Author Topic: Opinions needed for route choice San Francisco or Portland to New York City?  (Read 1050 times)

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Offline thatdanshort

I'm considering doing a coast-to-coast, but not the entire Transamerica Trail. I intend to end in New York City, but trying to decide wether to start in San Francisco (where I'd rather start) or in Portland (where the TA trail starts).

If I started in SA I would join the TA trail in Pueblo, OR.

My question is, and I realise the answer will be somewhat subjective in nature, which is the better route to Pueblo?

I'm asking this because once I leave the SA the route to Pueblo seems more sparsely populated and you have 'the loneliest road in America' to contend with, whereas leaving from Portland sees you ride through some (according to my research of riders stories and travel resources) very impressive terrain, such as the rockies - which I think I'll miss if I leave from San Francisco.

I will be doing the from the Beginning of July (either 2014/15)

Anyone prepared to share their opinion?

Offline aggie

If you start in SF you will most likely be doing the Western Express route.  This route will take you through Nevada on hwy 50 and into Utah.  I really like this route however in July this part of the route will be very hot and dry.  There aren't many places to get water so you have to plan on taking enough to go 60 to 70 miles between towns.  If you start early in the morning you can get in a number of miles before the hottest part of day. 

Offline thatdanshort

Thanks aggie. I will be taking the Western Express route if I leave from SF (not SA - don't know what I was thinking), which I should have said.

Points noted about the water and getting miles out of the way before the heat peaks.

If I leave from SF I will take the Western Express to Pueblo, CO then the Transamerica Trail and move on to the Atlantic Coast route at a point near Richmond, VA where both routes intersect. Then on to New York, NY as my final destination.

To add to the request for opinion - has anyone ever ridden into New York city? Is there a recommended approach? I hate to pre-judge but just like here in the UK there are certain parts of some cities you look more like an easy target than a cycle tourer.

Offline John Nelson

All routes have their own advantages. The portion of the TA from Pueblo to Astoria has a lot to say for it, with Grand Teton, Yellowstone, the wild skies of Montana, Lolo Pass, the 70-mile downhill in the gorgeous Lochsa River valley, Hells Canyon, the Cascades and the Oregon coast, not to mention all the history you pick up about Lewis and Clark, the Nez Perce and the Oregon Trail.

Offline thatdanshort

Thanks John Nelson, very persuasive points for starting in Oregon. Think I might just be being seduced by the idea of leaving one coast via the golden gate bridge and ending at another coast in the shadow of New Yorks skyscrapers - the idea in itself isn't reason enough to miss out on a whole series of great experiences though, especially some of the things you mention.

Any other thoughts are welcomed!

Offline aggie

The WE also includes the national parks of Bryce and Capital Reef.  With short detour you can also see Zion (spectacular) and Natural Bridges.  You also travel through Grand Staircase National Monument and a small part of the Glenn Canyon National Rec Area.  Another detour could take you to the valley of the gods with its wonderful views.   You'll be hard pressed to see so many different parks and landscapes in such a small area anywhere else in the US.  The climate isn't for everyone but if you like it warm and dry this may be the best area to ride.  Just depends on the type of scenery and environment you want to travel through.

Offline indyfabz

The only way you can actually ride into NYC from NJ is via the George Washington Bridge way up north.

There are several rail and ferry options to Manhattan, but there are bike restrictions on the rail options during weekdays and certain holidays. Every year my local club does a ride from New Hope, PA (which is on ACA's Atlantic Coast route) to Brooklyn. We cross into Lambertville, NJ (also on the ACA route) and then take a mostly different route to Hoboken, NJ, where we catch the ferry to Manhattan and then ride over the Brooklyn Bridge.  The ferry ride is very nice. It lets you off on/near the MUP that runs along the Hudson River.

I think our route and the ACA spur to NYC have a few common points, including Summit, NJ, where the spur ends and you take the train. When the time comes, I can give you the route from there to Hoboken with the proviso that it can only be ridden on the weekends, and preferably Sunday. That's because it goes through the Port of Elizabeth & Newark. Riding through there on a weekday would mean suicide by truck.

Our route does pass through Jersey City in North Jersey, a town with a less than stellar reputation. However, it avoids the really bad sections of that town. In the 16 years we have been riding to Brooklyn, no one has ever been the victim of violence. In fact, we often get cheers from the locals. But if riding through areas with poor people who don't look like you is frightening, I recommend that you stop in Summit and take the train to Penn Station.

Offline thatdanshort

Thanks again Aggie, I'll look up everything you mentioned. Also thanks indyfabz, I'll consider taking you up on the offer of the route specifics if needed - and point noted about when to attempt it. Your testimony is enough really, you sound experienced. I'm not at all afraid of riding through poor areas in the sense of self preservation because I don't think people who aren't well-off are naturally pre-disposed to violence. I am concerned about simply ruining the ending of a great experience by riding into somewhere well known for opportunistic thieves, that's all really - but that's what the big ring is for I guess :)

Offline indyfabz

There ain't much of anything to stop for in Jersey City, so opportunistic theft shouldn't be a problem. Hoboken, where the ferries to NYC leave from during the week, allegedly has the highest concentration of bars of any city in the U.S. It's the birthplace of baseball and the home town of Frank Sinatra. If you have ever seen the American TV show "Cake Boss," the bakery is right down town. The main ferry dock is located behind a beautifully restored train station built in 1934. The city has seen a huge turnaround during the last few decades. Lot's of people who work in Manhattan live there.  Still, I don't know that I would leave my bike unattended for any length of time, at least not in some areas of town.