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Starting point for 1 week tour ending in Malvern, PA?

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Starting point for 1 week tour ending in Malvern, PA?

Old 06-15-15, 11:36 AM
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Starting point for 1 week tour ending in Malvern, PA?

I have a need to be in Malvern, PA on October 13. One idea is to combine this with a short tour, about 1 week. I have done 3 tours in this area, one across Southern New York, one up the Atlantic Coast and one up to Maine (these two either started or ended in Pennsylvania). But, I am a West Coaster, so have little detailed knowledge of where interesting rides might start for ending in Malvern, PA.

Some other information:

Due to time limitations, I would be doing a get hosted/credit card tour, so no camping. Does this rule out the GAP from Pittsburgh to Malvern? At over 380 miles, it might be too far, anyway.

I would like to fly into and ride out of a city. This limits it to Pittsburgh, Richmond, VA, possibly Boston. Any other cities I might be able to fly to from San Francisco?

I have no interest in riding down the Finger Lakes again, Southern New York, or the Atlantic Coast.

I'd be interested in any and all ideas.
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Old 06-15-15, 12:17 PM
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I don't think the GAP and C&O option is bad. You'd want to abandon the C&O around Williamsport, from where you go over some hills to Gettysburg, then York, Lancaster. Lancaster county is lovely cycling. I wouldn't fear 400 miles in a week, but it depends on your style.

Albany NY is about 250 miles, which would bring you down through (or near) the Catskills and the Delaware River. Might be very nice too.
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Old 06-15-15, 01:53 PM
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Why not start and finish in the same spot and a ride a big loop around the area. It would make planning the flights a lot easier. You could do Delaware Water Gap, Hershey, PA, northern MD, even northern VA. Just ride a big loop, not an out and back but a loop.
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Old 06-15-15, 02:03 PM
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Originally Posted by rhm
I don't think the GAP and C&O option is bad. You'd want to abandon the C&O around Williamsport, from where you go over some hills to Gettysburg, then York, Lancaster. Lancaster county is lovely cycling. I wouldn't fear 400 miles in a week, but it depends on your style.

Albany NY is about 250 miles, which would bring you down through (or near) the Catskills and the Delaware River. Might be very nice too.
I won't have much time to train for this one after a month of no biking. 400 miles would be aggressive for me in a week and I know PA isn't flat.

As for the Catskills and the Delaware River, I just did a ride through them last year.
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Old 06-15-15, 02:05 PM
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Originally Posted by bikenh
Why not start and finish in the same spot and a ride a big loop around the area. It would make planning the flights a lot easier. You could do Delaware Water Gap, Hershey, PA, northern MD, even northern VA. Just ride a big loop, not an out and back but a loop.
Would I fly into Philly?

I have been through the Delaware Water Gap twice now, once in each direction. While it is nice, I'd like to see some part of the world I haven't seen yet. But, maybe there is another loop to do?
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Old 06-15-15, 02:33 PM
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Well, much of the east coast looks kinda similar.

Thinking loops from Phila, you could go around the Delaware bay, so the only fixed point is the Lewes Ferry. NJ pine lands, farmland and shore; Delaware Atlantic beaches, flat farmland, Delaware Bay; could work the lower Susquehanna and Lancaster County into that as well.
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Old 06-15-15, 03:25 PM
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Where was you planning on flying out of...Philly? Make it a round trip flight.

I would have to agree there are lots of options where you can. Look at a the road map of PA/DE/MD/NJ. Tons of road to ride there. You never know what you can find if you never try. I'm getting ready to leave in a few day for down that way myself. I'm not going to a particular destination, as in some scenic area. I'm just planning on riding through every county in NJ and hoping depending on circumstances in the first week of the trip to hit DE and the eastern side of MD and hopefully by the time I head on south from there that I would have hit all counties in NJ, DE and MD between last year and this year. I don't care about the scenery I just ride the ride. Around this part of country you don't have the scenery the same way that you have it out west. Yeah, DWG is bland, I've did it both ways over the past few years myself...nothing impressive scenery wise but it hooks me up with where I'm trying to get from/to so I rode through there anyways.

As I've come to learn, you never know what you might find unless you go there. Make the flight plans easy and just start riding the roads, heck with the route. Come up with your own route not a pre-organized route. Why see what everyone else see, go see your own thing...make it your ride, not someone elses.
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Old 06-15-15, 03:41 PM
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I see that there is a bike route from Richmond, VA up to and past Washington DC. Also, the distance from Richmond to Malvern is about 300 miles.

Has anyone ridden north from Richmond, VA? If so, any suggestions or comments on the route?
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Old 06-15-15, 05:05 PM
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Originally Posted by raybo
I see that there is a bike route from Richmond, VA up to and past Washington DC. Also, the distance from Richmond to Malvern is about 300 miles.

Has anyone ridden north from Richmond, VA? If so, any suggestions or comments on the route?
Personally, I can't get excited about that route. If you're not obsessed with riding every mile, how about the following route which maximizes the nicer parts, IMO:

Fly into DC. If you fly to Dulles (IAD), you can ride a short distance and take the W&OD paved rail-trail into DC. If you fly into National (DCA), you're practically in DC and can take a paved trail directly from the airport into DC. If you fly into BWI, there's a paved trail around the periphery of the airport, which connects to a paved rail-trail to Annapolis (Baltimore & Annapolis Trail).

If you arrive at one of the DC airports and are in DC, you can either take your bike on Metro (except during rushhour on weekdays) to New Carrollton, or cobble together a route there, and from there bike to Annapolis. Relatively quiet back roads exist. From Annapolis, ride just a mile or two to get to the Baltimore & Annapolis Trail to get to BWI. From there, I would suggest you take the light rail (bikes are allowed) all the way from the airport through Baltimore to Towson, just north of Baltimore. In Towson, ride a short distance to the southern terminus of the Northern Central Rail Trail which goes all the way to York, PA. It's unpaved but had a decent surface, the last time I biked on it. It's a nice trail.

You don't need to ride all the way to York. You can go east after you cross into PA to get to Lancaster County. In Lancaster County, I would meander around through Pennsylvania Dutch country to enjoy the quiet roads (if you avoid the major state roads), pretty scenery, covered bridges, and Amish farms. Malvern is a short distance east of the Amish area.

DC is pretty, Annapolis is pretty, the rail trails are very nice, and Lancaster County is excellent for touring if you stay on minor roads, of which there are many in Amish country.
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Old 06-15-15, 06:03 PM
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Originally Posted by axolotl
Personally, I can't get excited about that route.
Why is that?

Thanks for the routing suggestion. I will take a serious look at it.
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Old 06-15-15, 07:00 PM
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Originally Posted by raybo
Why is that?
It's a route to get from A to B, but there are much more pleasant and scenic areas to ride in the region, IMO. BTW, early October usually has nice temperatures and the leaves will still be green.
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Old 06-15-15, 07:20 PM
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Richmond opens up great opportunities. You can ride northwest so stay well west of DC, then angle north to the Harrisburg area, then east through the Penn Dutch area and on to Phila/Malvern.

This can be a very pretty rural ride as long as you stay west of the high traffic corridors.

You can also make a nice ride from Albany, riding south in the Central Valley (east of the Hudson River), crossing the Bear mtn Bridge (or higher), then angling across and down through western NJ, to Easton PA, then on south along the Delaware to New Hope, and on to Malvern.

This won't be too hilly except the section working SW from Bear Mtn, to western NY where you'll be going against the grain.

If I had to choose for myself, I'd start in Richmond, but that's only because the Central Valley, and areas between NYC and Phila are too familiar to me, and I prefer new places. Otherwise, one advantage of the Albany start is an amazing network of lightly traveled 2 lane.
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Old 06-15-15, 07:42 PM
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One other off the wall idea that can make for a very nice ride. Start in Richmond and ride southeast to the Norfolk/Virginia Beach area. Cadge a ride across the Delaware Bay Bridge, then you have a pretty, quiet ride up the Delmarva Peninsula to south of Wilmington, and a quick suburban ride up to Malverne.

This could be a great ride, especially if you like seafood, but depends on getting across the Bay Bridge where bicycles are strictly verboten. I understand that you can make arrangements for a police/tow truck lift across, but confirm this before buying the plane ticket or you might find yourself stranded.
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Old 06-16-15, 08:00 AM
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I like the idea of riding out of Richmond, VA and going north. I've only been to Richmond once and, it turns out, a good friend lives there. The distance is about right, as well. I'm sure I'll have many more questions as time goes on.

Thanks, everyone, for your ideas and input.

I really appreciate it.
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Old 06-16-15, 08:32 AM
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PGH to Cumberland using the GAP. U.S. 220 to Bedford, PA (original home of Cannondale, motel in town) to pick up PA Bike Route S. The next day you might have to do a short day to Breezewood (a/k/a The Town of Motels). From there, you take a detour off Route S to ride the abandoned stretch of the PA Turnpike. Great ride assuming you have a good light and don't mind two, long, unlit tunnels. Also, it eliminates some serious climbing. Easy to get back on Route S from the end. Stay that night in Chambersburg. Other stops in the , York, Lancaster and/or Morgantown areas depending on how much mileage you can cover in a day. From there, Malvern is pretty easy.

I did the above during a tour from PGH to Philly. Can't remember the mileage, but without camping and cooking gear it shouldn't be that difficult. Once you get to Cowan's Gap and start descending towards U.S. 30, which takes you through Chambersburg, you leave the major hills behind. You can shorten it by leaving the GAP at Rockwood and picking up Route S to Bedford. (Route S joins the GAP at some point south of PGH and then leave it at Rockwood and heads more directly to Bedford.

I am leaving for the Black Hills tomorrow morning so I don't have time to provide details right now. I will be back at the end of June. In the mean time, here is the map for Route S:

ftp://ftp.dot.state.pa.us/public/pdf...state_mapS.pdf

Click on the individual page numbers to see the details.
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