Author Topic: bicycle touring website - car free paths  (Read 5900 times)

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Offline jeff51

bicycle touring website - car free paths
« on: March 05, 2010, 03:42:15 pm »
Some touring bicyclists have started a non-commercial website, Bicycle Touring On Car Free Paths, on how to do the great long-distance car-free bike paths in North America -- where the paths are, narratives on their settings in nature and history, information on lodging and camping, restaurants and food, ice cream and beer, bike shops and shuttle services -- basically, what the touring cyclist would want to know to plan a trip that could be across the state or across the continent.

http://bicycletouringoncarfreepaths.org/

We hope other touring bicyclists will continually add content -- their own suggestions for doing the trips as well as pictures -- to keep it current and expand it out. And as more touring bicyclists write us about their favorite car-free paths not now covered, the list of paths on the website will grow. If more people are on the paths, we might get more and better paths.

Paths covered on the site now include the C&O Canal, the Great Allegheny Trail, Greenbrier River Trail, Mickelson Trail, Silver Comet/Chief Ladiga, P'tit Train du North, Kettle Valley Trail, the Coeur d'Alenes, and the Katy Trail.

At this point, some paths are covered in more detail than others, a shortcoming we hope updates from touring cyclists will correct.

Offline Spokey

Re: bicycle touring website - car free paths
« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2010, 05:19:26 pm »
I'm not sure whether I like this or not.  I tend to be one of those who thinks that we need to integrate bicycles, not segregate them. 

Riding on paths can be more dangerous as you negotiate poorly maintained paths and try to avoid joggers and the like.  I do bike on some tow paths and know that my average speed drops 3-4 mph.  When I bike to work, I would like to get there as efficiently as possible.

But good luck.

Offline mucknort

Re: bicycle touring website - car free paths
« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2010, 10:48:18 am »
I'm not sure whether I like this or not....When I bike to work, I would like to get there as efficiently as possible.
This site ain't about any and all M.U.P. bike paths, it focuses on a few long (over 75 mile), dedicated bicycle paths that take you through beautiful rural scenery without the concern of cars. I wish them well, good stuff on the site, so far.

Offline staehpj1

Re: bicycle touring website - car free paths
« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2010, 11:38:39 am »
I'm not sure whether I like this or not.  I tend to be one of those who thinks that we need to integrate bicycles, not segregate them. 
My thoughts as well.  I an generally not a fan of bike paths and tend to usually avoid them when there is a choice between a bike path and riding on the road.  The notion of a tour entirely on a bike path doesn't appeal to me much.  That said I was impressed by the awesome bike paths in the Frisco/ Breckenridge area when we passed through there when riding across the country.

They have a place though and I know that there are folks who prefer them.  When my daughter was too young to safely ride on the road, it was great to ride the North Central Trail.

Offline jeff51

Re: bicycle touring website - car free paths
« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2010, 11:40:44 am »
to second that last comment, on nearly all of these paths, you're a lot more likely to run into a bear than a jogger.  there tend to be a lot of paws and hooves and wings out there and not a lot of feet.  that said, it's true some of the surfaces can be tricky, and sometimes you've got to ride with care.  but the paths take you deep into nature, into some pretty remote and beautiful areas; it can be like back-country hiking, but on a bicycle.  and for me it's a worthwhile tradeoff.  jeff

Offline whittierider

Re: bicycle touring website - car free paths
« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2010, 02:57:40 pm »
I would favor such paths if they're like some of the ones we have in So.Cal. which let you go full speed in any tailwind (I once did 5 miles in 9 minutes on our local 40-mile-long one), they get swept regularly, you can go an hour at a time with no stops, etc..  I'm afraid however that a network of paths out in the boonies would be poorly designed, constructed, and maintained, and could attract vandalism and other crime, and there probably wouldn't be any patrolling.  Roads already have the land and they need a shoulder anyway.  If the shoulder is paved, a cyclist can ride with a reasonable separation from the cars.  We don't need 100 feet of separation.

I've been on paths however that were supposed to be a beautiful, safe way to be separated from the cars, and the curves were too sharp to maintain normal speeds, and the grade instantly went from uphill to downhill and back.  Another problem was that the paving was much thinner than normal roads, and roots would grow under the path and push it up, and break it, making terrible bumps.

The only time I feel a real danger on the road is when I'm on the narrowest, winding mountain roads and there are RVs and boat trailers whose drivers don't realize how far they stick out, and that just because the front fender will clear you doesn't mean the trailer will.  On a recent trip, I had to be constantly watching the mirror and asking drivers for more room, or even motioning for them not to pass at all until I get past an extra-narrow curve or cut in the rock.  There the problem is only in climbing, not decending, because of the speed difference, so the widening would only need to be on the uphill side in that case.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2010, 03:03:11 pm by whittierider »

Offline dubovsmj

Re: bicycle touring website - car free paths
« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2010, 05:10:35 pm »
"you're a lot more likely to run into a bear than a jogger"

that exact thing happened to me when i did the allegheny mtn bike loop and was 40 miles deep on greenbrier river trail...it was pretty awesome.

at days end i discovered i had lost my sleeping bag.

that was not so awesome.

Offline jscotkey

Re: bicycle touring website - car free paths
« Reply #7 on: March 09, 2010, 11:21:21 pm »
Thanks for this compilation website.  I've already decided to use some of the info presented, getting my wife to join me on the Mickelson Trail this summer as a "gateway drug" to more substantial touring down the road.  Everybody cross your fingers and hope the wife gets as hooked as I am.

-scot

Offline Westinghouse

Re: bicycle touring website - car free paths
« Reply #8 on: March 12, 2010, 10:19:58 pm »
I am for it. I'd like to see a continuous path across the USA N to S and E to W. It will probably never be in my lifetime, but it seems like a good idea.

Offline johnsondasw

Re: bicycle touring website - car free paths
« Reply #9 on: March 12, 2010, 11:43:05 pm »
I like it all--bike paths, safe roads, etc.  The Trail of the Cour d'Alenes goes for 75 miles through Northern Idaho.  It's fantastic and completely separated from cars.  Being an old railroad grade, it's got nice grades, little traffic, and you can go normal speeds for miles on end.  The most dangerous thing I had to avoid was a flock of wild turkeys in the path. I look forward to doing it again.
May the wind be at your back!

Offline tonythomson

Re: bicycle touring website - car free paths
« Reply #10 on: March 13, 2010, 05:23:09 am »
I think this is a great site and already changed my planned route to take in a 313 stretch of car free riding.

Thanks guys

Tony
Just starting to record my trips  www.tonystravels.com

Offline johnsondasw

Re: bicycle touring website - car free paths
« Reply #11 on: March 13, 2010, 12:37:32 pm »
Anyone know if that Mickleson route through the Black hills is paved all the way?  It's hard to tell from the picture.
May the wind be at your back!

Offline jeff51

Re: bicycle touring website - car free paths
« Reply #12 on: March 13, 2010, 04:31:44 pm »
the entire route is unpaved.  generally, it's crushed limestone.  so, thicker tires are better.  generally, certain sections of the path, especially in the northern stretch, are in pretty good shape.  but while atv's are not legally allowed on the path, you'll see atv tracks, and the atv's can really tear up the surface.  so, in some sections, the surface can be quite grippy to the tire.  hope that helps, jeff

Offline 10speed

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Re: bicycle touring website - car free paths
« Reply #13 on: March 20, 2010, 02:26:14 pm »
Thanks For this great site!! I have a new bookmark.
Currently on bike tour as of 12/31/11...
Fort Collins, CO - Key West, FL. Key West, FL - Bar Harbor, ME. Bar Harbor, ME - ??? and going strong...