Author Topic: Expected daily mileage on hills  (Read 11650 times)

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Offline Nic

Expected daily mileage on hills
« on: June 29, 2010, 01:56:21 am »
Hi, I am planning my first bike trip from Montreal to Atlantic City, at 60 miles a day.

However there are approx. 120 miles in mountains:

http://maps.google.ca/maps?f=d&source=s_d&saddr=I-87+S&daddr=NY-9N+S%2FNY-9N+Scenic+S&hl=fr&geocode=FTs6qQIdH7Ke-w%3BFfTwlQIdfnia-w&mra=dme&mrcr=0&mrsp=0&sz=8&sll=44.469071,-73.619385&sspn=3.186903,7.13562&ie=UTF8&ll=43.901851,-74.174194&spn=3.217701,7.13562&t=p&z=8

I don't know the average grade in %. Can I expect to do 40-50 miles a day in these conditions? Thanks in advance for any experienced biker!

Offline rvklassen

Re: Expected daily mileage on hills
« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2010, 08:55:39 am »

My initial response was:

It really depends.

How good condition are you in?

How good are you at keeping your load light?

Then I looked at the link.  First thing to note is you've shown it following I-87, which is neither pleasant nor legal for bicycling.  So I moved your start point to Plattsburgh and the end point to Saratoga Springs.  And then I selected the little bicycle icon, to get bicycling routing. 

This section is pretty much entirely within Adirondack State Park.  The roads are generally not super steep, and the hills are not super long.   That is, they are not steep by Virginia/Kentucky standards, they are not long by Rocky Mountain standards.  You will be climbing some of them for close to a half hour, and then going down the other side in minutes. 

Google Maps bicycling offered two alternate routes, slightly longer, but they look flatter.  I would tend to opt for the flatter ones.  One crosses to Vermont near the start, and then pretty much follows the shore of Lake Champlain.  It looks flattest. 

To get a sense of the real gradients involved, consider using a site such as mapmyride.com for that section to see how steep the steepest part is. 

My conclusion is that if you stick to NY-9 (which is parallel to 87), you should be able to ride 40 mi/60 km per day if you're in reasonable condition.  If you switch to the Vermont side, you should be able to ride 80-100 km per day, depending on load, and your physical condition.  According to MapMyRide, there are no climbs greater than 1% (there may be very short climbs steeper than that), and no downhills steeper than 3%. 

indyfabz

  • Guest
Re: Expected daily mileage on hills
« Reply #2 on: June 29, 2010, 09:47:40 am »
Hope you are not planning on taking the Garden State Parkway to get to A.C.

Offline JayH

Re: Expected daily mileage on hills
« Reply #3 on: June 29, 2010, 11:28:57 am »
120 miles... presumably in the Adirondacks?   If you hug lake champlain, the waterway and the hudson river, it's a little less hilly...   Once you get below the highlands in NJ, it's pretty much flat too and do avoid the Garden State parkway, it's a toll plaza and it's not free  ;D <big wink>   

Jay

Offline Nic

Re: Expected daily mileage on hills
« Reply #4 on: June 29, 2010, 01:27:42 pm »
Lol don't worry I'm not taking the highway, the map was just to indicate approximate location. I plan to go the US-9 road all the way, with a few exceptions. Google maps gives a list of 240 turns/items, but I figure it would be simpler to stick to the US-9 if I don't want to look at the map every 5 minutes.

You are right, the Vermont side is only 12 miles longer but flat so I can actually do it faster!

I'm 26 and quite in shape and strong, however I never did more than 30 miles in one day. I will practice 60 miles in one day before leaving. I have a hybrid 250$ bike, I also have to learn to repair it.

For food: carry some stuff on me but hope to come across groceries at least 3 times a day along the 9

For sleep: will buy a light backpack, tent and matress soon, and hope I find free places to sleep on the way and/or camping sites, hostels, etc.

How realistic do you think the food/sleep plan is? Thanks

Offline rvklassen

Re: Expected daily mileage on hills
« Reply #5 on: June 29, 2010, 02:19:30 pm »
Lol don't worry I'm not taking the highway, the map was just to indicate approximate location. I plan to go the US-9 road all the way, with a few exceptions. Google maps gives a list of 240 turns/items, but I figure it would be simpler to stick to the US-9 if I don't want to look at the map every 5 minutes.
It's not as bad as it looks, but you're right, you probably don't want to use the Google turn-by-turn as your only way of figuring out how to get where you're going.  Looking at the VT side for Plattsburgh through Saratoga, there are 83 instructions.  But several dozen are not real turns - just "stay right to remain on..." or some such.  Also, the place you find most of the small (go 433 feet then turn left) detailed bits are passing through towns.  Start a bit north of Plattsburgh and take the US22A alternative route it suggests.  Now follow that down a bit - it takes you across a ferry, and then shortly after onto a rail trail.  Many of the turns can be collapsed.  A bit later it puts you on US 7 for a while, and then seems to take you off and then back on to 7.  So just stay on 7.  Make sure you follow the directions where you're going 5 or more miles, and you can probably tighten up the notes on the rest.  Looking at the map/directions every five to ten miles is no big deal if you have a map/cue sheet holder (bought or made).  This is half an hour or more, typically.  Other than going through some towns, you should be able learn the turns between where you are at one break and where you'll be at the next.  In the towns it's nice to have the map or cue sheet holder.

You are right, the Vermont side is only 12 miles longer but flat so I can actually do it faster!

I'm 26 and quite in shape and strong, however I never did more than 30 miles in one day. I will practice 60 miles in one day before leaving. I have a hybrid 250$ bike, I also have to learn to repair it.
The issue you may run into is not so much strength or endurance as soreness from being on the saddle (more than) twice as long as you're used to (twice as far, but you'll go slower with a load).

I suggest you check out http://www.adventurecycling.org/features/howto.cfm

For food: carry some stuff on me but hope to come across groceries at least 3 times a day along the 9

For sleep: will buy a light backpack, tent and matress soon, and hope I find free places to sleep on the way and/or camping sites, hostels, etc.

How realistic do you think the food/sleep plan is? Thanks
Groceries will probably work.  You should check distances between towns, so you know when you need to carry a bit more.  No fun to run out and have several hours riding to do on no calories.   
I strongly recommend against the backpack approach.  Much better to put a rack on your bike (if you don't already have one) and then either make or buy something that will serve as panniers.  This keeps the weight low, and reduces the total work you're doing. 

Offline JayH

Re: Expected daily mileage on hills
« Reply #6 on: June 29, 2010, 02:46:23 pm »
The VT side of Lake Champlain also doesn't have huge logging trucks around Plattsburgh on Rt 9.

As far as a backpack goes, can't you just use your panniers? Some even have backpack straps...

VT has groceries and stuff along the coast, as well as some B&Bs if you're not camping.  Also has a lot of dirt roads that doesn't always appear on road maps...

Jay

Offline vertiganr

Re: Expected daily mileage on hills
« Reply #7 on: June 29, 2010, 02:57:39 pm »
Also check out Champlain Bikeways (http://www.champlainbikeways.org).  There's lots of good information on that site, including cue sheets for both sides of the lake.  I did a 5-day loop a few years ago, and in general, the Vermont side is much less hilly, especially if you go through the islands.

Offline Nic

Re: Expected daily mileage on hills
« Reply #8 on: June 30, 2010, 01:58:39 am »
Thanks for the advice and info. I will probably take the ferry to the island.

Hostels listed on Champlain Bikeways are generally 70$ or more per night so I'll go camping.

I will also buy a pannier and rack for my bike!

I have less than 3 weeks to prepare, I just decided this and I have a lot of stuff to learn!

Honestly the "finding a place to sleep on the spot" worries me the most. Should I plan each night in advance?
« Last Edit: June 30, 2010, 02:02:24 am by Nic »

Offline rvklassen

Re: Expected daily mileage on hills
« Reply #9 on: June 30, 2010, 06:43:07 am »

Honestly the "finding a place to sleep on the spot" worries me the most. Should I plan each night in advance?
It will vary.  As you get into the most populated areas you can pretty much count on it being hard to just "stealth" camp, and it gets harder to predict whether you can find a place by asking around.  You're not on an ACA route, so no advice can by had by buying their maps (which, by the way, can be worth their price if they're good for one free night apiece).   

I suggest you check out warmshowers.org. 

Offline MrBent

Re: Expected daily mileage on hills
« Reply #10 on: July 03, 2010, 02:27:34 pm »
As another poster said, of critical importance will be toughening up yer bum.  Put in lots of miles in the next three weeks, and read up on prevention and treatment of saddle sores.  An angry booty can turn a great trip into a grinding pain fiesta.  Don't neglect this preparation!

Have a great trip.

Scott

Offline Nic

Re: Expected daily mileage on hills
« Reply #11 on: July 03, 2010, 11:59:06 pm »
Funny you mention this, I rode 53 miles today, went to the beach, etc. Some hills but not too much, took about 5h30 including small stops.

I did not have really "tight bums" because of the saddle, but annoying friction in inner thighs and butt area toward the end. For one day it was bearable but I suppose 8 days in a rows like this will cause a problem.

I'll look more into it, thank you.

Offline geegee

Re: Expected daily mileage on hills
« Reply #12 on: July 04, 2010, 03:00:18 am »
I took US9 down to NYC a few years back when I rode from Ottawa to Philadelphia (I cut through the Adirondacks via Lake Placid). The hilliest part of US9 aren't through the Adirondacks, it's farther south in the Catskills closer to NYC, where the Hudson cuts through the Appalachian ridge.

I rode through NYC, crossing into Manhattan at the George Washington Bridge and took the ferry from Pier 11 (Wall Street) to Atlantic Highlands NJ. Headwinds can be brutal heading south on the Jersey Shore, and the roads were not entirely pleasant along the coast.

Offline alfonso

Re: Expected daily mileage on hills
« Reply #13 on: July 04, 2010, 07:31:12 pm »
Quote
annoying friction in inner thighs and butt area


If I may ask, are you wearing cycling shorts? If not, you'll find they make a huge difference.

Offline Nic

Re: Expected daily mileage on hills
« Reply #14 on: July 05, 2010, 11:21:49 am »
Geeg, do you think passing NYC more west and generally staying off shore in NJ would be beneficial wind wise?

Alfonso, I'm wearing regular cotton shorts with polyester boxers, I thought thight cycling shorts were not my style ;)