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Sharon and I rode on our tandem from Fort Lee NJ north to Albany on a Saturday in June. It was a great adventure for us, and an interesting and pretty route. We definitely liked riding it North-bound better than riding it South-bound last year. We especially liked riding along the west side of the River early in the morning.

Our distance from the George Washington Bridge to the Dunn Memorial bridge into Albany was about 164 miles, with roughly 9000 vertical feet of climbing.

see also:

what's here


our story for the day

Our distance from the George Washington Bridge to the Dunn Memorial bridge into Albany was about 164 miles, with roughly 9000 vertical feet of climbing.

Riding to Albany airport added another 10 miles, and there were another couple of miles added at some points.

To make our day shorter, we did not follow this website's NYC to Albany route for some sections, but we still were able to ride lots of pretty roads -- with very few miles on major roads from Newburgh up to Rensselaer.

favorites

Remembering on the next day, the parts we likes best were:

  • riding up to Nyack with almost no traffic, and so little ligh at first on Rt 9W

  • early morning light on the Hudson river thru Grandview, then from high on Rt 9W coming into Haverstraw, and along the beach roads thru Stony Point.

  • Columbia county -- always delightful riding for us.

  • Storm King Mountain Highway with nice shadow on Breakneck Ridge

  • southeast Ulster county: orchards and views from Lattintown Rd and Old Indian Rd, then fruit processing thru the village of Milton.

why we liked North-bound better than South-bound

  • riding the familiar southern roads with so little traffic early in the morning - (many of the northern roads have little traffic any time)

  • views along the Hudson river felt special early in the morning - (while views in Columbia county farm country are fine any time of day)

  • some of the big climbs are less steep in the north-bound direction (e.g. NJ/NY state line hill, Rt 9W between Nyack + Haverstraw, and Old Indian Rd)

  • we could just get up early and drive to the start, instead of paying for a room to sleep in the night before.

Overall Route

We went on the west side of the river from the George Washington Bridge up to Poughkeepsie, and then on the east side for the rest of the way up to Rensselaer, then west across into Albany.

The total distance of our route was about 164 miles from Fort Lee NJ to Rensselaer NY. Our total climbing north-bound was roughly 9000 vertical feet (some of the tougher climbs are described below).

Although we did not follow this website's NYC to Albany route for some sections (to make our day shorter), we still were able to ride lots of pretty roads -- with very few miles on major roads from Newburgh up to Rensselaer.

towns + sites along the way

Some the cities and villages and sites we visited along the way were:

  • Fort Lee NJ

  • Piermont + the river view road to Nyack

  • Haverstraw + Stony Point beach

  • Bear Mountain state park alongside Hessian Lake

  • Storm King Mountain highway

  • Newburgh river view streets

  • apple orchards of southeast Ulster county and the fruit-processing village of Milton.

  • Rhinebeck + Red Hook villages in northern Dutchess

  • our favorite farms + barns of Columbia county

  • Hudson city + Kinderhook village + big bison farm

  • Rensselaer city + bridge over Hudson River into

  • Albany city

The counties we passed through along the way were:

  • Bergen county, NJ

  • Rockland county, NY

  • Orange county

  • Ulster county

  • Dutchess county

  • Columbia county

  • Rensselaer county, NY

  • Albany county, NY

Avoiding major roads

We planned our route to avoid lots of high-traffic major roads. See details in the June 2006 report.

Alternate routes + distances + comparing

See discussion in the June 2006 report.

Details by Section

GWB to Nyack

We followed roughly this route:

  • start from west end of George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee, NJ

  • north on Rt 505 / Hudson Terrace about 2 miles to its end

  • L on Palisade Av a short ways to traffic light

  • R on Rt 9W North for a long ways

after crossing into New York state we followed the GWB to Nyack route, except that

  • as we entered Nyack on Piermont Av, we turned

  • L on Washington Av to its end

  • R on Broadway

Report: We started about an hour before dawn. The roads were very familiar to us, and it was a cool experience to ride these roads with so few cars, and so little light. Riding along the Hudson river thru Piermont and Grandview at dawn was great.

Not all of Hudson Terrace was lit by street lights, either gaps in coverage or some lights were not turned on. Some streetlights were not turned on in the southern section of Rt 9W, and the most of Rt 9W had no streetlights at all. We had red + yellow flasher lights on our bike and packs, and a headlamp.

Hills: Nothing big or steep in the section. The "NJ/NY state line" hill is much gentler in the North-bound direction.

Nyack to Bear Mountain bridge

We followed the West side section B of the GWB / Bear Mt bridge loop route, except we stayed on Rt 9W for the big climb over the shoulder of Dunderberg Mt (just south of the Bear Mt Bridge), instead of the unpaved "Jones Point" Dunderberg bypass trail.

Report: The view from Rt 9W above the river just south of Haverstraw was good, then riding thru the marshes and along the river and beaches so early in morning was delightful.

climbing out of Nyack up from Broadway on Old Mountain Rd was pretty steep.

Next time I think I would instead turn off Broadway earlier, like with so little traffic this early in the morning, try Left on Main St and Right on Midland Av to Old Mountain Rd.  [could be 100 vertical ft climb at 5.5% grade on Main St, then 100 vertical ft at 5% grade (including 50 ft climb at 7% grade) on upper half of Old Mountain Rd]

Or perhaps Left on Main St and Right on Rt 9W North.  [could be 100 vertical ft climb at 5.5% grade on Main St, then 135 vertical ft at 4% grade (including 45 ft at 7% grade) on Rt 9W] 

Hills:

  • Old Mountain Rd on north side of Nyack had some steep sections.  [including like 75 vertical ft at 9.5% grade on lower half]

  • Rt 9W from Nyack (starting at Old Mountain Rd) to Rockland Lake was not real steep.  [ about 165 vertical ft total at 5% grade, including like 90 ft at 7% ]

  • Park Rd up from the Stony Point lighthouse to Rt 9W was rather steep.  [ could be 70 vertical ft over 12% grade ]

  • Rt 9W north from Tomkins Cove climbing over the shoulder of Dunderberg mountain starts steeper, then gets moderate.  [ total around 335 vertical ft of climbing at 7% grade, including like 130ft at 8% grade. ]

Bear Mountain to Newburgh

map + cue sheet on Bikely.com for slightly different route.

We followed roughly this route:

  • Rt 9W North thru Fort Montgomery

  • R on Old State Rd to its end

  • sharp L on Rt 218 South - (we missed that turn, and after a short ways on 218 North had to turn around and backtrack)

  • R on Rt 9W North, and take that to exit for Rt 293 and Rt 218

  • R on Rt 218 North -- Storm King Mountain Highway.

  • then joined the last part of the Bear Mt / Newburgh-Beacon Bridge loop route around mile 26.

Report:  Food stop at bagel place in Fort Montgomery. The climb up Rt 9W around West Point was much easier in the north-bound direction, and then the high-speed descent on rt 218 was kinda nice. Views from the Storm King Mountain Highway were as fine as ever. I especially liked the morning shadow on Breakneck Ridge.

Hills:

  • We avoided the hill on Rt 9W just north of Old State Rd and Fort Montgomery (before the first exit for Rt 218)  [the climb we skipped was about 95 vertical ft, including perhaps 50 ft at 9% or so]

  • The hill on Rt 9W north from the southern-most exit for Rt 218 was long but not steep.  [total around 500 vertical ft, including perhaps 250 ft at 6% grade]
    (Then the fast descent from the Rt 293 / Rt 218 intersection on Rt 218 North was a nice reward).

  • Several climbs on the Storm King Mountain Highway (Rt 218)  [biggest is about 190 vertical ft, perhaps including 170 ft around 9% grade]

Newburgh to Poughkeepsie

map + cue sheet on Bikely.com for slightly different route which we rode in 2009.

We followed roughly this route:

  • Grand Av underneath the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge highway (near the bicycle access to the bridge's sidewalk) to its end.

  • L on Commonwealth Av, climb. We passed by River Rd

Alternate:  R on River Rd to Sloan to Albany Post Rd to 9W - (details below)

Alternate:  take River Rd and Old Post Rd to Marlboro. (hillier)

  • R on Albany Post Rd (starts with rather steep climb) to its end - (next time we would avoid this -- see note below).

  • R on Rt 9W South (mostly decent shoulder, some gentle downhill)

We made a food stop at convenience store on Rt 9W.

  • L on Lattintown: starts with a steep climb, but with some curving to moderate it somewhat. Then curve R to pass by Holmes Rd and go north into Ulster county, becomes Ulster county Rt 11

  • cross Plattekill Rd / Ulster county Rt 14 and continue north

  • R on Old Indian (east), climb up over the ridge, then down. (Last year we used different roads in the other direction).  In the midst of descent,

  • R on Chestnut Lane to its end (steep down into highway)

  • sharp L on Rt 9W North a short ways

  • R on South Rd

  • bear R onto Main St

we made a food stop in village of Milton

  • continue on North Rd to its end

  • R on Rt 9W North, and pass by entrance + exit access for Mid-Hudson Bridge.

  • R on Haviland Rd down hill to north sidewalk of Mid-Hudson Bridge.

Report:  Orchards along Lattintown Rd were rather nice. Views from Old Indian Rd as it crossed over to the east side of ridge and descended were fine -- and the climb to get to them didn't feel too steep for us. (An alternate way to get to some of those views would be to climb the southwest end of Ridge Rd: less total climbing, but steeper start)  -- Then nice to see the fruit processing operations in Milton and the pleasant food stop.

Albany Post Rd: climbing its steep south end was too hard on us -- felt like our leg muscles and tendons suffered for it the next two hours or more.

Next time instead I would try (from Commonwealth Av): R on River Rd, and where River Rd curves right, bear Left on Sloane Rd (full Left is Bennett Rd), then Sloane Rd curves Left to its end, R on Albany Post Rd a short ways to its end, R on Rt 9W North, L on Lattintown Rd. (A month afterward we checked this out driving our car, and it looked promising).

Hills:

  • Albany Post Rd from Balmville Rd at its south end was rather steep, and with some tight curves that are not good for visibility.

  • Lattintown Rd southeast end initially climbs up from Rt 9W for about 125 vertical ft average 7% steepness grade -- with some of that at steepness grade around 8% -- but with some curving to moderate it somewhat perhaps.

Alternates: Carter Rd might have a climb of 175 vertical ft at a steepness grade around 7.5% -- Leslie Rd start is similar.

  • Later north in Orange county, Lattintown Rd some climbing with major sections in the 6-7% range.

  • Old Indian Rd east-bound has a long climb -- felt moderately steep to us, but not real steep.  [150 vertical ft total, including like 75 ft at 7% grade]
    (Then a big view and nice descent as a reward).

Poughkeepsie to Rhinebeck

map + cue sheet on Bikely.com for this section.

We followed roughly this route:

  • L  Hollow Rd / Dutchess county Rt 14 west

  • R  Creek Rd to its end

  • R  Rt 9G North

  • L  Vlei Rd

  • bear R to join Ackert Hook

  • L  Ackert Hook (west, where Burger Rd goes straight + north)

  • R  Rt 9 North about 0.2 mile, then took first right:

  • R  Closs Dr, then cross Mill St onto

  • Parsonage St -- north into village of Rhinebeck, where we made a food stop.

Report:  Several pleasant roads, nice descent west on Vlei and Ackert Hook. Some rough pavement on Cream St, Bennet Rd, Beck Rd.

Hills:

  • several uphills coming out of the city of Poughkeepsie, perhaps a couple of short steep-ish sections.

  • long climb on Beck Rd and Dutchess Hill Rd, but not that steep.

Rhinebeck to Hudson

map on Bikely.com + cue sheet on Bikely.com for this section.

We followed roughly this route . . . We started riding -- in reverse direction -- the finish of this website's Rhinebeck - Bard - Red Hook route to the village of Red Hook, like this starting from East Market St / Rt 385, north on

  • Mulberry St (north)

  • L  Mulberry St a short ways to its end

  • L  Rt 9 South

  • R  Montgomery St (becomes Mt Rutsen Rd)

  • R  Old Post Rd (north)

  • L  Hook Rd

  • R  Middle Rd, soon cross Rt 9G, continue to its end

  • L  Rokeby Rd

  • R  Benner Rd

  • R  Garden St

  • L  Phillips St to its end

  • R  West Market St (Rt 199 East) into village of Red Hook

  • L  Linden Av, becomes Dutchess county Rt 79 - Budd Corners Rd

Then we left the Rhinebeck - Bard - Red Hook route . . .

  • R  Pitcher Lane

  • straight across Rt 9 onto Pitcher Lane extension to its end.

  • R  Old Post Rd (going south) to its end

  • L  Dutchess county Rt 56 east

  • L  Dutchess county Rt 55 / Spring Lake Rd, later becomes Columbia county Rt 19 north.

  • R  Columbia county Rt 2 into Elizaville

  • L  Columbia county Rt 19 north

  • L  Maple Av west (but first we went a little ways further north to see more of a big horse farm)

  • straight cross Rt 9 onto Sparrow Bush Rd to its end

  • R  Columbia county Rt 31 north

  • cross Rt 23 onto Rt 9 North

  • bear Left into Warren St and downtown Hudson city, where we made a food stop. (Later because we suspected there would be no food shops open in Kinderhook, we bought more food just north of Hudson.)

Report:  Lots of pretty farm scenes, a couple of lakes, then the contrast of Hudson city.

Hills: Various rollers, perhaps with brief steep-ish sections. But nothing big.

Hudson to Rensselaer

We followed the first half of this website's Rip Van Winkle to Albany loop route.

Report:  More pretty scenery on the way to Kinderhook, then more north of there into Rensselaer county. The road west of Rt 9J thru Port of Rensselaer into Broadway had some rough sections.

Hills:

  • on Rt 25 North, a steep hill on a curve right.

Rensselaer thru Albany city to Albany airport

Usually when we ride to the city of Albany we spend more time riding around some of the New York State buildings (see last year), but this time it was getting late, so we  emphasized more getting to the Albany airport.  Our route was roughly . . .

  • crossed the Dunn Memorial Bridge on north sidewalk west into Albany

  • Broadway roughly north

  • west up State St

  • bear R onto Washington St (becomes Rt 5), and after some blocks

  • R on some street going northeast

  • L on Clinton Av (northwest)

  • R on Manning Blvd 2 or 3 blocks

  • L on 3rd St (? perhaps would have been simpler to get on 3rd earlier ?)

  • R on Watervliet to traffic light

  • L on Watervliet (? or was it Commerce ?) to its end

  • R on Everett (cross Interstate 90), then (at second traffic light?)

  • Left on Sand Creek Rd about 4.4 miles northwest to its end.

  • Right on Watervliet-Shaker Rd / Rt 155 and follow signs into airport.

Report:  Not much traffic on most of the streets and roads that evening made it easier for us. The later part of Sand Creek Rd (northwest after going under Northway Rt 87) seemed to have more traffic and more bumps. Traffic pattern riding into airport could have been tricky on our bicycle, but low traffic helped us get through it.

getting back

Due to a peculiar combination of our circumstances, including where our relatives live in relation to Albany, the size of our bicycle, and our plans for the rest of the weekend, we had reserved a rental car at the Albany airport, and drove it back to Fort Lee and returned it to Newark airport.

Other options might include:  taking the Amtrak train from Rensselaer station to New York City (but note that Amtrak bicycle rules are different from Metro North); or taking a bus from the Albany bus station to New York City or northern New Jersey; or riding back south (see River routes).


see also

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