Author Topic: Atlantic Coast advice  (Read 1719 times)

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Offline Dogtrainer

Atlantic Coast advice
« on: February 07, 2020, 06:58:06 am »
I am planning on cycling the ACA Atlantic coast route 2020, perhaps jumping on the Eastcoast Greenway where applicable. Is it advice to go south to north OR north to south? Which is better for terrain and weather?  I was considering starting late summer/early fall in Maine and going south as it cooled. What would be best month's for cooler weather in south?
Any help would be appreciated.

Offline John Nettles

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Re: Atlantic Coast advice
« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2020, 07:37:30 am »
Welcome to the ACA Forums! 

Try going to http://www.prism.oregonstate.edu/normals/ or WeatherSpark.com (for more detailed info) on climates data. 

I personally would head N>S as I would be in much better shape in September than say April. 

Another thought is to time it so you can ride the during the fall colors (I don't know for sure when that is) as that would be a beautiful ride.  The problem with that is that you will ride in much cooler weather (compared to early September) so you would have to slow down and/or sight see more often in order for the foliage to keep up with you.  You could also go off route in Washington and head west to the Blue Ridge Parkway to stay in the color.  I have a route (un-ridden but researched) than can connect you from the southern end of the BRP back to the AC route. 

Whatever you choose to do, have a great ride!

Tailwinds, John


Offline Dogtrainer

Re: Atlantic Coast advice
« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2020, 02:34:41 pm »
Thank you for your help.
When does the eastern seaboard, in the middle to south, start to cool down where it's not so hot & humid? If I start mid to late September in ME, is October in 70's-80'sF? Without running into too cold of weather in the northern states?
I'd be interested in that BRP route!

Offline John Nettles

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Re: Atlantic Coast advice
« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2020, 03:42:34 pm »
Since you do not say what your daily overall riding average is (including rest days), I can't say what your temp will be when you get into the southern states.

I would suggest you review at the links for climate and then let us know when and where you plan to start, what your daily mileage is, how many days off you plan for rest and/or sight seeing, etc.  The BRP & Skyline Drive are very hilly.  But they have fairly quiet roads and services are not bad.

By reviewing the links, you will get a good idea as to the climate you will encounter.  Of course since those are averages, you probably should allow a 5-10 degree variance high and low.

Tailwinds, John

Offline BikeliciousBabe

Re: Atlantic Coast advice
« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2020, 11:16:25 am »
Pace is important. A late September start and low mileage days could put you in NJ in mid-October. I've ridden that part of the route and also done some car camping there at that time. While not a certainty, you could encounter freezing temps at night in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area/Worthington State Forest. One year I did the Black Bear Century that started in Delaware Water Gap, PA, which is on route. When I rolled out of a nearby hotel to ride to the start it was 34 degrees. But it would likely be for only one night. On the flip side, there could be some spectacular fall foliage up that way. Just watch out for bears. The stretch between Port Jervis, NY, and the I-80 bridge across the river into PA has a healthy population.  In 2018 I saw a cub in camp at Worthington State Forest, which is a great place to camp. I'd try to avoid weekends as the place can fill up and you can only make a reservation for two nights, although they supposedly set aside some space for people arriving by bike, boat or foot. (It's near the AT.) Just call a day or so ahead of time and hope a fallen tree hasn't snapped the phone lines like one did the last time I was there. Also, they have a couple of bear lockers.

BTW...Do not ride the ECG in PA. Not much green about it. Lots of busy streets/road riding. At one point it uses PA 291, which is called Industrial Highway, and for good reason.

Offline Dogtrainer

Re: Atlantic Coast advice
« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2020, 09:52:23 pm »
Thanks for the advice.  After reviewing the Climate Data graphs, & not wanting to get caught in colder temps, it seems a Sept 1 or earlier start in NE Maine would be best.  I do 50-100 miles/day, depending on terrain, averaging 70 miles/day overall.  On a 2000-4000 mile journey, I may take 2-4 days off total. 
I had hopes of more ECG, but it seems the purpose is to link cities and I am preferring the green rural areas.
Is the full size bear spray canister recommended?

Offline BikeliciousBabe

Re: Atlantic Coast advice
« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2020, 10:11:38 am »
Hope I didn't scare you. You don't need bear spray. Black bears in that part of the world are quite skittish. Just keep a clean camp and follow attractant storage protocols.  The chances of sighting are not great, but they are there. The likelihood of a threatening encounter is remote if you are not sloppy.

Back in 1999 I rode the entire route (as it existed then) between Bar Harbor and Philly (minus a detour from Windsor Locks to visit a friend at Yale and then back up to the route in CT) after riding the entire Northern Tier route. Left Bar Harbor in late August. Maybe around the 26th or so. Aside from having to get a motel in Ayer, MA, because the campground was full Labor Day weekend and having to take refuge in a motel just above the NJ border during Hurricane Floyd, the weather was quite nice.

In 2018 I rode the route from N. Canaan, CT, to Philly during a tour home from St. Albans, VT. Rode the same stretch a few years before that during a ride home from Brattleboro, VT. When I get a chance I can send you a PM with some info and opinions about that stretch.

Offline sdotkling

Re: Atlantic Coast advice
« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2020, 09:07:50 pm »
Worthington State Park is also famous for its fearless (and huuuge) skunks, who have learned that no one will stop them from eating crumbs that fall off the campsite picnic tables. If you happen to be sitting at the picnic table at the time, that won't bother them at all. Just don't make any sudden moves.

Offline BikeliciousBabe

Re: Atlantic Coast advice
« Reply #8 on: February 13, 2020, 08:13:15 am »
Worthington State Park is also famous for its fearless (and huuuge) skunks, who have learned that no one will stop them from eating crumbs that fall off the campsite picnic tables. If you happen to be sitting at the picnic table at the time, that won't bother them at all. Just don't make any sudden moves.

Not to mention the family of turkeys that breeds every year.  During one stay there a raccoon tried to make off with an empty pannier. Early in the day it had held a very aromatic everything bagel, but I had put all my attractants in the shower room. The smell must have lingered. Heard a noise, unzipped the tent and saw the bugger dragging my Ortlieb Sport Packer by the carry handle.

Not to get off topic, but during my first tour way BITD, which marked my first experience with camping, I learned that chipmunks are fond of making burrows under picnic tables so they can grab the scraps that people drop.  Same with ground squirrels at backcountry campsites. In Glacier N.P. every cooking area had ground squirrel holes behind the log benches where you sat and prepared and ate meals.

Offline Dogtrainer

Re: Atlantic Coast advice
« Reply #9 on: February 13, 2020, 03:54:53 pm »
Any additional info is welcome.  I live at 8000' in CO, amongst a big bear population and the protocol is the same.  Thanks for the wildlife update.