Monthly Archives: April 2013

Spring Route Roundup: Come on Up, the Weather’s Fine!

Since I moved up here in late September, I’ve covered almost 3000 miles. It would have, and should have, been much more than that, but a combination of 27,000 miles of travel in February alone and terrible weather conspired to keep me off the bike more than I’d like. Oh yeah, and I crashed on my hand like an amateur.

I just wanted to round up all the routes I’ve published for your convenience, dear reader. After all the effort this blog entails, I better see all y’all riding past my house this summer.

Just one note before we begin: If you make it up here, try to be super polite to the locals (of whom I am now one). This isn’t 9W, and I want cyclists to be welcome up here!

Getting There

You can get from the Poughkeepsie train station to New Paltz using the route in this post.  You can also get over the ridge using this route. There are also other ways to go; if you’re interested look at the Peekamoose option below.

Longer Rides

First, a roundup of the 8 biggest climbs in Ulster County.  This one is worth a read if you want to tackle some serious rides.

Platte Clove: Amazing ride up one of the steepest climbs in the Catskills. I’ve also mapped this one from the Poughkeepsie train station, for your convenience.

Mountain Rest Road and Vista Maria: This is a double-crossing of the Shawangunk Ridge. Easily accessible from the Poughkeepsie train station. Super-tough climb up Vista Maria.

Mohonk Climb (Large)

Peekamoose really is the classic climb in my area. I recently posted on 3 options for riding over Peekamoose starting in New Paltz. Calling this “The Peekamoose Route” really doesn’t do it justice, because it also includes two climbs over the Shawangunk Ridge, including the climb with the biggest vertical gain in the southern Hudson Valley (South Gully Road).

This post also includes a route from the Poughkeepsie Metro North train station to New Paltz. Put them together and you will get the best 100- to 120-mile ride in the region, with 3 or 4 major climbs with >15% grades and huge descents (I’m talking about 10-15 mile continuous descents, by the way).

Here’s a 90-mile ride that includes Ski Run Road, which will take you over the absolute highest pass in the Catskills. For advanced riders only. Fat tires only. Death wish required.

The Ride of the Damned. Double crossing of the Hudson, first on the Kingston-Rhinecliff bridge, and then 50 miles later on the Route 23 bridge. I called it the “Ride of the Damned” strictly because of the weather. It is actually pretty easy. I’m not going to include pictures of this here because the weather was nasty, but I think it will be a beautiful ride in the summer. Another ride with Doug.

A fast and very easy route from the train station in Beacon to Poughkeepsie. A good route for when you want to take friends on a ride of decent length, but without all the usual associated challenges.

The all-time summer classic.  This is a route I’ve done many times, with friends and alone. Starts at the Brewster train station (actually Southeast Station), and ends in New Hamburg. Eighty to ninety miles of sheer riding joy. Lots of gravel and beautiful country.

Shorter routes

Here’s a fast and easy route that takes you into the foothills of the Catskills. It starts at my place, but you could start in Stone Ridge, Rosendale, or New Paltz.

A quick 50-mile route that takes in all the good stuff in the foothills, but is not particularly challenging.

Another short, easy, and scenic ride. Nice if you’re staying in the area, or you can incorporate this segment into a longer ride. Includes a ride over the Ashokan Reservoir, which has some really spectacular views of the Catskills, as you’ll see in this post. I mean, come on, look at this:

If you’re planning your own route out here, be sure to include the segment in this post.

Don’t Forget…

You can find all of these routes, and the ones I have yet to post, by clicking on Worth the Trip in the tags.

Guidance on riding Metro North with your bike, as well as my contact information, can be found on the About page. My contact information can also be found on the website below.

Finally: If you like this and find it useful, do me a favor and link to my blog. I don’t have any commercial objectives, I just want to get more people riding up here!




I live a fairly simple life: books, bikes, and work. The balance varies based on weather and client needs, and of course I like to spend time with my girlfriend as well. But overall, everything balances well (with the exception of this week: if I work until 9 pm tonight, I will officially have worked more than 100 hours this week!)

The one area where I might have an issue? New bikes. What can I say, it’s less expensive and a whole lot healthier than a lot of things people do with their fun money. It’s not like I’m dissatisfied in any way with my current bikes (well, except for one)…I just like ’em. And all seven bikes get ridden, last year ranging from no more than 50 miles on the vintage Teledyne Titan with fork of death to >3000 miles each on the English and Herse.

So…I have two coming this year. The first is being built as we speak, and hopefully will be arriving in early May. It’s a–wait for it: sub-15-lb 650b bike being built by Rob English. Enve rims, Calfee barstem, SRAM Red, Clavicula crank, and (hopefully) Spyre disc brakes. Of course, I’ll be using the Hetre Extra Leger. This one is going to be bright & sparkly. Grey paint with rainbow sparkle, and ENGLISH in Olde English font. And let’s not forget the infinitely tasteful top cap on the Extralite headset.

I need one bike that’s a little crazy.

Now, the second: Peter Weigle unexpectedly told me I was next on his list. I hadn’t planned on any more bikes for a few years, but how can I turn down the master? The best part: The bike he is building for me is going to be going to two shows, one in the US and one in Rome. It will be one of Peter’s usual spectacularly beautiful creations…

…but we’ll be using semi-modern 9-speed Record on it. I love French style, but I’m not going without my modern conveniences. This bike will be, perhaps surprisingly, a 700C bike. It just didn’t make sense to have another 650B randonneur when I have the Herse. I’ll be using the 32 mm Extra Legers.

I’m hoping to talk Peter into shaving a set of Extra Leger Hetres for the English, even though the bike he is building for me is going to be a 700C. I feel like my life will not be complete without having a chance to ride a pair! Yes, I have simple needs.

I will need to sell a few bikes soon. As much as I want to be a bicycle horder, the bikes that weren’t built specifically for me have to go. I have a beautiful 58 cm Boxer Randonneur that needs to go (yes, the one that was reviewed in Bicycle Quarterly), as well as a sweet 80s Moser. I could also be talked into selling my 58-cm green Toei for the right price (it’s a lovely bike, but IS NOT what I ordered…long story).

Let me know if you have any interest.


Peekamoose Options

Last week, a reader asked me for advice on a killer route that would take him over several of the major climbs in the area, starting from New Paltz. He didn’t ask me to create GPS for him, in fact, he already had a good route in mind, but because I have an obsession with maps, I put together three options for Peekamoose.

First, a warning: These routes will challenge even experienced riders. Two of them include three of the finest climbs in the Catskills and Shawangunk Ridge, and one includes an additional climb which is well worth your time. If you’re an experienced rider looking for a capstone ride for your summer, one of these will fit the bill nicely, particularly if you want something in the century range.

Second, I obviously took these pictures at different seasons, and across several years. So think green!

Let’s get this party started by getting you from the train station in Poughkeepsie to the starting point in New Paltz. Don’t consider this part of your ride—it’s extremely fast with minimal effort, and it takes you on a bike path out of Poughkeepsie to Route 299.

Poughkeepsie Bike Path

There is considerable traffic on Route 299, but the shoulder is wide, so it is safe. Is it the prettiest way to get to New Paltz? No, but it’s the fastest way to get to the good stuff. This is what the route looks like, and the GPS can be found here. Don’t be scared by the elevation gain, it’s just because there’s a bridge on the route.

Getting 2 New Paltz

Here’s option 1. The route, excluding the transport segment to and from New Paltz, is 105 miles. You’ll begin in New Paltz by crossing the river and taking an immediate right on Mountain Rest Road. You can also go straight on 299, but this little jog to the northwest keeps you away from traffic a little longer.

55 Field

Once you rejoin 299, you’ll head down to a hairpin turn which leads into the climb over the ridge on Route 55. At the base of the climb, you’ll see a German restaurant; across the street there’s a place to fill your bottles or get supplies, if needed.

Base of 55 climb

Then, it’s all uphill for the next 5 miles. You’ll encounter some traffic on the way up—everyone is headed to the parking lot at the top of the ridge. Once you pass that parking lot, the traffic tapers off dramatically and you get to experience a fun 6-mile descent into Kerhonkson.

55 Decent

You can either continue onto 209, where there is a convenience store (take a left to rejoin the route), or—as shown on the route—you can take a left on Berme Road, which is considerably more pleasant than 209. Then, it’s on to a very short segment on 209 to take you to Lundy Road. Here, you’ll pass a nice swimming hole if you need to cool off, followed by a right on lovely Rogue Harbor Road. Lundy is extremely rough, and Rogue Harbor is outright gravel. I ride both regularly on a road bike with 25 mm tubulars, so you’ll survive, I’m sure.

Lundy and Rogue_pe

Now we’re getting to the good part: the foothills of the Catskills. Cherrytown Road is lovely, and you’re going to hit some great gravel on Dug and Sundale Roads.

Day 2 3

After that, you’ll pass by my house and head into the Catskills.

Day 1 6

I have to warn you that although the whole section I just described is absolutely beautiful, it’s a long hard slog up a moderate incline. Trust me—I have to do it every time I ride into town!

Shortly thereafter, you’ll hit High Point Mountain Road, which will lead you to the second big climb of the day—Peekamoose! It’s a good climb to the top with transient 16% grades, but it is worth it. And here’s the bonus: An 8-mile continuous descent. That’s right, absolutely no uphill—all downhill.

12. Peekamoose

Now, this route includes a second climb up starting on Red Bush/Greenville Road. You need to ride this even at the cost of all the additional effort. You’ll get this wonderful view:

14. At the top of Peekamoose

Followed by a 13 mile descent with lots of gravel.

16. Mill Road

From there, you’ll follow 55 into Naponach, followed by another brief segment on 209, whereupon you’ll enter Ellenville. Stop for lunch because the worst (and best) is ahead.

19. 55 Going into Naponach

From Ellenville, you’ll take South Gulley Road back over the Shawangunk Ridge. Here’s a view looking down South Gulley in the winter. You’ll be going up, sorry!

6 the Valley

It’s apparently the biggest vertical climb in the Southern Hudson Valley. Afterward, you’ll descend on Vista Maria, and from there it’s all rolling farmland and forest back to New Paltz.

As you can tell, I endorse Route Number 1. But here are a few more options.

Route 2 will take you much the same way, but it is only 90 miles in length. On this route, you won’t climb over the ridge on 55; instead, you’ll take Mountain Rest Road over the ridge. In many ways, this is a better climb than 55, and there is much less traffic, but no views! So for all that struggle you get nothin’ at the top. From there, you’ll head into High Falls, and then up into the foothills…no, there’s no avoiding the slog up to the first climb, but again if you have to struggle you might as well do it in beautiful country, right?

Option 2

You’ll go over Peekamoose, same as before, but instead of enjoying the second climb, you’ll head straight down onto 55, and then ride in back country to Ellenville. I’ve included a descent on Irish Cape Road just because it’s fun, but it does mean that you have to ride 2 miles on 209 to get back to Ellenville. Do it though, it’s worth it. From there, everything is materially the same.

Now, what about Route 3?  This ~90-mile route takes you halfway up the Route 55 climb, but then takes Clove Road over, and you ultimately cross 209 to get to the foothills. This route includes the second Red Bush/Greenville climb and all the fun gravel. Again, after you hit Ellenville, you’ll be riding up South Gulley, descending Vista Maria, and then rolling farmland back to New Paltz.

Option 3

I’ve covered every inch of these roads on various rides, and you really can’t go wrong with any of them. They will tax even the most experienced rider, but nearly every mile is worth the effort. I say nearly, because there are some very short segments on 209 (which really is much better than 9W, but it is the least pleasant road out here). Altogether, though, out of 90 to 100 miles less than 4 or 5 are on 209.

If you need any advice (or encouragement) my contact information is on my professional website…and check back a little later in the week: I’m putting together the Spring Route Roundup right now, and of course I’ll have a ride report for you.


This Week: A Preview

Not enough time to write a proper post, but I did get out for a 30-mile ride today. First time on the English this year. I forgot what it’s like to ride something tailored especially for me. It really is a perfect bike for my needs. I put the squealing creaky Lynskey in the basement (after removing all key components and greasing where necessary). It still has a creak despite all the work I did and a visit to the bike shop. I’ll deal with it in the fall. This was the first ride I’ve done this year that did not involve some degree of suffering due to weather.

The weather was perfect, the bike was perfect, and the ride was perfect. Looking forward to many more days of this now that the weather is improving and I’m back on the English.

So…I have plans for this week. My friend Guy is coming out on Thursday, and I’m going to take him on a ride over Peekamoose, Greenville Road, and other exciting climbs. Pictures to follow (no HDR…I’ve given up, I can take constructive criticism!)

I have plans for two posts. The first came about because Mike K asked me for advice on routes; I put together three killer routes for him that included Mountain Rest Road, Peekamoose, and South Gully Road. It sounds like he didn’t follow any of the three precisely, but hit most of the key roads anyway. Since I developed the routes I might as well publish them. Second, I’m going to write a spring route review to help guide people to the appropriate posts with good routes. Yes, you can do it by clicking on the Worth the Trip tag, but there’s also a lot of other stuff in there, and I want to write consolidated guidance.

Finally, this blog has no commercial or really any personal objectives; instead, it is intended to get people out here and riding on what are arguably some of the best and most scenic roads on the east coast (and only 1.5 hours from NYC by train, no less!) So do me a favor: If you use any of these routes, or even if you’ve used this blog as guidance for designing your own, send me a few good pictures, a few lines about your ride, and–if you designed your own route–the course. I’ll put it up on the blog. It’s nice to know that you’re doing something useful, and you’ll be helping everyone else out who follows you.

Have a great week!


Mack Superlight Hubs

For my Lynskey.

They’re going to be built using Chinese carbon rims. They appear red here, but they are the brightest pink imaginable. The front hub weighs 83 grams; the rear 199 grams. Not bad for disc hubs!

They can be ordered from Mack Hubs, which is based on Poland. Of course, I haven’t built them into wheels yet, so I can’t comment on quality or durability.