Author Topic: Advice for a ride beginning in NYC  (Read 5814 times)

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Offline Bclayden

Advice for a ride beginning in NYC
« on: April 25, 2013, 08:34:17 am »

I am a West Coast rider and not familiar with the best routes in the NE.  Looking for your input.

I am planning. 4 day ride in mid-May to begin in the NYC area (Teterboro, NJ actually).  I will be traveling Credit Card style using motels/hotels and will plan to cover 80-120 miles per day.

Ideally I would like to ride one way and return by train but Amtrak seems to have bike restrictions on most trains in the NE with the exception of the "Empire Service" from Chicago which stops in Syracuse and Rome, NY so those would be good destinations.  My original plan was to head to Vermont but this idea was scuttled when I discovered the bike restrictions....same thing with Boston.

I suppose I could make a 350 mile loop out of it but would prefer to "go somewhere".  I have the option to rent a car and retun to NYC that way but this would be a last resort.

As you can see my plan is wide open so wondering If there's a general direction anyone can recommend?  Hudson Valley, Erie Canal, Finger Lakes, Pennsylvania? I'm solo and very flexible so any input of where to go, or where NOT to go, is appreciated....just looking for a good route or general direction to begin my planning.

Thanks.   -Ben

« Last Edit: April 25, 2013, 10:23:26 am by Bclayden »

Offline dkoloko

Re: Advice for a ride beginning in NYC
« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2013, 11:07:44 am »
I live in NY. I don't see much problem with getting back. There are more trains that accept bicycles than you state. I cannot give more information, as I do not use trains. You can always take a bus back. Personally, I would do a loop. Ride options include Catskills (hills), Finger Lakes (hills), Eire canal, Adirondacks (hills). There are many routes mapped that you can search online. After you are more decided on a route, you can post here for any details you want more information. I do not recommend following closely the official NY State routes, as they follow too much main roads. You might include Woodstock, NY in your plans.
« Last Edit: April 26, 2013, 09:02:07 am by dkoloko »

Offline TokyoNose

Re: Advice for a ride beginning in NYC
« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2013, 07:29:02 am »
If you are really ambitious, you might just be able to squeeze in the ACA Adirondack Park loop.  You would have to take the Amtrak Lake Shore Shore Limited out of NY Penn Station to Schenectady and begin the ride from there (the ride "officially" begins in Niskayuna).  The train arrives in Schenectady at night, so your first night would be in a Schenectady hotel/motel.  The train departs Schenectady for NY Penn in the afternoon, so you could get an early start on your last day and catch the train back to the city that same day.  Again, it would take some clever planning to pull this off, but it would be a great little adventure if you could make it happen.  I did the semi-loaded CC version of this ride in 5 days/4 nights without feeling like I was overdoing it.

If this doesn't work, check out the website Riding the Catskills.

The author of the website has put together a collection of rides that are designed to run with Ride With GPS.  They are day rides, but a number of them are accessible from NYC Grand Central Station using Metro North.  Even if you are not interested in the day rides, you might be able to string together a short CC tour using some of his routing suggestions.

dkoloko also mentioned the Finger Lakes.  The couple of people with whom I have spoken about riding in that area have told me that it is beautiful, and I would guess that accommodations would not be difficult to find, offering you some flexibility in planning out the ride.

Best of luck!

Offline Bclayden

Re: Advice for a ride beginning in NYC
« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2013, 11:53:44 am »
Thanks for the input!

Just purchased the ACA Adirondack Loop map (PDF) and it looks like a wonderful 4 day ride with lots of overnight options and alternate routes to cut the corners if I get behind on the timing.

Looks like a beautiful area for riding too.

Thanks again .....good idea.

Offline TokyoNose

Re: Advice for a ride beginning in NYC
« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2013, 07:38:23 am »
I'll be heading off on my own trip in a couple of days and will not have access to a computer.  If you have any questions, ask away and I will do my best to answer them before I set off.

It's a great ride.  Go for it!

Offline Bclayden

Re: Advice for a ride beginning in NYC
« Reply #5 on: April 28, 2013, 01:02:31 pm »
OK, great.  Thx TokyoNose!

Here's my plan...  I am riding the ACA route in a counter-clockwise direction

Day 1/May 18- Saratoga Springs-Ticonderaga (.Super 8 Motel)

Day 2- Ticonderoga- Saranac Lake (Saranac Lake Inn)...might add the ACA alternate route to "Whiteface Mtn".

Day 3- Saranac Lake- Speculator (Lake Pleasant Lodge but still not decided)

Day 4- Speculator - Saratoga Springs

Some longish days with climbing I see but I travel very light and enjoy the climbing.  I am using this ride as a training exercise for a 6 day Salt Lake City-Scottsbluff, NE ride in July.   Would appreciate any feedback.  Have a great ride.


Offline TokyoNose

Re: Advice for a ride beginning in NYC
« Reply #6 on: April 28, 2013, 02:43:16 pm »
If you are traveling light and willing to put in some longish days, you should have no trouble doing the loop in 4 days, especially if you are beginning and ending the ride in Saratoga Springs without the tag end leading to/from Niskayuna.

[Spoiler Alert]  I did the ride with two small rear panniers and a handlebar bag, which I would call modestly loaded.  My shortest gear was 34x27, pushing a 700x32 tire, which works out to something like 35ish gear inches.  I would consider myself an average-strength rider, and although I wouldn't have minded having a bit lower gearing, I was OK, with one exception: a short hill somewhere past Lake Luzerne (I think) which for about 100 meters nearly had me off the bike, pushing.  Even standing up, I just couldn't make it go ;D.  The three big climbs- Graphite Mountain Road into Hague, Keene Valley to Lake Placid, and Whiteface mountain- from Wilmington to the crest- were no problem.  Long and challenging, but never so steep that I ever felt that I would have to abandon the saddle.

You should check to make sure of this, but if I am not mistaken, the Whiteface Mountain alternate avoids the climb up Whiteface mountain, which you most definitely want to do!

If it helps to break the ride into more manageable portions, there is a place called the Nick Stoner Inn near Caroga Lake.  My guess is that you will have the park and your hotels/inns to yourself, and I think that the time of the year which you have chosen is perfect.

You're going to have a great time!

Offline Bclayden

Re: Advice for a ride beginning in NYC
« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2013, 05:59:32 pm »
Ride follow up:  Completed a slightly shortened version of the Adirondack Loop ACA Route.  Very nice route with clean and wide shoulders in mostly good condition.  I hit it just before Memorial Day weekend and the beginning of the busy season so no RVs....didn't see another cyclist either in the 300 miles I spent riding which surprised me.

I didn't camp, used motels, but there are ample camping opportunities and many beautiful lakes.  Quite a hilly region...nothing gnarly though..and ended up with about 4000-5000 feet of climbing each 100 mile day.   

Saranac Lake is a really nice town.  Wish I could have explored it a bit more. 

Highly recommend riding for a day or a few days in the Adirondack region.  Very bike friendly and the ACA route map was very helpful.