PA Bicycle Route A
I’m interested in the cross state route called “Route A” according to State of PA. You have to click on the PDF to get more PDFs of the routes. Surely somebody has ridden those routes…how is it?…is it along a road? The country is much less bike friendly…i’m picturing (and dreading) a high speed bendy, hilly road w/ barely a shoulder and a white line to pass a bicycle lane…at most!…probably just some signs…although i know of some ‘recreational’ bike paths that are pretty sweet (though not very practical for travelling anywhere besides the other end of the park)
tell me its a dedicated path…pls?
also, i checked this site’s online map and it doesn’t seem to be aware of “Route A”
Sorry to disappoint, but…. It isn’t a separated bike path or trail. These routes are just roads that at one point somebody thought would be okay for bicyclists. I think the quality of the roads on the route varies a lot.
Maybe somebody else out there has ridden Route A and can give a more specific description.
The state bike routes are a combination of road and off road. Where there is a logical off road connection, they try to use it.
Are you looking for something specifically cross state, or just a really nice long trail ride?
I’ve ridden Route A from Pittsburgh to Grove City College, about 90 miles north. Also, I actually live right next to Route A now in Beaver Falls, about 45 miles north of Pittsburgh. Unfortunately, it seems that not a lot of thought went into these routes, as some of the ways that Route A recommends are miserable. For example, going from Ellwood City to Portersville is a nightmare, with several large hills to climb, no shoulder, and cars traveling at 60+mph.
If you’re still interested in the route, I can give recommendations for different routes outside of Pittsburgh and north to Grove City. After that it should be a pretty quiet route, as you’re out in the country. Let me know if you’re interested and I can make up a route map.
I’ve ridden Rt A from a little south of Pittsburgh down to the WV line.
Between where I picked it up and I-70, it was like riding along any other highway – much as Jake describes.
South of I-70, Rt A was nice. Back roads with a car passing every half hour or so. From about 10 miles north of Waynesburg , it follows Rt 19, except for one little section, about 5 miles south of Waynesburg. You don’t want to miss that turn off to the left, like I did, unless you really, REALLY like climbing mountains.
The states bike route maps are a little frustrating. They don’t show other bike routes or rail-to-trails, etc. The maps for Bike Rt A, for example, do not even show where it intersects with Bike Rt S.
I would love a route to get from pgh to venango county, specifically oil city/franklin area which is further north than grove city…I figure its pretty much impossible though w/o closely considering wut it looks like when you mix my intestines w/ the twisted metal of an suv or tractor trailer
jakeliefer…if you have a safe route to get goin that way, that would be awesome to hear about…cuz most country roads are essentially one car lane highways, often w/o even shoulders, plus deer, drunks, hills and curves
Jackobear: … considering wut it looks like when you mix my intestines w/ the twisted metal of an suv or tractor trailer
I think you’er being a little pessimistic here, JackoBear.
I really don’t think you would twist the metal of the SUV significantly.
Actually, though, I don’t think it would be hard to find a way. Jake could give you directions to Grove City.
Mapquest seems to think there there is an “old Route 8,” (aka William Flinn Highway, aka Poverty Valley Rd!!, aka PA 308) that parallels rt 8 to Franklin or so. Not sure which side of the river is best from there.
How could you not want to ride on Povery Valley Rd?
If you search around you might find some one who has ridden up there.
I’ve navigated distances on unfamiliar roads using a map (Actually 2 or more maps. Don’t take just one.) I’ve done OK. Usually there is a stretch or two that makes me wish I had made another choice, but nothing too bad.
I got lost in a cornfield once.
I’ve posted a route up for Pittsburgh to Grove City. I live in Beaver Falls, which is actually along Route A. If you or anyone else is riding this direction, feel free to message me. I’ve got a spare guest bedroom that anyone is welcome to crash at.
Here’s the link for my route:
There are three main differences compared to route A. First, much of the ride along the Ohio River is on the east side, following side roads that run parallel to 65. This is a good route that has slow traveling cars, except for a few spots up near Conway. Unfortunately, the side roads end there and you have to ride through some parking lots and walk or ride along a sketchy sidewalk for 1.5 miles. I’ll admit, it’s not any fun at that part, but it sure beats riding route 51 there.
The 2nd big difference from Route A is that after Beaver Falls, my route continues north along the Beaver River. Route A will take you up through Ellwood City into Portersville on 488, which is a miserable hilly road with cars traveling way too fast and no shoulder. My route mostly goes along Old Route 18, with a few stretches on Route 18. I ride this route regularly when I go to New Castle, as it’s a nice quiet rural ride with very few hills.
After getting to New Castle, you’ll head east. While I haven’t ridden this road yet, I imagine it’s pretty quiet since it parallels 422 and all vehicles would be on 422 except for local traffic.
Finally, the route parallels Route 19 on side roads such as Studebaker St. I’ve ridden these roads up to Grove City and I believe a total of 3 cars passed me. I have no clue why Route A says to go on 19 when there’s much better roads just a mile away, perhaps it’s just easier to say ‘Follow 19’?
I hope all of this helps and feel free to ask me any questions. If you’re following Route A from the south, I imagine you’d pick up the Montour Trail before McDonald and ride that into Corapolis. Once you reach Corapolis, you’ll be good to follow the route I posted for the next 60+ miles.
i’ve ridden along pa route A from zelienople to erie. here is my route.
from zelienople to meadville is entirely on route 19. it was fun getting drafts from trucks flying by at 65, then getting knocked back when one came from the oncoming direction. for the most part, it wasn’t so bad. 2 lane highway with a large shoulder. very hilly, but it’s all rollers.
after that, it’s the decent into erie. until i got into the erie suburbs, i don’t think i saw more than five cars. there was a huge chunk of road missing, where i had to portage, but that was over a year ago, and i’d bet it’s fixed by now.
all things considered, it was not a terribly unpleasant experience.
wow, yinz are hardcore…i think i’d poop my pants riding up route 65 (aka the 65th infantry division highway)…yeah that sounds like war alright…HiddenVariable, your route looks closer to wut I’m looking for, but I’m still scared of route 19, even 68 seems like it’d have 50mph traffic at least…i’ve only done like 20 miles in a day anyhow, so I’m just scouting things out…maybe a I’ll work out a practice trip trying to get out of the city just to work my way up…I think I’ll prolly chicken out tho…
Thanks again for all the help tho
I have to agree that Routes 65, 68, and 19 are NOT bike-friendly (I live and bike around Zelie, so I should know).
During the WPW Fall Rally I participated in the 200 KM brevet option, North Park to Sandy Lake and back. On the way back to North Park the route took us on Slippery Rock Road and PA 528 through Moraine to get back down to Evans City. 528 is a much better alternative to 19. Here’s a link to the map a cue sheet if you would like to check out the route we took:
68 from evans city to zelienople was easily my least favorite portion of the ride to erie. but it was also under construction last summer, so i can’t speak to what it’s normally like. traffic wasn’t much of a problem, but i rode on the shoulder the whole way, and it was covered in debris, and very bumpy. however, it’s been over a year since i rode on it, and i have no idea what it’s like now.
i’ve only done like 20 miles in a day anyhow, so I’m just scouting things out…maybe a I’ll work out a practice trip trying to get out of the city just to work my way up
Twenty miles? Hmmmm.
That will cost you $20
This book is confusing and badly organized, but the rides are great and they are part of the kuLchEr here.
Various lengths with a preponderance of 50-60 mile rides. With 425 rides, you know there is some of everthing. I usually print out details of the more obscure parts from Mapquest.
I also highly recommend Lou Fineberg’s “Three Rivers on Two Wheels” but I can’t find a copy on the web. It only has a fraction fo the rides Swan has, but they are good rides. They are all do-able for a “20 miles max” guy and they are well-organized, well-explained and have good maps.
Lou? Are you gonna come out with a new edition or anything?
Over the past year or so, I researched an alternative to PA Bicycle Route A. For many of the reasons cited in this forum and others, safety being foremost, I had no desire to follow the state’s route.
Others may have followed a similar path and there are surely other ways to get from West Virginia to Erie. I wrote up an article with photos and RWGPS maps of the route followed. The link to the article is:
Hopefully, this may be of help to anyone planning to take the journey.
If you prefer a longer, safer, more car-free route, you can use trails to get from Ford City to Titusville, following the Allegheny River and Oil Creek. Most of the trail in Armstrong and Clarion Counties is crushed limestone, and in Venango County it’s asphalt trail. There is a gap in the trail between East Brady and Parker where the options are very-low-traffic steep gravel roads or more roundabout moderate-traffic asphalt roads.
To get to Venango County, there is a Bicycle Route V, that follows SR-208. Hilly, but there isn’t a terrible amount of traffic up that way. The trails would be better. Why the state hasn’t revised some of these routes to take advantage of the trails is a mystery, to me.
- This reply was modified 1 month, 3 weeks ago by fultonco. Reason: 208 instead of 308
Absolutely do not ride between Monaca and Coraopolis on PA51. No shoulder, traffic speeds often on the high side of EIGHTY mph. It’s downright criminal that this is a posted state bike route. Also, if you’re driving a car, don’t get a flat tire.
This whole damned road should be knocked down to one lane each direction, 35 mph. What’s our ghost bike count along 51 gotten to? Four?
And to think that at the moment, I’m in a pretty good mood. Ask me about it sometime when I’m not. And I generally have no trouble duking it out with six-lane McKnight Road. But 51 scares the hell out of me.
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