The route was originally a canal that later became a railroad. In Hamden both a lock keepers house and at a different site an almost functional wooden gated lock remain as trailside history stops. The lock keepers house sometimes has a water fountain, if you can try to ride at least far enough to see those. Up in Cheshire not long before the gap there's a first rate trail rest area with bathrooms and water.

Last edited by UniChris; 08-22-21 at 12:45 AM.
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Old 08-22-21, 05:55 AM
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It's not exactly in New Haven ( Which is why i said watch the maps). Any bike will do but ALL; the trail is paved (except) for the off the road section in Simsbury)
Southampton has a dirt section and there are plans to hook this up with the finished sections.
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Old 08-22-21, 12:55 PM
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Ah I see. Thank you for the replies. If it starts at or near the Yale campus this could be the resource I absolutely wanted. For sure I would be back after dark, the kids' event will be over by then but as always I never go on bike paths after dark anyway. They seem to be those isolated kind of places inviting activities or characters that could pose a safety risk when night falls. It's only my feeling and assumption but still you never go wrong when you pay attention to basic fear telling you that you don't belong somewhere.

Can I ask you the favor for you post me a link or map location of the trail start near the Yale campus then?
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Old 08-22-21, 03:08 PM
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Current trail end at Temple Street in New Haven. There is an short path nearby that brings you to the road. Construction has started on an extension from this point Trail extension



Last edited by KenCT; 10-26-21 at 07:06 PM.
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Old 08-22-21, 04:07 PM
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https://fchtrail.org/pages/default.asp
this map has the northern & southern sections. If you buy from the web site its $2.00 and fits in your pocket.
You still wanna look at google maps for parking and good starting points
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Old 08-22-21, 04:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Attilio View Post
.Can I ask you the favor for you post me a link or map location of the trail start near the Yale campus then?
The entrance is here (turn on the cycling layer)
​​​​https://www.google.com/maps/place/41°18'47.3"N+72°55'25.4"W/@41.313137,-72.923715,17z

I'd forgotten how bad the official trail map is, it's maybe interesting for parking lots, but you're better off with an everyday map for routing and awareness of what's nearby, not that you really need to make any turns once you're on it.
​​​​​​
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Old 08-22-21, 06:24 PM
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Originally Posted by UniChris View Post
The entrance is here (turn on the cycling layer)
​​​​https://www.google.com/maps/place/41°18'47.3"N+72°55'25.4"W/@41.313137,-72.923715,17z

I'd forgotten how bad the official trail map is, it's maybe interesting for parking lots, but you're better off with an everyday map for routing and awareness of what's nearby, not that you really need to make any turns once you're on it.
​​​​​​
This is exactly what I Was looking for. Got the directions its close to the athletic complex and eminently bikeable. It just keeps going, wow, I couldn't have asked for more!!!!! I also see there are parks with lakes. Maybe I can kayak there on other occasions too.

One last question: I see there's a park with trails around the Sleeping giant tower and the surrounding park next to Quinnipiac University. Are these trails rideable on a gravel bike or are they rife with roots and rocks to suggest my hardtail MTB if I wanted to take those kinds of excursions?
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Old 08-22-21, 06:49 PM
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One of the downside of rail trails is that the rail lines often got screened off as undesirable sights, which means the trails are nicely wooded but you often have little sense of what's around you, unless it's the backside of commercial space, or you're on a detour constructed when something else ended up in the way.
​​
Case in point, a detour around some housing takes you past the entrance to Quinnipiac but that's all I know - plus only having been in the area in the midst of planned long rides discouraged poking around.

As for Sleeping Giant there are plenty of hiking trails. The state page isn't clear, but this association page the state one links to says biking is not allowed there:

https://sgpa.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/mapsbw.pdf


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Old 08-22-21, 07:09 PM
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Ah OK, thanks for the heads up. I cannot say I have always heeded the signs but as a general rule of thumb the worst time to disregard them is the middle of the day on a weekend like I have planned as opposed to say early in the morning like first light on a weekday. Huge difference in the amount of people there to create problems for you. Also risky is that I don't know the area and I am not from there. If I were going to get in trouble for where I have been going for the last few years it would have happened and I would be serving consecutive life sentences for it. I also think COVID relaxed a lot of the busybodies and authorities creating trouble for hikers and MTB'ers especially families like we go. People seem more understanding now vs 2-3 years ago of those enjoying nature.

Said differently I routinely bike places where it's not technically allowed but I know locals, authorities and whatnot, what times to be there, how to act, what to say and who to call if there's a problem always going about it respectfully without causing a ruckus. Best to be careful in unfamiliar territory I don't have time to explore, cultivate and understand. I think the bike path will provide plenty of entertainment for now, looks beautiful.

Thank you very much!
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Old 08-26-21, 03:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Attilio View Post
My kids have a sports competition in New Haven in a few weeks right near Yale. Am somewhat competent experienced rider able to go 40-50 miles without too much trouble, can do any hills not that I am looking for anything crazy just a 1-2h nice ride not picky about elevation change at all.

The reason I ask is cities these days aren't that great and even before the crises of the last decade especially COVID not that safe. Any ride suggestions in safe areas, bike paths, parks or just nice areas that will take 1-2h to keep me out of bad neighborhoods?
Don't have ideas for specific routes, but even though the city of New Haven has its faults, you very quickly get into more suburban areas as you head north from the Yale campus.
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Old 09-05-21, 05:32 AM
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East Rock and Hamden Hills

If you’ve got a couple hours and want to find some cool riding, I recommend going up East Rock then hitting the Ridge/New Road/QU/Mt. Carmel area and back. Challenging, fast, not too trafficky, and scenic. If you’re in the Yale area (Bowl or Downtown?) there are easy routes to get there from wherever you’ve parked. The rail trail is definitely cool, but if you’re starting from the southernmost trailhead (currently easily accessible around Trumbull St/Hillhouse Ave. it’s very easy to get to, although it’s chopped up by many cross streets in the first couple miles.
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Old 10-22-21, 04:49 AM
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Now that I did it a few times and went pretty far north, well past Mount Carmel I can vouch this is a nice ride. The beginning starting at Floyd Little athletic complex is sketchy. To start I have never seen such security at any school, ever. The guards were telling me that shootings and stabbings and fights at their facility and events are very common.

ne day I had already packed my bike into my (bed capped, thus locked) pickup well before and was going to the parking area to get my truck to bring next to the school in order to pick up my son with all his gear. It was late and somewhat after dark, my son had won the event so most of the other competitors having been eliminated had left and the crowd in the parking lot was vastly different than before I wasn't necessarily expecting it but should have. I saw some hoodloom looking people in earshot as I was walking into the parking lot and overheard "look at that guy with the hip sack I wonder what he has in it if it's worth robbing him". Thankfully am very tall, slightly muscular and know how to handle situations like that and have an air of confidence. I definitely give an air of not being an easy target even without all the other stuff I can do. I didn't reply or say anything but was ready to deploy pepper spray... and other things. Have some experience and decent training in self defense and all the disciplines seem to come together in that the best solution to any of these challenges is simply getting away to avoid confrontation which is what happened. Thankfully nothing occurred, put both my hands in their places one for the defensive tool for quick use, the other for my keys which quickly unlocked my vehicle, started it up and drove back to the school to pick up my son and we went home uneventfully.

The greenway itself does go through miles of ghetto. It's less ugly because it's mostly surrounded by trees but New Haven is a dump. Once you're out of town it gets more and more beautiful. Once I made it 14 miles North way past Mount Carmel it was very pretty. There were some gravel sections too that you could explore off to the side. Even when you're through the "ghetto" parts you see people there for exercise without any shady characters. But it's not the kind of place I would want to be around after dark for sure. I would go again but I will be much more cognizant of sunset and move my vehicle closer to the school if my son(s) are skilled enough to last long enough through the eliminations.
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Old 10-24-21, 09:14 AM
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Not the easiest to search but try Search Connecticut Bike Routes and Rides
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