Trip Reports on NYC to 
Bear Mountain Adventure

see also:  Photos (some from Variations H + X)

Note that Sharon and I actually ride all the roads on this route (or at least with our favorite variation) more often than the reports would indicate, but in different combinations: We typically do the first half north-bound thru the interior in combination with the second half of the GWB to Bear Mt Bride loop, returning south on the other side of the river. And we do the second half in the opposite direction (north-bound) often as part of some other ride going north, such as GWB to Poughkeepsie or GWB to Albany.
 

KenR, May 2007:

Sharon and I rode sections A + B (with variation X) up to Bear Mountain, but then instead of finishing down the west side of the river using sections C + D, we crossed the Bear Mountain bridge and finished going down the East side of the Hudson River thru Westchester county + Bronx + Manhattan mostly following the second half of the GWB to Bear Mt bridge loop route - (see report).

We enjoyed sections A +B of this route just as much as ever. Lots of miles with little traffic due to a 7:00am start on Sunday morning. Due to a convenience store out of business and vending machines that didn't work, we didn't find any places to buy food on section B between Rt 59 by NY Thruway and Bear Mountain. We finally got some drink at a vending machine on the summit of Bear Mountain. Fortunately we were carrying enough food + drink with us.

The Bear Mountain Inn was still closed for construction. Most of the road surfaces were in good condition -- nice to see some new asphalt sections on Seven Lakes Drive.

KenR, October 2005:

Sharon and I rode the whole route (except the climb to the top of Bear Mountain) with Variations X + Z on a misty sometimes showery weekend day. The benefit of the wet weather was little car traffic through the Seven Lakes of Harriman Park and Bear Mt Park. Definitely still on our list of great rides we train to be able to do every year.

Lots of turns on section A of the route thru Bergen county from the GWB -- but we still think that's worth it for the much-reduced traffic and seeing the variety of suburban houses. We started very early, then stopped for a breakfast snack in Westwood NJ. Another snack just before the big climb up Rt 106. But then we found that the Bear Mountain Inn was completely closed for renovations -- I think I remember the sign said until April 2006.


November 2002, suggestions from Lewis

1. In Haverstraw there is a decent deli on Samsondale Ave that lets you use clean unisex rest room in the rear. Inside seating for 6-10. Santelli, 87 Samsondale Ave. (Instead of making L onto Samsondale on your cue sheet, make a right, deli is very close on the left).

2. An alternative to 9W at the 304 intersection is: 

R 0.1 Rte 304 
L 1.6 Old Haverstraw Rd. 
L 1.1 Lake Rd. @TL 
R ?.? 9W

Strip mall on right at intersection of Rte 303 contains: Dunkin Donuts with rest room. Titanic Deli with rest room in the rear (have to ask)


September 2002, Ken

Sharon and Tony and I met near the New Jersey side of the GWB early on a weekend morning.  Going through Bergen County on the roads on the cue sheet was pleasant, not much traffic -- and Sharon and I enjoyed the "period architecture tour" of suburban homes we were getting along the way. 

We stopped for food at Saddle River -- and fixed a flat tire on our tandem.  Then lots of miles of pleasant and quiet riding through Rockland County, and another food stop at the base of the big climb up to Harriman Park (Variation H + X).  Tony tackled the steep direct climb, while Sharon and I took the gentler way on the cue sheet.  

Soon we were enjoying the great views through the Seven Lakes.   By Lake Tiorati, we agreed that Tony would go on ahead and climb Bear Mountain.  Sharon and I had no problem with traffic interaction through Route 6 and Palisades Interstate Parkway (variation X) -- we walked our tandem on the grass beside the PIP in the "critical" section.  Sharon and I decided not to climb Bear Mt this time, and instead went on ahead for an early start on lunch at the Bear Mountain Inn.  Tony arrived there a while later and spoke of a satisfying time on the summit while we took our time eating and talking. 

After lunch we let a coin-toss decide that we'd ride out onto the Bear Mt Bridge, and we had a pleasant conversation for a few minutes while enjoying the views from the shoulder in the middle, before riding back to the circle and onto Route 9W South.

The Dunderberg bypass path was sandy.  Tony made it all the way throught on his road bike -- and Sharon and I actually made it clean on our tandem to within 20 feet of the south end -- though she didn't say it was any fun riding on the back through that. 

We had a pleasant conversation about bicycle touring with the warden at the Grassy Point beach.  From Haverstraw we decided to take Route 9W over the big hill.  When we arrived at the Runcible Spoon in Nyack it was like we have made it home -- and we were real hungry and thirsty.  

Then Sharon and I struggled through the hills by the NY/NJ border.  But when we got to the rollers on Route 9W and we were flying along, and then we were finished.  A great day of riding.


September 2002, Ken

I rode all the roads on the newly revised New Jersey section, from Palisade Ave to East Saddle River road.  I enjoyed it. 

Two things I noticed:  Some rough pavement on Fairview Ave, north of Westwood.  Harriot Ave starts not wide, but soon gets wider.  

I  returned by going south on East Saddle River Rd to its end (crosses over Rt 17 with exit-entrance ramps, becomes Paramus Rd), Left on Linwood Ave (crosses over Rt 17 with exit-entrance ramps), R on Pascack Rd, L on Soldier Hill Rd, R on Prospect Ave, L on Oradell Ave, L on First St, T - L on Sunset Ave, L on Haworth, R on Haworth Ave (but did not like how it ends in this direction, with a steep climb up to the traffic light at Schraalenburgh Rd), crossed over onto Magnolia Ave and then I was back to my outgoing route.  


August 2002, Ken:  [ photos ] 

I rode the first part of this route on a weekday morning:  From the GWB to Bear Mountain.  At the start, I shortened the route by skipping the River Road and instead taking the Variation with Hudson Terrace and Rt 9W North to Closter Dock Rd. 

Then I rode Rt 502 West all the way to Wearimus Rd [ since removed from the route ].  Even though it was during rush hour, I found the traffic tolerable in the first part.  But on Washington Ave I was unhappy with the car traffic interaction, especially as I got close the Garden State Parkway exit/entrance, and especially when the traffic kept coming while I had to climb up steep hills.  And one of those hills on Washington Ave was too steep for me -- I think the last one before Wearimus Rd.  This time I didn't have a small "granny" chainring gear on my bike, and though I did make it to the top, I think I should have walked it instead -- because my legs were hurting from it for the next hour or two. 

There must be some alternate roads which are better for traffic and hills than Washington Ave -- [ see the revised route directions cue sheet ]. 

I was very happy riding north through New Jersey on East Saddle River Rd and then West Saddle River Rd -- quiet and pleasant -- and I stopped between the two for a breakfast snack at Allendale Rd.  Then I crossed into New York state, and I really enjoyed the roads on the cue sheet through Rockland County -- pleasant and mostly little traffic. 

The big climb up Rt 106 / Gate Hill Rd into Harriman Park went fine, and I enjoyed the curvy descent.  Then very comfortable and pretty riding on Seven Lakes Drive.  I hadn't remembered how good the shoulders were.  I especially enjoy riding past Lake Tiorati.  

Almost no traffic on the Rt 6 East connection (variation X).  I dismounted and walked across the Palisades Interstate Parkway, and then was able to ride my bike on the grass beside it, and continued on the grass curving alongside the exit ramp, then got back on the pavement when I reached the full-width park road, and started climbing. 

When I reached Perkins Memorial Drive, I got the urge to climb it to the top of Bear Mountain.  So I did -- the climbing was not as hard as I feared -- one steeper section and the rest a steady grind.  At the tower on the summit, I spent more time looking at the historical photographs inside than the views.  Then I followed the road further, starting down the other (East) side of the mountain -- and that's where I got the most spectacular views, perched over a steep slope above the Hudson River.  Definitely a fine experience for me. 

Riding back down there were some sections of somewhat rough pavement, but they didn't give me any problem -- but it felt like one of my brakes was fading a bit from the need to control my speed.  Once back down to the main park road, the descent East-ward was more pleasant, and I had a big lunch at the Bear Mountain Inn cafeteria.  

Then instead of following the cue sheet to go back down south along the West side of the river, I crossed over the Bear Mt Bridge, took a dirt road to Peekskill, and returned to Manhattan by going through Westchester county down the East side of the river.  But that's another story.

[ see Photos ] 


August 2002, Ken:  Earlier in August, I rode the second part of this route:  The roads from the Bear Mountain State Park (about mile 56) to the finish at the GWB -- but in the opposite direction:  North-bound instead of South-bound.  Roads were mostly in good shape, and I had fun.  Some of the road signs had changed (mostly for the better), so I updated the cue sheet directions. 


Story of this route

Ken's story:  This was my first bicycling adventure from the George Washington Bridge.  For details, see the 

full story 

Sharon and I had ridden the parts along the Hudson River before, but we explored the other sections in the interior of New Jersey and New York around 1997. 


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