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NYC-Albany on New York State Bicycle Route 9?

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NYC-Albany on New York State Bicycle Route 9?

Old 06-17-19, 09:41 PM
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NYC-Albany on New York State Bicycle Route 9?

Iíve been thinking about a short tour from New York City to Albany on New York State Bicycle Route 9. Despite NYCís huge population, info on Hudson cycle touring especially in re Bicycle Route 9 is a bit sparse. I see a handful of blogs, some folks say Route 9 is basically good but suggest occasional alternate routing etc. Also, some bloggers are riding longer distance to/from Canada etc & not just the NYC-Albany section. New York State doesnít have BR 9 map online, itís a mail order.

Hudson Valley has West Point, famous estates, art history spots plus some nice scenery; seems like the transition from congested Big Apple to rural areas would be an interesting contrast.

OTOH though apparently some traffic & less scenic areas too.

Unlike GAP thereís no roll-on AMTRAK service so Iíd likely be driving a rental car from DC to NYC & then Albany to DC on return but thatís about 13 hours combined driving time. Worth the bother or more appropriate for locals? Same drive time would get me to NC/TN hills which look quite scenic though quite more challenging too.
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Old 06-17-19, 10:02 PM
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Originally Posted by DropBarFan View Post
I’ve been thinking about a short tour from New York City to Albany on New York State Bicycle Route 9. Despite NYC’s huge population, info on Hudson cycle touring especially in re Bicycle Route 9 is a bit sparse.
Well beyond my knowledge, though unless I'm mistaken the first leg north from NYC would appear to be the same as the well documented Bear Mountain ride. That as a round trip is century territory so your day-cyclist are going to turn around there and information beyond may be what is hard to find.

Unlike GAP there’s no roll-on AMTRAK service so I’d likely be driving a rental car from DC to NYC & then Albany to DC on return but that’s about 13 hours combined driving time. Worth the bother or more appropriate for locals? Same drive time would get me to NC/TN hills which look quite scenic though quite more challenging too.
Actually, there is one train a day that might help you: the Vermonter which runs from DC to NYC to well, Vermont does take something like 3 bikes with the front wheel off by advance reservation for an extra twenty bucks or so. Northbound arriving in NYC a little after 11 am but that could still give you a full afternoon's riding. Returning if you can get as far back as Poughkeepsie you can get on the Metro North commuter service there which does take bikes outside the busiest times... very scenic railway bridge turned trail across the Hudson if you need to get across to Poughkeepsie from the west side of the river. You would have to work out the return timing to catch the Vermonter, and factor in that you'll need to get a bit over a mile across Manhattan between Metro North's Grand Central and Amtrak's Penn Station to catch it; fortunately that Metro North line is horizontal bike carriage so you can probably stay loaded until you start taking things apart to fit on Amtrak.

In the realm of "no idea what you'd find in between" two crazy ideas would be to dive from Albany across Massachusetts sort of along I90 to Westfield, ride the Farmington Canal trail down the middle of CT and take Metro North from New Haven back into NYC (or just get on the southbound Vermonter at Greenfield or Northampton). Or you could only ride north a bit past Bear Mountain and up to the walkway at Poughkeepsie, ride the trail about 12 miles southeast to Hopewell Junction, get on roads and do around 30 miles that will be trail in a few years to Brewster or a more direct intersection with the historic Putnam line right of way and then ride that rail trail down the middle of Westchester back to NYC. Met a guy heading up that early one morning just north of the city who said he was riding to Niagra Falls... Unfortunately while I can tell you a lot about those trails others will have to fill you in on the area's roads.

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Old 06-18-19, 05:11 AM
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You can easily (no box required) take a bike on some of the bus services between DC & NY. BoltBus does that route, and I had no problem taking my bike on BoltBus on a different route. Tripper Bus (service from DC suburbs to NY) accepts bikes, too. These buses are much cheaper than Amtrak.
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Old 06-18-19, 08:58 AM
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Originally Posted by axolotl View Post
You can easily (no box required) take a bike on some of the bus services between DC & NY. BoltBus does that route, and I had no problem taking my bike on BoltBus on a different route. Tripper Bus (service from DC suburbs to NY) accepts bikes, too. These buses are much cheaper than Amtrak.
That actually does look like a good option for DC<>NYC particularly as there are more time choices than the once-a-day Vermonter train.

However unfortunately Bolt (with a stated policy allowing bikes on a space available basis) doesn't service Albany, NY. And Megabus which does go there explicitly prohibits bikes at least in their written policies.

Seems like NY Trailways might be an option for getting back from Albany, if you can tote a canvas bag or buy a box somewhere in Albany (maybe call bike shops in advance?) https://trailwaysny.com/baggage-information
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Old 06-19-19, 07:24 AM
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What are your requirements to an alternative to this ride? If it is not about distance, but more views, multiple point of interests, odd towns. I suggest driving up and parking at the Walmart or mall in Cockeysville and cycling the North Central Rail Trail to York, PA. Yes, it may not be hundreds of miles long. What it offers to me is the creativity to expand upon it by visiting towns it goes through, choosing to make it a day trip or making it a two day with a nights stay in York, and an easy time. I have ridden it multiple times as a way to get around going thru Bmore. I find it way more adventurous to ride mid week and at dusk or dawn. At York, you can easily turn it into a loop versus out and back by connecting to PA route S which runs east and west. Going west towards Gettysburg is a great ride. One could B line to Hagerstown. Then hop to the easy C&O completing a loop back into DC.
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Old 06-19-19, 07:33 PM
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Thanks for the tips!

Originally Posted by ***Chris View Post
Well beyond my knowledge, though unless I'm mistaken the first leg north from NYC would appear to be the same as the well do***ented Bear Mountain ride. That as a round trip is century territory so your day-cyclist are going to turn around there and information beyond may be what is hard to find.

Actually, there is one train a day that might help you: the Vermonter which runs from DC to NYC to well, Vermont does take something like 3 bikes with the front wheel off by advance reservation for an extra twenty bucks or so. Northbound arriving in NYC a little after 11 am but that could still give you a full afternoon's riding. Returning if you can get as far back as Poughkeepsie you can get on the Metro North commuter service there which does take bikes outside the busiest times... very scenic railway bridge turned trail across the Hudson if you need to get across to Poughkeepsie from the west side of the river. You would have to work out the return timing to catch the Vermonter, and factor in that you'll need to get a bit over a mile across Manhattan between Metro North's Grand Central and Amtrak's Penn Station to catch it; fortunately that Metro North line is horizontal bike carriage so you can probably stay loaded until you start taking things apart to fit on Amtrak.

In the realm of "no idea what you'd find in between" two crazy ideas would be to dive from Albany across Massachusetts sort of along I90 to Westfield, ride the Farmington Canal trail down the middle of CT and take Metro North from New Haven back into NYC (or just get on the southbound Vermonter at Greenfield or Northampton). Or you could only ride north a bit past Bear Mountain and up to the walkway at Poughkeepsie, ride the trail about 12 miles southeast to Hopewell Junction, get on roads and do around 30 miles that will be trail in a few years to Brewster or a more direct intersection with the historic Putnam line right of way and then ride that rail trail down the middle of Westchester back to NYC. Met a guy heading up that early one morning just north of the city who said he was riding to Niagra Falls... Unfortunately while I can tell you a lot about those trails others will have to fill you in on the area's roads.
I'll have to look up the Bear Mountain info, that might have good details on route out The City too. I'll have to order the NY BR 9 map since I haven't found an online cue sheet for BR 9. The Massachusetts thing sounds interesting, I wish I had more time. Vermonter train might work nicely for DC-NYC, convenient to avoid boxing bike.

Originally Posted by axolotl View Post
You can easily (no box required) take a bike on some of the bus services between DC & NY. BoltBus does that route, and I had no problem taking my bike on BoltBus on a different route. Tripper Bus (service from DC suburbs to NY) accepts bikes, too. These buses are much cheaper than Amtrak.
Yes, $18 vs $96, great bargain & hopefully the sturdy Disc Trucker would be fine. BTW I thought about driving my own car up to NYC but parking is even more expensive than I thought, ~$200 for 3 days, wow.

Originally Posted by ***Chris View Post
That actually does look like a good option for DC<>NYC particularly as there are more time choices than the once-a-day Vermonter train.

However unfortunately Bolt (with a stated policy allowing bikes on a space available basis) doesn't service Albany, NY. And Megabus which does go there explicitly prohibits bikes at least in their written policies.

Seems like NY Trailways might be an option for getting back from Albany, if you can tote a canvas bag or buy a box somewhere in Albany (maybe call bike shops in advance?) https://trailwaysny.com/baggage-information
Greyhound goes from Albany to DC but box required & about $70. Rental car would be about the same price & quicker.

Originally Posted by Teamdarb View Post
What are your requirements to an alternative to this ride? If it is not about distance, but more views, multiple point of interests, odd towns. I suggest driving up and parking at the Walmart or mall in Cockeysville and cycling the North Central Rail Trail to York, PA. Yes, it may not be hundreds of miles long. What it offers to me is the creativity to expand upon it by visiting towns it goes through, choosing to make it a day trip or making it a two day with a nights stay in York, and an easy time. I have ridden it multiple times as a way to get around going thru Bmore. I find it way more adventurous to ride mid week and at dusk or dawn. At York, you can easily turn it into a loop versus out and back by connecting to PA route S which runs east and west. Going west towards Gettysburg is a great ride. One could B line to Hagerstown. Then hop to the easy C&O completing a loop back into DC.
That sounds like a nice ride indeed, I'll keep that in mind for a nice semi-local trip. BTW I think the National Road Championships are this weekend in Hagerstown. However I've always been curious about the Hudson thing since seeing some of the famous Hudson River School paintings. They're the bucolic & Romantic 19th paintings that made Hudson Valley look like heaven on earth, heh. Of course they weren't so realistic but it might be interesting to see the areas that inspired the painters, even if things have changed a lot. Some of the Hudson River School painters became quite wealthy; also IIRC part of the motivation was to popularize the area to encourage land sales.


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Old 06-21-19, 05:23 PM
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If you have any issue with getting a coy of the Route 9 map, let me know and I can have mine sent to you.
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Old 06-21-19, 07:22 PM
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Possibly the best route out of the city is the Van Cortlandt Old Put Trail/South County/North County Trail. 40 ish miles up to Carmel, then head up towards Wassaic, up the Harlem Valley Rail Trail and your half of a third of the way to Albany on bike paths. Then just meander a bit NW to Albany.
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Old 06-27-19, 09:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Teamdarb View Post
If you have any issue with getting a coy of the Route 9 map, let me know and I can have mine sent to you.
Thanks for that generous offer. I think I can manage without having to bother you with that but we'll see: previously the Route 9 maps I've seen were faulty Google Maps that wouldn't zoom in correctly but today I found a BikeMap.Net listing with working OSM & Google Maps versions. No cue sheet but the route is simple enough so that shouldn't be a problem. BTW the NY State bike pages look rather complete but are really quite dumb. No d/l for Rt 9, phone # for ordering map is non-working; reportedly their map is 20 years old anyway. The site lists numerous bike co-ordinator etc officials but it's quite unclear what they actually do. Rather a shame, NY state has some beautiful areas for bike touring, they don't do a good job at promoting.


Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
Possibly the best route out of the city is the Van Cortlandt Old Put Trail/South County/North County Trail. 40 ish miles up to Carmel, then head up towards Wassaic, up the Harlem Valley Rail Trail and your half of a third of the way to Albany on bike paths. Then just meander a bit NW to Albany.
Thank you, I'll have to check this out. Initial portion would bypass West Point but that's not a must-see for me. Possibly use those trails to Millerton & then cut west to Rhinebeck & then follow 9 more or less. Nice to see some options. Roberts-1.com seems to have some good route info too including various options. BTW I'm a bit surprised that ACA doesn't have a Hudson route. I had planned to ride the GAP this summer but Hudson route looks possibly more interesting, maybe do GAP in early November instead to see fall foliage & Bicycle Heaven.

https://www.roberts-1.com/bikehudson/
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Old 06-28-19, 08:39 AM
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Originally Posted by DropBarFan View Post
.

Thank you, I'll have to check this out. Initial portion would bypass West Point but that's not a must-see for me. Possibly use those trails to Millerton & then cut west to Rhinebeck & then follow 9 more or less. Nice to see some options. Roberts-1.com seems to have some good route info too including various options. BTW I'm a bit surprised that ACA doesn't have a Hudson route. I had planned to ride the GAP this summer but Hudson route looks possibly more interesting, maybe do GAP in early November instead to see fall foliage & Bicycle Heaven.

https://www.roberts-1.com/bikehudson/
Alternately, the South & North County trails to the Putnam County extension as far as Carmel, then head NW 15 miles on road to Hopewell Junction and onto the Duchess Rail Trail, 22 miles to the Walkway over the Hudson to New Paltz and then north. Thereís also the Walkill Valley Rail Trail, which runs 13 miles from New Paltz to Kingston. Thatís a total 97 mile ride with about 75-80 on bike path.
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Old 06-29-19, 09:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
Alternately, the South & North County trails to the Putnam County extension as far as Carmel, then head NW 15 miles on road to Hopewell Junction and onto the Duchess Rail Trail, 22 miles to the Walkway over the Hudson to New Paltz and then north. Thereís also the Walkill Valley Rail Trail, which runs 13 miles from New Paltz to Kingston. Thatís a total 97 mile ride with about 75-80 on bike path.
Wow, quite an abundance of bike trails in the region...perhaps that's why BR 9 doesn't seem to be that popular. Also, Route 9 looks like it was the major road before Interstate 87 & I guess it's still pretty busy. Well thanks much...I'll have to figure out what tourist spots are 'must-see' & arrange the route accordingly. The trails would be more relaxing but OTOH BR 9 might have some nice river views so I'll have to do my homework.
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Old 07-01-19, 05:32 AM
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Originally Posted by DropBarFan View Post
Unlike GAP thereís no roll-on AMTRAK service so Iíd likely be driving a rental car from DC to NYC
Uh...Amtrak's Vermonter has carry-on service for three bikes. Convenient northbound schedule as well. Reservations far in advance advisable. If you want to get you and your bike farther north you can take the Harlem Line as far north as Wassaic, which is not that far from Hyde Park/Poughkeepsie.
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Old 07-01-19, 05:36 AM
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Originally Posted by DropBarFan View Post
Also, Route 9 looks like it was the major road before Interstate 87 & I guess it's still pretty busy.
U.S. 9 through the Poughkeepsie area is ghastly. So much so that ACA changed its Atlantic Coast route to use 9G. BTW...Stay off the Wallkill Trail south of New Paltz. Boring, and the southern end can be a mud puddle. Had to get off and walk last year.
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Old 07-02-19, 09:55 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
U.S. 9 through the Poughkeepsie area is ghastly. So much so that ACA changed its Atlantic Coast route to use 9G. BTW...Stay off the Wallkill Trail south of New Paltz. Boring, and the southern end can be a mud puddle. Had to get off and walk last year.
I looked at Google Street View for US 9 thru Poughkeepsie & yes, fast/busy with narrow shoulder. In fact, I'm looking at Street View on other more rural sections of US 9/BR 9...looks like narrow shoulder much if not all the way plus 55 mph in many parts...not so much of a fun ride really. Now I'm realizing why BR 9 isn't so popular for biking. I mean, it's not terrible but I'm guessing NY State designated Rt 9 as a cycle route more or less out of bureaucratic laziness.

I'm sure one could design a nice cycling route for Hudson region that hits some good historical & scenic areas while mostly staying on quieter roads & trails...only problem is I think that would mean a lot of zig-zagging, thus not the tidy 3 or 4 day tour festooned with majestic river views I had envisioned. Oh well, I appreciate everyone's input...looks like the good ole' GAP for the July tour!
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Old 07-03-19, 04:48 AM
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Originally Posted by DropBarFan View Post
I looked at Google Street View for US 9 thru Poughkeepsie & yes, fast/busy with narrow shoulder. In fact, I'm looking at Street View on other more rural sections of US 9/BR 9...looks like narrow shoulder much if not all the way plus 55 mph in many parts...not so much of a fun ride really.
The shoulder is also in bad shape in places. Rode into Hyde Park last year during a tour from St. Albans, VT to Philly. Stayed in a bike-friendly hotel in Hyde Park since the nearby campground (Mills Norrie S.P.) is not that great and requires several miles on U.S. 9 north of town.

https://ridewithgps.com/routes/27849657?beta=false
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