In May and June, 2010, I rode from Charleston, SC to Lambertville, NJ (journal here) along the Adventure Cycling Association's (ACA) Atlantic Coast Route. While en route, my wife decided to celebrate her birthday with her mother, brother and his family in Lambertville during the later half of August. To me, this seemed like a perfect, though unexpected, opportunity to continue my ride up into New England, a place I've never been.
The first step in my preparation was to leave a good deal of my equipment in my in-laws' basement. I stashed all my camping and cooking gear, greatly lessening what I had to fly back home and back there. Leaving my bike there would have been the best arrangement but, I only have one bike and it would have meant no bike riding for the two months I'd be back in San Francisco. Maybe this is a good reason to go out and buy another bike!
The first decision to make was when and from where to fly home. One experience both my wife and I seek is spending time in the autumn in New England when the leaves change color. I thought this would be a good opportunity to combine my bike tour with a leaf-peeping vacation. After posting this question at bikeforums.net, I decided on Burlington, VT and found the Dubuque Lane Guest House there. They had a vacancy for the first week in October, which we reserved. This set October 10 as "when" to leave.
After checking airline schedules, we decided that the best airport to leave from was Boston's Logan Airport. This set Boston as the endpoint of my bike tour. The plan is for me to ride and my wife to fly into Boston, rent a car, and drive to Burlington and back to Boston, where we also have friends to visit.
This gives me about a month to ride from Lambertville, NJ to Boston, MA. The driving distance between them is less than 300 miles. Thus, the next question is what route I should take to get there.
My first thought was to make a wide semi-circle starting at Lambertville, with the western half reaching all the way to Lake Ontario, possibly even Niagara Falls, Lake Champlain at the top, the coast of Maine the eastern edge and ending in Boston. One obvious option was to take the Erie Canal bike path across New York. To get up to that path, I could take the ACA's Atlantic Coast Route up to Poughkeepsie and then get New York's Bike Route 9 up to Albany, then NY's Bike Route 5 along the Eric Canal.
I posted a question on several bike touring sites and got lots of information. The two threads at bikeforums.net, one in the touring section and the one in the Northeast forum, were the most helpful. From the suggestions I received, I began thinking of other possibilities. I considered renting a car and starting my tour in Albany, saving 250 miles that I could use in Maine. I realized that I didn't need to do all of the area in one tour as I will be back in Lambertville in the coming years and can tour other places then. Also, there was no reason to even go up to Lake Champlain as I would be there for several days after my ride.
After mulling all of this over, I decided not to head west or up to Lake Champlain at all. Instead, I would spend time in Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. I really don't like to drive a car to my starting point, so my plan is to begin my ride in Lambertville, NJ, follow the ACA Atlantic Coast route to Canaan, CT, ride up through Western Massachusetts and into Vermont, across Vermont, along the Vermont-New Hampshire border, through New Hampshire's While Mountains, across Maine to Bar Harbor and Arcadia National Park, then down along the coast to Boston using the ACA Atlantic Coast route.
I've plotted these routes at mapmyride.com:
* Lambertville, NJ to Canaan, CT - 240 miles
* Canaan, CT to Bennington, VT - 75 miles
* Bennington, VT to Conway, NH - 195 miles
* Conway, NH to Bar Harbor, ME - 190 miles
I haven't plotted the ACA route from Bar Harbor, ME to Boston (approximately 350 miles) because I have it on a paper map.
When all the mileages are added up, it comes very close to the 1000 miles I can comfortably do in a month-long bike tour.
I have posted these routes on various bike touring forums and hope to get the same quality feedback on them as I did earlier.
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Copyright © 2007 by Ray Swartz