Author Topic: Feasibility of riding Atlantic Coast in November/alternate routes  (Read 362 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Barak10

Dear forum,

I am currently working a seasonal job in southern Vermont, near Burlington, and will finish on 25 October.
I would very much like to cycle from here down to Florida via DC (to visit friends) and am considering the ACA Atlantic Coast Route for this purpose.
However, I have some reservations I was hoping for advice on.
First, I understand the route is considered challenging and may not be suitable for a first time bikepacker.
Secondly, I am concerned that the weather in the northern portion of the route may make riding difficult.

Could anyone here expand on those issues and recommend an alternate route, if applicable? I am also open to beginning further south and shipping my bike or taking it by train, if feasible.
Thank you in advance!

Offline dkoloko

Re: Feasibility of riding Atlantic Coast in November/alternate routes
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2022, 10:02:56 am »
I used to live near Burlington. Snow usually doesn't occur until December, at least snow that doesn't soon melt. I've bicycled the Atlantic Coast Route. I don't see it any more challenging than any other ACA route I've bicycled.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Feasibility of riding Atlantic Coast in November/alternate routes
« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2022, 10:09:35 am »
I have not done the route, but have lived along it and traveled portions of it by car most of my life.  I'll say that you can typically take the ACA recommendations of when you can ride (see the logistics tab in their ride description page) as accurate.

As far as difficulty...  There are probably plenty of really steep, but not super long climbs.  The climbing per mile numbers (on the terrain tab) do not look crazy hard though.  Your first part looks fairly hilly on average and then it gets very flat after that.  At that point the wind may be an issue at times.

I wouldn't say it is something you should avoid if you are reasonably fit and do some riding in preparation.  Don't skip it due to difficulty unless you are looking for something quite flat then just start farther south.

Camping is a bit more scarce and expensive on the east coast than other places in my experience, but I have not actually toured there other than breifly at the end of a couple coast to coast tours.

Personally my preference has always been to find a cool place to tour and travel to it rather than use a tour as a way to get from point to point.  Probably because I lived most of my live in the mid atlantic region I always mostly avoided touring there (and the rest of the east coast as well).  If you should decide to consider other routes the terrain tab a good way to compare the amount of climbing, just realize the some western routes have long not so steep climbs that are easier than they'd seem based purely on the numbers and some eastern ones have the opposite.  There are steep routes in the wet too though so a route the the Sierra Cascades will be exceedingly hard while the Trans America or Southern Tier may be easier than you might guess by the climbing numbers.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2022, 10:13:34 am by staehpj1 »

Offline HobbesOnTour

Re: Feasibility of riding Atlantic Coast in November/alternate routes
« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2022, 12:24:36 pm »
One thing to keep in mind at that time of the year is daylight.
Short days can put pressure on you to reach destinations and, if camping, there may be fewer options than usual.
Night riding requires good lighting. It can be wonderful on quiet, well surfaced roads but a nightmare on busy, poor surfaces.
Good luck!

Offline CMajernik

Re: Feasibility of riding Atlantic Coast in November/alternate routes
« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2022, 04:57:26 pm »
Also, many campgrounds in the northeast close after Labor Day, though some may be open through leaf peeping season. You'd have to call/confirm beforehand.
Carla Majernik
Routes and Mapping Program Director

Adventure Cycling Association
Inspiring people of all ages to travel by bicycle.
800/755-2453, 406/721-1776 x218, 406/721-8754 fax
www.adventurecycling.org

Follow Routes & Mapping on Twitter: @acaroutes

Offline BikeliciousBabe

Re: Feasibility of riding Atlantic Coast in November/alternate routes
« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2022, 02:06:51 pm »
When did they move Burlington to southern VT?  When I was there again last September it was still about 40 miles from the Canadian border.  Or did you mean Brattleboro?   ;D

I have ridden south from either Brattleboro, or Burlington through Brattleboro, to join ACA's Atlantic Coast Route during trips home to Philly.  Twice in N. Canaan, CT and once in Millerton, NY.  As noted, campgrounds start shutting down relatively early.  For example, Lake Bomoseen S.P. near Fair Haven, VT, shuts down after Labor Day Weekend.  Nearby Half Moon Pond S.P. closes mid-October.  During my trip starting last September, the place in the southern Berkshires I camped at was closing the following weekend.  ("Winter comes early around here." the owner remarked.) Lone Oak, a few miles east of N. Canaan, CT, closes mid-October.  The Rudd Pond camping area of Taconic State Park, a bit off route from Millerton, NY, closes after Labor Day Weekend.  You will pretty much find the same as you get into NJ and PA, at least with respect to private campgrounds.  Worthington State Forest in NJ stays open year 'round, but they shut off the water at some point.  And I don't think I would want to risk sub-freezing temperatures at the time you're talking.  I have ridden that area in mid-October when nights have been around freezing.  Dogwood Haven, just off route in Upper Black Eddy, PA, closes at the end of October.

Luckily for you, whether you are in Burlington or Brattleboro, you can take your bike on Amtrak's Vermonter as far south as D.C.  No boxing of the bike required.  You just need to reserve one of the 3 bike spaces.  At the time of year you are looking at, that probably will not be a problem.

Offline dkoloko

Re: Feasibility of riding Atlantic Coast in November/alternate routes
« Reply #6 on: May 19, 2022, 11:28:47 am »
I never said Burlington is in southern Vermont.

Offline Barak10

Re: Feasibility of riding Atlantic Coast in November/alternate routes
« Reply #7 on: May 19, 2022, 01:14:39 pm »
I used to live near Burlington. Snow usually doesn't occur until December, at least snow that doesn't soon melt. I've bicycled the Atlantic Coast Route. I don't see it any more challenging than any other ACA route I've bicycled.

Thank you very much

Offline Barak10

Re: Feasibility of riding Atlantic Coast in November/alternate routes
« Reply #8 on: May 19, 2022, 01:15:11 pm »
I have not done the route, but have lived along it and traveled portions of it by car most of my life.  I'll say that you can typically take the ACA recommendations of when you can ride (see the logistics tab in their ride description page) as accurate.

As far as difficulty...  There are probably plenty of really steep, but not super long climbs.  The climbing per mile numbers (on the terrain tab) do not look crazy hard though.  Your first part looks fairly hilly on average and then it gets very flat after that.  At that point the wind may be an issue at times.

I wouldn't say it is something you should avoid if you are reasonably fit and do some riding in preparation.  Don't skip it due to difficulty unless you are looking for something quite flat then just start farther south.

Camping is a bit more scarce and expensive on the east coast than other places in my experience, but I have not actually toured there other than breifly at the end of a couple coast to coast tours.

Personally my preference has always been to find a cool place to tour and travel to it rather than use a tour as a way to get from point to point.  Probably because I lived most of my live in the mid atlantic region I always mostly avoided touring there (and the rest of the east coast as well).  If you should decide to consider other routes the terrain tab a good way to compare the amount of climbing, just realize the some western routes have long not so steep climbs that are easier than they'd seem based purely on the numbers and some eastern ones have the opposite.  There are steep routes in the wet too though so a route the the Sierra Cascades will be exceedingly hard while the Trans America or Southern Tier may be easier than you might guess by the climbing numbers.

Thank you very much

Offline Barak10

Re: Feasibility of riding Atlantic Coast in November/alternate routes
« Reply #9 on: May 19, 2022, 01:15:51 pm »
One thing to keep in mind at that time of the year is daylight.
Short days can put pressure on you to reach destinations and, if camping, there may be fewer options than usual.
Night riding requires good lighting. It can be wonderful on quiet, well surfaced roads but a nightmare on busy, poor surfaces.
Good luck!

Thank you very much

Offline Barak10

Re: Feasibility of riding Atlantic Coast in November/alternate routes
« Reply #10 on: May 19, 2022, 01:16:10 pm »
Also, many campgrounds in the northeast close after Labor Day, though some may be open through leaf peeping season. You'd have to call/confirm beforehand.
Thank you very much

Offline Barak10

Re: Feasibility of riding Atlantic Coast in November/alternate routes
« Reply #11 on: May 19, 2022, 01:17:07 pm »
When did they move Burlington to southern VT?  When I was there again last September it was still about 40 miles from the Canadian border.  Or did you mean Brattleboro?   ;D

I have ridden south from either Brattleboro, or Burlington through Brattleboro, to join ACA's Atlantic Coast Route during trips home to Philly.  Twice in N. Canaan, CT and once in Millerton, NY.  As noted, campgrounds start shutting down relatively early.  For example, Lake Bomoseen S.P. near Fair Haven, VT, shuts down after Labor Day Weekend.  Nearby Half Moon Pond S.P. closes mid-October.  During my trip starting last September, the place in the southern Berkshires I camped at was closing the following weekend.  ("Winter comes early around here." the owner remarked.) Lone Oak, a few miles east of N. Canaan, CT, closes mid-October.  The Rudd Pond camping area of Taconic State Park, a bit off route from Millerton, NY, closes after Labor Day Weekend.  You will pretty much find the same as you get into NJ and PA, at least with respect to private campgrounds.  Worthington State Forest in NJ stays open year 'round, but they shut off the water at some point.  And I don't think I would want to risk sub-freezing temperatures at the time you're talking.  I have ridden that area in mid-October when nights have been around freezing.  Dogwood Haven, just off route in Upper Black Eddy, PA, closes at the end of October.

Luckily for you, whether you are in Burlington or Brattleboro, you can take your bike on Amtrak's Vermonter as far south as D.C.  No boxing of the bike required.  You just need to reserve one of the 3 bike spaces.  At the time of year you are looking at, that probably will not be a problem.
Thank you very much. My mistake regarding Burlington.
Do you think riding from D.C. south at that time of year should be feasible?

Offline Barak10

Re: Feasibility of riding Atlantic Coast in November/alternate routes
« Reply #12 on: May 19, 2022, 01:17:37 pm »
I never said Burlington is in southern Vermont.
I did. My mistake