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Any recommendations for riding in the SW NY/NW PA area?

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Any recommendations for riding in the SW NY/NW PA area?

Old 05-22-13, 09:34 AM
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Any recommendations for riding in the SW NY/NW PA area?

I'm thinking of planning a road cycling vacation in June. I would normally go to the Adirondacks but June isn't very good because of the black flies, so I was thinking of trying SW NY/NW PA area. Maybe in or around Allegany State Park.

I don't know that area at all so can anyone familiar with it make any recommendations for road cycling in that area, pro or con?

Thanks!

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Old 06-10-13, 07:16 AM
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I ended up going to Allegany State Park this past weekend and going on two rides so thought I'd report back in case anyone else was interested in riding there in the future.

On Saturday I went on a 52-mile ride using a route I found that someone posted on mapmyride. I started in the Quaker area of the park, where I had booked a cabin, and rode up ASP 1 to the Red House area, down ASP 2 and into Bradford, PA, went west across Rt. 346 which then becomes Rt. 280, back to ASP 3 and into the park. The total ride was 52 miles.

About 5 miles up ASP 1 I came across a black bear, about 30 yards off to the side of the road. Close enough to see it really well, not close enough for discomfort though. It just stood and stared at me so I slowed down and turned around to see it better, then it trotted off. It was my only bear spotting of both rides. The rode going north on ASP 1 goes slowly and steadily uphill for about 5 miles, not too steep or anything really requiring you to get out of your saddle, but enough to give a pretty decent workout. Then you hit the crest and go downhill steadily for about 4 miles into the Red House area. This was definitely the funnest part of the ride! ASP 1 is in great shape. It doesn’t really have a shoulder but the lanes are fairly wide and with a speed limit of 35 mph and sparse traffic it’s a pretty relaxing and enjoyable ride.

The Red House area of the park is quite scenic with a small lake in front of the main building which looks like a Swiss chateau. Then you turn down ASP 2 heading south. ASP 2 isn’t in quite as good shape as ASP 1. The road is broken up quite a bit and there are long stretches where you keep hitting regular gaps in the pavement which is annoying but not enough to ruin the ride. You pass a lot of places where there are horse trails and people keep the horses on the side of the road so you just need to be aware of trucks with trailers backing out. You’ll have a steady climb on this road until you reach ASP 3, but nothing too severe.

You’ll then merge with ASP 3 right where the entrace to the park is, then if you leave the park the road takes you into Bradford, PA. This part of the ride is about 5 miles steadily downhill into Bradford. Bradford is a small town and the traffic isn’t extremely heavy and is easy to navigate. But when you turn onto Rt. 346 West everything changes. The road is in horrible condition. There is little to no shoulder, and the pavement is broken up very badly. There are grooves cut into the shoulder on the white line in many areas, and if you happen to ride over it it’s like going over cobblestones. So you’re forced to ride slightly into the lane. Once you get out of the city you hit more rural areas and although the traffic isn’t heavy you have cars passing you every couple of minutes or so. It didn’t feel safe to me and the riding wasn’t enjoyable at all. Once you hit the NY border though and the name changes to Rt. 280 the road significantly approves and you get a small shoulder and smooth pavement. This is an enjoyable stretch of the ride as it borders on the Allegheny River Reservoir.

After a few miles on Rt. 280 you’ll hit ASP 3 and be back in the park. ASP 3 doesn’t have much of a shoulder but it’s in good shape and the drivers are respectful. Overall the 3 main park roads are paved and in good shape and I never felt unsafe riding on any of them.

On Sunday morning I decided to stay within the park and rode up ASP 1 to the Red House area, down ASP 2 then west on ASP 3 back to the start at the Quaker area. The ride is 24 miles. This is a very nice ride with just enough hills to make it a good workout. I imagine that onces the leaves start changing color in the fall this would be a very beautiful ride.
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