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Messages - rootchopper

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Routes / East coast...but wich one!?
« on: December 27, 2007, 06:24:53 pm »
You have lots of options.  How about this one:  Take La Route Verte to NYS state Bike Highway 9 south until it intersects with the Adventure Cycling East Coast route (ACAECR).  Follow the ACAECR to the DC area.  Then you can take either the C&O Canal towpath or the W&OD Trail to the Blue Ridge Mountains where you can hook up with Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway. (Or follow the ACAECR to the TransAm outside Richmond.  Then follow the TransAm west to the Blue Ridge Parkway.)  

Routes / Cleveland, OH to NYC
« on: July 12, 2006, 05:06:27 pm »
You could do the Erie Canal, NYS Bike Route 5 (both flat as a board) or the Adventure Cycling Northern Tier route which goes further north.  From Albany south you could take NYS Bike Route 9.  

ALternatively you go look into NYS Bike Route 17 which traverses the southern tier of NYS.

A third option would be to drop down from Erie to the PA state bike route across the northern part of PA.

These state bike routes can be found on the state DOT websites.  They are not necessarily the best routes.  

Routes / DC to Central Ohio
« on: April 05, 2006, 11:31:27 pm »
I don't know about depressing.  The hills do wear you down though.  Once you leave the rail trail in West Newton PA (following PA Bike Route S)  you have about 20 miles of straight up and straight down.  It's moderately hilly to the WV border where it flattens out.  Then you hit Wheeling.  Straight up and straight down to a traffic light! Bummer.

Across the Ohio you have to clmb out of the valley and that is a bear.  The hills roll on until you are forty or so miles from Columbus.  Then suddenly it's flat as a table.

So going East to West you'll have fun for a few days then there's work to be done.

All in all it's actually a pretty good ride.  

Routes / DC to Central Ohio
« on: April 05, 2006, 11:37:36 am »
I agree that you need to get a bunch more miles under you to do this ride.  I've done the ride twice (sort of).  Check out my journals at and
Long story short you can do about half the distance on flat trails but the hills in PA and eastern OH will keep you honest.

Routes / AC maps doubts
« on: February 12, 2005, 09:50:22 pm »
Since I bad mouthed AC maps in one of my online journals, I feel I should add a comment here.  AC maps are exceptional at guiding you through mile and miles of the US in relative safety.  I have used AC routes in Indiana, Maryland, and Virginia.  They really are well researched.  For example, when a nearby military base on the east coast route was closed to the public after 9/11/2001 AC re-designed the route exactly as I would have.  My recommendation is that you get the maps and simply mail them home (or otherwise shed their weight) as you finish with them on your trip.

(Incidentally, I bad mouthed the maps because I used an old one with out of date lodging information )you should definitely bring the updates) and because they took me on remote roads in Indiana where I hoped top encounter other bike tourists.  It wasn't the maps fault that I didn't see any.)

In any case, good luck and enjoy the States.

This message was edited by rootchopper on 2-12-05 @ 5:57 PM

Routes / Indiana to East Coast
« on: August 23, 2004, 02:08:57 pm »
I just finished riding across New York using the Erie Canal and NYS Bike Route 5. The canal towpath between Lockport and Rochester is very nice.  It is not paved however.  From Palmyra to Canajoharie there is no towpath so you have to ride the roads.  I took Bike Route 5.  It is amazingly flat except for a couple of respectable hills.  There is high speed traffic (50 mph or so) but the shoulders are wide, smooth, and debris free.  East of Canajoharie there is a paved rail trail that runs along the south bank of the Mohawk River pretty much all the way to the Hudson.  I suspect that the Northern Tier route is superior to Route 5 in that it is somewhat more remote.

The C&O is nice but it can be a muddy ride.  Getting there from the midwest can be done in part using the Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) Trail.  For more information on these routes you can read my journals at and

Good luck.

Routes / New Orleans to Chicago
« on: January 18, 2004, 08:00:16 pm »
I suggest you look into the Adveture Cycling Associations' Great Rivers route which follows the Mississippi from the gulf states to Iowa, just west of Chicago.

Good luck.

Routes / 2nd attempt
« on: January 02, 2004, 02:31:04 pm »
Well, speaking of second attmepts, this is mine.  

Last summer I attempted a ride from IN to DC via the Great Allegheny Passage.  The original plan was to use some of the OH bikeways you refer to, as well as a small segment of the Northern Tier route. I found the backroads in IN and OH to be great for biking and decided to just improvise my route from western IN to Wheeling WV.  I did use some bike paths and the Great Allegehny Passage (GAP).

Here is my two cents:
1)  Off road bike paths in the flat midwast are more trouble than they are worth.  One near Newark OH was so slippery I crashed.  Most of the back roads are flat to gently rolling and far more interesting.  

The main bike routes in OH F, CT may be good but so are the hundreds of other backroads to choose from.  I have read that parts of the CT route are chip sealed which can be a drag to ride on.  The people I encountered across OH were not accustomed to seeing touring bicyclists and were very helpful with directions and encouragement.

PADOT has laid out a grid of mostly on-road bike routes.  I used the "S" route to go from Wheeling to West Newton where it merges with the GAP.  You could use the GAP to go west around Pittsburgh and hook up with the CT trail.

The GAP isn't quite finished yet, but it is an incredibly nice ride.  And the towns along the trail are dying for your business.  The section of the GAP through Ohiopyle State Park is really wonderful.

The C&O towpath can be a quagmire so plan accordingly.

Check out for a blow by blow account.

General Discussion / WARNING East Coast Route - Old Town Alexandria VA
« on: October 14, 2007, 12:27:39 pm »
For anyone doing the East Coast Roue through Alexandria VA (the Mount Venon Trail), be aware that Alexadria police have begun an aggressive bicycling ticketing campaign.  If you roll through a stop sign you are liable to get an $80 ticket.  

General Discussion / Lower back pain survivors???
« on: November 27, 2006, 10:05:53 am »
You really owe it to yourself to try a recumbent bike. I had back problems for years while riding a succession of conventional bikes. Finally I blew out a disk and had surgery.  A few years later I gave in and bought a recumbent, a Tour Easy which is ideally suited for long distance touring.  Yes, they look a bit odd but do they ever get the job done.  I have over 20,000 miles on my Tour Easy in four years.  

General Discussion / New here and seeking advice
« on: January 07, 2005, 02:14:35 am »
I second Larry's endorsement of bike fit.  Nothing will wreck a tour (or even a day ride) like bike that doesn't fit you.  Ride as many different types of bikes as you can.  The new Sequoia line looks very interesting.  I happen to have one of the old Sequoia that were designed for loaded touring.  I have ridden it (mostly commuting) for over ten years.

I realize it is a different mind set, but I also whole heartedly endorse recumbents.  I have had a Tour Easy for a little over two years and 11,000 miles now.  

Whatever you buy, keep in mind that you will need some add ons for the bike.  Water bottle cages, a bag to carry a small reapir kit, the snall repair kit (spare tube, parch kit, tire levers at a minimum), a frame pump, a floor pump for home etc.  This stuff can tack on $100 easily, but it's pretty much indispensible.

Good luck.

General Discussion / Trailer vs Panniers
« on: November 12, 2004, 01:33:13 pm »
You might want to take a look at this article on teh pros and cons of trailer use:

General Discussion / checklist for bike purchase
« on: November 06, 2004, 12:43:48 am »
I suppose anything can break on a bike tour but as I think about my ridiing, loaded and unloaded, over 30 years I've never had a hub fail.

I've broken and immobilized brake and shifter cables, snapped a chain or two, popped a half-dozen spokes (all rear wheel), tacoed a rim (rear tire exploded, and still don't know what happened), snapped a pedal off while riding (I crashed; it was ugly), snapped a seat rail, and broke a fork (after 13 years of riding through 5 New England winters and multiple crashes).  

In fact the two problems that stumped me where a broken V-brake noodle and a metal ratchet in an old Sun Tour shifter.  Any machine is only as reliable as its cheapest part.

Good luck with the bike purchase.

General Discussion / checklist for bike purchase
« on: November 04, 2004, 11:22:52 pm »
I have heard of people carrying much more than 30 pounds.  For simple one week trips I take 30 pounds of stuff without cooking gear or extra layers of clothes for cold weather.  

If you decide to tour with trailer you can pull a whole lot of weight without stressing the bike nearly as much as you would with panniers.

I would strongly recommend that you actually ride the bike before you buy if this is at all possible.  Bike fit is key. Also, I agree with Peaks that a saddle that fits your behind is worth finding before your tour.  (I am partial to Brooks leather saddles FWIW.)  A granny is necessary only if you are fond of your knee cartilage.

I think the bikes you are considering will have the necessary braze ons for fenders and racks.  If you are carrying panniers, you will also need enough clearance in the rear (a long chain stay) so that your heels don't hit your panniers as you pedal.  

If you are opting for straight handlebars, consider some sort of extensions for the bar ends to give your hands more positions.

Good luck.

General Discussion / State DOT links for bike routes
« on: October 29, 2004, 03:32:11 pm »
The Pennsylvania DOT has established several bike routes, with on road signage.  The maps on their website are PDF and incomplete, but they are worth looking at if only to know what's available in PA.
From personal experience on parts of PA Bike Routes A and S, I can say that the PA routes are reasonably easy to follow without a map in hand.  PA Route S, in part,  follows the Great Allegehny Passage rail trail system for about 100 miles or so in Southeastern PA.  This is a fantastic trail, very scenic and surprisingly remote.

Also, I rode NYS Bike Route 5 this summer.  NYDOT uses signs as well.  Route 5 from Niagra Falls to Schenectady is amazingly flat for 95 percent of the route.  Route 5 has wide shoulders but it follows high speed secondary roads with some traffic.  It also parallels the Erie Canal which is generally preferable to Route 5 - no traffic, very scenic, even flatter, with many camping opportunites.

My experiences on PA routes A and S are documented in my journal  My NY Route 5 and Erie Canal journal is at

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