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NYC to DC

Old 06-28-08, 03:52 PM
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NYC to DC

A friend and I are planning a trip from New York City to Washington D.C. Its not a long trip 286 miles one way, 572 round trip. We set aside 9 days to do, we want to do a nice leisure ride down and back, we want to take everything in during the adventure. We are bringing a small tent and other necessities, so we can camp in the woods on the way down. We figured that at an 11mph pace, we'd ride for about 6 hrs, giving us a 71 mile day. The one main thing holding us back is the route planning. One, we want to be able to find some woods to camp in, so we arent screwed. Two, we want a nice scenic route. And three, we cant legally drive on any major highways, so I'm asking for help. If anyone can offer me any help in any way, whether you've done the trip, you know the dc or jersey areas, or anything that could help us out I'd appreciate it.
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Old 06-28-08, 04:03 PM
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Originally Posted by eastendroadie
A friend and I are planning a trip from New York City to Washington D.C. Its not a long trip 286 miles one way, 572 round trip. We set aside 9 days to do, we want to do a nice leisure ride down and back, we want to take everything in during the adventure. We are bringing a small tent and other necessities, so we can camp in the woods on the way down. We figured that at an 11mph pace, we'd ride for about 6 hrs, giving us a 71 mile day. The one main thing holding us back is the route planning. One, we want to be able to find some woods to camp in, so we arent screwed. Two, we want a nice scenic route. And three, we cant legally drive on any major highways, so I'm asking for help. If anyone can offer me any help in any way, whether you've done the trip, you know the dc or jersey areas, or anything that could help us out I'd appreciate it.
Getting from NYC to New Jersey is not easy. I'm sure it can be done, but the roads in NE jersey suck for cycling. You might consider public transportation at least to Newark.

The George Washington Bridge is the only way I know of fron Manhattan to NJ that allows bikes on it. A ferry to Jersey City is certainly an option, but the roads alla round there are almost all highways.

Somebody must have done this!
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Old 06-28-08, 06:40 PM
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Originally Posted by eastendroadie
A friend and I are planning a trip from New York City to Washington D.C. Its not a long trip 286 miles one way, 572 round trip. We set aside 9 days to do, we want to do a nice leisure ride down and back, we want to take everything in during the adventure. We are bringing a small tent and other necessities, so we can camp in the woods on the way down. We figured that at an 11mph pace, we'd ride for about 6 hrs, giving us a 71 mile day. The one main thing holding us back is the route planning. One, we want to be able to find some woods to camp in, so we arent screwed. Two, we want a nice scenic route. And three, we cant legally drive on any major highways, so I'm asking for help. If anyone can offer me any help in any way, whether you've done the trip, you know the dc or jersey areas, or anything that could help us out I'd appreciate it.
It's a little dated, but still seems interesting:

https://www.biketouring.net/rides/bos-dc/index.html
 
Old 06-28-08, 06:52 PM
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Originally Posted by neilfein
Getting from NYC to New Jersey is not easy. I'm sure it can be done, but the roads in NE jersey suck for cycling. You might consider public transportation at least to Newark.

The George Washington Bridge is the only way I know of from Manhattan to NJ that allows bikes on it. A ferry to Jersey City is certainly an option, but the roads all around there are almost all highways.

Somebody must have done this!
John Dorsey did, via Staten Island:

https://www.biketouring.net/rides/bos...x.html#Day%205

I was going to suggest Adventure Cycling, but it appears their main East Coast Route skips NYC, although there is a spur suggestion you might consider.

https://www.adventurecycling.org/rout...?pg=detail&s=2
 
Old 06-28-08, 06:59 PM
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Originally Posted by eastendroadie
A friend and I are planning a trip from New York City to Washington D.C. Its not a long trip 286 miles one way, 572 round trip. We set aside 9 days to do, we want to do a nice leisure ride down and back, we want to take everything in during the adventure. We are bringing a small tent and other necessities, so we can camp in the woods on the way down. We figured that at an 11mph pace, we'd ride for about 6 hrs, giving us a 71 mile day. The one main thing holding us back is the route planning. One, we want to be able to find some woods to camp in, so we arent screwed. Two, we want a nice scenic route. And three, we cant legally drive on any major highways, so I'm asking for help. If anyone can offer me any help in any way, whether you've done the trip, you know the dc or jersey areas, or anything that could help us out I'd appreciate it.
Let us know how you do 'stealth camping' in northern NJ and the Philadelphia suburbs. Or are you skipping PA entirely and crossing into Delaware via the Cape May ferry?

FWIW, Adventure Cycling's East Coast route, from Windsor Locks, CT to Richmond, VA, via Lambertville, NJ,. Norristown, Phoenixville, and Manheim, PA, and Rockville, MD, is over 700 miles one way. Your 572 round trip seems very optimistic.
 
Old 06-29-08, 05:43 AM
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Originally Posted by eastendroadie
Its not a long trip 286 miles one way, 572 round trip.
How do you know the exact distance if you don't know your route?

Off the top of my head, I'd say you have 2 overall options: 1) Go west from NY passing north & west of Philly & west of Baltimore to drop down to DC. 2) Take one of those commuter ferries from Manhattan to the Jersey shore (do they take bikes?), bike down to Cape May, go across the Eastern Shore, and hitch a ride over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.
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Old 06-29-08, 06:36 AM
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If I were to do this, I would try to find smaller roads parallel to US Route 1, which is a relatively straightforward route from NYC to DC. I am not familiar with the roads in NNJ and beyond Trenton NJ, but Rte 20 can bring you from Clifton NJ area (once past GWB and the surrounding highways) to Newark, from where you can take some bigger local road like Freelinghuysen Ave and reach Elizabeth NJ and from Elizabeth NJ, take Route 27 all the way to Princeton NJ and then Route 206 to PA. Rte 130 from No. Brunswick NJ all the way to Walt Whitman Bridge to Phila is also a possibility.
The D&R canal towpath can provide traffic free riding from New Brunswick NJ to Trenton NJ.
There are a number of small township/county owned parks where stealth camping may be possible with a lot of stealth.

Last edited by ak08820; 06-29-08 at 06:41 AM. Reason: more info
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Old 06-29-08, 07:29 AM
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Originally Posted by ak08820
If I were to do this, I would try to find smaller roads parallel to US Route 1, which is a relatively straightforward route from NYC to DC. I am not familiar with the roads in NNJ and beyond Trenton NJ, but Rte 20 can bring you from Clifton NJ area (once past GWB and the surrounding highways) to Newark, from where you can take some bigger local road like Freelinghuysen Ave and reach Elizabeth NJ and from Elizabeth NJ, take Route 27 all the way to Princeton NJ and then Route 206 to PA. Rte 130 from No. Brunswick NJ all the way to Walt Whitman Bridge to Phila is also a possibility.
The D&R canal towpath can provide traffic free riding from New Brunswick NJ to Trenton NJ.
There are a number of small township/county owned parks where stealth camping may be possible with a lot of stealth.
As Neil F. has pointed out elsewhere, the D & R Canal Towpath is in bad shape for portions of its length. I wouldn't count on it being an easy choice of a touring route.
 
Old 06-29-08, 08:41 AM
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nyc to dc via adventure cycling

I was planning on doing the same ride (NYC to DC) last summer. I had three days to do it (one way) and realized it was too far if I was going to follow the adventure cycling route, which takes you from Newark Penn Station NJ to Norristown PA (65 miles) and then from Norristown to DC (260 miles). I liked the adventure cycling route -- it was scenic and usually off major roads. My favorite part was seeing Mennonites plowing fields with all wooden horse drawn plows.

Anyway, I ended up taking public transportation from Brooklyn all the way to Philadelphia (NY subway to NJ transit to Philly transit). There is no Amtrak involved -- to go from Brooklyn to Philadelphia via public transit cost about $20. Philadelphia is South of Norristown by 30 miles or so. I went from Philadelphia to Norristown and then from Norristown to DC. It took three days and each day was pretty intense -- there are some big hills/mountains in PA.

I would also suggest taking public transit out of NYC -- don't go during rush hour because you could get stopped by security because of bike regulations. The cops made me sit in Newark Penn station for an hour until rush hour was over.

If you have time to order the adventure cycling maps I'd do it. You need two maps: atlantic coast sections 2 and 3.
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Old 06-29-08, 10:12 AM
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Originally Posted by bcody
I was planning on doing the same ride (NYC to DC) last summer. I had three days to do it (one way) and realized it was too far if I was going to follow the adventure cycling route, which takes you from Newark Penn Station NJ to Norristown PA (65 miles) and then from Norristown to DC (260 miles). I liked the adventure cycling route -- it was scenic and usually off major roads. My favorite part was seeing Mennonites plowing fields with all wooden horse drawn plows.

Anyway, I ended up taking public transportation from Brooklyn all the way to Philadelphia (NY subway to NJ transit to Philly transit). There is no Amtrak involved -- to go from Brooklyn to Philadelphia via public transit cost about $20. Philadelphia is South of Norristown by 30 miles or so. I went from Philadelphia to Norristown and then from Norristown to DC. It took three days and each day was pretty intense -- there are some big hills/mountains in PA.

I would also suggest taking public transit out of NYC -- don't go during rush hour because you could get stopped by security because of bike regulations. The cops made me sit in Newark Penn station for an hour until rush hour was over.

If you have time to order the adventure cycling maps I'd do it. You need two maps: atlantic coast sections 2 and 3.
I suggest, as an alternate, taking NJ Transit to Trenton, transferring to the SEPTA R7 line from Trenton to 30th Street Station, and either riding the Schuylkill River Trail (entrance two blocks from the station) to Norristown - 20 flat and car-free miles aside from a few miles in hilly Manayunk - or taking the PA Bike "E" route to Marcus Hook and entering Delaware. The SEPTA R6 line goes to Spring Mill, Conshohocken, and Norristown, but the stations don't have elevated platforms, so it can be work to get your bike on and off.

BTW, those were probably Amish, not Mennonite, farmers you saw.
 
Old 06-29-08, 12:42 PM
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thank to everyone here, ecspecially historian, it gave me alot of new options. the john dorsey story you gave me was a big help. I had a feeling there was no good route out of ny, and since i live out far on the east end of long island, there is no going around it. the enitre route planning will be difficult but with everyones help it has become much easier. we were going to try and skip over pa and ride down the jersey coast, then began to cut through jersey aroundwharton stae park area, hopefully giving us some cover to camp. the camping will be difficult in many areas, but its the least of our worries at this point. thanks again
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Old 06-29-08, 06:15 PM
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Be advised that it is illegal to ride a bike on any divided highway in the State of New Jersey. If the police see you, they'll warn you the first time, and give you a summons the second time. I also don't know of any public camp grounds in Northern New Jersey. Stealth camping in North Jersey is difficult because of the high population density. If the cops come across your campsite, they'll tell you to move along or risk arrest for vagrancy.
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Old 06-29-08, 06:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Fissile
Be advised that it is illegal to ride a bike on any divided highway in the State of New Jersey. If the police see you, they'll warn you the first time, and give you a summons the second time.
I didn't know that, actually. It's not in title 30 of the NJ MV code; where is it?

Of course, it'd be pretty insane to ride on most divided highways, but I have done it for short stretches when there's no alternative.
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Old 06-29-08, 10:57 PM
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Originally Posted by The Historian
BTW, those were probably Amish, not Mennonite, farmers you saw.
There was a sign in front of the farm that said "Mennonite." I'm curious as to why you would think they were probably Amish.

In case your route takes you this way, I just remembered there is a paved "bike highway" of sorts that connects Philadelphia to Norristown.

I still have the Adventure Cycling maps if you're interested in any details.
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Old 06-29-08, 11:02 PM
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Originally Posted by bcody
There was a sign in front of the farm that said "Mennonite." I'm curious as to why you would think they were probably Amish.

In case your route takes you this way, I just remembered there is a paved "bike highway" of sorts that connects Philadelphia to Norristown.

I still have the Adventure Cycling maps if you're interested in any details.
Because all the Mennonites I know use modern farm equipment. I could be wrong, but I thought even so-called Old Order Mennonites used modern methods of farming.

The "bike highway" is the Schuylkill River Trail, which travels from Philadelphia past Norristown to Mont Clare, just outside Phoenixville.
 
Old 06-30-08, 08:47 AM
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Originally Posted by The Historian
Because all the Mennonites I know use modern farm equipment. I could be wrong, but I thought even so-called Old Order Mennonites used modern methods of farming.

The "bike highway" is the Schuylkill River Trail, which travels from Philadelphia past Norristown to Mont Clare, just outside Phoenixville.
Apparently Stauffer mennonites differ from old order Mennonites in that they do not use modern farm equipment. Interesting.
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Old 06-30-08, 09:52 AM
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Originally Posted by bcody
Apparently Stauffer mennonites differ from old order Mennonites in that they do not use modern farm equipment. Interesting.
I can't keep all the Anabaptists straight. I'm not even sure the Anabaptists can themselves.
 
Old 06-30-08, 12:03 PM
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I rode one way from New York to DC in September 2006. I used the ferry to cross the Hudson to Jersey City (you can also use the PATH trains). Highway 7 from Jersey City to Newark is one of those great uglies, and when I rode, there was broken glass everywhere. The remainder of my first day, to Princeton, New Jersey, was mostly along highway 17, which accommodates bicycles poorly, and is full of drivers who are too cheap to pay for the New Jersey Turnpike. I saw absolutely no places where stealth camping would have worked for you. I know there are other routes through Jersey to Philly.

There are people here who say they have good ones. What can you find on www.bikely.com and www.gpsies.com? Those with better routes, please post them.

Another obstacle in your tour, which you have to consider, is that there are only three bridges across the Susquehanna River in Maryland, between Philly and Baltimore. None of these three bridges allowed bicycles as of September 2006. I didn't have much choice but to ride when I got to the Pulaski Bridge in Maryland. I told the cop who stopped me at the other end. He did not give me a ticket. He acknowledged that no legal route exists. He told me that in the summer, the police department sometimes gives bicyclists a ride over the the bridge in the back of a pickup truck.

Baltimore to Washington has a bottleneck, a river between the two cities that is crossed only in a few places and mostly by major highways. I remember riding along highway 29 (Columbia Pike) a superhighway with wide shoulders. If you look closely at the map, there are few bridges. I saw some surprising wildlife off the busy highways between Baltimore and Washington, including a red fox.

Although there are some big obstacles, this trip is doable.

Howard
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Old 06-30-08, 01:24 PM
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Originally Posted by metzenberg

Although there are some big obstacles, this trip is doable.

Howard
Yes, it's doable but it's not easy, or fast. The only way a cyclist can ride out of Manhattan to Jersey, is over the GWB. That puts you in Bergen County, which has a higher population density than Bangladesh. From there it's possible to ride back roads all the way to Philly, but it gets very complicated and takes forever -- there is no direct route for cyclists.

I always advise people who start in NYC to avoid Jersey entirely and take mass transit for that leg of their journey.

Look at the bright side, if oil goes over $200 a barrel, the Turnpike will become the world's biggest bike path -- 14 lanes wide from NYC to Philly.
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Old 07-02-08, 01:57 PM
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There is a Tour de Pink (breast cancer survivors) event that runs from Hershey, PA to Seabright NJ/ Atlantic Highlands. You may be able to leverage some of the NJ route. Detailed route posted here: https://www.youngsurvival.org/tour_de_pink/route.html
Run it backwards and it can have you in Trenton area at end of day 1. Not certain how you get to the start point though. They have last year's route that ran through King of Prussia, PA. You could probably find some state parks to camp in.
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Old 07-03-08, 12:09 AM
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I used aca's atlantic coast route when i went from nyc to dc, on my way to new orleans. the only thing extra I can add to all this info is that there is plenty of guerilla camping once you get 15 miles out of newark on the route, all the way to dc. Also there is a great hostel (capitol city hostel) for $15 a night in dc, although its in the worst part of the city. It was me and 4 new beautiful eastern european women backpackers arriving each night for the 4 nights I stayed there. oh and aca give you the option to go through or bypass baltimore. Bypass it. a plastic downtown and a sprint through ghetto. no offence baltimorians.
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Old 07-03-08, 12:12 AM
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that sounds offensive. I dont know baltimore, just the route that aca had on their maps, and if you dont go exploring thats what youll expect to find. That sounds better.
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