The East Coast Greenway is a 3,000-mile rail trail linking the major cities of the Atlantic coast of the United States, from Calais, Maine, to Key West, Florida. The spine route and branching complementary routes are for non-motorized human transportation for everything from local commutes to long-distance trips.  Fifteen states,  450 cities and towns and 3,000 miles from Maine to Florida on a safe biking route through the country’s most populated corridor.  That is the East Coast Greenway.  The trail is a combination of paved bike paths, back roads and unpaved path sections.

In 1991, a group of cyclists and long-distance trail enthusiasts met in New York City and formed a national non-profit organization, the East Coast Greenway Alliance (ECGA), to plan and promote a greenway linking existing and planned trails into a contiguous "spine route" between Atlantic coast cities.

In 2004, seven cyclists rode the entire route, from Key West to Calais, in 55 days. Later that year, the first Maine-to-Florida tour was held; four cyclists completed the event in 52 days, raising $75,000. The entire spine route was finalized and mapped in 2008. The accessibility of the trail expanded with support of the states, and more events were held each year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As a retired ultra-endurance cyclist I have clicked off in excess of 70,000 miles on my bicycles in long distance races and during training rides.  In 2013, I completed a nonstop solo Race Across the West, nearly 900 miles from Oceanside, California to Durango, Colorado. The following year I was part of a 4 man team that completed the 3,000 mile Race Across America in 6 days and 21 hours. In both these races, and most of my others, I rarely saw anything but my front wheel and the road 50 feet ahead of it.

When the East Coast Greenway officially opened this year I decided to hop back on my bike and prepare for the 3,000 mile trip of a lifetime at a pace that would allow me to enjoy the scenic east coast and even witness the progression of fall foliage as it marches down the coast with me.  Rather then attempt this massive trip solo I signed on with Timberline Adventures, a Colorado outfit, with over 38 years experience operating cycling tours.  Here is a brief overview of the trip taken from their marketing materials: 

FROM BACKWOODS TO CITY:

The first segment of this epic ride along the East Coast Greenway begins at the Maine – Canada border on the banks of the St. Croix River. The first two days are mostly on the unpaved Down East Sunrise Trail which takes us for 87 miles through the woods of Maine.  There is an alternate paved route on this section.  Then we continue beside the sparsely populated waterways of the coast, working our way down to Portland. We stay on the coastal road for the entire length of New Hampshire’s Atlantic shoreline and enter Massachusetts for our first layover day in Marblehead.  Stroll the old neighborhoods, watch the yachts and feast on seafood – you’ve earned it.  From there we continue south by hugging the coast right into Boston. Then we loop through middle Massachusetts, and swing around to cut through Rhode Island and across to Connecticut.  From there the route follows the Long Island Sound into the Bronx and down the Hudson River right into the heart of Manhattan for our overnight and layover day.

Day        Location                                                                                                                                                                                        Distance
09/08    Arrive, assembly, bike fitting, Orientation Dinner Calais, ME                                                                                      0
09/09    Calais-Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge -Down East Sunrise Trail - Machias, ME                                 46
09/10    Machias - Down East Sunrise Trail - Ellsworth, ME                                                                                                       57
09/11    Ellsworth - around West Penobscot Bay - Camden, ME                                                                                            64
09/12    Camden - Owl's Head - Waldoboro - Newcastle, ME                                                                                                  58
09/13    Newcastle - Brunswick - Freeport - Portland, ME                                                                                                         69
09/14    Portland - Eastern Trail - Kennebunk - Portsmouth, NH                                                                                             57
09/15    Portsmouth - Newburyport - Topsfield Linear Common - Marblehead                                                               74
09/16    Layover Marblehead, MA                                                                                                                                                           0   
09/17    Marblehead - Boston - Charles River Esplanade - Hudson, MA                                                                             55
09/18    Hudson - Worcester - Blackstone Greenway - Pawtucket, RI                                                                                 64
09/19    Pawtucket - Providence - Washington Secondary Trail - Putnam, CT                                                                55
09/20    Putnam - Airline North State Park Trail - Hop River State Park Trail - Hartford , CT                                       64
09/21    Hartford -Farmington Canal Heritage Trail - Southington - New Haven, CT                                                     58
09/22    New Haven - Bridgeport - Fairfield - Stamford - Port Chester, NY                                                                         68
09/23   Port Chester - New Rochelle - NYC Greenways - Hudson River Greenway - Manhattan, NY                    36
09/24   New York City - transition day    

 

A RIDE THROUGH HISTORY:

Segment 2 of our east coast bike ride is the historical section.  We travel through the states and cities that were so instrumental in creating our nation.  We will ride past battlefields, government sites, through 7 of the first thirteen colonies, five capital cities, and countless historical markers.  Along the way we will ride several canal towpaths, more than 60 greenways, and a surprising number of quiet miles on country roads.  Our layover day is spent in Annapolis, MD, where you can choose to relax on the beach, shop in town, stroll the historic neighborhoods, or even charter a boat to explore Chesapeake Bay.  As the climate cools towards winter, we cross the Mason-Dixon line, pushing ever farther south.  Words, accents, food, attitudes, drivers, and humidity will all make that north to south transition.   By the time you reach Raleigh, your quads will be bulging, your butt will be bulletproof, your smile will be permanently stuck on your face, and you will be a little more than half way along the East Coast Greenway Route!

Day        Location                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Distance
09/24    Orientation - New York City, NY                                                                                                                                                                                             0
09/25    New York City - NY Waterway Ferry - Newark - Rahway River Parkway - New Brunswick, NJ                                                              47
09/26    New Brunswick - Delaware & Raritan Canal Towpath - D&L Trail - Bristol, PA                                                                                                53
09/27    Bristol - Philadelphia Fairmount Park - Schuylkill River Trail - Wetland Loop Trail - Delaware Greenway - Wilmington, DE       61
09/28    Wilmington - Jack Markell Trail - Newcastle, DE - James F Hall Trail - Elkton - Havre de Grace, MD                                                    51
09/29    Havre de Grace - Bel Air - Torrey C Brown Trail - Cockeyesville                                                                                                                             48
09/30    Cockeyesville - Jones Falls Trail - Baltimore - Baltimore & Annapolis Trail - Annapolis, MD                                                                      50
10/01    layover day - Annapolis, MD                                                                                                                                                                                                    0
10/02    Annapolis - Washington & Annapolis Trail - Metropolitan Branch Trail - Washington, D.C.                                                                       57
10/03    Washington D.C. - National Mall - Mount Vernon Trail - Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge - Aquia, VA                                 57
10/04    Aquia - Fredericksburg - unencumbered road riding - Ashland, VA                                                                                                                    65
10/05    Ashland - Richmond - Reedy Creek Trail - Chester - Petersburgh, VA                                                                                                                51
10/06    Petersburgh - Dimwiddle - Tobacco Heritage Trail - La Crosse, VA                                                                                                                     68
10/07    La Crosse - Dick Cross Wildlife Management Area - John H Kerr Reservoir - Clarksville, VA                                                                    41
10/08    Clarksville - Oxford - Stern - Durham, NC                                                                                                                                                                         60
10/09    Durham - American Tobacco Trail - White Oak Creek Greenway - Rocky Branch Trail - Raleigh, NC                                                  47
10/10    Raleigh - transition day

 

Southern Charm:

Segment 3 is our opportunity to revel in southern charm.  From the metropolitan area of Raleigh, N.C., we work our way down to the Atlantic Coast at Carolina Beach, and keep to the coastline through South Carolina and into Georgia.  We will experience natural features and cultural diversity, as we ride from rolling hills of pine, oak, and hickory forests to farmlands, thriving cities, cypress swamps, and coastal beaches.  Then we ride through the Grand Strand, and on through national forests, coastal reserves and wildlife refuges.  We cross Charleston Harbor, ride around Ashepoo, Combahee and Edisto Basin, pass through the Savannah Wildlife Refuge and into the charming city of Savannah.  Our layover stop is in bustling Myrtle Beach, where of course a day on the beach is an option, or a stroll on the boardwalk, or perhaps take part in the Annual Greek Festival in town that weekend.  We stay at a low elevation for much of this segment and can cruise along through big chunks of sparsely inhabited areas.

Day        Location                                                                                                                                                                                          Distance
10/10    Orientation - Raleigh, NC                                                                                                                                                                      0
10/11   Raleigh - Walnut Creek Trail - Neuse River Trail - Clayton - Smithfield - Benson, NC                                                57
10/12    Benson- Dunn Erwin Rail Trail - Horseshoe Bend Rd - Fayetteville North, NC                                                            40
10/13    Fayetteville North - Cape Fear River Trail - Bladen Lakes State Forest - Elizabethtown - White Lake, NC    46
10/14    White Lake - Wilmington - Pleasure Island - Fort Fisher Ferry - Southport, NC                                                          76
10/15    Southport - Shallotte - Sunset Beach - Myrtle Beach, SC                                                                                                    66
10/16    Layover day - Myrtle Beach, SC                                                                                                                                                         0
10/17    Myrtle Beach - Grissom Parkway Trail - Garden City Beach - Litchfield By The Sea - Georgetown, SC          48
10/18    Georgetown - McClellanville - Ben Sawyer Bikeway - Charleston, SC                                                                            74
10/19    Charleston, SC - Wonder's Way - W Ashley Greenway - Jacksonboro - Spanish Moss Trail - Beaufort          78
10/20    Beaufort - Spanish Moss Trail - Okatie - Savannah National Wildlife Refuge - Savannah, GA                            55
10/21    Savannah - transition day

 

END YOUR BIKE TOUR AT THE BEACH!


On the last segment of our epic journey we go to the beach! Starting from Savannah, we take just a couple days to pass through the southernmost parts of Georgia, across sparsely populated swamps and wildlife management areas, before we cross into Florida and onto Amelia Island.  From there it is 570 miles of enjoying Florida’s long Atlantic coast.  Resort cities alternate with state parks, island hopping and inter-coastal waterway paths.  This segment sees more continuous greenways than any other segment, so that even the city crossings become pleasant, traffic free cruises.  Our layover day is in Cocoa Beach, just south of Kennedy Space Center where a visitor tour is an option.  Other ideas include a relaxing day on the beach, a walk on the pier, or maybe try your hand on a kayak or stand up paddleboard through the Banana River Aquatic Preserve.  We continue south through Vero Beach, Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale and Miami to the southern tip of the mainland, before we launch onto the Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail.  This trail, nearly complete, follows the Overseas Highway and brings us right down to the southernmost point of the contiguous United States at Key West, for the ultimate end to our 3,000-mile epic journey on the East Coast Greenway! 

 

Day        Location                                                                                                                                                                                          Distance
10/21    Savannah, GA - transition day                                                                                                                                                              0
10/22    Savannah -Richmond Hill - around Sapelo Sound - Eulonia, GA                                                                                        67
10/23    Eulonia - Darien - Dock Junction - Brunswick, GA                                                                                                                      40
10/24    Brunswick - Woodbine Multi Use Path - Kingsland - Fernandina Beach - Amelia Island, FL                                  75
10/25    Amelia Island - Big Talbot Island State Park - Mayport Ferry - Jacksonville Beach - St. Augustine, FL              59
10/26    St. Augustine - Marineland to Flagler Beach Trail - Ormond Beach - Daytona Beach, FL                                       62
10/27    Daytona - Riverfront Park - East Central Regional Rail Trail - Titusville - Merritt Island - Cocoa Beach, FL      63
10/28    Cocoa Beach/Cape Canaveral layover day                                                                                                                                   0
10/29    Cocoa Beach - South Patrick Shores - Melbourne Beach - Sebastian Inlet State Park - Vero Beach, FL        58
10/30    Vero Beach - Avalon - Fort Pierce - Stuart - Seabranch Preserve State Park -The Riverwalk - Jupiter, FL      60
10/31   Jupiter - West Palm Beach - Flagler Dr. Waterfront - South Palm Beach - Boca Raton - Deerfield Beach       48
11/01    Deerfield Beach - Fort Lauderdale - Hollywood B-walk - Atlantic Way - Miami Beach B-walk - Miami, FL       59
11/02    Miami - M-Path - South Dade Trail - Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge - Key Largo, FL                              53
11/03    Key Largo - Overseas Highway Bikeway - Plantation Key - Long Key - Vaca Key - Marathon, FL                        57
11/04    Marathon - Seven Mile Bridge - Bahia Honda State Park - Sugarloaf Key - Big Coppitt Key - Key West, FL    49
11/05    Key West - transfer to Miami                                                                                                                                                                  0