Robin, May 2011:
Shadow of the Catskills, northern half. My friend and I picked up the route at Potic Mtn Road. I ride parts of this route a lot as I live in the area, and always enjoy it. However I don't do the northernmost part that much, so I forget some of the turns and have to look at the cue sheet.
There is one point, at mile 48.2, that has tripped me up more than once. The cue sheet doesn't have a R, L or S at this point, just the description "becomes Greene County rt 51 (East) climb hill". It's confusing, as the signage shows rt 51 turning right, up a slight hill, so I took that way. But I was wrong--should've gone straight--where the sign still says "Shady Lane"-- and didn't realize my mistake until I got to rt 81 and was far off the mapped route. I would just suggest adding as "S" or description stating "go straight at intersection of Shady lane and rte 51" or similar to the cue sheet. There is a big farm on the left and a wide open view of a valley--a good landmark to keep an eye out for.
Otherwise, excellent route--though there were several large off-leash dogs that ran out to chase us in the Alcove Rd/Ringwald Rd area...no harm done but you might want to be aware.
[ Ken repliies: Thanks, we made that change to the cue sheet at mile 48.2 ]
Sharon and I rode it with Variation B on a nice weekend day. We had a fun pleasont day, though somehow the hills seemed steeper than we remembered.
All the bridges were there for us just fine. The new surface on Embought Rd with coarser stone in the asphalt was a bit tough vibrating on our butts and hands -- we made try to avoid it next time (until the surface gets worn down some).
A few notes on the Shadow of the Catskills route as of 8/13/08
August 9, 2008. I picked up the "Shadow of the Catskills" route in Athens and followed it south as directed. Roads were all in good condition; however, the bridge on High Falls Extension is out, so instead of turning right there (at mile 14.6 on the cue sheet), I followed the detour signs, going straight on High Falls Rd to Rte. 32. A quick right from there on to 23A (Story Farms market is on your left), then I was able to pick up the route again at Mountain Turnpike Rd. I'd heard another bridge was out on Hearts Content Rd going to Round Top, so I took the "Variation B" option instead. I turned right onto Schoharie Tpke from Potic Mountain Rd to get back to Athens for a total of about 45 miles. This is a lovely route with plenty of shade, quiet roads and scenic mountain and pastoral views.
We rode the route from Catskill to Round Top - (but with an early variation starting on Rt 9W instead Grandview and Embough roads, since we had ridden them enjoyably just three weeks before).
Then took a long variation to Albany -- see this report. Then rejoined the route at New Baltimore.
The parts we rode were as nice as ever. The roads from West Camp to Round Top were just fine (except new gravel in some places) -- but somehow more short steep hills than we remembered. Rt 61 from New Baltimore to Coxsackie was outstanding for us. New food stop on Rt 385 on the way thru Coxsackie.
Sharon and I rode the route in the reverse direction on a weekend day. Nice day of riding, roads mostly in good condition. We concluded that we definitely like it better riding in the usual direction.
KenR, May 2007: see report on riding north from Earlton to the Alcove Reservoir then on to Voorheesville + Rotterdam + Schenectady, then east on trailway to Cohoes + Troy, south to Albany to New Baltimore.
Sharon and I rode the route on a nice weekend day. Wonderful ride as always.
New pavement on several sections of Greene County Rt 51 and on Greene County Rt 61 -- which solved much of the "rough roads" problem we observed a couple of years ago.
Joining the route in West Camp, first we went through these quiet pretty meadows, I think one of them is called "the Vly", and crossed the gorge of Kaaterskill Creek (photo). Then the views of the Catskill mountains close up, very nice early in the morning. A quiet climb through the woods near a little creek up to Round Top, with an interesting conversation with the owner of the fudge store -- which also sells food other than fudge. Across the highways of 23 and 32, bridge across Catskill Creek, one more view back to the Catskill mountains from Sandy Plains Rd.
Into the middle of "nowhere" by way of Potic Mountain Rd. The Earlton store was our oasis (photo). Then pleasant riding through more "nowhere" on Honey Hollow, far north "nowhere" on Alcove Rd, at last achieving the crossing of the border into Albany County, and turning east toward the River. To get there we have to cross more "nowhere", now with steeper hills.
Finally we reach "civilization": Route 9W. Even though we were going north (following Variation D), we couldn't resist a visit to the NY Thruway rest stop for lunch (photo).
We started the "gazebos along the Hudson River" phase (see photos) with Cooeymans Landing -- fun to see everybody there out on a pleasant Sunday afternoon. Then south to the quiet gazebo next to the river at New Baltimore. On the road south from there out in the midst of the broad plain we met another bicyclist. He turned around and came back to talk with us -- and rode with us into Coxsackie. He knew all about riding all over Greene County, so he shared ideas with us, and even told us how to pronounce cook-SACK-ie. I felt like I had met the "king of the roads" of Greene county.
What's special about this section thru Coxsackie to Athens is the big views out on both sides -- the Catskill mountains to the west and the Berkshire and Taconic mountains to the east. At Athens we got close next to the Hudson again.
In Catskill we rode past some nice old houses on Liberty St, then out to a new park in the midst of the Hudson River: Catskill Point Park -- in addition to the old park, Dutchman's Landing. Rode back into the center of town, and Main St was much nicer than before. We finished with pleasant riding on Rt 9W south with one-sided views across the River.
Rough roads and dogs: The "middle of nowhere" area had lots of rough roads, like John reported (below). We ran into that same dog on Potic Mountain Rd, and another pair of dogs together on Shady Lane or Rt 51 going East.
A quick ride report on "In the Shadow of the Catskills". Today was the first summery day with little in the way of shade or clouds and the 94 miles I did was really a workout even to average 14.4 mph!
I started from the municipal lot in Saugerties (near Stewart's), rode out to High Falls following our route last week and then took Old King's Hiway to 47 and 23A, then west for 3-4 miles (?) to Mountain Turnpike, then switched to the cue sheet. The reason I did this was to end the ride by skipping the 9W section from Catskill to Saugerties in order to take 23A west (again) to High Falls Ext. and then going south, which I reasoned would be shady (it was).
A few notes on the route:
I really liked Cauterskill Rd. (view) and Heart's Content (terrain). The gradual climb on Potic Mountain road is also nice but there's a bad dog (black lab mix, house on the right) at the top of the climb about 3 miles in. I had just taken my hands off the bar to stretch when he took pursuit; fortunately I heard his chain collar jingling. I shifted into the big ring and sprinted to outrun him, and he was determined ;-).
At the 41.1-mile point, the cure sheet notes Honey Hollow as BL. In fact, it is a T, with all three legs signed Honey Hollow. I reasoned that must have been the Grapeville Road T and turned right, which was the wrong way, but I recaptured the route.
Somehow I missed the Ringwald Rd. turn (my fault) and went down damn near to Alcove Reservoir before retracing. Most of the rural roads in the town of New Baltimore are really rough with potholes and cold patch.
Because of the heat and extra mileage I did not do the Cooeymans Landing variation, nor the scenic parts of Coxhackie and Athens, though I did follow your recommended route onto 61 from 144 north of New Baltimore. It was nice to have a tailwind on 61 and 385.
[Ken's response: I changed the cue sheet to make it more clear in those tricky places.]
September 2001, Ken Roberts:
Greg and Tony and Sharon and I took the Variation A route starting from the south end -- and found pretty good road conditions the whole way. No problems with gravel on Potic Mountain, and we stopped for a snack at the Earlton store. Lots of steep little climbs on our way east across the high ground near the north boundary of Greene county. Then another snack at the New Baltimore food stop on the New York Thruway. Then we visited the gazebos at New Baltimore, Coxsackie, and Athens. After another snack in Athens we went a little ways out onto the Rip Van Winkle Bridge. We could see the gazebo for Catskill from the Bridge, so we skipped that. As we went through the Embought area, Greg found a nice viewpoint over the river that we hadn't seen before, and then we headed down Rt 9W back to our cars.
July 2001, Ray:
I did the "In the shadow of the catskills" ride with several variations... What at treat.
September 2000, Ken Roberts:
Mid-Hudson Bicycle Club ride. Despite the threatening weather and the long drive up to beyond Saugerties (even Dave came by car) -- Pat, Debbie, Dave, Sharon and Ken headed out on our bikes west toward the Catskills. The first 10 miles was better than I remembered it, with two interesting creek crossings, a little sunshine on the Catskills, and some nice horses and farms. We touched the MHBC Century route at Hearts Content Rd, but instead headed North -- into the non-Catskill hills, which were bigger than I remembered them. Then we reached the big climb of the trip, Potic Mountain Rd, and discovered it was covered with fresh gravel -- a scary experience for Sharon on the back of a tandem, with no steering of her own to manage the felt instability.
When we got to the food stop at Earlton, we actually had real sunshine. A little more climbing, and it was pleasant to ride mellow on the plateau, with a brief view of the lake before we made a nice descent -- which left Debbie in the wrong gear when it ended in Alcove at a Stop sign. Now we headed east on the long gentle downhill on Rt 143 -- into the wind. After surmounting some humps, we made it to the Hudson River at Cooeymans Landing, and the first gazebo, and not much else alive.
Now we turned South toward home -- and even stronger wind -- which made the rolling hills seem bigger than I remembered. New Baltimore did not seem anything alive at all, but we found the second gazebo, secluded and small -- and worth finding. After some climbing up from the river, we got to a long straight, which might have been downhill, but didn't seem that way in the wind. And the clouds were in control now, so we didn't get the hoped-for views of the Catskills approaching from afar. We were glad to reach Coxsackie with some buildings to block the blowing a bit -- and visited the waterfront and the third gazebo. Then on down through Athens and Catskill and Cementon, finishing with Pat leading into that same wind. Afterward four of us had dinner together in Saugerties.see also [ Road Condition Reports ] [ all Trip Reports index ]
Story of this Route
Ken's story: We first rode in Greene county when Sharon and I were visiting relatives in Kingston and got the idea of bicycling north from there along the Hudson river. We looked on the map at the towns along the way, and we had never visited any of them except Saugerties, not even by car. One was called New Baltimore, and that was the name of a food and rest stop on the New York State Thruway we had been to, so we made that our goal.
Sharon and I started off early one morning from Kingston on our single bikes -- since this was before we got the tandem -- and rode north on the roads nearest the river. After many interesting and beautiful sections, we actually reached New Baltimore, which turned out to be a small, quiet village. And we discovered the pretty gazebo hidden by the river. We rode back to Kingston the same way, and arrived tired at the end of a long and satisfying day.
Next time we started in Saugerties, and Rick came along. We fought a strong headwind going up, but when we turned around and came back it was like being on motorcycles. We found a festival that day at the Coxsackie waterfront which was special -- but we've never been lucky to find one there since.
We wanted to make the route into a loop, instead of riding back on the same roads, so Sharon and I started going west and exploring the roads of the interior of Greene county, often together with Tony.
One key factor for this section of the route is finding food and liquid. For several years our normal route was to go by the Alcove Reservoir, Route 143, and Ravena. A glad memory of some rides was to make it all the way north through the interior and reach the store at Alcove and get to re-fuel. We would also stop at the Cooeymans Landing marina where we had found a cute food place called the Muddy Rudder (but later that one closed). One day we tried the roads that took us through Earlton -- so at last we knew a food store in the middle of the interior -- and that's why the current route goes there.
We continued looking for even better roads through the interior, while leaving the ride south alongside the river unchanged. We found a nice way from West Camp to Cauterskill Creek and then to Round Top, and that became part of the route. Then in October 2000 Ken was out exploring on his own northwest from Coxsackie and bicycled by the Thruway food stop and saw how pretty are the roads in the hills on the north end of Greene county -- so those roads replaced Variation C -- and we now had the Earlton and Thruway food stops to replace Alcove and Ravena / Cooeymans Landing.
So we keep riding the route, and we keep taking other folks with us. And there's lots more roads around there to explore.
see also [ Road Condition Reports ] [ all Trip Reports index ]