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Messages - BikeFree7

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If you decide to go to Tishomingo, MS, on the Natchez Trace, I can get you to Asheville on lower-traffic roads.

I can also get you to Tuscaloosa from Kosciusko (also on Natchez Trace).

If you can get from Tuscaloosa to Weaver, AL, you can take the Chief Ladiga Trail (a paved rail trail) to Smyrna, GA (NW of Atlanta) where you can connect to other trails to get you to Coventry, GA.  If you can get from Coventry to anywhere between Seneca, SC and Highlands, NC, I can get you to Asheville on lower-traffic roads.

From Front Royal, you can take the W&OD paved trail to Washington, DC (trail starts in Purcellville, VA) where you can connect with Atlantic Coast Route which would bisect the Canal Trail.  Another option is to ride along the coast in NJ and come thru NYC that way (via ferry on the rough parts) and take the various trails north of NYC to Poughkeepsie and connect with the AC route there.

If any of these sound good, contact me privately and I will see about getting you the route.


Hi John,

How do I contact you privately? I don't know how to do that on the app which is all I have access to. I tried to send you a message but I'm not sure if it worked.

I would love to hear about the route from Tishomingo to Asheville. As for the section from Front Royal to Brattleboro VT, the Atlantic coast route is so meandering and I need to be moving quickly, so I would like to try to find a more direct route to the canal trail. Maybe I'm just being unrealistic trying to find a direct, bike friendly route though, what do you think?

Thank you so much for your help!

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Thanks so much! Sounds like a great route.

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Hi all,

I am currently in El Paso, Texas, on my way from San Francisco to Vermont via parts of the Southern Tier, Natchez Trace and Blue Ridge Parkway. I need to get home (Hyde Park VT) by June 10th to graduate from high school, so my route can't be too winding. I will be following the Southern Tier until Deridder, LA, then heading North on US 171 North to Leesville and SR 28 and US 84 East to Natchez, MS where I will join the Natchez Trace Parkway (a connecting route I found on the forum). I want to take the Natchez Trace until Jackson, or maybe Tupelo, but if it is possible to bike through Tuscaloosa and Birmingham AL on a more direct route to Asheville NC, I would prefer to do that, as I don't have much time. From Asheville, I will take the Blue Ridge and Skyline Drive all the way to Fort Royal.

From there, I would like to get to New Haven Connecticut to take the Farmington Canal Trail to Northampton. Does anyone know this trail? It seems like a pretty direct route, though it doesn't sound like it is all paved and that could be problematic. I am on a surly disc trucker with medium sized tires, and biking on dirt or gravel would not work because I need to move quickly. None of the ACA routes go where I want to for this section, and I don't have the luxury of time, so I really need to take the fastest route that is still bicycle friendly. I can deal with heavy traffic as long as there is a shoulder, though I prefer secondary paved roads even if they don't have a shoulder. It is hard to tell which roads are safe to ride from AAA and Google maps which are my main resources. Bike routes are great, but they are often out of the way.

 The one thing is, I really want to bike the whole length of Vermont, as it is my home and I love it, so I will have to further East which means more congestion. It seems like going through Philadelphia and New York would be totally crazy, am I right? So far, I have been stealth camping and staying with Warm Showers the whole way, I can't afford to stay at motels or campgrounds, and I am worried that it will be difficult to find places to camp as I go further east because it is so populated. Can anyone speak to this?

I am comfortable biking 60-90 mile days, though I will need to take some rest days along the way and there's no saying what kind of injuries I will run into. So it's a bit of a long shot to try to get all the way home by June 10th, but I think it is possible if I can figure out a safe, relatively direct route. What do you think?

Yes, I do have a blog, it is if you would like to read it. I haven't been posting a week behind, but maybe I will. I don't usually say exactly where I am in the blog but if some one wanted to figure it out, they probably could.

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Thank you all. I have been having a spectacular time thus far and I'm sure I will continue to. Being alone is actually great because I can go at my own pace and personalize my route.

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Routes / Re: San Bernardino to Twentynine Palms
« on: March 23, 2014, 03:29:36 pm »
I take back what I said about 62. It is a great road to bike, barely any traffic and  beautiful, though redundant. There really isn't much of a shoulder once you get ten miles outside of twenty nine palms, but the traffic is so light it doesn't matter much. I was lucky enough to have two still days biking it, so it was pretty easy, lots of down hill. It does get very hot and be sure to bring lots of water because there is no place to get water until Vidal junction which is 95 miles out. I found a great place to camp just past the intersection with 177, but there is virtually no shade along the way. The only truly unpleasant part of the ride was the last 17 miles into Parker from Vidal junction, the traffic was heavier and the side if the road was either extremely bumpy  pavement, loose gravel, or a tiny strip between the edge of the rumble strip and the gravel. Lots of big trucks and dips. Otherwise, great route, go for it if you are considering a trip in this area.

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Routes / Re: San Bernardino to Twentynine Palms
« on: March 20, 2014, 03:35:00 pm »
In case anyone needs this information in the future, the route through San Bernardino is awesome! The shoulder isn't always very big, but the road is extremely twisty, so cars generally go pretty slow. It is a serious climb to Onyx Summit, 8,443 ft from 3,000 at the beginning of the national forest and 1,500 or so from San Bernardino, but completely worth it. I did the climb in one very long day and stopped a lot, but it can definitely be done in much less time. From Onyx, it is an easy, beautiful ride down to Big Bear and then on highway 18 to highway 247 (old woman springs) to Yucca Valley. Highway 18 again doesn't have much of a shoulder, but it is extremely twisty and gorgeous. It shoots you right into the desert and then there is a straight, slightly downhill for most of the way, ride into Yucca Valley. The camping within San Bernardino National Forest is in abundance, but once you leave, the desert is very barren and there isn't cover. The only issue with this route is that it leaves you in Joshua Tree National Park and if you are heading East, the only way to go is on route 62 which is an awful road to bike on. I haven't left yet, but I am dreading leaving the park because 62 is very unpleasant and unsafe, fast traffic, no shoulder, flat, and ugly.

Routes / San Bernardino to Twentynine Palms
« on: March 13, 2014, 11:45:55 am »
I am planning to bike from San Bernardino to Twentynine Palms later this week, and I'm wondering whether it would be possible to go through San Bernardino National Forest at this time of year. I will do the trip in at least two days, because my knees have been giving me trouble lately, so I can only do short distances because I have to take breaks to stretch. I know going through the park means lots of elevation gain, but if I took route 38 East to Big Bear Lake, and then Burns Canyon Rd. from Big Bear, the incline would be a little less severe. And there are many more places to camp through San Bernardino National Forest, whereas paralleling I-10 until Route 62 is in a much more populated area and it seems like it would be difficult to find places to camp. Has anyone biked through San Bernardino National Forest, or paralleling I-10? How are the shoulders? And weather? I have warm clothes, but anything under 15 degrees would be too cold for the gear I have.

I am familiar with the route you propose in southern Cali.  You are correct that some of the roads are quite remote - especially the bit to Parker - so you'll need to carry (lots of water).  Doable for someone who makes the right decisions, is determined, and has a bit o' luck.

Of course, you have the RIGHT to go in safety anywhere anytime.  Full stop.  But trouble can find anyone.  I have often met women touring alone, but as also generally with the men traveling alone, they tend to be quite eager for association with a kindred spirit.  I guess if you are the sort of person who tends to attract attention - and only you know this - you will still attract attention while cycling - regardless of your right to pass unfettered.

It's pretty late to find companions for your journey.  Have you considered doing the Southern Tier?  There is a better chance to join up with someone doing an established route.  Interstate 10 has a wide shoulder on the bits you'll need to ride on.

I am going to be on the Southern Tier route once I get to Phoenix, I just didn't want to be so close to the highway at the beginning so I want to go through Joshua Tree. Also, I will probably go to Prescott, AZ, so that route would also keep me farther North and shorten the distance to Prescott from the Phoenix area. Mostly though, I just want to see Joshua Tree, check out the bouldering there, and experience the vastness of the desert.

At this point, it's hard to say anything for sure, because I haven't been out on the road, but for now I will keep both options open. I'll have maps for both routes and as I make my way down from San Francisco, I will get a much better sense of what I do and don't like about touring and that should help influence my decision. Thank you for your input, it is helpful to hear.

I am a senior in high school, 18 years old, and I am planning a bike trip across the country this spring. I am flying to Oakland, CA next week, and I will be biking from there to San Diego with a friend of mine, an 18 year old guy. However, he is not likely to continue biking with me past San Diego, so I will be doing most of the Southern Tier on my own. My dad will join me in Texas for a few weeks, but for the most part, I will be traveling alone using warm showers and camping. I am planning on about $20 a day, though I do have some money in a CD which I can access if I need to. I have until June 10th or so to get back to my home in Northern VT and I am hoping to do the majority of the trip by bike, though I am also committed to not rushing and enjoying the experience.

I intend to go further north from San Diego on rt. 67 and 78 through Julian CA and take 86 past the Salton Sea. I will go East on I 10 until exit 168, then bike up through Joshua Tree National Park as I want to avoid I-8 and I would like to see Joshua Tree. Past Twentynine Palms, I will take 62 to Parker, then 72 to 60 and on into Phoenix. I know this section is quite remote. I will be carrying my food, stove, tent, etc. with me, so I should be pretty self sufficient, but I am wondering about safety as a young woman. It seems like traveling in more populated areas is probably safer, but larger roads are also more dangerous and I would much prefer to be in less traffic.

I may take the Natchez Trace Parkway up from Louisiana rather than going all the way to St. Augustine and up the Atlantic Coast route, because I want to go through Asheville NC and the Parkway seems like great riding. I don't have an exact route for this part of the trip, so if you have any suggestions, I would appreciate hearing them. Is there a good way to get from Tupelo, Mississippi to Asheville North Carolina? I want to go up the East coast somewhere between the Atlantic Coast adventure cycling route and the Underground Railroad route through Eastern Kentucky, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, and Vermont.

My touring experience is pretty limited, I spent 8 days biking in Ecuador this fall with a group, but we were riding mountain bikes and mostly on tiny cobblestone roads way up in the Andes. I feel comfortable camping, cooking on a camp stove and generally living sparsely, but I haven't done a lot of traveling alone so I don't really know what to expect as a young woman. I've also never been in the South before, so it's a totally new culture to me. If you have any experience traveling alone as a young woman, or have any insight about my situation, I would appreciate your advice. Are there generally a lot of bikers doing the Southern Tier at this time of year (March-May) or will I likely be unable to find companions to ride with during the day? Should I stay away from remote areas? And fundamentally, are the risks of riding over 5,000 miles as an 18 year old woman with limited touring experience in an area of the country I have never been to before too great to balance the benefits of challenge, adventure and learning how to live in a self sufficient manner? I know that's a hard question to answer because it depends on a lot of factors, but it would be helpful to hear several opinions on this issue. I love biking, challenges, meeting new people, adventure, seeing new perspectives and inspiring people, but am I banking on these passions too much to warrant putting myself in a lot of danger?

Thank you so much, I have already learned a lot from reading through this forum. It is an incredible resource and I'm extremely grateful for it.

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