Author Topic: Boulder, CO to New York City. Northern route suggestions?  (Read 4338 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline swefish

Boulder, CO to New York City. Northern route suggestions?
« on: October 24, 2011, 06:44:23 pm »
Hi Cyclists,

In the spring 2012 I am riding my bike from Boulder, CO to NYC to film a documentary about stroke.  I am a stroke survivor myself and will stop and interview Americans at random and see what they know about stroke, interview stroke survivors along the way, medical personell etc.  I am trying to pin down the route now.  I want to go further North than the TransAm route and thinking CO-Nebraska - Iowa - Illinois (through Chicago)-Indiana- Ohio (follow Lake Erie? )- Pennsylvania (north?) - NY - NYC.   I am having a little difficulty figuring out what roads are bike friendlier.. Have been looking at 34 through NE and Iowa.. Any input, suggestions and ideas would be very welcome. 
Thank you!

More about what I am doing at and

Happy Pedaling,

Offline jamawani

Re: Boulder, CO to New York City. Northern route suggestions?
« Reply #1 on: October 24, 2011, 10:24:58 pm »
Karin -

Congrats to you and your work for others.

Yes, you can take a more northerly route - you just have to do more homework.
State Dept of Transportation website usually have traffic volume maps -
These give you a good idea about which roads are busier or quieter.
AADT - Average Annual Daily Traffic

Rough rule of thumb for me:
Under 500 - Serene
500 to 1000 - Nice
1000 to 2000 - OK but more caution used
2000 to 4000 - Getting busy, shoulder useful
Over 4000 - Really busy, shoulder essential

If you take COLO 52 east from Boulder almost to Wiggins -
You can pick up Avenue Q (paved) to Fort Morgan rather then the I-76 service road.
From there, US 6 makes for a nice ride all the way to Lincoln (bike friendly town)
[There are more remote and scenic routes - a little longer, using more back roads]

There is a spectacular, new bike/ped bridge across the Missouri in Omaha
But getting into Omaha can be a hassle.
An easier crossing is at Plattsmouth - narrow, but refurbished surface, and 25mph.

Iowa does not have many roads with shoulders.
They have a great cycling map which shows traffic on county roads.
You can take in the Bridges of Madison County and the college town of Iowa City.
[I will be glad to provide assistance]

The nicest bridge to cross the Mississippi is at Davenport/Rock Island - Centennial Bridge.
(Gotta use the north side sidewalk - south walk is blocked.)
Then you can ride 20 or so miles along a bike trail on the river.

More later.


Offline litespeed

Re: Boulder, CO to New York City. Northern route suggestions?
« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2011, 10:47:04 am »
Don't even think about riding US34 across Iowa. It is two-lane, has virtually no paved shoulders and has lots of impatient traffic. I did it east-to-west and it was a really harrowing four days. I almost kissed the ground when I got into Nebraska where the roads have generous shoulders.

I'm not familiar with 34 across western Nebraska but US30 along the Platte River and 34 east of Grand Island are good bicycling roads with plenty of services. Interstate 80 takes all the traffic.

When I was there the wind was strong out of the south. I don't know if this is common there but I suspect it is.
« Last Edit: October 25, 2011, 10:40:25 pm by litespeed »

Offline RussSeaton

Re: Boulder, CO to New York City. Northern route suggestions?
« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2011, 01:39:54 pm »
For getting across Colorado and at least 1/3 of the way into Kansas, Hwy US 36 is good.  It starts about 50 miles east of Boulder near I-70.  It has a shoulder in Colorado.  Can't recall if Kansas has a shoulder or not.  Not much traffic.  Big wide road.  Some rolling, lots of flat.  Few towns.  US 36 keeps going east in Kansas to the Missouri border but I am not sure how busy it is once you get half way or so across.

Offline jamawani

Re: Boulder, CO to New York City. Northern route suggestions?
« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2011, 07:47:13 pm »
Yes, you should avoid US 34 in Iowa - there is no need to take it.
There are sections with new highway and old highway - but they are only segments.
Otherwise, you are forced out on a busy highway - usually with little to no shoulder.

From Plattsmouth, you can take mostly county roads to Des Moines:
Via Henderson, Griswold, (use caution on Hwy 92) Greenfield, and Winterset.
(There's a nice paved rail trail from Cumming into Des Moines.)

From Des Moines, you can take back roads to Iowa City:
Via Monroe, Lynnville, Montezuma, and Millersburg.

Iowa City to Davenport is a little trickier - more traffic as you head east:
Little longer - via West Branch, Tipton, Maysville Rd, 110th, to Telegraph.


Iowa is very bike friendly in many ways - trails, shops, welcome - -
But its roads are not that bike friendly because there are so few shoulders.
And because most county roads are gravel - paved through roads tend to be collectors.
Still, Iowa drivers are some of the most courteous - esp. on count roads.
State, county, and town parks abound with inexpensive camping.
And the county seats often have lovely B&Bs in old victorian houses.

Offline Indianacharlie

Re: Boulder, CO to New York City. Northern route suggestions?
« Reply #5 on: October 27, 2011, 04:59:36 am »
I'm a proponent of the Ohio River Valley area for a E/W route. Check out my blog for remote and scenic routes in IN KY and a link to other KY routes. IMO the routes through Northern IL, IN and OH are less scenic.
Good luck on your planning / trip.
Charlie Myer
« Last Edit: October 30, 2011, 06:21:56 pm by Indianacharlie »
Scenic routes in Indiana and Kentucky:


  • Guest
Re: Boulder, CO to New York City. Northern route suggestions?
« Reply #6 on: October 27, 2011, 03:32:43 pm »
Illinois (through Chicago)-Indiana- Ohio (follow Lake Erie? )- Pennsylvania (north?) - NY - NYC.

One possibility…

Adventure Cycling's Northern Tier Route passes south of Chicago and then heads into IN and Ohio and eventually goes along the lake through Cleveland and eventually passes through Erie, PA. Not far from Erie, you can get on PA Bike Route Y along the nothern tier of PA:

Take the spur at the eastern end (Maps 29A & 29B) to Milford, PA. Then either: (1) cross the river into NJ on U.S. 206 and take River Rd. up to U.S. 6 into Port Jervis, NY; or stay in PA and take U.S. 6/U.S. 209 to Milford and cross into Port Jervis, NY. The former route will probably have less traffic but you might have to walk your bike on the U.S. 206 bridge walkway.

From Port Jervis, take U.S. 209 to SR 211 through Otisville to Middletown, where you can pick up NY Bike Route 17, which intersects Route 9 at some point.  Route 9 will take you into NYC over the G.W. Bridge.