Route from Rochester to Sewickley
Tagged: More routing information
I plan to ride from NE Ohio to the GAP and am trying to map out a relatively safe route from Rochester to Sewickley.
I’m guessing the Ohio River Trail starting in Monaca still doesn’t actually exist there, correct? Google shows a security gate at the Anchor Hocking plant. I rode Rt 51 back in 2011 and it was a horror, as has been well documented by others. We lucked out as lane work was underway and we rode in the coned-off construction lane for many miles.
This time I’m considering using the sidewalk along Rt 65 along the North Shore until I reach rideable roads and trails. Any suggestions?
Pete – Kent, OH
My experiences biking that section of the Ohio River: avoid Route 51 between Monaca and Crescent Township. Several cyclists have been struck by cars and killed along there, as you’ve probably heard. Many cars going 60-70 mph. I’ve never biked 65 downstream of Ambridge. As you probably figured out, Merchant St and Beaver St are reasonably bikeable (for an experienced cyclist) between Ambridge & Sewickley.
Upstream of Sewickley: Route 65 between Sewickley and Emsworth is about as deadly as 51, though shorter. I biked it once but probably never again. Between Emsworth and Pittsburgh’s Northside, the slower roads parallel to Route 65 (Center-Church-California-Lincoln-Brighton) are reasonable.
I dunno what exactly you had planned, but maybe you should consider staying in Ohio until you get to Steubenville, then riding on the panhandle trail, then the Montour trail to get to the GAP.
I’ve never ridden the Panhandle and I’ve never ridden in Ohio, so I know nothing – but that’s never stopped me before. My understanding the roads and trails in Ohio are OK and the biggest problem would be the last few miles to the end of the Panhandle.
Please let us know what you do and how it goes. These are perennial issues.
I think you’re right about the Ohio River Trail not existing yet. I haven’t biked the sidewalk along Rt 65, but it looks pretty reasonable between Rochester and Baden, and for Baden to Sewickley, there are slower parallel streets to use instead.
If you wanted to continue toward Pittsburgh from Sewickley, since Rt. 65 has no sidewalk in that area and there’s no good alternative along that side of the river, I’d think your best bet would be to cross at the Sewickley Bridge and take Rt. 51 a short distance into Coraopolis (I think there’s a continuous shoulder), then head toward either Neville Island or the Montour Trail.
Here is my method for getting from downtown to the Montour Trail. Do this in reverse if coming from the Montour Trail.
- Cross Clemente (6th St) or Fort Duquesne Bridges and drop down to the river trail.
- Ride the trail almost to the end, just before the jail; I believe it’s called Doerr Street.
- Doerr St to L on Beaver and almost immediately R on Eckert.
- L on McClure. Couple of left bends; do NOT turn R onto Woods Run.
- L on Antrim. This is a steep hill but short, only a couple hundred yards.
- R on Fleming. Still uphill but not as tough.
- Fleming to the end; then L on Termon.
- At the five-point intersection you want the kinda-sorta L. This is also the busiest road.
- Take the lane. In fact, get totally in the left tire track because the road splits and you want to go straight, not get caught into the right-turn-only lane.
- Cross PA65 and get up on the sidewalk to cross the bridge.
- Cross the bridge on the sidewalk. There are a couple of 90-degree turns on the sidewalk.
- The sidewalk dumps you out onto a street at one point. Cross the street and continue up the sidewalk to the second part of the bridge.
- Once you’re back on the mainland, get back on the road and continue to the right.
- L onto Tunnel Way. Proceed up the hill, through the tunnel, and down the hill to the traffic light.
- R onto Broadway. Proceed to end.
- R onto Pine Hollow Road.
- L onto Fairhaven Road.
- R onto Clever Road. You’ll be on this a few miles.
- At the base of a hill where a big road comes in from the left (Beaver Grade Road), continue straight onto Beaver Grade Road.
- Ignore the trivial road on right, Ventana Rd. Heads-up, though!
- R then immediate L onto Old Beaver Grade Road.
- Couple hundred yards later is the Montour Trail, at about mile 3 (don’t quote me on specifics). Coraopolis is to the right. Robinson is to the left.
If you’re trying to do this in reverse, a couple things to look out for to find this spot are the bridge for Beaver Grade Road overhead, and the last time I was out there, there was a water fountain at this trailhead.
Slight variant back at Fleming: L onto Davis (instead of proceeding to the end of Fleming), cross California Ave (very busy local street), proceed to end of Davis. There will be a staircase taking you down to the corner by the bridge. You might consider using the upstream sidewalk instead of the downstream sidewalk as above.
I ride from Bloomfield to Coraopolis most days for work. Stu has a really good step-by-step guide here but I take a slightly different path once I cross the McKees Rocks Bridge (the “double bridge” you’ll go across). To pick up from his directions, about 2/3rds of the way down…
Once you’re back on the mainland, get back on the road and continue to the right onto Island Ave.
Follow Island Ave for 1.3 miles to the Fleming Park Bridge (there is some truck/car traffic here, depending on the time of day but most of this stretch has wide lanes or a shoulder you can take too).
R on Fleming Park Bridge (protected bike lane with bollards dividing you from the auto travel lane).
Fleming Park Bridge turns into Neville Road.
Follow Neville Road for about 4 miles (there is a dedicated bike lane the whole way) until a T-intersection with Grand Ave.
L on Grand Ave where the righthand land has bike sharrows lane markings and about 39 or 40 “share the road with bicycles”-type signs).
Follow Grand Ave like this for about 1 mile.
Grand Ave curves to the L and takes you across a bridge to Coraopolis, again with sharrows and “bikes may use full lane” signage.
R at the end of the bridge on 4th Ave (all traffic MUST turn R, be careful though because this is a 2-lane road with all traffic turning R).
L at Montour St (the first light).
L on 5th Ave (the first light) and follow that for 1 mile (there is a narrow shoulder, but no sharrows, just be careful).
L on Montour Coketown Rd where there will be a Montour Trail Sign.
I’m not ripping on Stu’s directions, I just wanted to give an alternative too. Good luck.
There is no safe route from Rochester to Sewickley. If you can get to Fombell, I can direct you to a safer passage. It will take you to Freedom, Mount Nebo, Emsworth, and eventually to the McKees Rocks Bridge area. It is much more hilly but if interested, let me know.
Fultonco, your route is probably similar to something I’ve been contemplating and I’d definitely be interested in details. My main concern on some of the roads I looked at on Google Earth was that they were winding and without shoulders. Hopefully you have a better route! I’d just as soon avoid riding the sidewalk on 65, which seems the only other feasible route. I rode 51 years ago (my first tour), but lucked out and had a construction lane to ride in for much of the worst part.
Thanks to all who replied.
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I’m quite OK with CPR’s alternative, especially if you want to ride the entire Montour Trail. My own experience was in commuting to FedEx, so I wasn’t interested in riding up to Coraopolis.
One thing I might clarify in my variant directions, using the Davis St steps alternative. When you get dumped out onto Helen St in The Bottoms, as it’s called, make a right-left to continue on the downstream sidewalk for the second part of the bridge. That will avoid you having to figure out how to get across Rt 51’s busy traffic at that 3-point corner at the end of the bridge.
Thanks for the data! I’ll check these out for a future tour.
Thanks Paul. Pete, I hope these help you out. I added a photo from my ride on each route, in 2019.
Thanks Fultonco, this looks like an interesting route. I had been looking at crossing the Beaver River at Koppel (coming from the Akron/Kent area in Ohio, so this fits with your maps.
If you are curious about my past (dangerous) route you can see it at:
It documents a trip before the trail was done at Sandcastle and records some drama with an earlier version of Google Earth :) Yeah, we rode on 51, but caught some breaks.
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