Bicycle Travel > Routes

bicycling NYC to Montreal

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Dear Psycholists,
In the middle of May I will start to cycle from the George Washington Bridge to Montreal.  I live in San Francisco and will ship my bike.  I see New York Bike Route 9 and 9w.  Has anyone done this route?  How is this route for cycling?  Is there a better route.  How about camping?  I called the NY State Parks Department and they told me there is a minimum of 2 days stay in each park.  I want to go north along the New York side of Lake Champlain.  After leaving Montreal and other parts of Quebec, I want to go south along the Vermont side of Lake Champlain to Burlington, Vermont and then bike to Portland , Maine.  I bike about 50 miles a day and I am not a racer.  Last May I took 86 days to bicycle from Ocean beach in San Francisco taking the Western Express to Lewes Beach in Delaware then to NJ for my 50th high school reunion.  Any assistance would be much appreciated. 

Over and over I see cyclists planning on using Rt 9 or 9W traveling north from New York City. Both are very busy and not recommended. West side of Hudson River less trafficked than east. Cross Hudson over Newburgh bridge or railroad bridge in Highland. Rt 32 not bad from Newburgh to New Paltz. From New Paltz there are better alternatives.

Agree. 9 and 9W are not nice in a lot of places. Poughkeepsie & Hyde Park come to mind. Was just up that way last spring.

Here is the route I followed from St. Albans, VT, near the Canadian Border, to Philadelphia, PA:

Some of it is part of ACA's Atlantic Coast Route. (North of N. Canaan, CT, it was my own route). Some dirt roads in NY, MA and VT, but the surfaces were benign. (Any time you get off the beaten path in VT you should be prepared for unpaved roads.)

Camped most nights. Got a room in Hyde Park. There is a state park a few miles north on Rte. 9, but it's not great and sort of a PITA to get to. Rented a restored caboose in Chester, MA, but there is a campground on U.S. 20 just north of town. Also spent two nights at my high school reunion in Deerfield, MA. Worth passing through the historic village and moving on to Brattleboro, VT.

ACA has a route from NYC to Chicago. You could follow that to the Middletown, NY area then take Rte. 17M (which eventually changes to a county road) and hook up with the Atlantic Coast Route north at Bloomingburg, NY.

Are you set on going through New York?

Most scenic route will be on Western New England Greenway. From NYC, take Metro North train to Norwalk, CT. Bicycle permit is $5.00.

Another suggestion: From midtown Manhattan, take the Hudson River Greenway Bike Path north, along the west edge of the island, past the George Washington Bridge.When the bike path ends, you'll be on Dyckman Street in northern Manhattan, and you'll need to cross Spuyten Dyvil, probably on the Broadway Bridge. Go north along busy Broadway to the Bronx and Van Cortland Park, a mile or two.
Here you can pick up the Westchester South County Trailway, a bike path that runs north. It is not a continuous trail (yet) but after a couple of gaps which you'll have to pick your way through, you'll be on the North County Trailway, which runs about 40 miles north-by-northeast to Brewster, New York. By this time you are well out of the city and into the exurbs. Find NY Route 22 in Brewster (or parallel routes, there are a few) and take that about 75 miles north, until you cross Interstate 90, and then keep going. Choices abound: take a right at Route 22 at Stephentown, NY and you'll go to Williamstown, MA--nice road, by the way--and then North Adams, MA. Continue north to Vermont 100 (I think that's it; it runs along a small, fast river, another nice road) and eventually make your way to Burlington, Vermont. Alternatively, don't turn at Stephentown and 22, keep going north another 10-20 miles to Hudson Falls, NY, where there's another break in the mountains that brings you into Vermont. This way you'll parallel Lake Champlain all the way to Middlebury, then continue to Burlington.
There's a nasty 10 miles to the north of Burlington that I haven't ever seemed to find an alternate to--fast and busy, little in the way of shoulders--but you'll make it, I'm sure, to the causeway that connects North and South Hero Islands and goes further north into Canada. From there, powered by poutine, you will fly into Montreal along the Richelieu River and related byways. Have a good time. The food in Montreal is awesome. Check out Schwartz's for the best pastrami sandwich in New York City...except it happens to be in Montreal (where they insist on calling it "smoked meat.")


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