Author Topic: Getting from JFK to Wall St. to Sandy Hook (and early March depature)  (Read 7125 times)

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Offline JonathanW

Hi Folks

I will start my Cross Country adventure when I arrive at JFK (Terminal 1) on March 7 (around 1pm). My plan is to get to the Sandy Hook area the same day. I want to stay there for 1-2 days max. until I dip my tires into the Atlantic and start this crazy adventure (to San Francisco in 90 days).

I'm a little bit worried about getting my bike unboxed, set-up at the airport, load&pack everything. Can you share some of your experience? I'm afraid this is going to take forever and I will basically just have my multi tool and other small tools i bring on my trip. And all that bags :O

After asking Dr. Google, I plan on taking the Green train to Howard Beach Station, where I will hop onto a subway (A line?) that brings me right to downtown (Fulton Street). Do you think this will work out with a fully loaded bicycle? How much space will be on those  trains? Do they allow bikes afterall? Is that something you would recommend, or do you have other/better choices that get me from JFK to downtown NYC?

From Manhatten I want to take the Seastreak Ferry (Pier11) until Highlands, NJ). I assume a ferry will have much more space and will not cause too much trouble with my bike and bags?!

I would greatly appreciate any hints/tips/tricks/experiences you could share on how to get me and my bike from JFK to Highlands, NJ (before its darks...). Thank you so much in advance.

Cheers from Frankfurt, Germany,

« Last Edit: October 29, 2018, 03:04:00 pm by JonathanW »

Offline jamawani

Re: Getting from JFK to Wall St. to Sandy Hook
« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2018, 10:58:30 am »
March 7?  March 7??

It could be pleasant, it could be raining heavily, it could be snowing.
Sandy Hook Recreation Area does not have camping until April.
Most state parks, national forests, and national parks will have no camping until May 1.

So, I am forced to ask - - "Why March 7 ?" Do you mean May 7 ??

I have ridden x-USA many times in all seasons.
Winter in the south, spring/fall on a diagonal, summer in the north.
If you must start your trip in early March, I would suggest a southern itinerary.

Here's a link to my 2016 journal that ended on Sandy Hook with a Seastreak ride into Manhattan.

Offline JonathanW

Re: Getting from JFK to Wall St. to Sandy Hook
« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2018, 11:37:26 am »
Thanks for your hints. But neither date nor route is something I can or I want to change 4,5 months before depature.
I wanted to start early so it’s not that hot when I‘m in the west. Also I wanted to be back home for my birthday early July. I also did not say I want to camp in Sandy Hook area. Yes, I have tent and everything else for camping, but after reading countless trip reports, I dont think I will actually camp 50% of the time (if at all).

I dont want to start a discussion on when I should start. I want to get tips on what I mentioned in my first post.
« Last Edit: October 27, 2018, 11:46:15 am by JonathanW »

Offline BikeliciousBabe

Re: Getting from JFK to Wall St. to Sandy Hook
« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2018, 01:14:10 pm »

Strongly recommends not going during rush hour.

"Bicycles are permitted on Subway trains at all times. However, we strongly recommend that cyclists avoid boarding crowded rush hour trains. Be courteous to your fellow passengers by standing with your bike, moving it so others can pass, and not blocking doors. Read all about Subway bike safety and courtesy."

And you may have to negotiate steep steps with a fully-loaded bike. Another option is to keep the bike boxed and pony up for a taxi to the ferry dock. You could assemble the bike underneath the cover of FDR Drive. Was just there in September. Lots of space. Let me know if you need lodging in Brooklyn. I know of a great, downtown hotel. You can take the ferry there from Wall St. and ride a short distance. Bikes can be brought in the rooms.

Hope the weather is o.k. Some of the sailings today are cancelled, likely due to high winds from the storm moving through.

Offline JonathanW

Re: Getting from JFK to Wall St. to Sandy Hook
« Reply #4 on: October 27, 2018, 01:33:13 pm »
Jamawani,  seriously, what is your problem? Those posts you managed to dig out are months and months old. Could you imagine that some planning has been done since? And some some things might have change and/or have beend fixed to something?!

Guess what, I‘m not even touching Nebraska. I will be south of it.

And the fact that you claim that the time will be putting me in a dangerous situation in the west, but you dont bother mentioning what, shows me what kind of helpful and supportive character you are. Please stop spamming my post!

P.S. Thanks Bikelicious for your helpful information!
« Last Edit: October 27, 2018, 01:36:43 pm by JonathanW »

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Getting from JFK to Wall St. to Sandy Hook
« Reply #5 on: October 27, 2018, 04:08:23 pm »
JonathanW, I'd ask you to refrain from antagonizing jamawami.  (As he wrote, just walk away.)

You really don't need to hit Nebraska, or Wyoming (where the Bighorns) are, to run into potential trouble with your plan.  To wit: the first time I went to the Poconos in Pennsylvania was early May -- not March, May..  It snowed there.  In May.  Sure, you can stay in motels (if you can find one where you need one), but there were no shoulders to ride on, traffic was slow and bumper-to-bumper because the roads were slick.  And that's south of where you're planning to start.

So feel free to ignore local knowledge, and pardon those of us who care.

Back to your original question:  BikeliciousBabe has the best idea, take taxis.  You really don't want to wrestle a bike (boxed or assembled) plus bags on and off multiple public transportation as many times as your original plan called for.  I've done similar things on the D.C. Metro with just a suitcase and a briefcase -- it gets unpleasant fast.

Offline JonathanW

Re: Getting from JFK to Wall St. to Sandy Hook
« Reply #6 on: October 27, 2018, 04:29:44 pm »
Thanks for your reply pat! Yes I could or should have replied in a different way. It was just the tone in between the lines that set me off. I am glad to learn about things I should look out for. But I just cant change certain aspects of my trip anymore, simply because flights are booked. So instead of trying to convince me of something different which I am simply not able to do, I would just apreciate on tips how I can get along with the given situation. And I also asked for something conpleteley different here...

And why does everybody think he knows my rout (based on previous 10month old posts)? The are you described is north of NYC, right? I‘m taking the South route Philly Alternate, Route66, TransAm and Western Express.

And finally to my original post: I think you could be right. I might just leave the bike in the box and try to get a taxi or similar.

Offline JonathanW

Re: Getting from JFK to Wall St. to Sandy Hook
« Reply #7 on: October 27, 2018, 04:31:50 pm »
And just for the record, Jamawani deleted 2 of his posts which leave my replys completely out of context...

Offline jwrushman

Re: Getting from JFK to Wall St. to Sandy Hook
« Reply #8 on: October 28, 2018, 08:31:29 pm »
Pack lots of warm clothes and lots of changes.   Looking at Google, the weather you get in Frankfurt is similar to what we have here in NJ - sh*tty.  Although I ride all winter long, there are lots of days I take off because the roads are so hazardous with snow, sleet and ice forcing you away from the curb.  And NJ drivers are not known for being courteous.  I wouldn't count on the bike path from Sandy Hook being ride-able at the beginning of March - others may be able to correct me.  And if the weather is poor, Rte 36 will be treacherous too.  Plan on lots of zero days for weather delays. 

Offline BikeliciousBabe

Re: Getting from JFK to Wall St. to Sandy Hook
« Reply #9 on: October 29, 2018, 02:07:36 pm »
Not to mention that the NYC subway system is in bad shape right now. A weekday would likely be miserable, even with an unboxed bike.

I live in Philly. While it's certainly possible to have pleasant weather in the general area early in March, it's not the norm, or even close to it. I have Good Friday off. My hope every year is that I do my first three or four day tour over Easter weekend, but that rarely happens. The last time it did was maybe four years ago. I spent the final day riding 50 miles up the NJ coast into the winds and rain of what we call a Nor'easter storm so I could get to Atlantic City to catch the train home.

I think it has also been noted that camping could likely be an issue. While some state facilities are open all year, some are not.  Many (if not most or all) private campgrounds are closed until April. Some, not until May.

Knowing the planned route might elicit more tailored responses.

Offline JonathanW

Re: Getting from JFK to Wall St. to Sandy Hook
« Reply #10 on: October 29, 2018, 03:03:32 pm »
Thank you for your responses guys. Believe me, if I could I would either re-book my flights or go back in time and slap myself. One is more obvious, but neither of that is possible for me now. So I'm afraid I have to work with the given situation and prepare/plan as good as possible.

I plan on having full winter gear with me in several layers, which I will test in detail this winter here in Germany. I might send some of the stuff home when it gets warmer (or keep it for the Rockies).

Do you think the problem with the weather will mostly be "just" cold/rainy/windy? I'm asking because I think this something I can take care of with clothing (although I'm well aware that this can get frustrating fast). Or are chances high that roads will be icy/covered with snow?

My route will look like this:

- NYC to Chicago, Philly Alternate
- Indanapolis to St. Louis "on my own"
- Part of the Route 66 Trail
- Then TransAm Trail and Western Express

For camping, I guess I'd have to check all the facilities on my route individually for opening times. That should give me some idea.

As for getting the bike form JFK to NYC to Sandy Hook. I guess I will get my bike boxed to Manhattan, assemble it there and then take the ferry to NJ. The Taxis should be capped to about 60 USD, right? Can you recommend any good spots in the Manhattan area where I can assemble my bike? Maybe  I'll even stay in Manhattan one night bevore I head over to Sandy Hook/NJ.

Offline aggie

Re: Getting from JFK to Wall St. to Sandy Hook (and early March depature)
« Reply #11 on: October 29, 2018, 03:55:09 pm »
I rode a good part of your proposed route from Columbus, OH  to St. Lous in early May this year.  If there isn't any snow the trails in Ohio were awesome.  Best maintained trails I've seen.  The roads in Indiana were some of the worst I've ever ridden and I expect they haven't improved much if at all.  The pavement was severely deteriorated and chunks of broken asphalt covered the shoulder.  This was along with all the sand and other debris left over from the winter.  This includes the trails that run through Indianapolis area.  I mostly took Hwy 40 from Indianapolis to Vandalia'  From there I followed a route someone created call the Eastern Express ( which was mostly rail trails or low traffic roads into St. Louis.  Ran into a few days of rain and some very cold days.  It is pretty easy to catch the Katy Trail from St. Louis.  This will take you to Clinton, MO.  From there you could go to Osawatomie and catch another rail trail to Ottawa.  From Ottawa there is a rail trail south to Iola and Hwy 50.  This will then rejoin the Trans Am trail.  Can't tell you about camping since I stayed in motels.  If you ride on rail trails they are mostly a hard packed crushed limestone with a fine dust that will coat your bike.  You may run into some rain, snow and ice as was mentioned earlier.  Best wishes.   

Offline BikeliciousBabe

Re: Getting from JFK to Wall St. to Sandy Hook (and early March depature)
« Reply #12 on: October 29, 2018, 10:22:15 pm »
Taxi cost:

As mentioned, you can assemble the bike under cover at the Pier 11/Wall St. ferry stop, but there won't much sunlight. If you want a hotel room in lower Manhattan, there are a bunch close to Pier 11. Search Google Maps. Prepare to pay at least $200 with taxes.

Besides cold and wet you could have snow. If there is snow, riding conditions could be not fun, with snow and/or ice covering what shoulders there might be. Understand that NJ is the most densely populated state in the country. Philadelphia is the 5th most populous city in the country, and the route goes through the heart of the business district. Most of the limited camping options early on will likely be closed. There is the Chamonix HI Hostel in Philadelphia.

The route appears to uses the portion of the GAP trail that passes through the Big Savage Tunnel. The tunnel could be closed when you arrive. This year it opened April 5th. Usually opens around that time, if not a little later. There is no easy bypass.

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Getting from JFK to Wall St. to Sandy Hook (and early March depature)
« Reply #13 on: October 30, 2018, 09:06:50 am »
Re: tickets already bought, could you pay a change fee and slide the dates a month out?  Delta/American/United change fees usually run $200 for domestic flights (I've paid enough of them to know!), but you could make that up in just a few extra nights camping vs. in a motel.

Offline bbarrettx

Re: Getting from JFK to Wall St. to Sandy Hook (and early March depature)
« Reply #14 on: December 15, 2018, 05:11:15 pm »
This thread kind of fizzled out but if you're still planning the same flight to JFK I would do this, just to give yourself a chance. I'd leave the bike in the box and take the bus to Penn Station. From there I'd take the train south. Amtrak runs a bus spur to Virginia Beach which isn't far from Yorktown and the start of the TA. You'll be maybe a month early starting the TA but you could still get reasonably mild weather in VA/KY in March and could avoid snow and ice altogether. If you start from Sandy Hook you're two months early. I grew up 5 miles from Sandy Hook and the rivers are sometimes still iced over in early March just to give you an idea.

The TA to Western Express really is a great route and so much easier to navigate than planning your own route through those areas you suggested. I've done it both ways and always recommend the TA. Good luck.