Bicycle riding around New Haven, CT
June 14, 2013 7:24 AM   Subscribe

I'm going to be in New Haven, CT for the first time ever for a few days without a car soon. I would really like to line up at least two relatively easy bicycle rides that will end up at the seacoast during my short visit. Can you point me in the right direction? Bonus points if you can help me borrow or rent a bike.

I'm going to be in New Haven, CT for the first time ever for a few days without a car soon while my companion does some work at Yale. I heard that there are some relatively short bicycle rides from New Haven to the seacoast, but aside from mentions of this fact on a Wikipedia page, I cannot find any other information. For instance, my notes say:

"Local beaches are also a short bike ride or drive from the city center, and provide additional recreational opportunities."
"Bicycle along Farmington Canal, or shoreline bike routes."

Can you point me in the right direction? I would really like to line up at least two relatively easy bicycle rides that will end up at the seacoast during my short visit.

My companion and I both love riding bicycles and have ridden them a lot in various cities. We are not a serious cyclists or anything like that (just a pair of twentysomething year olds who get around mostly on our old bikes). So, I'm hoping to line up rides that are in the two hour range at most. We're up for being adventurous, though!

(On a related note, if any MeFites have leads on a bicycle I could borrow or rent, I would be incredibly grateful if you'd send me a message. I was hoping to bring my own old Schwinn road bike on the train, but just learned that Amtrak won't let me do so on the particular train I'm taking. Meanwhile, the $25 per day rental fee quoted on a New Haven bike shop's website is out of my budget).
posted by pinetree to Travel & Transportation around New Haven, CT (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Not sure I can be very helpful but
for rental, downtown new haven, go here

There4 is no seacoast in and around New Haven. There is instead Long Island might find some nice cycling and beauty along Long Wharf, which is on the Sound, outskirts of New Haven, off I-95 In West Haven, also routes along the Sound and much beauty. Google bike rentals and perhaps you should go to North Haven, West Haven, etc for rental and then ask at rental place for route along the Sound.
posted by Postroad at 7:35 AM on June 14, 2013

Best answer: I'm not a cyclist but I can help with geography a bit.

The Farmington river/canal/heritage trails are excellent. I usually recommend them to people as driving/walking routes, but they are really great for biking (as intended.) I'll link to this not because I wrote it, but because there are links to maps of the trail system and other info in the "If You Go" section. I'm more familiar with the northern sections, but I think there are still some gaps in the trail if you wanted to do it all the way from Yale. This website seems to explain what's up with the southern part.

As the aptly named Postroad says, there is no seacoast in CT. I guess you could bike to RI, or take a ferry from Bridgeport and then bike across Long Island, but...I assume you mean you want to be along the Sound. I'd check out New Haven's Department of Parks... site and see which coastal parks you can bike to/in. For water views I like (and again, I've only walked around these, but I think you could bike) Lighthouse Point Park and the Pardee Seawall area in Morris Cove.
posted by DestinationUnknown at 7:54 AM on June 14, 2013

Just a heads-up that the Farmington Canal trail in New Haven isn't always the safest place to be. It's not terrible -- I feel safe enough walking dogs there -- but there have been some muggings. So maybe consider getting up into Hamden by some other route, and then taking the trail up from there.
posted by sleepingcbw at 8:02 AM on June 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Y'all are indeed right. I just checked Google Maps and there is not a "seacoast." But it looks like there is, in fact, water. So, I guess any leads in that vein would be swell. Thanks for the responses so far!
posted by pinetree at 8:05 AM on June 14, 2013

Best answer: I used to ride with a cycling club when I lived in Connecticut and rode a few times on a ride from Milford along the water (when possible) to New Haven, ending in Lighthouse Point Park at the carousel, before we looped back and did it again. Unfortunately, it was a ride a few of the guys developed on their own, so I don't have the cue sheet, but it was approximately 40 miles round trip and one of my favorites. The bike option on Google maps from the park to Milford, provides a few nice options along the water.
posted by icaicaer at 9:14 AM on June 14, 2013

Best answer: Elm City Cycling has recommended routes that include shoreline areas. They also have this bike map that you can get at a few bike shops in town. Personally, I only ride the Farmington Canal Trail if I'm riding in New Haven so I haven't tried any of the shore routes.

Here is the cycling calendar for the best bike shop in New Haven, the Devil's Gear's, and lastly, if you're going to be here on June 26th, there is a group bike ride to Lighthouse Point. They'll be riding part of the Shoreline Greenway Trail, which, unfortunately, isn't yet finished.

Also MeMail me if you don't find a bike- I'd lend you mine, but it's a 1 speed cruiser covered in sunflowers, which is pretty specific to my tastes, but I also might know of another that you could borrow. In any event, enjoy New Haven!
posted by eunoia at 10:33 AM on June 14, 2013 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Depending on your definition of relatively easy, Yale Cycling has posted a few route maps as well.
posted by golden at 10:42 AM on June 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: If you are coming soon, there are many bike tours associated with the New Haven Festival of Arts and Ideas which starts this weekend:
Bike Tours for Festival of Arts and Ideas
Also, I second the Devil's Gear.
posted by coevals at 1:16 PM on June 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Go to West Haven, exit 44 on I-95. There's a walking/bike path that starts where 1st Ave intersects 2nd Ave and becomes Beach Street. It runs along the shore for about 2 miles. It may not look like coastal Maine or something, but you'll still get a long horizon and the smell of the sea.
posted by colfax at 2:30 PM on June 14, 2013

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