Cross NH trail

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peakbagger

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I am slowly getting back into riding a bike after 4 or 5 decades. I had picked up an E mountain bike for spotting at trail heads for getting back to my car last year but an odd side effect from the Covid shots messed up my balance for most of the riding season last year. As a way of working up my stamina I have been doing short sections of the new Cross NH trail as out and back rides. I usually leave the assist off for the ride to my end point, then use the assist coming back. I have done a couple of runs so far . and will add to this post when I do more.

For those unfamiliar the Cross NH trail is mostly old railroad beds linked with some roads. Unlike a typical rail trail large portions of the trail is not graded to typical road bed standards, its mix of coal clinker, old railroad ballast, gravel, and grass. Definitely not suitable for skinny tire road bikes. Nevertheless, it is getting use over in my area which I think is rougher than the rest of it (I will find out). I supposed someone could hike it but I expect that would get old eventually for many backpackers. One section I do plan to do is the shared section with ATVs in Gorham, that has the reputation of a very dusty trip initially followed by a lot of ATV traffic before the trail splits off onto the Hogan Road in Shelburne.

Gorham to Pinkham B road Randolph is a nice ride trip away from traffic following the Moose River through a valley that ends up in a blasted out cut through granite. The old Harriman Spring Bottling plant is on the way. Plenty of water crossings and a neat mini waterfall. There is also large wetland complex on one end that I expect birders would enjoy.

Pinkham B road to Bowman in Randolph, this parallels RT 2 in the woods, a nice way to go from Lowes back to Appalachia compared to RT 2 as its mostly shaded, the road bed is rougher with large rail ballast in many sections.

Bowman to Rt 115 in Jefferson - This section appears to have far less use, there are just two tracks that are growing in from either side. Part of it parallels Valley road in Jefferson. There is nice small swimming hole at the Israel River crossing. I took Valley Road back to Jefferson Notch road on my trip back before getting back on the rail trail.
 
Next leg is starting on RT 115 in Jefferson and heading into the National Wildlife refuge lands to Airport Road in Whitefield. Rt 115 to Meadows road is underused single track somewhat grown in. There is no official parking on RT 115. There is a wildlife refuge parking lot at Meadows Road. The trailbed into the refuge is quite wide and well packed "road" but there are tall goldenrods on either side bending down into and in places blocking the road. Plan on eating goldenrod. The views on the other hand are hard to beat as the railbed runs through some large open wetlands. There is viewing platform on Cherry Pond just off the rail trail. The trail curves away from Waumbek Junction. I did not see where the Coos Trail comes in but did see that it leaves the rail trail at Coos junction. The last stretch to the airport road lot if fine (no goldenrod). For a Tuesday, the lot and the trail to the pond is crowded and definitely multiuse, there were day hikers, CT backpackers, horses, full out ebikes, mountain bikes and e assist bikes.

I need to get a flashing light on my bike for the next legs as they are on town roads for quite a stretch. I will play RT 116 by ear as I do not remember it being that "bike friendly" (no shoulders to speak of).
 
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Did my first road section today, luckily not a lot of traffic on RT 116. Airport Road has views but smelled like a local farmer had done manure spreading on the fields very recently. Rt 116 is a mix of almost zero shoulders and wider shoulders.

Next ride Whitefield to Littleton on Rt 116
 
I need to get a flashing light on my bike for the next legs as they are on town roads for quite a stretch. I will play RT 116 by ear as I do not remember it being that "bike friendly" (no shoulders to speak of).

I have been using these for years and they make a big difference. Drivers give me a lot more space and time with them than they did without. The daytime random flash is key, IMO, because it sticks out so much more than steady or regular interval flash.

My recollection of that stretch of 116 was that it had a pretty wide shoulder - if you go to the google maps satellite view or the ridewithgps of that route satellite view, that seems to confirm my recollection.

https://ride.lezyne.com/collections/led-lights-pairs/products/1-led-8p-v300

Tim
 
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Now that the hot spell has broken, I rode anther stretch this morning. I was not looking forward RT 116 from Woodsville to Littleton. RT 116 does have wide paved shoulders for most of its length but at sections of the road with up hill passing lanes they cheated the shoulders down to less than 2" wide. A little unnerving when a tractor trailer passes. I rode all the way into downtown Littleton and then ltook a left down to the Ammonusuc Rail trail. As RT 116 heads into the town the shoulder is narrower and cast irongrates are sunk into it and its less fun. I had seen in cross NH news section that the Ammonusuc Rail trail had been extended and assumed the turn off RT 116 would be marked. It is not. When I got to Ammonusuc rail trail in Littleton the trail looked like it went east back to Whitefield so I took this route back. There is zero indication that this is the Cross NH trail, the signage is standard orange Fish and Game. The rails and ties are taken out but the base is loose railroad crushed rock. There are some nice old rail bridges, and it definitely goes through a former industrial part of town and laong the river. At one point it crosses an athletic field. Eventually it come up parallel to an old road that I speculate may have been RT 116 long ago. Fairly quickly after that the improvements stop. The rails and ties are still place and its grown in. Nothing I would want to ride on unless I had track cara nd the route was cleared of vegetation. There is zero signage or indication on which way to go on the old road. I went one direction and hit a private road no trespassing signs so I turned around and fairly quickly came out on RT 116. The turn off is Oxbow Road not far toward Littleton on the opposite side of the road of a white Assembly of God Church. It was definitely a far more pleasant 4 mile bypass of RT 116 heading into Littleton. This abandoned railbed goes all the way to Whitefield and is definitely abandoned so I hope at some point they get the money or approval to convert it into a rail trail to get rid of this uninteresting stretch of RT 116. From now on I am out of the plug in range of my car so Iget to start burning a bit of gas to do the next sections west of Littleton.
 
I was just looking at the crossing of the railbed as the new rec trail across what we call Cottage Street in Littleton, which is actually 3 state routes on that short stretch (116, 18, 302); and thinking it was rather obscure unless you are local. The irony being that there is a big pedestrian crosswalk flashing lights suspended above the road on wire, but this is not the actual railbed crossing, which is a few feet away. The crosswalk signal has been there for a long time at the head of the bridge over the Ammonoosuc. The rail trail west of Cottage Street is uphill of the pedestrian crossing and passes adjacent to the Little Grill restaurant which is the old railroad station. It is confusing in that where the pedestrian crossing is, there is a road that leads downstream and generally west that brings you shortly to a wonderful paved walking path that brings you along the river, and 3 bridges that can carry you back across to downtown Main Street, but this is not the west leg of the rail trail through Littleton. Where you went east off Cottage Street by the old freight depot buildings that are now Trackside Farm & Garden.
The state (motorized) Trails Bureau as you saw not only removed the rails last year to the east, but also to the west of Cottage Street as far as Industrial Park Rd. in Littleton where the rails have been removed for some time as the ATV permitted rail trail that continues SW to Haverhill. As an aside there was a little controversy in town when the rails were removed, the ATV users took it as a green light that this trail was rideable, then the state had to point out this was illegal use and take measures, which the town ATV mob immediately decried as a use the state was taking away.
My wife and son have enjoyed the section you rode east of Littleton a few times and really want me to see the old bridges, which now I'm excited to go check out. I was upset about the rail removal heading east out of Littleton as I would have preferred to see a railroad revival on the steel, whether it be a tourist railroad between Littleton and Pondicherry, or railbike tours on the old rail, or even better real rail service opportunities. I know, not reality, keep dreaming. Also having been kinda a former employee of the trails bureau, I have knowledge of their plan to marshal east with the ATV thing towards my town, which made me not want to develop a love for this trail.
 
The bureau of trails goes where the money is, there is a surcharge on ATV registrations that is dedicated to acquiring places to ride ATVs so they have budget to spend. I am not aware of any similar non motorized fund programs. The Tillotson Foundation kicked in money for the Cross NH trail but they tend to fund discreet projects. I think the big new bike trail in North Conway is donations and one shot fund state or federal funds. The Gorham bike path (multimodal route) originally planned to go all the way to RT 16 south of town was funded with a federal "ICET" grant which is carve out from the federal gas tax. It was multiyear process. The money was there to build it all but the Portland Pileline threatened to sue as it would impact the potential future expansion of the pipeline. The town didnt spend it so the funding reverted back to the fed.

The stretch of the rail trail from the parking lot on RT 2 in Gorham to Whitefield is mostly related to Randolph not wanting ATVs on the section in Randolph. and the National Wildlife refuge. I suppose Jefferson could open up a short stretch on Valley Road to ATVs but I dont think the support or interest would be there. If the ATV club in Gorham had their way, the trail in Randolph and through the wildlife refuge would be ATV all the way to Whitefield and say so anytime there is a public meeting. I think my next stretch is at least partially ATV use and plan to bring a dust mask as my limited experience of the stretch in Gorham that is shared with ATVs is its quite dusty stretch.
 
Last weekend we drove 302 along the Ammo to Woodsville and I was surprised by the big dust clouds rising along the river, was thinking I would want a mask.
 
Incidentally yesterday we chatted with folks representing the Cross NH Trail who had a table at Bethlehem's summer community market. It was good to hear from them that the Littleton section recent rail removal, was just phase one of the same funded project that includes removal of rail all the way to Wing Rd. in Bethlehem. Good (despite my sadness of seeing rails gone) in that the funding carries the same motorized use restrictions. This will be a really nice bike route east out of Littleton, as the riding options from Wing Rd. on the town roads are safer and scenic. We and many townfolk actually park down on Wing Rd. and walk or ride bikes on Wing Rd. along the Ammo as a very scenic section.
Speaking with the trail folks I was surprised as I assume the organization applied for the federal grant that had to have permission from the landowner (State of NH) for this restrictive grant. So I'm not sure how it works with this, as I think NHDOT initially receives ownership (management responsibility) of many abandoned rail corridors, that gets transferred to the NH Trails Bureau if it is going to be improved as a recreational trail? So it's nice to see the state have an interest with supporting seeing some rail corridors going to non-motorized use.
The trail folks also said that they were working on getting funding to improve the surfaces with gravel, which is good news. They also described some difficulty they are having installing signage due to 'state's control of 15ft. of Right of Way' which seemed a silly thing to me for the state not fully cooperate with?
 
That is interesting and I suspect a bike ride along the river beats semis at 60 MPH;). It also cuts out a very steep hill.

The issue of who owns the raliroad right of ways is complex. In most cases they are right of ways rather than owned parcels. Railroads were usually incorporated entities that were recognized by the state and were awarded the right to buy or if necessary, seize private land in the interest of public benefit. While the railroads were in operation, the railroad treated it as their own land, but once the railroad stopped using the land if no public entity took over ownership then the land could ultimately revert to the abutters to the center of the right of way.

I think it comes down to which organization has the best advocacy and up until the Cross NH trail got funding, the motorized crowd had the voice.
 
Today's ride was Littleton to Lisbon. This one was all rail trail. There is no distinct public parking at the crossing in Littleton near the old rail depot that is now a cafe. I parked in an unmarked dirt lot adjacent to the trail. The first section of the trail is non motorized only and rough in sections, its a mix of well packed dirt and occasional loose crushed rock, very similar to other sections of the trail. Somewhere past the crossing of I 93 (under the highway) there is large parking lot for ATVs and the ATVs join the path. Signage is confusing in this area, I saw a couple of motorized dirt bikes on the bike section trying to figure things out. I chose this morning for the section as it rained last night to hopefully keep the dust down. I didnt see a lot of folks. The trail follows the river to Lisbon but views of the water are infrequent as the woods between the trail and the river are thick. Eventually the woods open up and its turns into farm land. The trail runs under RT 302 with no access to 302. The last stretch is a fairly straight run into Lisbon through corn fields. Far less shade and decidedly warm. I did my turn around in Lisbon and headed back. There were a few more folks and a few ATVs on the trail. Ther modern ATVs are a lot wider than the older single rider units and they eat up quite a bit of width of the trail. Definitely not a place to be on busy weekend.
 
I missed a week but was back at it today. I headed over to Woodsville and parked at the appropriately named Railroad Park. Of course, no trace of the Cross NH trail (which is an ongoing theme). Leaving through a gate and heading by a caboose on the old track right of way it looked positive only to disappear at a street crossing. I eventually picked up the old railbed on the other side and went past an old rail house and I was on the trail which parallels main street for a few blocks. The trail description notes the surface is variable and gets better or worse randomly. I am unaware of the proper term but from hiking I would describe the route in sections as "corduroy" with the pitch being a railroad tie width. It feels like the ties are still under the ballast but my guess is the underlying ballast is just compacted differently where the ties were. It makes for a decidedly corrugated surface. Even with a front suspension, getting any speed leads to a real bumpy washboard ride. The best option is stay close to the edge of the trail where ATVs have built up a slight berm and risk getting an occasional slap in the face from a overhanging plant. The center of the trail is less bad in spots. Today's ride was past Bath and then on to Lisbon where I had stopped previously. It is quite an interesting stretch, most of it is along the Ammonusuc frequently quite a bit of a distance from RT 302. Rt 302 was relocated 30 plus years ago up and away from the river in one stretch and it took me awhile to figure out I was riding adjacent to the former 302 which is growing in. Unlike the Littleton to Lisbon stretch there is far less development between the tracks and the river. It is also well shaded. This section is shared with ATVs, there were a few out but they were courteous and no clouds of dust. There are few old rail bridges and it also goes under the Bath Covered Bridge (NH's longest) The entrance into Lisbon is a bit industrial but the last 1/2 mile is fresh well graded fine crushed rock ending at the immaculately restored railroad station. I believe the official route takes a left here of the old railroad bed but as usual, zero signage of any sort. The railbed continues to where I stopped previously but the Cross NH route crosses through town to the other side of the river and follows Bishop Road until another bridge where it eventually ties back into the rail trail. I did not explore that route today but based on the prior trip, the turn off the rail trail is not marked.

As usual I rode without e-assist to end of my ride and used assist riding back. Even with assist on I do not use much battery charge. The controller starts out with an estimated range and then updates it as the ride progresses and with normal pedaling its not doing much assist. The one odd thing is overall this section had the most rolling resistance of any I have ridden, The road bed just seems to be less well compacted so when coasting or riding its got a bit more drag to the point I was wondering if I was dragging a caliper (I wasnt).

So this takes care of western NH for now. I suppose I will pick some weekday morning to do the shared ATV route in Gorham and over to Shelburne via Hogan road. I may skip the section of North Road in Shelburne until after the Meadows road as North road is quite narrow with zero shoulders and very poor sight lines. It does have a fair share of through traffic. Once past Meadows road to the Maine line it is still narrow and curvy but far less traffic. The same applies to North Road in Gilead and Bethel, not bad to the Gilead bridge from the Maine NH line but once past the bridge North Road to Bethel has a lot more traffic, curvy and no shoulders.

So summing up to date, yes there is cross NH route but far more money is spent on PR and web presence versus trail markings in the field. Just do a lot of research and use a GPS with turn by turn instructions if you want to follow the official route. Every time I go during the week I encounter folks doing sections so it is getting use but definitely not a route for beginners.

BTW gas prices in Woodsville were more than a $1 more expensive than in Gorham.
 
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Today's ride was what turned out to the roughest section of the Cross NH trail, Hogan Road in Shelburne and Gorham. I did an out and back from the junction of Hogan Road and North Road in Shelburne. It has been quite a few years since I did this length of road. There is zero signage for the bike trail at the junction or along any of the route until the turn off the road and into the woods to connect up with an ATV trail on the old railbed that the Cross NH trail has been following since Waumbek Junction. There are a few diverging roads but in general just take the one that keeps you closest to the river. The road starts out with some big water filled pits the width of the road but after the AT turnoff, the puddles get smaller. In general, the top layer of gravel in gone in many sections leaving stretches of boney rocks. Some careful observation can find patches of less rough roadbed but it is definitely not as fast at the railbeds. There is potential for blowing a tire along this stretch. There is also more ups and downs adn trying to carry speed down a slope to get ready for the next up hill is a challenge as the road bed is just too rough in many spots for much more than 10 MPH. The pluses are it follows the river including a few stretches that are not readily accessible from RT 2 with plenty of ncie places to take a break. Eventually the road smooths out past the hydro station and the turn off to the Mahoosuc Trail. It joins a power line right of way and then takes a sharp left turn down a steep boney slope that to date has been the roughest section of trail I have encountered. Very soon it comes out on the former rail line which is a major ATV route. It goes over the hydro canal and then across the large island to the elevated railroad trestle over the river and RT 16. The Mahoosuc trail quickly cuts off the rail bed and follow a far more peaceful road across the island and ends up at the pedestrian bridge under the rail trestle. As any hiker knows the trade off for the pedestrian bridge are two pieces of bridge structure at either end of the bridge that requires ducking. Getting a bike through those openings would be a PITA. The alternative is there is steep eroded path up to the top of the trestle that would require pulling the bike up the slope.

Hogan road is a private road that is maintained privately. It has been in far better condition in the past and it also has been worse shape depending on what firms are working where. Regular cars with care can probably make it up and down the road (with the exception of one sketchy washout) but high clearance is a far better fit. It can get relatively busy in deer season. Various Cross NH trail users are skipping this section due to its roughness and the dusty and busy shared ATV section. There is multimodal trail parking lot with a Cross NH trail map and bike Maintenace fixture as bikers come into Gorham. Rather than continuing on the shared ATV route, there is a walking and bike path on the south side of RT2 (No ATVS). It ends up at the Gorham airport at the end of a quiet street. Follow the street across the railroad tracks to Main Street in Gorham and go East on RT 2 past the town commons. The new brew pub is on RT 16 south just past the commons a very short distance. Bikers then ride along RT 2 that has reasonable shoulders for most of the way but heavy traffic at times. Then take a left off of RT2 onto North Road in Shelburne (also the AT) and then rejoin the official Cross NH trail route at the junction of Hogan Rd and North Road. I still need to do North Road but be aware its quite curvy in sections with zero shoulders until after the Meadow Road Intersection. I would recommend high visibility clothes and preferably a weekday. Once past the Meadow Road section, the road is still narrow but very quiet all the way to Gilead and then picks up a bit more traffic as it approaches Bethel.
 
And now one last report, Hogan Road in Shelburne to Rt 26 in Bethel. This is 99%paved rural road with a bit of paved bike path that runs parallel to the Androscoggin River on the North side. It not big on views of the river except in a few spots. The view down the "gorge" in Gilead looking up where the Wild River joins the Andro is a nice one worth a break. The road conditions vary from smooth to somewhat cratered. Traffic is minimal which is good as there is no shoulder and in most cases the alternative to pavement is drop down to loose gravel and rocks. It curvy and rolling, wear orange. No need for Cross NH trail signage and there really is none. The North Road ends at RT 2 in Bethel just north of the bridge over the river. I suppose someone far more motivated than I could make a loop using the Gilead bridge and RT 2. Just before RT2 the trail cuts right off the road and around a business to come out under the RT 2 bridge next to river and then loops up to get to the adjacent pedestrian/bike bridge. The trail than winds its way through the woods to the dead end end point at Rt 26. There is no cross NH signage at the lot but just look for the covered bridge and you have got it.

I have now done twice the length of the trail as I did not car spot so every section was an out and back. Best and worst are relative things but here are my observations. Worse by far is the RT 116 road ride between the end of the rail trail in Littleton and Whitefield. it is supposed to be reduced if not eliminated in the next few years once the tracks get ripped out. It will add in a potentially nice ride past the shores of Forest Lake (and the future landfill if built). For someone with a roadbike, the Shelburne to Bethel section is the only option, its pleasant and with some care avoiding rough spots not too hard on skinny tires. The best long views are probably the stretch from Jefferson Notch Road in Jefferson to Bowman in Randolph heading East. The Israel River is a wide flood plan in many spots with the railbed running through and to either side. Nice views towards Jefferson and Adams. It's rough ballast in spots so wide tired bikes preferably with suspension are mandatory. Valley Road runs parallel to part of the route and its a mix of pavement and well packed dirt but it missed some of the views but gains some the rail trail does not have. Honorable mention is the stretch from Woodsville to Lisbon as this section has the best river access. Note that the Ammonusuc tends to be high banked without a lot of beaches in this area but at least there is not a strip of development between the track and the river, so the option is there but someone would need to pick their swimming spots. I saw a few inviting ones.

As Andrew has noted, its sad in way that the tracks could not have been maintained and left useful for track cars or even transportation, but the reality is that maintaining a track right of way is expensive unless extensive herbicides are used to kill of the inevitable growth that moves in to block usage of the rails. Currently it's getting use but I do not think it's on the radar of most local businesses so it's not an economic driver yet but my guess is it could be. It's definitely in the "if you build it, they will come stage". If the RT 116 ride could be replaced it will definitely help. The ATV issue will be tough, no matter how responsible ATV riders are the tires and track tends to chew up the trailbed far more than bikes. My guess is routine maintenance is going to be needed to keep the shared sections acceptable to both. The wildlife refuge ban on motorized vehicles and Randolph ban on ATVS on the rail trail leave a nice stretch for those who want to avoid motors.

I did this with an Type 1 E assist bike, its E assist only so in order to get assist it must be pedaled. It si allowed on bke trails at National Parks including the Carraige Road at Acadia My normal approach was to do the initial ride to my turnaround point with zero E assist and then on the return run E assist. I tend to peddle with about the same force so the E assist ride is usually just faster although I will admit it is nice on long uphill grades. The assist only works up to 20 MPH but it will gladly coast faster. I have a Bosch Mid drive with a 500 watt lithium battery, if I go by the indicators on the battery I rarely get home with less than 4/5 charge despite 20 to 30 miles of riding. The controller has a range estimate which starts with a default value based on which level of assist is used, as I ride, the range usually extends as I am pedaling at a good clip. The one thing with Ebikes is to date I have not heard of one with regenerative brakes although expect someone has one for sale. I have 9 speed standard rear derailer and I dont think the conventional derailer design with the spring loaded idler would work very well transmitting power back to the wheels. I havent used a bike very often for decades so it was a bit of learning curve to learn using bike again. This mountain bike has inherently different dynamics than my ancient road bike, (Schwin Varsity I bought with paper route money ;) )not sure why but its steering is far more responsive and needs a bit more guidance than the old Schwinn. The other aspect is my ability to sit on the seat for extended periods seems to be lot shorter. Hopefully it will get more use next year post retirement to increase solo hiking options that can begin and end at different parking lots.
 
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And now one last report, Hogan Road in Shelburne to Rt 26 in Bethel. This is 99%paved rural road with a bit of paved bike path that runs parallel to the Androscoggin River on the North side. It not big on views of the river except in a few spots. The view down the "gorge" in Gilead looking up where the Wild River joins the Andro is a nice one worth a break. The road conditions vary from smooth to somewhat cratered. Traffic is minimal which is good as there is no shoulder and in most cases the alternative to pavement is drop down to loose gravel and rocks. It curvy and rolling, wear orange. No need for Cross NH trail signage and there really is none. The North Road ends at RT 2 in Bethel just north of the bridge over the river. I suppose someone far more motivated than I could make a loop using the Gilead bridge and RT 2. Just before RT2 the trail cuts right off the road and around a business to come out under the RT 2 bridge next to river and then loops up to get to the adjacent pedestrian/bike bridge. The trail than winds its way through the woods to the dead end end point at Rt 26. There is no cross NH signage at the lot but just look for the covered bridge and you have got it.

I have now done twice the length of the trail as I did not car spot so every section was an out and back. Best and worst are relative things but here are my observations. Worse by far is the RT 116 road ride between the end of the rail trail in Littleton and Whitefield. it is supposed to be reduced if not eliminated in the next few years once the tracks get ripped out. It will add in a potentially nice ride past the shores of Forest Lake (and the future landfill if built). For someone with a roadbike, the Shelburne to Bethel section is the only option, its pleasant and with some care avoiding rough spots not too hard on skinny tires. The best long views are probably the stretch from Jefferson Notch Road in Jefferson to Bowman in Randolph heading East. The Israel River is a wide flood plan in many spots with the railbed running through and to either side. Nice views towards Jefferson and Adams. It's rough ballast in spots so wide tired bikes preferably with suspension are mandatory. Valley Road runs parallel to part of the route and its a mix of pavement and well packed dirt but it missed some of the views but gains some the rail trail does not have. Honorable mention is the stretch from Woodsville to Lisbon as this section has the best river access. Note that the Ammonusuc tends to be high banked without a lot of beaches in this area but at least there is not a strip of development between the track and the river, so the option is there but someone would need to pick their swimming spots. I saw a few inviting ones.

As Andrew has noted, its sad in way that the tracks could not have been maintained and left useful for track cars or even transportation, but the reality is that maintaining a track right of way is expensive unless extensive herbicides are used to kill of the inevitable growth that moves in to block usage of the rails. Currently it's getting use but I do not think it's on the radar of most local businesses so it's not an economic driver yet but my guess is it could be. It's definitely in the "if you build it, they will come stage". If the RT 116 ride could be replaced it will definitely help. The ATV issue will be tough, no matter how responsible ATV riders are the tires and track tends to chew up the trailbed far more than bikes. My guess is routine maintenance is going to be needed to keep the shared sections acceptable to both. The wildlife refuge ban on motorized vehicles and Randolph ban on ATVS on the rail trail leave a nice stretch for those who want to avoid motors.

I did this with an Type 1 E assist bike, its E assist only so in order to get assist it must be pedaled. It si allowed on bke trails at National Parks including the Carraige Road at Acadia My normal approach was to do the initial ride to my turnaround point with zero E assist and then on the return run E assist. I tend to peddle with about the same force so the E assist ride is usually just faster although I will admit it is nice on long uphill grades. The assist only works up to 20 MPH but it will gladly coast faster. I have a Bosch Mid drive with a 500 watt lithium battery, if I go by the indicators on the battery I rarely get home with less than 4/5 charge despite 20 to 30 miles of riding. The controller has a range estimate which starts with a default value based on which level of assist is used, as I ride, the range usually extends as I am pedaling at a good clip. The one thing with Ebikes is to date I have not heard of one with regenerative brakes although expect someone has one for sale. I have 9 speed standard rear derailer and I dont think the conventional derailer design with the spring loaded idler would work very well transmitting power back to the wheels. I havent used a bike very often for decades so it was a bit of learning curve to learn using bike again. This mountain bike has inherently different dynamics than my ancient road bike, (Schwin Varsity I bought with paper route money ;) )not sure why but its steering is far more responsive and needs a bit more guidance than the old Schwinn. The other aspect is my ability to sit on the seat for extended periods seems to be lot shorter. Hopefully it will get more use next year post retirement to increase solo hiking options that can begin and end at different parking lots.
Well done. Also very nice doing it solo with no car spots. Has been interesting to follow your journey.
 
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