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Riding from New York City to Boston, MA

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Riding from New York City to Boston, MA

Old 06-26-14, 01:24 AM
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superhansa
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Riding from New York City to Boston, MA

Hello!
I have been googling around for the last couple of days and I have found some older posts on this site regarding going by bike from New York City to Boston, MA.

I am going to USA (im from Norway) for the first time july 9th to visit friends and hang around. I will be bringing my road bike on the airplane.

My plan is to travel from New york city to boston by bike. Is that possible?
According to google maps one of these 3 routes are recommended: https://goo.gl/maps/jqL6E
I really want to ride through manhattan on a bike (i know its supposed to be terrible)
I do not want to take a ferry if possible.

I found this gps-track which largely follows the postal road (1):
http://www.bikely.com/maps/bike-path...York-City1537#

Would that be suitable?


Do any of you have any tips or maybe a gps-route somewhere they want to share?

I think ill do it in 2 days. Any of you have done the same and can recommend a cheap place to stay?

Edit:
I will also have some luggage with me that I want to send by mail or similar (I have someone on an address in boston that can receive it).
Is that possible? Would it be possible/safe to send a backpack with one of the buses from ny to boston? (My friend can pick them up on the bus stop)



Link to some old threads on this forum:
http://www.bikeforums.net/northeast/...ton-route.html
http://www.bikeforums.net/touring/60...=#post10057843


Hans

Last edited by superhansa; 06-26-14 at 03:17 AM. Reason: postal road edit
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Old 06-26-14, 08:35 AM
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cafzali
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The only way you'd be able to ship a backpack or bag from NY to Boston would be via UPS, FedEx or the Postal Service. Buses, trains, etc. require all luggage to be matched up with a passenger who has a ticket on the same route that your luggage is using before they will transport luggage, so that won't work. In theory, you might be able to pay an airline to treat your luggage as cargo and ship it on a flight, but that would be very expensive even if it's possible. The best thing would be to ship your luggage and have a separate backpack or something similar that just carries what you'll need for the bike portion.

I've never done it but US Route 1, which is also called the Post Road or Boston Post Road depending on where you are, should get you there. You should be able to connect up with the route in the Bronx borough of NYC (it's called Boston Road in the Bronx, but there are US 1 route signs). The URL below will give you more information on the East Coast Greenway, which is a collection of highways via which you could practically cycle up/down the entire East Coast of the U.S. It's at: East Coast Greenway

This Bikeforums post also has lots of info: http://www.bikeforums.net/touring/60...=#post10057843
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Old 06-26-14, 09:32 AM
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I think the route that includes a ferry might be more enjoyable, and certainly flatter. I did it like 30 years with a route that was mapped by the League of American Wheelmen. That route either followed US 1 or took you through Long Island. The current routes USBR1 and the one published by America's Bicycle Travel Experts | Adventure Cycling Association go around New York City.

Have you looked at crazyguyonabike.com yet for info? Maybe https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/sear...&main_type=all
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Old 06-26-14, 09:36 AM
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How much of a hurry are you in? Personally, I'd avoid the direct route. I'd go north along the Hudson and turn east to go through the northern part of western mass. That will be hilly but it is very beautiful. You will have considerably less traffic and better cycling roads. Plus cycling into Boston is no piece of cake. Coming from the north (via Concorde) will let you take the minuteman trail into Somerville.
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Old 06-26-14, 07:53 PM
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I'd budget three days for that ride if you're fully loaded. If you're going ultralight and peddling 100 miles a day, two days is doable.

I haven't done it in over 25 years, but did several rides from NYC (starting in Queens) to Boston. The main route was through Long Island to the Orient Point ferry at the end of Long Island, crossing to New London CT, along the coast to Providence RI then north to Boston. All arriving in Boston on the third day. That's around 200 miles fully loaded.

There's also a 2nd Long Island ferry from Port Jefferson NY to Bridgeport CT. If you're doing the ferry route, I'd go to Orient Point though.

I've also gone completely along the coast up Cape Cod and then over to Boston by ferry, which is a longer route.

If you're intent on avoiding the Long Island to the ferry route, I'd consider the suggestion about following the Hudson further north before heading west (this might add a day). The southern coast of Connecticut (especially the western half) has a lot of traffic, although it does go through some nice scenic areas.

Hosteling International has hostels in both Manhattan and Boston, which would be cheaper than a hotel. You can make reservations. I don't know if you need to be a member or not, check their site. Once you select your route you can Google for campgrounds or hotels around you're anticipated overnight stays.
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Old 06-26-14, 09:11 PM
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I don't think you realize how busy this corridor can be. It is one of the highest volumes of traffic in the country not to mention the crime rate. There are thousands of better places to tour in the US.
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Old 06-27-14, 06:33 AM
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Rt 1 in Conn., is awful for the most part. Not a recommended bike route.

Better option is to head up thru Manhattan to the Bronx to Van Cortland Park. NYC bike maps are your friend in finding a route, there are tons of options.

Catch the Old Put trial in VCP, which becomes the South County Trail at the Westchester border. Take that north 11 miles to the 1 mile detour north on Rt 9A in Elmsford to Warehouse Lane - go left. At the end you find the North County trail - both the SCT and NCT are the paved rail-trails of the Old Put railroad.

At the Putnam County border, the NCT changes names, but continues over to Brewster. It's 55 miles one-way I believe from the south end of VCP to Brewster, with all as rail trial except the one mile detour. That gets you out into the countryside and north of the Rt 1 / I95 corridor.

I'd then start on local roads across northern Conn. to Mass.

This is probably a better route then attempting to head east thru Queens to Long Island and out to a ferry. That option is not bad, especially once you hit Nassau County as there are a lot of good bike friendly roads in Nassau and Suffolk. But if I were in Manhattan I'd head north.
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Old 06-27-14, 08:49 AM
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Originally Posted by spinnaker View Post
I don't think you realize how busy this corridor can be. It is one of the highest volumes of traffic in the country not to mention the crime rate. There are thousands of better places to tour in the US.
The crime rate? Really? NYC is one of the safest places in the country. NYC actually has both a violent crime and property crime rate that is lower than Pittsburgh.

I can certainly understand why folks are suggesting he avoid NYC for touring purposes given the congestion, etc., but crime shouldn't be one of the reasons you avoid it.
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Old 06-27-14, 10:19 AM
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Originally Posted by cafzali View Post
The crime rate? Really? NYC is one of the safest places in the country. NYC actually has both a violent crime and property crime rate that is lower than Pittsburgh.

I can certainly understand why folks are suggesting he avoid NYC for touring purposes given the congestion, etc., but crime shouldn't be one of the reasons you avoid it.
The devil is in the details. There are some neighborhoods that are still very violent and crime ridden. For instance, I would never consider riding from Manhattan to Connecticut by traveling through the South Bronx.
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Old 06-27-14, 11:11 AM
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You have a lot of options if you want to do this ride. If you take the coastal route it will be much busier and, in my opinion, less fun. I recommend the route taken by the Tim Johnson Ride on Washington. It follows some of the suggestions above but cuts through Hartford, CT. There's no reason to ride directly through Hartford, they were doing events so needed larger towns to stop in. Best place to find the route maps is on RideWithGPS.com, use the keyword "TJROW" in your search and you'll see routes between NY and Boston.

Coming out of NY it's the Hudson River Greenway, cut over to Broadway to cross the Harlem River, up into Van Cortlandt Park and pick up the Old Putnam trail there. The trail name changes but it will take you north for quite a ways. I cut across near Yorktown to start heading east. Beautiful towns in Connecticut but short, steep hills.
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Old 06-27-14, 11:22 AM
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Originally Posted by cafzali View Post
In theory, you might be able to pay an airline to treat your luggage as cargo and ship it on a flight, but that would be very expensive even if it's possible.
FYI, not possible. All bags must match passenger, passenger must be on plane. If you ship via air carrier, it will not go on a passenger plane.
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Old 06-27-14, 11:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Mvcrash View Post
FYI, not possible. All bags must match passenger, passenger must be on plane. If you ship via air carrier, it will not go on a passenger plane.
Mvcrash, I covered aviation for years as a journalist including AACargo, which was the first dedicated cargo operation in the airline industry, so I know what I'm familiar with how the system world. What I said was that in theory you could pay to have it shipped as cargo. There's a big difference between passenger bags and cargo. Air cargo is basically the same service offered by FedEx, yet you can have something shipped same day across the country if you're willing to pay for that. Since it's shipped as cargo and not luggage associated with a passenger, he wouldn't need to accompany it.

In addition to the USPS, lots of food companies are airline cargo customers, as well as the death care industry.
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Old 06-27-14, 12:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Vintage_Cyclist View Post
The devil is in the details. There are some neighborhoods that are still very violent and crime ridden. For instance, I would never consider riding from Manhattan to Connecticut by traveling through the South Bronx.
And you could easily avoid those areas. I wouldn't go through many areas of NYC because of the traffic. About the only nice way to go north from NYC on a bike is to cross the GWB and take Route 9W up through NJ and into the Hudson Valley. I live less than an hour from NYC and do that all the time and it's a great ride. The chief benefit is that route is much more hospitable to riding on a bike, doesn't have heavy truck traffic, etc.

The only "problem" doing that, from the perspective of the OP, is it keeps him on the wrong side of the Hudson and there are no (legal by bike) opportunities to get back across until you're pretty far north and west of where he's looking to go.

If I were the OP, I'd ride out to Long Island, take a ferry across to Bridgeport, CT and go north from there. That avoids the whole issue.
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Old 06-27-14, 07:04 PM
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Originally Posted by cafzali View Post
The crime rate? Really? NYC is one of the safest places in the country. NYC actually has both a violent crime and property crime rate that is lower than Pittsburgh.

I can certainly understand why folks are suggesting he avoid NYC for touring purposes given the congestion, etc., but crime shouldn't be one of the reasons you avoid it.
Originally Posted by Vintage_Cyclist View Post
The devil is in the details. There are some neighborhoods that are still very violent and crime ridden. For instance, I would never consider riding from Manhattan to Connecticut by traveling through the South Bronx.
Exactly. And it is crime rate of large cities in the US in general. You certainly don't want to wander into the wrong neighborhood in any large city.
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Old 06-27-14, 09:25 PM
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I rode from Boston to New York in 2010. I took a week to ride 300+ miles, and to this day that tour is one of my favorite tours - certainly my favorite I've done solo. Here's my journal on Crazyguy, which has some route information. PM me if you want me to try and dig up more specific info, I may have it somewhere on my hard drive.

Let's get this straight: New York City is a very bike-friendly city. Almost all the bridges are bikeable, and there are bike lanes everywhere. The NY City bike map is excellent. Even if your route is mapped out, try to get a physical copy when you get there, most bike shops have them.

Getting to the bridges can be a little tricky sometimes, but the regional forums here on this site are filled with commuters who will be happy to help you out.

I suggest avoiding route 1 along the coast of Connecticut. Traffic is heavy and there's frequently no shoulder at all at least up until New Haven. (I can't speak to anywhere else.)

Assuming you want to go through Hartford (which I did), you have two major ways to getting out of Manhattan. (1) Go through the Bronx and head north along the Hudson, then head west, or (2) you can leave Manhattan through queens and then head into Long Island. The first means you get a lot of very pretty but hilly country - good for touring, not so great for a quick ride. The second means you'll have to take a ferry to Connecticut. I recommend you give this option some thought. Long Island has some great bike routes, and you can go through it pretty quickly.

If you can go through northern Rhode Island, I recommend it. It's hilly but utterly beautiful. Make sure you and your bike can climb! This route is nothing compared to, say, the Rockies or the Appalachians, but it has it's challenges.

One in Boston, you'll be doing some more highway riding, but it's manageable. Boston drivers have a rep for being terrible to cyclists, but I never encountered this.

Enjoy!
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Old 06-27-14, 09:27 PM
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Originally Posted by spinnaker View Post
Exactly. And it is crime rate of large cities in the US in general. You certainly don't want to wander into the wrong neighborhood in any large city.
Well, yes. I think some people like urban touring and some don't. It's a matter of preference, and it's a different set of skills.

I've toured in New York, Boston, Baltimore, DC, Philadelphia, and, in my home state of New Jersey, Paterson, Trenton, Newark, Camden (a little, at night), and you know what? They all have something good about them. I do admit it's possible I just haven't been mugged yet.
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Old 06-28-14, 03:16 AM
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Hello and thanks for all the replies!

From what you are writing i can see one major problem with this trip; The luggage situation. I am bringing a light weight road bike without any possibilities for carrying any panniers so Its crucial that I find a way to transport the luggage. I will just be travelling with a light backpack with a spare set of clothes, some long sleeves, tools, some food etc etc.
My girlfriend (which is taking some courses at boston university) is checking out the possibilities by mailing it (prices etc. etc). (Both students on a budget)


I want to be in boston by the weekend and my flight lands in new-ark on the 10th.

I have been on a couple of hilly trips earlier, f.ex through the swiss alps from munich-venice and I like ascents and descents so that is just a bonus i think.


Regarding the safety:

I have never been travelling through a big a city as new york, so the whole thing about bad neighborhoods etc is all new to me. I can pedal pretty fast but not faster than a bullet. Or a throwing spear. Or an arrow. So if its possible i'd like to follow your recommendations and go through long island and then take the ferry from there.



Based off of the comments I think ill opt for the route from manhattan - long island, then take the ferry to bridgeport, connecticut.


I am checking out ridewithgps.com and ill post updates here about the route. And the luggage situation.
If I cannot afford to ship the luggage my only option is then to go by bus to boston and then eventually go for a touring ride starting there.



Thank you so much for all the information!
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Old 06-28-14, 10:23 AM
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Originally Posted by neilfein View Post
Assuming you want to go through Hartford (which I did), you have two major ways to getting out of Manhattan. (1) Go through the Bronx and head north along the Hudson, then head west, or (2) you can leave Manhattan through queens and then head into Long Island. The first means you get a lot of very pretty but hilly country - good for touring, not so great for a quick ride. The second means you'll have to take a ferry to Connecticut. I recommend you give this option some thought. Long Island has some great bike routes, and you can go through it pretty quickly.
The north shore of Long Island is hilly (but not that bad), the south shore is generally flat. The demarcation is roughly along the line of Jericho Turnpike (Route 25). Route 25 goes all the way to the ferry at Orient Point, which goes to New London CT. This would be my preference over the Port Jefferson Ferry to Bridgeport CT, since it brings you farther east of the traffic congestion in CT and the ride along Long Island's north fork is a lot nicer.

If camping is an option, midtown Manhattan to Wildwood State Park is about an 80 mile run and would put you about 30 miles from the Orient Point ferry. It's another 100 miles from New London to Boston, so you'd probably need to overnight somewhere in between, getting to Boston early on the 3rd day. If you're going the hotel route, Google "long island north fork hotels" which will show you a lot of places along Route 25. This would get you closer to the ferry on the 1st night and give you the option of a 2 day ride into Boston, if you're willing to push 100 miles a day.
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Old 06-28-14, 02:12 PM
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Hi!

Found this bus company where they can accept luggage. Is this a good alternative to ups/fedex? I think cheaper at least. I have someone to pick it up in boston.

Yo! Bus Boston New York Philadelphia | Shipping
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Old 07-09-14, 08:38 AM
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Originally Posted by superhansa View Post
Hi!

Found this bus company where they can accept luggage. Is this a good alternative to ups/fedex? I think cheaper at least. I have someone to pick it up in boston.

Yo! Bus Boston New York Philadelphia | Shipping
Hey, yes, I've used them to ship a package home from my hotel. That was in NYC and their service was pretty cheap, I remember that I shipped something like 8 lbs, but I guess your backpack would be heavier.
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Old 07-11-14, 07:54 AM
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Enjoy your tour! New York was a bad place to be 30 years ago. The past mayor (Guillani) really helped to get things cleaned up-and I think for the most part it has stayed that way. New Haven, CT is by far, way worse than New York. Boston Post Road is a busy road. Personally, I would find it too busy. It's not a country road, and therefore not tranquil or peaceful, relaxing. City touring is too much like commuting to me-so I try to stay away from that experience as much as possible. I would just mail your box with the U. S. postal service, or even FedEx. Tracking numbers and good experiences always for me. Travel safe.
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Old 07-11-14, 10:16 AM
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If it's not too late, can I recommend not going to Bridgeport? On top of the traffic, Bridgeport is worse off crime-wise than New York City, plus you'll have to go through New Haven, also worse than NYC. What I'd recommend is going from NYC north, cutting across into Danbury, CT and then Head north in CT to New Milford. From there head eastward towards Farmington. There are only so many places you can cross the Connecticut river, and of all of them the only nice places for a bike to cross are in the middle to northern half of the state. I would jump on the Farmington canal trail until you hit Windsor and then cross on Route 140. From there you'll want to either head North into Mass. or stay in CT and go east/south. We have some very lovely rides on the east side of the state. I honestly would avoid Mass. as much as possible, of the two states CT drivers are much kinder to cyclists we have found, and the roads in northern and eastern CT are much less travelled than the ones in southern Mass.

As for places to stay, hotels aren't too expensive and there are a few hostels, but I doubt you'd want to go there if you have a nice bike.
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Old 07-11-14, 12:20 PM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by Vintage_Cyclist View Post
The devil is in the details. There are some neighborhoods that are still very violent and crime ridden. For instance, I would never consider riding from Manhattan to Connecticut by traveling through the South Bronx.
Nonsense. I've done it many times. Never had an issue.
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Old 07-11-14, 08:47 PM
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Originally Posted by LuckySailor View Post
New Haven, CT is by far, way worse than New York.
Originally Posted by ISPringle View Post
...plus you'll have to go through New Haven, also worse than NYC.
While statistically NH may be "worse" than NYC, we're talking about a city of 130,000 that covers 20 square miles. Plus, one can avoid what people consider the "bad" areas of town by using a route hugging the shoreline of New Haven, which is a pretty nice ride in itself.

I will agree that travelling along the coast will be busy, esp. from New York City to New Haven. A more inland routing will avoid most of that, but it will definitely be hillier.
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