Author Topic: Long distance bike touring with a dog - off road rail trail suggestions  (Read 9905 times)

spartana

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« Last Edit: August 16, 2017, 10:56:27 AM by spartana »

Miss Piggy

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In Missouri, we have the MKT Trail, also known as the Katy Trail. It's very safe and crosses much of the state.

http://www.bikekatytrail.com/mkt.aspx


Rollin

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You might want to look at the TAT, that is the Trans America Trail. It is mainly traversed by motorcyclists, but it involves many back roads that you could do on a bicycle. There are maps available that give you turn by turn directions and have a pretty good fix on what services are available. Go to here to get a feel for it:

http://www.transamtrail.com/

WDR

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You mention DC so I'll add The Great Allegheny Passage Trail for a random adventure.   The "GAP" goes from Pittsburgh to DC .  The picture in the wiki is fairly indicative of the surface.  *I've only taken a trip Pittsburgh to Ohio Pyle which i think was 75 of the 340 mile trail. 

It goes through small towns to be able to grab a drink and hang out, but it also clearly goes through some quite rural parts.  I've heard of people camping off the side (there may even be official places) while others get a hotel in one of the towns if you are doing the full trail. I believe some people even go the distance one way and then amtrak (with bike or ship the bike I can't remember if they take bikes.  The dog may be a deal breaker on the train).

I will say the time I went it was quite peaceful and I only saw a few people and they were hardcore cyclist with trailers.  It's crushed gravel and I went mountain bike tires when I should have went hybrid or even durable road. 



https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Allegheny_Passage

kendallf

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How about the Tour Divide route for some real off-road?   :-)

http://tourdivide.org/

This is on my list for the next few years.  You can ride it during the "race" or just do the route any time.  I'd carry a GPS Spot Tracker if you ride this solo..

onlykelsey

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I have no real recommendations but am posting to follow.

I do enjoy taking commuter rail out in to the Harlem Valley and biking back in to the bronx, but I think there's only about 70 miles of contiguous trails.  Harlem Valley Rail trail: http://www.traillink.com/trail/harlem-valley-rail-trail.aspx

spokey doke

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Here you go...this one has been on my list for a long time and have heard many rave reviews:

Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes

http://friendsofcdatrails.org/CdA_Trail/

onlykelsey

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Thanks for all the suggestions. Never heard of most of them and they look great. Also any suggestions for shorter off road bike paths for day rides would be appreciated. I'll be just meandering around the country (US and Canada) with my dog in my car and often like to find a good place to ride for the day or a couple of hours that isn't in traffic as well as long distance multi day rides.

Out of curiosity, what sort of dog do you have?  How much does it weigh?  How do you keep it in the trailer?  I've toyed with this idea, but I weigh about 115 lbs, and my bike and dog (no gear) weigh about 130 plus I assume a trailer is another 20 lbs, no?  I also think my dog would get bored and try to make an exit at an inopportune time...

Miss Piggy

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Thanks for all the suggestions. Never heard of most of them and they look great. Also any suggestions for shorter off road bike paths for day rides would be appreciated. I'll be just meandering around the country (US and Canada) with my dog in my car and often like to find a good place to ride for the day or a couple of hours that isn't in traffic as well as long distance multi day rides.

I posted earlier about the Katy Trail in Missouri. Yes, it is very dog-friendly; many people walk their dogs on the trail. (And as I mentioned above, very safe. As a small woman, I would feel very safe riding alone.) You can ride from town to town, one way, or turn around and do day trips.

If you do make it over this way (to Missouri), just across the river in Madison County, Illinois, there's a bunch of paved trails you might enjoy.  http://www.mcttrails.org/parking.aspx

That said, I feel I need to add that this part of the country isn't spectacularly beautiful...no mountains, no oceans, etc. But these trails are in our scenic areas, scenic being a relative term. (Much of the Katy Trail goes along a river.)

bogart

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Not sure if it's long enough to interest you, but the Virginia Creeper Trail is lovely and feels very safe to me -- though many people (myself included) pay a van to drive themselves and their bikes to the top, and then ride the next ~17 miles downhill back to town; not sure if any hauling companies allow dogs in the vans, but they might -- you could ask (easy to find them through a google search).  And nothing wrong with riding up and back down (if you're into that kind of thing ;)).  Plus the other ~15 miles of trail are more gradual (not all up or all down).

My recollection is that there are relatively few road crossings, and it's rural Virginia, so while some traffic is fast it's not too frequent.

The Palmetto trail in SC may be another good choice, the (short) sections I've been on weren't on roads.  But I'm not sure how broadly that generalizes.  Hunting Island SP in SC has ~8 miles of off-road loop trails and is stunningly beautiful -- with an onsite state campground.  But it will be getting crowded as the weather warms up, with both humans and biting bugs settling in for summer.

Jack

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Re: Long distance bike touring with a dog - off road rail trail suggestions
« Reply #10 on: April 12, 2016, 11:43:02 AM »
The Silver Comet / Chief Ladiga trails run 94 miles from suburban Atlanta, GA to Anniston, AL. They're rail trails, so they're pretty straight and flat. According to Wikipedia, combined they form the second-longest paved trail in the country, after the Paul Bunyan Trail in MN.

Of course, Atlanta is currently working on connecting the Silver Comet up to other trails in the metro area (the Beltline, PATH400, Big Creek Greenway, Atlanta-Stone Mountain Trail, South River Trail, etc.) so in another 5-10 years (hopefully) you'd be able to ride from Anniston, AL to Conyers, GA, a distance of about 140 miles, almost all on dedicated bike trials. (The route would look something like this.) In fact, if you wanted to do that route today, the only sketchy parts would be the segments along Atlanta Rd/Marietta Blvd  and on Howell Mill Rd -- pretty much all the other on-street portions are reasonably decent to cycle on.
« Last Edit: April 12, 2016, 11:52:20 AM by Jack »

Jack

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Re: Long distance bike touring with a dog - off road rail trail suggestions
« Reply #11 on: April 12, 2016, 02:28:15 PM »
What will really be nice is when the East Coast Greenway (of which the Coastal Georgia Greenway is part) gets built.

aschutt

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Re: Long distance bike touring with a dog - off road rail trail suggestions
« Reply #12 on: April 12, 2016, 06:26:12 PM »
Spartana - Michigan has wonderful trails. Many are rails trails. See http://www.michigantrails.org/trails/trails-region . Feel free to pm me for planning  help.

Ann

Midwest

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Re: Long distance bike touring with a dog - off road rail trail suggestions
« Reply #13 on: April 12, 2016, 06:35:35 PM »
http://www.miamivalleytrails.org/

Little Miami from North of Cincinnati to Spring Valley is the best section.  Scenic for Ohio.  All off road and all paved.  Camping available.  I suggest Fort Ancient Area.

fallstoclimb

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Re: Long distance bike touring with a dog - off road rail trail suggestions
« Reply #14 on: April 13, 2016, 08:34:11 AM »
I dream of off-road bike touring, especially in areas with nice scenery!

Someone mentioned the TransAm Trail.  My understanding of that is it gets pretty seriously technical in parts.  Very tough riding.  Is that correct or am I thinking of something other than TransAm?   I think there may be a reason it's primarily a motorcycle route.

The great divide also looks AMAZING.  However, from Adventure Cycling:

We discourage you from attempting to ride this route solo; in fact, a minimum group size of three is strongly recommended. If a rider is debilitated in the backcountry, you will want to have at least one person to stay with the injured/sick rider, and another to go for help. A growing number of backcountry travelers are carrying cellular phones for such emergency situations but be aware that reception is still very spotty along much of the route.


Spartana --- check out the website www.bikepacking.com.  It has information on a whole array of bikepacking options.

debbie does duncan

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Re: Long distance bike touring with a dog - off road rail trail suggestions
« Reply #15 on: April 13, 2016, 09:11:17 AM »
The Confederation Trail on PEI, Canada.
https://www.tourismpei.com/pei-confederation-trail

KCM5

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Re: Long distance bike touring with a dog - off road rail trail suggestions
« Reply #16 on: April 14, 2016, 02:48:44 PM »
If you're meandering through Iowa and want to ride for a couple of days we have quite an extensive trail system in central Iowa. Here's a map of all of the trails: http://iowabicyclecoalition.org/

Also, the Root River Trail in southeastern Minnesota is really lovely: http://www.rootrivertrail.org/site/index.php



slugsworth

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Re: Long distance bike touring with a dog - off road rail trail suggestions
« Reply #17 on: April 15, 2016, 05:29:02 PM »
Pittsburgh to DC via the GAP and C&O rail trails. . . another East Coast one might be Buffalo to Albany via the Erie canal.

Adventure cycling and the raid to trails conservancy may be good resources.

Koogie

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Re: Long distance bike touring with a dog - off road rail trail suggestions
« Reply #18 on: April 15, 2016, 06:15:31 PM »
I've done the Erie Canal from Buffalo to Albany (part of my Toronto > Manhattan ride)   It is easily 1/3 onroad, despite how they market it.  There are great offroad sections but they would only amount to day trips (long ones, mind you)

meep

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Re: Long distance bike touring with a dog - off road rail trail suggestions
« Reply #19 on: April 15, 2016, 06:51:02 PM »
Crazyguyonabike.com has a journal section. If you look under the "with pets" category it might help you get an idea of where to go or how other people do it with their pets. Bike touring with a dog is definitely one of my FIRE to do list so I'm always checking out that section for new entries.

kimmarg

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Re: Long distance bike touring with a dog - off road rail trail suggestions
« Reply #20 on: April 16, 2016, 03:21:43 AM »
Downeast sunrise trail. Mostly a trail with a few road sections.

http://www.sunrisetrail.org/


onlykelsey

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Thanks for the update! Glad nothing went wrong, and also thankful for the update on dog biking tour feasibility, given my propensity to bite off more than I can chew ("They probably make trailers for Great Danes that my dog can fit in! And he only weighs the same thing as I do!  And I can still bike while pregnant!").

onlykelsey

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Thanks for the update! Glad nothing went wrong, and also thankful for the update on dog biking tour feasibility, given my propensity to bite off more than I can chew ("They probably make trailers for Great Danes that my dog can fit in! And he only weighs the same thing as I do!  And I can still bike while pregnant!").
You are very badass riding with a Great  Dane while pregnant! Can't even imagine that. While my dog is small and easy physically to ride with her, it is/was very restrictive and more of a hassle than I'd like. But now that a have a live in pet sitter for a few months I plan to try some of the route suggested here on my bike.

Oh, no, I'm not.  I just let myself think that those sorts of things are reasonable.  Let us know how the routes go!

elaine amj

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 Sorry to hear things didn't work out with the dog :( I bring my doggy along for a lot of trips and yes, many times things just don't work out.

If u are still looking for rail trails and u make it to Canada, I wonder if the Trans-Canada Trail is useful?

Along the waterfront in Ontario is the Waterfront Trail - stretches from Southwestern Ontario up to Quebec. Pulled together by the Waterfront Regeneration Trust. More suitable for touring bikes since it is primarily on roads. Doubt it is good for camping without careful planning though.


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Koogie

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Along the waterfront in Ontario is the Waterfront Trail - stretches from Southwestern Ontario up to Quebec. Pulled together by the Waterfront Regeneration Trust. More suitable for touring bikes since it is primarily on roads. Doubt it is good for camping without careful planning though.
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You can always use Warmshowers.  I used to live right on the Waterfront Trail in Mississauga and hosted touring cyclists.

G-dog

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If you're meandering through Iowa and want to ride for a couple of days we have quite an extensive trail system in central Iowa. Here's a map of all of the trails: http://iowabicyclecoalition.org/

Also, the Root River Trail in southeastern Minnesota is really lovely: http://www.rootrivertrail.org/site/index.php

Another map of Iowa trails. There has been an effort to convert old railroad tracks to trails.

There is also a trailing Colorado  along the Colorado river running roughly parallel to I-70. Would the Barkinator freak out if you are not ON the road, but near it? The path is usually below the road bed, but I am sure you can hear the cars, if you can't see them.

Also, a big trail out of Moab, again, starts out generally parallel to the highway, but diverges later. This one is typically above the road, so you can see and hear the traffic, but you are separate from the traffic.

Laserjet3051

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The Withlacoochie off-road paved "rails-to-trail" trail is a spectacular 46.0 mile off road, paved, trail that meanders through beautiful rural/wilderness areas of central/western FL. Also passes through some small towns where food, services, and bike shops are found. Zero cars, copious nature; an incredible journey.

http://www.rttwst.org/trail-map.html



elaine amj

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This morning I was chatting with a guy who works at a local bike shop and he mentioned he was doing a 2-3 day bike camping trip in a couple of weeks. Immediately made me thing of this thread :) He mentioned he just heard that Michigan has an impressive trail network that is very well connected to each other. I am going to have to check that out sometime. In the meantime, he described his planned route in our local area that sounded very nice that would take him up to one of our closest provincial parks to camp. Made me consider that there really are more campgrounds than I originally thought. Especially for travelers willing to do a mix of private and provincial campgrounds. He was telling me that someday, he'd like to do a cross Canada bike/camping trip.