Author Topic: Tidewater Potomac Route options?  (Read 3027 times)

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Offline peterharris

Tidewater Potomac Route options?
« on: April 21, 2011, 10:55:29 am »
I'm considering a long-weekend bike trip with a few friends in the next few months and am looking around for possibilities. We all live in the Washington, DC area and don't want to do the obvious, which is the C&O Canal path. It appears we could shorten the Tidewater Potomac Route by crossing the Potomac River on the Rt 301 bridge near Newburg, MD. The fact that that bridge is a two-lane bridge with no bike or pedestrian lane is a little worrisome. The rest of Rt 301 on either side of the bridge is a four-lane divided highway so is less problematic. I have no hard data but am guessing a shortcut like this could reduce a normally 378-mile, 6-7 day ride down to a do-able long-weekend ride.

Has anyone attempted a shortcut like this? If so, would you be willing to share your experience with the shortcut, the Rt 301 bridge, and possible back roads that would enable us to re-join the regular ACA route east of Fredericksburg?


Offline BobG

Re: Tidewater Potomac Route options?
« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2011, 07:31:41 pm »

I don't think you'd want to cycle across the Rt 301 bridge. I'd imagine that it is prohibited.....almost 2 miles long, no shoulder, lots of traffic.

If you can arrange a lift across, just continue on Rt 301 until it intersects the Tidewater/Potomac route at Salem Church and Port Conway Roads. If you're traveling the loop counter-clockwise be sure to take the "Leedstown Alternate". My brother and I own a cabin on a pond in Westmoreland County (on map 4) and I cycle those roads when I visit.

edit- VA 218 winds around more directly to Fredericksburg from the Va side of the bridge. Not sure of it's traffic volume. It is a "red" road on the state map but winds around thru small towns and is labeled as scenic.
« Last Edit: April 23, 2011, 12:32:28 pm by BobG »

Offline Clem

Re: Tidewater Potomac Route options?
« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2011, 09:57:48 pm »
I would recommend you stay off 301 in Virginia. Most of it doesn't seem to have a shoulder, and what shoulder it does have is soft gravel. Not good.

The ACA Heritage trail crosses the Potomac near Washington and proceeds south. That might be a much better way.

Offline CMajernik

Re: Tidewater Potomac Route options?
« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2011, 12:51:34 pm »
On ACA's Tidewater Potomac map, here are instructions re: the US 301 bridge. "The MD Transportation Authority may, if manpower and time are available, transport cyclists and the bicycles across the bridge for a fee. Contact the Authority at least 24 hours prior to arrival at 301-259-4444."
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

Follow Routes & Mapping on Twitter: @acaroutes

Offline Arminius

Re: Tidewater Potomac Route options?
« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2011, 09:46:12 pm »
The 301 "Harry Nice Bridge" is not bike friendly.  In fact, about 2 years ago a motorcyclist went off it and died.  No shoulder and is a narrow 2 lane road with heavy truck traffic.

Some one mentioned 218 in Virginia as well.  Avoid it too.  No shoulder and curvy.  High speed limit as well.  Coming east out of Fredericksburg, I'd recommend following Rt. 3 to just before King George Courthouse, then heading toward Dogue.  Though Rt 3 is four lane, it does have fairly wide shoulders.