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Bike Touring Thread?

Re: Bike Touring Thread?

8Washington tour, very nice. Enjoy it.  Eagerly await your trip report on WVa.  I will post when I tour next. I am sure I will head out somewhere later this summer or fall.  I have been researching the BRP for fall or next spring.  Rather stout for self supported touring so needs a lot of planning.

Here's my route for my WVa trip, the last climb @ mile 140 damn near killed me.

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Re: Bike Touring Thread?

Lydia, glad to hear your trip went well!  When I read the ride description ("total distance is 63 miles but only about 15 miles are on paved road, the rest is either gravel forest service road or hard packed rail trail") I had to laugh at myself for thinking "She says that like it's a *good* thing!"  current/big_smile  current/big_smile  Two of my short tours involved long stretches on the NCR/York Rail Trails, which are extremely mild as far as non-paved trails go, and both times I was ready to kiss the asphalt -- no matter how steep it was, lol! -- when I finally hit the road again. 

Maybe I just need fatter tires (I have smooth 32c tires on my Trek 520) -- certainly it is very nice to not have to worry about motor vehicles and to be closer to the trees!  current/smile

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Re: Bike Touring Thread?

Hey, all!

I just did my first bike-camping trip last weekend. Just a solo ride to New Freedom to test the gear, pitch a tent, etc.  But I think I'm hooked!

Could those of you who've posted on this thread share some of your routes/cue sheets (if you have them) for your bike-camping trips?  I'm especially interested in the mentions of Codorus State Park, the West Virginia loops, West Fork Trail, etc.

My campground for my first trip wasn't very scenic and I'd love to ride/pitch a tent someplace with a view.

Thanks for any help or advice any of you can offer!

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Re: Bike Touring Thread?

Hi, Susan, glad to hear you enjoyed your first bike camping trip!  Where did you camp in New Freedom?

For my trip to Codorus State Park in PA, I rode with a friend who lives in Hampden.  I drove to his house, and we rode from there.  I just followed him and can't recall the roads we took (and this was in my pre-GPS days, so I can't recreate the track), but we got ourselves to the NCR Trail in Ashland and rode from there.  About 8 miles after crossing the border onto the York Heritage Trail, the cues were:

L  Owengarry Lane (we actually missed this on the way out; it's just a very short dirt/gravel path that veers off to the left of the trail up a little hill to put you onto ===> )
R  PA 616 North (Seven Valleys Road) .3
L  State Route 3014 (Krebs Road)  3.9
L  PA 516 South (Jefferson Road)  .4
R  Stone Church Road   1.0
R  Main Street  500 feet
L  Creamery Street  300 feet
R  PA 216 West (Blooming Grove Road)  .3
R  Smoketown Road   2.7
L  Lakeview Road   .7
R  PA 216 West (Blooming Grove Road)  2.4

It's PA, so of course there are a few beastly hills on the route once you're off the rail trail; and the park itself is quite hilly.

Neither of us had ever been to Codorus before; when I reserve campsites, I always go for the "tent only" areas in order to be as far away from the RVs and generators as possible.  I was intrigued by the tent-only "Timberdoodle Roughin' It Area"  current/smile on the Codorus campground map, so I got one of those sites.  The maps don't show that to get there, you have to "rough it" down a steep-ish, curving road of large gravel and loose rocks.  current/big_smile  My friend zoomed down it, but I lost my nerve, LOL, and got off and walked.  The site was awesome, though -- huge, fairly level, lots of trees and grass, and very quiet.  Looong walk, back up that gravel hill, to the restrooms, though.

If you're on Facebook and want to "friend" me, I've got a number of photos there from that trip (and also of the trips to Gifford Pinchot and Janes Island.) 

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Re: Bike Touring Thread?

Hey, Maxine!

Thanks for the info!  It sounds like an awesome ride! Were you carrying much gear up those hills?

I looked at reserving one of the tent-only sites this weekend and they were completely booked. In New Freedom, I stayed at Summit Grove campground which is just off the trail before you reach NF from the south.  Nice people, but can't recommend the scenery or facilties.  But it was perfect for my trial run bike-camping, being within rescue distance if needed.  Now on to new adventures!

Of the places you've bikecamped, which places/rides would you recommend for someone new to it?

Hope to meet you on a BBC ride!  Are you doing Stuart Bonning's bike overnight in Virginia by any chance?

Thanks again!

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Re: Bike Touring Thread?

Susan, I’ve only done three short trips so far, and each time, my total baggage (front and rear panniers, their contents, sleeping pad and sleeping bag) weighed 41-43 pounds.  (The bike alone – with empty racks – weighs 31 pounds.)  Many bike tourists go with much less weight, especially for such short trips.  I’m not much of a “weight weenie,” though; my gear is actually reasonably lightweight (it’s all “backpacking” or “ultralight” class) but if I feel like bringing something along, along it comes.

Two of the trips (my first, to Gifford Pinchot State Park in PA; and my third, to Codorus) were hilly once I got off the trails.  The other trip, to Janes Island State Park in Crisfield, MD (from Trap Pond State Park in Delaware) was flat, but with a lot of heat and headwind.  I enjoyed all three trips, and would recommend all three parks. 

At Gifford Pinchot, my campsite was right on the shore of the lake, and very close to the swimming beach.  At Codorus, I was a short walk from Lake Marburg, and my friend and I did a nice 4-mile hike around it while we were there.  At Janes Island my site was also as close to waterfront as you can get.  There’s not much to do at Janes Island, though, unless you are into kayaking or canoeing.  My friend and I had thought we would rent kayaks while we were there, but due to the high winds, the rangers were not letting any rental boats go out that weekend. 

I’m not sure what recommendations I would make specifically to someone “new” – I had done a lot of camping, and a lot of solo bicycling over (sometimes long-ish) routes I’d planned myself, so I didn’t find it *too* daunting when I finally put the two together for the first time.  For me it was mostly about getting confident with riding the loaded bike.  Your ride, I gather, was fairly flat.  If you’ve never ridden your loaded bike up and down any big hills, I’d say give that a short, local try before heading out on a hilly bike camping trip.  I am THE WORST HILL CLIMBER ever, lol, but I made it up all the PA hills but one (my lower back sometimes rebels on long bike rides.)  I just had to be patient with (and plan ahead for) my very slow progress.  Going downhill the first time was a bit scary at first, until I realized, as I let my speed creep up and up, that my bike and gear remained quiet, steady, and rock-solid.

Stuart Bonning’s Virginia overnight bike trip looks interesting, but I will be riding the “24 Hours of Booty” in Columbia that weekend. 

I may have to see if I can sneak away from work for a day or two in September or October; I think I need another bike camping trip! 

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