You hop on your bicycle in Mamaroneck or New Rochelle, and you’re on a trail that could lead you to crack lobster claws in Portland, Maine, or sip Margaritas in Key West.
Now there’s an app that can lead the way.
You provide the pedal power, and the app for the “East Coast Greenway” talks you through the 2,900-mile trail of roads and pathways from the Maine-Canada border to the tip of Florida. (Of course, you can do as much or as little of it as you want.)
Soon, it will show places where cyclists can stop and eat, rest or buy new parts.
“The bike shops, bed-and-breakfasts, the camping grounds, all that sort of information” will be added, said Andy Hamilton, Mid-Atlantic coordinator with the East Coast Greenway Alliance, which spearheads improvement of the trail.
The route hits most major cities along the way – the Mall in Washington is part of it – including ones not often mentioned, like St. Augustine, Florida, the oldest city in the country. (Settled: 1565.)
Through Westchester, the route stays entirely on roads – at least for now – including Grace Church Street in Port Chester, Halstead Avenue in Harrison and Palmer Avenue in Mamaroneck and New Rochelle.
The alliance, which has been working on improving the greenway for 22 years, wants to get as much of the route as possible off roads and onto paths that cyclists and joggers won’t have to share with cars and trucks. So far, about 30 percent of it is off-road.
Of New York’s 44 miles, 60 percent runs along off-road trails. But that’s all in New York City, as the trail winds through Pelham Bay Park (New York’s largest), and incorporates the 13-mile Manhattan Waterfront Greenway down to lower Manhattan. From there, travelers must take the ferry or PATH train across the Hudson River to the New Jersey section of the route.
A partially off-road trail through Westchester would take a different route, perhaps running along Westchester Avenue, parallel to I-287, through White Plains to the trails along the Bronx River and its parkway.
For now, though, the newest development is that communities are erecting the signs to show where the trail goes. Look for the green signs with “ECG” written on them. Hamilton said the entire mid-Altantic region, from the Port Chester-Greenwich, Conn. border to the Virginia border with Washington will be marked with signs by the end of 2015.
Hamilton said he has just shipped signs to Mamaroneck to be posted. Port Chester plans to post them. New Rochelle already has. (The one in the photo is on Stephenson Boulelvard at Palmer Avenue in New Rochelle.)
You may not have the comfort of a car-free path through trees or along a river, but you’ll know you’re on track.