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story

Sharon and I rode from the George Washington Bridge north to Albany on Saturday. Great ride for us. Could have been less hot in the afternoon, but it's hard to complain when you get a tailwind most of the way.

A little over 160 miles with about 9000 vertical feet of climbing the way we took. There are shorter + simpler routes, but ours was interesting + pretty enough to motivate us to ride now a third time the whole thing (plus lots more times most of the sections).

We started long before sunrise, so we got to ride familiar 9W in the dark, and then along the river from Piermont to Nyack at dawn -- one of the main reasons we've decided we like to do this from south to north. Then up the west side thru the Stony Point beaches to Bear Mt and the Storm King Mt road looking across the river to the morning shadow on the Breakneck cliff.

Above Newburgh we turned inland for some pleasant rollers thru orchards, then the Walkway over the Hudson with its big river views, to Poughkeepsie. (Happy thought: Still feeling good all the way to Poughkeepsie. Sobering thought: Less than half way). Next found quieter roads further inland on the east side up to Rhinebeck with lots of food options.

But with the heat it was getting hard for us to want to eat any food solider than gelato, and every uphill we were too slow and hot -- then just over every top we were flying with the south wind. Lots of pretty farm country thru northern Dutchess + Columbia + southwest Rensselaer counties (with a critical cold-fueling stop near Hudson).

Finally around 6:00pm we started hitting more shadows extending to our side of the road, finding we had some energy to climb hills. Anyway the last few miles into Rensselaer were flat, just a little climb up the sidewalk across the Hudson River (much less wide) and we'd made it to Albany.

what's here


favorites

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

  • riding up to Nyack on familia roads but with almost no traffic, and so little light at first on Rt 9W

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

  • Columbia county and southwest Rensselaer county farmland -- always delightful riding for us.

  • Storm King Mountain Highway over the Hudson river with nice shadow on Breakneck Ridge.

  • southeast Ulster county: orchards and gentle rollers and views.

  • big river views on the Walkway over the Hudson.

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

  • (near) Hudson city + Kinderhook village + big bison farm

  • Rensselaer + 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 and a half 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 sections of Rt 9W had no streetlights at all. We had red + yellow flasher lights on our bike and packs, and a front light.

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 a less steep route thru Nyack, and 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 early morning with little traffic to avoid steep hills:

  • Left on Main St (West) from Broadway

  • Right on Midvale

  • Left on Old Mountain Rd / Christian Herald

  • Right on rt 9W North

Hills:

  • Main St in Nyack [could be 100 vertical ft climb at 5.5% grade]

  • Christian Herald / upper half of Old Mountain Rd on north side of Nyack was steeper.  [around 100 vertical ft at 5% grade, including 50 ft climb at 7% grade]

  • 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 around 10% 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

  • Left onto entrance ramp for rt 9W North, ramp curves Right.

  • continue on Rt 9W North until 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.

  • R on River Rd

  • L on Sloan, with some climbing, later curves Left down hill to its end.

  • R on Albany Post Rd

  • 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. 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 to a T-intersection.

  • L on Old Indian (east), soon

  • curve R to continue on Lattintown (north)

  • R on Mulberry to its end

  • R on Milton Turnpike (east)

  • L on Peach St

  • R on Mahoney

  • L on Gabriety

  • L on Perkinsville (north) to its end

  • R on Chapel Hill Rd to traffic light

  • L on Rt 9W North

we made a food stop at convenience store

  • continue rt 9W North -- pass by entrance + exit access for Mid-Hudson Bridge.

  • R on Haviland Rd down hill

  • L at entrance for Walkway over the Hudson

  • Walkway over the Hudson east across the River into Poughkeepsie

  • bear Right onto asphalt path going gently down

  • Left on Parker Av

Report:  Orchards along Lattintown Rd were rather nice -- and once we got past the steep-ish climb from Orange county into Ulster county, the road was fun riding with rolling hills. Walkway over the Hudson had great views.

Hills:

  • some short climbing sections (? 7-8% ?) on Sloan Rd.

  • 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. (but once it gets into Ulster county the climbs are smaller, more "rolling")

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 for a bit over 2 miles

  • L  Vlei Rd (turn comes at crossroad, after passing by Ackert Hook)

  • 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 until it becomes One-Way against

  • Left South St for one block

  • Right Msgr John (which is an extension of Mulberry) to

  • East Market St (rt 308) in the village of Rhinebeck, where

we made a food stop (several options on different streets)

Report:  Several pleasant roads, nice descent west on Vlei and Ackert Hook. Some rough pavement on Cream St, Bennet Rd, Beck Rd. But seemed like most of the north-bound shoulder on rt 9G was smoother than last time.

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 from East Main St - (Mulberry connects with Msgr John)

  • 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

we made a stop for cold cider

  • 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 + Albany

Instead of a usual route on Columbia county rt 25, we just

  • rode rt 9 North all the way from Hudson to Kinderhook

Then from Kinderhook to Rensselaer and Albany, we followed the Rip Van Winkle to Albany loop route.

Report:  After some initial rough sections in Hudson, rt 9 had mostly smooth traffic land and reasonable should all the way to Kinderhook, one steep-ish climb, some pleasant scenery. Then north from Kinderhook on rt 21 had lots of pretty farm scenes, then more north into Rensselaer county. The road west of Rt 9J thru Port of Rensselaer into Broadway had some rough sections.

Hills:

  • one steep-ish climb on rt 9 north from Hudson near Columbiaville.


see also

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