(US) East Coast Greenway, US Bike Route 1, or ...? - CycleBlaze

Bicycle Travel Forum

(US) East Coast Greenway, US Bike Route 1, or ...?

Keith Adams

I'm in the detailed planning stages of a tour from Charlotte NC to my home in the northwestern (MD) suburbs of Washington DC.  My original (and current) plan calls for a route that will take me through Bahama NC and then north and west  along the eastern edge of the Shenandoah mountains.  

However, while reviewing this plan I noticed that Bahama is close to the East Coast Greenway (ECG) and US Bike Route 1 (US-BR1), and also that my route actually coincides with the ECG for a few miles on either side of Clarksville VA.  That set me to wondering whether those might be better choices than the western option.

Both of them pass directly through Richmond and then roughly parallel I-95 and US Hwy 1, following a relatively densely-populated urban / suburban corridor all the way back to my place.  I'm familiar with everything in the section from about Mt. Vernon VA north but am curious to know more about the section between Richmond and Alexandria in particular, as well as the more southerly sections.

Have you ridden that stretch of either the ECG and/ or US-BR1?  If so, what was your experience and impression?  Are these routes signposted or otherwise marked, making them relatively easy to navigate?  Or are they entirely virtual constructs, existing only in online map data?  What's the riding like?

Comments on each of the sections I describe below are particularly welcome.

Segment 0

If I elect to follow this easterly route, I'd probably pick up the ECG where it passes between Bahama NC and Butner NC, and stay with it at least as far as where it intersects US-BR1 between Clarksville NC and South Hill VA.  

Segment 1

The two routes cross somewhere near the NC/VA border between Clarksville VA and  South Hill VA.  From that point the ECG follows a more easterly path parallel to I-85 and US 1 before turning north in Petersburg, where US-BR1 first goes many miles north before turning east to enter Richmond.

Segment 2

The routes intersect again on the south bank of the James River then plunge together into and through the heart of Richmond and its northerly belt of development, before diverging again in the vicinity of Doswell VA. From there they appear to intertwine and tango together for several miles before diverging again south of Stafford.

Segment 3

US-BR1 goes west around the edge of Quantico before turning east; the ECG hugs the US1 / I-95 corridor much more closely before reconnecting with US-BR1 north of Woodbridge.

From that intersection they pass through Lorton and Fort Belvoir before linking up with and following the well-developed DC-area bike path network with which I'm thoroughly familiar, from Mount Vernon onward.  

Apart from the stretch between Lake Ridge and Mt. Vernon, I don't seek or need much advice or information on that section.

Thanks for any info and wisdom you can impart.

Reply    Link    Flag
4 weeks ago
Larry HodginTo Keith Adams


You might check the Adventure cycling East coast route map #3 for Richmond DC suggestion. Adventurecycling.org will take you to their site.

Reply    Link    Flag
3 weeks ago
Keith AdamsTo Larry Hodgin

Thanks Larry.  I was hoping to get direct feedback from people who've covered this route, in particular those who have cycled in the greater Richmond metro area.  But ACA's a great resource, too.

Reply    Link    Flag
3 weeks ago
Ray SwartzTo Keith Adams

I rode from Richmond, VA to Valley Forge, PA. Here is how I described my route: 

The entire route is on Map 3 of the Atlantic Coast Route, which starts in Richmond, VA and ends north of Philly. The route goes through Washington DC and all the urban sprawl associated with it, including Baltimore. Instead of going there, I turned off the ACA route near Quantico Marine Corps Reservation and went northwest to Harper's Ferry.

I wrote a detailed journal. Here is the day I left Richmond.

I don't know if this is relevant or not, but on a separate tour I rode from Charleston, SC up to Lambertville, NJ. On that trip, I stayed east of Richmond, going through Suffolk, Williamsburg, and crossing the Chesapeake Bay on ferries via Reedville, Tangiers, and Cape May. Here is the detailed journal.

Reply    Link    Flag
3 weeks ago
Keith AdamsTo Ray Swartz

Thanks Ray, that's a helpful post.

Reply    Link    Flag
3 weeks ago
John PickettTo Keith Adams

I'm not very familiar with how US BR 1 and ECG and the ACA Atlantic Coast route differ. I did the ACA route which goes around the Quantico Military compound. It seems to be about 20 miles longer than the ECG. The ECG goes on US 1 which seems mighty dangerous to me. 

The ACA route from Fredericksburg to Richmond is surprisingly flat from the KOA campground south of town. I thought Ashland was really interesting. It's not every day you see an active railroad right down the center of town.

If you're going into Richmond, there's a very nice hostel that is close to restaurants. There's an awesome genuine Jewish deli named Perly's that I liked a lot.

Anyway, details are on my journal at https://www.cycleblaze.com/journals/keywest/

Reply    Link    Flag
1 week ago