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Washington to Boston corridor

Old 01-17-23, 06:20 PM
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mev
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Washington to Boston corridor

I am in early stages of dreaming of another long trip - this time with a theme of visiting US state capitols in the lower 48.

For planning purposes, I put in a Google Maps route that gave me 13875 miles to visit state capitol buildings in the lower 48. Not the absolute minimum distance I could find but enough in a range to compute a time budget and to cross check seasons. However, I wouldn't actually use Google Maps bicycle directions (for several reasons) but instead get my own routing using a combination of investigating maps, existing routes and Strava heat maps...

Hence, this post that is more specific to the Washington DC to Boston corridor to solicit any ideas to investigate. In particular, image you wanted to bicycle the following segments:

Washington DC to Annapolis
Annapolis to Dover
Dover to Trenton
Trenton to Hartford
Hartford to Providence
Providence to Boston

This goes through a somewhat dense populated area with ~50 million in the total metro areas (e.g. Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, Boston). I'd want to look for some routes didn't go too far out of the way but also were OK for cycling. I did the Atlantic Coast some years ago including going through NYC and lived in Boston so I have seen some of this before. Any thoughts or suggestions of route areas or cycle corridors that get me to where I want to go?


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Old 01-18-23, 02:52 PM
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The Chesapeake Bay Bridge (US 50 over the bay) provides a good example why you want to be careful with Strava heat maps - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chesapeake_Bay_Bridge. Picture below shows a bright line across the bridge. Most of that goes away if you filter out cyclists and have only people traveling by foot or by water. Also only using one of the spans and not both. This likely correlates with a large event to run a 10k across the bridge and there are otherwise not open for crossing by bicycle.

Meanwhile, I'd done some further looking around and found bike maps online (typically PDF) from Washington DC, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York City and Boston.
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Old 01-18-23, 05:06 PM
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One option from Trenton to Hartford is east to the Sandy Hook, NJ area, ferry to NYC, ride east south shore of Brooklyn and Queens, thru Long Island to the Port Washington-Bridgeport, CT ferry, then up to Hartford.
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Old 01-18-23, 06:20 PM
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Are you looking for the shortest practical route? Best scenery? Most pleasant riding? So many options. For Dover to Trenton, for example, you might want to consider going a bit out of the way by going south to Lewes, crossing to cape May on the ferry and going through somewhat rural southern NJ rather than riding the I-95 corridor from Wilmington through Philadelphia. But Wilmington/Philly is the shortest route
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Old 01-18-23, 06:55 PM
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Originally Posted by AeroGut
Are you looking for the shortest practical route? Best scenery? Most pleasant riding? So many options. For Dover to Trenton, for example, you might want to consider going a bit out of the way by going south to Lewes, crossing to cape May on the ferry and going through somewhat rural southern NJ rather than riding the I-95 corridor from Wilmington through Philadelphia. But Wilmington/Philly is the shortest route
A bit of a blend. When I came up the Atlantic Coast, I took the ferry to Cape May and that worked well. I then ended up via Newark and the Hoboken ferry into NYC before via Queens, Long Island and the ferry across to New London. Dover to Trenton via Cape May isn't too far out of range to completely rule it out. Here is my general sense of preferences:

- shortest practical route -> shorter is better but not only consideration
- best scenery -> not a big factor
- most pleasant riding -> I would describe this as having a "hygiene factor". I've crossed some busy metros on narrow highways without much in way of shoulders (US 1 into Miami) and while I can do it - this gets old and frustrating after an hour or two. However, moderately busy roads with mostly shoulders is fine. So more about avoiding the worst situations for extended periods than trying to find the quietest routes

It is also useful to anticipate alternatives since one instance of extended road construction can turn an otherwise OK route into something much more challenging. Also, depending on exactly where I am at - I might consider a more direct route on a Sunday when I expect less traffic than during a week day when I might be more wary of traveling inbound during morning commute hours or outbound during the afternoon.

Last edited by mev; 01-18-23 at 07:03 PM.
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Old 01-19-23, 07:25 AM
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that's a neat way to visit all the states in the union. If only I had this much free time. I keep saying I am working on it but sometimes I wonder if I'm too optimistic with my patience :-) Cheers.
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Old 01-25-23, 07:46 PM
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A few years back, I did a DC to Boston 5-day tour. Day 1 was DC (actually, Arlington, VA) to Annapolis. Some of that was on a bit too high auto traffic roads with minimal shoulders for my taste, but not terrible. Day 2 was Annapolis to Lewes, DE. A chunk of that seemed to be on major highway, which was a bummer since I was really looking forward to seeing Maryland’s Eastern Shore. To get over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, I used a taxi service. Day 3 started with the ferry to Cape May (the ferryman made sure I was the last to board and the last to disembark—very car-centric) then up to Absecon, NJ, just west of Atlantic City. Day 4 took some replanning as thunderstorms were threatening, so I ended up on highway 9 for most of the day up to Bay Head, where I caught a commuter train to NYC just as the skies opened up. From the city, I caught another train to New Haven, where I spent the night. Day 5 started with a train to New London, and then a really great route up the eastern edge of CT, into RI, and then a rail trail that runs across the state all the way to Providence. I then caught the commuter rail back to Boston and was home in time for dinner.
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Old 01-26-23, 06:45 AM
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These two made it look like it could be fun:




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