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Messages - jcostanz

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General Discussion / Re: VT State Park Reservation Policy Change
« on: May 11, 2022, 09:12:33 pm »
It has been a few years since I planned a trip in VT, but last time VT state parks did have a 1 night reservation option for hikers and bikers, it required one to call the park or reservation office (I cannot remember which) to make the reservation as the website only allowed 2 night minimum reservations and it was not restricted to some days of the week.

New York State parks was getting very bad as the 2 night minimum and reservation fees made the cost close to some airbnb and small motels.

I just looked at the map updates and they do talk about the trail but stare thet it switches sides of the road and sometimes it looks like a sidewalk.  As the trail is right next to route 1 there are no real directions to change the route to folliw the trail.

Also included are notes about the campground rules changes.

I have noticed on many of my other trips that alot of campgrounds have removed tent camping options or have made them so expensive that motels become competitive and eastern states have made state park campgrounds very costly for travelers.  New York is a classic example. 2 night minimum stay 15 dollar plus reservation fee 35 to 45 per night. And no walkups for the last 2 years.

On the 2 trips I did solo, I started from the Key Largo Chamber of Commerce, as they allowed me to park for several days.  My first bike trip thru the keys was with Bubba's Pampered Cycling, and it was a mostly camping and several of the campgrounds have closed or stopped allowing tents. 
Other than in Key West there were no other options then following US1, and looking for the overseas trail on the side of the road.  Most times I didn't bother crossing the road to the opposite side to ride the trail as often it seemed to be closed at the next bridge crossing. 
For planning I used Google Maps but in car mode as it has issues bicycle routing(cannot find a route around 7 mile bridge and sends one to Fort Myers for the ferry ride to Key West(387 miles instead of 100).
 Finding reasonable accommodations is very tricky through the keys from late December thru April.

Routes / Re: South of Buffalo
« on: March 28, 2022, 08:43:27 pm »
I have biked the area multiple times, only once did I take the rt 62/south park blvd route.  all others I stayed on/near route 5.  Headed North/east on the Norther Tier, there is a side walk on the right side of route 5 under the railroad tracks.  Also Google maps does not reflect the recent (several years old) paths added from dona street North.  The traffic around 62/179 intersection concerned me more than the traffic on rt 5

If you stay on rt 5, Turn Left onto Hover Rd at Big Tree Rd (traffic Light at intersection) and keep left/turn left with hover rd, before the light at rt 5 again. at end of road pickup the paved trail along rt 5.  take this path around the circle and use the pedestrian over pass to the right side and either use the side walk or the road/shoulder (shoulder does disappear at times).  After the train overpass, the 2nd light is Dona St, tim hortons on right, Turn left and pickup the paved path along route 5 (doesn't show on google maps or satellite but does show on street view).  This path will take you to the path along Fuhrmann blvd.  You must either take the Ohio Street (separated bike lane on bridge) or the Queen City Bike Ferry to Canal Side.

If you use the Ohio Street bridge, stay on ohio street until it intersects/ends at S Michigan Ave, go straight between the fence and the water by the tug/fire boat, this will put you at canal side right where the bike ferry lets off.

If you take the bike ferry, stay with fuhrman blvd to just before the Coast Guard Gate and turn right to the ferry.

Now cross over the pedestrian bridge and stay with the wide path that ends at Erie St.  turn right with Erie St to just before an overpass and turn left to path on the left.  Keeping with the path it will rejoin the river soon.  After it turns away from the river again turn left with the path just after rotary row.  It will take you to a new pedestrian overpass and under the Peace Bridge.  You will want to keep right and make a right U turn onto busti ave.  make a left just before going under the bridge again staying with Busti ave then make a right turn with the sidewalk going under the bridge, this takes you to the pedestrian entrance to the peace bridge.

Routes / Re: Greater Niagara Circle Route
« on: February 02, 2022, 09:38:33 pm »
I used to ride all the time in Canada around Niagara falls, just moved in August from Lewiston, NY to Florida.  I usually rode the off road paths/sidewalks trails except between the Former Toronto Power Generating Station and just North of the Rainbow Bridge when heading North.  South bound was usually fine until around Clifton hill.  The area that is left is mostly slow moving car traffic and easily traversed by bike in the car lanes,  there can be a lot of cars waiting to turn on to Clifton Hill making it tricky South bound.   

The western side of the Niagara Circle route is not well marked but does consist of mostly off road paved trails with mostly low traffic roads when on road.  From the Peace bridge it is a very nice ride along the Niagara river and Lake Erie then thru a very residential low traffic road to the Friendship rail trail, with a few road crossings.  One area to watch out for is when following the trail it take you along the old Weland canal and it ends at a rowing club.  turns right to connect to the road and goes over a railroad.  I recommend turning left after the bridge over the rail road and keeping the canal on the right here as staying straight there are a couple of road bridges, the last being division street and bridge 13.  after this there are no accessible bridges to cross back to the west side where the trail is.
At the North end you will be on Lakeshore road which has minimal shoulder at times with light to medium traffic until you reach NOTL.  If you are lucky in your timing, you might catch a lake freighter going thru one of the many locks on this route

General Discussion / Re: C&O Trail
« on: October 04, 2021, 04:59:47 pm »
many years ago I did the C&O and GAP tour with Adventure Cycling on a Greenspeed GTE Trike.   The max width on the trike is around 35"  at one point we crossed paths in the tunnel with a troupe of kids.  It was a tight squeeze, I rubbed the one hub on the railing and they a had to hug the wall but we were able to pass them.

Gear Talk / Re: ActionBent Recumbent
« on: September 26, 2021, 10:46:35 pm »
I would recommend searching and or posting on  There are quite a few older posts that discuss the brand

General Discussion / Re: Finding accommodation
« on: September 14, 2021, 07:50:02 pm »
I recomend using google maps. With a search for accomodations. And also air bnb.  Note google maps has some wrong locations or the location is based on a billing address, best if there is no website listed with smaller hotels/bnb ect. To either look at the street view or confirm with the hotel directly.

I had a booking made with booking canceled when i arrived at the hotel due to under pricing and overbooking the hotel.  Resrevation was made 4 hrs before arrival and no message was sent to me,

General Discussion / Re: C&O Trail
« on: September 13, 2021, 09:18:47 pm »
I did ride with it with a trike years ago, so it can be done.  A Greenspeed GTE 20" tires all around.  It was a van supported tour with Adventure Cycling, so I was not carrying any gear.  The trail had many sections of "double track" the tracks were spaced apart by pickup trucks, so it was a question of either running the front wheels on the high, grass and twig covered ground and the rear wheel in the rut or have the rear wheel and derailleur in the grass and twigs.  Also after the rain on 2 days, the ruts were filled with water, deep enough that the seat was submerged several times.  I did show up in camp much cleaner than several of the other riders.  Imagine the Abominable mud woman!  Due to the 3 tracks on a trike the grass and softer sections were much slower.  Also the trip started in DC so at the locks (only a 3-5 foot climb) I spun the rear wheel on most and had to get off and push up the hill.  Twice I had to lift the trike over a downed tree, (thankfully I wasn't riding fully loaded!!!!).  Many of the climbs at the locks were actually in the lock it self.  The trike is one of the widest trikes and I only had a tough time at the end of the trail with the car barriers and had to run over the larger base of the round barriers.

Routes / Re: Pittsburgh spur
« on: August 25, 2021, 12:45:25 pm »
Several years ago I rode from Buffalo to DC. catching the Great Allegheny Passage and C&O at Pittsburgh.  I don't have the exact route right now, but I remember about 3 days from Erie to Pittsburgh, about 180 miles.

I avoided most of the steep hilly section by staying along lake Erie to Ashtabula, OH and then taking the Western Reserve Greenway rail trail south thru Canfield then South East to the Ohio River into Pittsburgh.  I do not recommend rt 65 on the north side of the river as the traffic is high, disappearing shoulders ect are not friendly to cyclists.

General Discussion / Re: Nova Scotia Tour with Adventure Cycling
« on: August 11, 2021, 08:50:51 pm »
2 Years ago I did a tour in the area, left from the Via Rail station in Sackville NB, used the shuttle provided on the Confederation bridge and spend several days going thru Prince Edward Island.  Then crossing the Ferry to Pictou, then to Halifax.  Unfortunately my rear derailleur stripped out of the hanger just before the ferry and I had to rent a Uhaul to Halifax.  I did this tour solo inn to inn and planned it.  My route was quite hilly, not much traffic but the roads rarely had shoulders.  I also did another trip many years ago that was to the southern end of Nova Scotia. I mention this as both tours were around the same time of year and the temperatures were very different.  Both were around July/August,  The southern tour the temperatures at times were in the 40's at times while the temperatures on the more recent tour was much hotter with it near 90+ at times.

On the last tour I took the Via Rail train from Toronto to Montreal and then connected to the Via Rail Maritime train. 


Uhaul has always been reliable, they had a truck when they said they had a truck.
I rented a Budget truck for a one way, about 4 years ago.  I was the first person to arrive at the location.  As I was dealing with the paperwork for the rental, 3 customers who also had paid reservations came in and I had the only truck.  The owner/operator of the site said he had 2 more additional reservations for the same day.  Budget truck rental was all handled by the national website and had oversold the truck multiple times.  Budget also made you pay at time of reservation.  I had made the reservation the night before.


Routes / Re: Northern Tier section 10 Routing around Canada
« on: June 10, 2021, 11:25:50 am »
here is the Ridewithgps route

Note the map routing has an issue around marker 32, the path does connect to Buffalo Ave on the right side of the 190, but RWG does not show it.  otherwise Ridewithgps seems to be more up to date with recent road/path changes then Google Maps.


Routes / Re: Northern Tier section 10 Routing around Canada
« on: June 09, 2021, 08:10:37 pm »
The first question is do you want to see Niagara Falls.
If you do not want to, from Lockport follow the Erie Canal Trail to Tonawanda and the Niagara river, follow the trail along the Niagara River, turning left at the river.  This will meet up with the directions for going to Niagara Falls.

If wanting to visit Niagara Falls, Follow the route on the map until you cross Military Rd on Upper Mountain, just before the exit for the Lewiston Queenston bridge to Canada.  Turn Right on Military Rd rt 265,  it ends at Lewiston Rd Rt 104.  Turn left on Lewiston Rd  Follow Lewiston Rd over the Niagara Power Plant and past Niagara University on the left.  Turn right into the Devils Hole parking lot.  you will see a pedestrian bridge over the Niagara Scenic Parkway, it is on the left when facing the road.  cross over the bridge, note there is no curb cut in the parking lot.
After crossing over the pedestrian bridge, a path will follow the parkway, using the old road.  Follow the trail all the way to the Niagara Falls.  Google maps has not updated their maps and the satellite pictures do not show the recent road and trail changes here but the path is very nice.  After visiting the Falls, you want to enter the path along the Niagara River by 1st Street.  This path will take you along the Niagara river and goes under the I-190 Grand Island Bridges.  You could take a shorter route by crossing the bridges, there are side walks on the bridges and cross Grand Island using RT 324, this route will meetup further down.

If not using Grand Island, shortly after the 190 bridge the path will end at Buffalo Ave Rt 384,  Turn Right on Buffalo Ave.  Buffalo Ave will come to a 4 way stop just before the road goes under an overpass.  Turn Right staying with Buffalo Ave.  There is a short bike path on the far side after turning right, the path end before the next main intersection.
Stay on buffalo Ave, and it turns into River Road RT 265.    After the traffic light where it changes names to River RD, the first Park Gratwick Park a bike path will start on the right, you will see the Niagara River here.  Take the bike path, first it moves close to the river then moves back to River Rd.  Later when you see Autozone on the left and Key bank on the right (at Goundry St traffic light) leave the wide path and either join the road or ride the sidewalk next to the road to cross over Tonawanda Creek.  Immediately after going over the bridge make a U Turn  onto the sidewalk/path going down, make a left on the path keeping the water on your right. 

This is where the Lockport-Erie Canal Trail rejoins.  If follow the Erie Canal Trail, after you cross over a Pedistrian bridge, at the second light (river Rd), with Rite Aid on your left, you will see a bike path on your right going down and under a bridge, take the bike path.

Follow the Trail, you will see the I-190 bridges to Grand Island soon, this is where the Grand Island route rejoins.

The trail stays along the River stops at Hamilton st and Dann st,  this is a ways up, and the path becomes part of Dann st.  The pedestrian bridge ahead has been locked at times so take a left on Hamilton St, and make a right on Niagara St RT 266.  You can turn right onto the swing bridge to Unity Island and take the path or stay with Niagara St and turn right with Niagara st. 

the Unity Island route will rejoin after crossing a draw bridge at Robert Rich Way and turning right onto Niagara St.

Niagara St turns into Busti Ave before going under the Peace Bridge.  just before the Peacebridge overpass a bike path will appear on the right, take the bike path, it turns into a pedistrian bridge going over the I-190,  this bridge is relatively recent and I don't believe that the ACA Maps have rerouted for it.

Take the path, it goes along the waterfront, and ends at Erie St and lakefront Blvd.  Turn right on Erie St and take the next left onto Marine Drive or the sidewalk just beyond  You should see the USS Little Rock, USS Sullivans and the USS Croaker ships of the Naval & Military park.  Take the pedestrian bridge over to Canal Side and keep close to the water.  Take the path around the rail yard, it joins a path at Ohio St, stay straight on path along Ohio street.
Take Ohio St over the Lift bridge and bridge over the railroad tracks, Ohio St will then turn and go under Rt 5. end at Fuhrmann Blvd,  the is a bike path on the other side of Fuhrmann Blvd. turn Left on bike path.  This path will go several miles along RT 5.  It has been extended to Dona St, but google hasn't updated their maps.  There is a side walk on the far side of Rt 5 but there is no shoulder or side walk on the right side of RT5.  Rt 5 can have some heavy traffic in this area and is only 2 lanes wide in this direction.  Regardless turn right on rt 5 or cross over and use the sidewalk,  There is a narrow section on the sidewalk due to a train overpass shortly further on.  After the train overpass the road widens and has a wide sidewalk on both sides.

If you crossed over for the sidewalk, you will want to back to the right side either at the light before the pedestrian overpass or use the pedestrian bridge to get on the right side.  There is a bike path starting near the bridge, get on the bike path, cross over Gateway Blvd and take the bike path till it ends at Hoover Rd.  This is also an recent change but google sat view shows it.  Turn right with Hoover rd and stay with it until it ends at RT 5 and Big Tree Rd.  Turn Right on Rt 5.  Soon the NT route will connect to RT 5.

I did a RidewithGPS route from Lockport to Evans Center, and it follows almost exactly with the above posted Erie Canal trail route.  The difference is where I note the Route 5 heavy traffic with sidewalk on left side.  I have personally ridden the listed rout along rt 5 many times without issue but one must ok with traffic.  The South Park Ave that Ridewithgps routes on is also heavy traffic, I don't know about sidewalks or shoulders on that route tho.

I just saw your posted route.  Most of the route will be on trails, mostly paved,  with the exception of the section on Niagara Street,  Niagara Street has a very large sidewalk on the right.  It is not the most secenic but I don't know of any other route except to use unity island.


I have biked several times from Key Largo to Key West and back.  I remember the winds almost completely at my back on the way to Key West and head winds back, so out of the East to North East.

I have left my car at the Keys Visitor Center or Key Largo Visitor Center with permission when I did the trips.

If you are cycling from the mainland, The two options  using Card Sound Road, lower traffic but no shoulder or bike lane,  and US1, higher traffic but with a bike lane/shoulder.

While in the Keys, There is a paved trail for alot of the distance but it switches sides of US1 several times, some without warning.  It also ends several times at the old bridges that are closed, even after just appearing on the opposite side of the road.   Note the 7 mile bridge does have a wide shoulder/bike lane but is not divided between traffic and cyclists.  I have biked it 2 round trips on a recumbent trike without issue due to width of the trike.   

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